Verrior4.html PART FOUR


Robert VERRY, son of John VERRIER and Elizabeth (PRICE/PREECE) of Much Dewchurch was born after his father's death and christened in the Price family's parish, Staunton-on-Wye 1670. He farmed at Upton-on-Severn and had issue who farmed at Walford, Weston-under-Penyard and Peterstow.

A gggrandson of Robert was Thomas Robert VERRY born 1808, Weston-under-Penyard. Thomas married Charlotte Preece TURNER in 1852. She was the widow of Thomas Turner. Thomas and Charlotte farmed Everston Farm at Peterstow near Ross-on-Wye. He died in 1864 from injuries received, it is said, from a violent argument about politics.

Children of Thomas and Charlotte -
  1. Thomas Robert VERRY born 1852. Died 1921 Park River, North Dakota. He married Sarah STOCK of Foy, Herefordshire, 1875. Thomas took over Everston Farm but, possibily because of an economic depression, emigated to the USA in 1884, purchasing a block at Minnesota where he grew asparagus, berries and rhubarb.  

  2. John Henry VERRY born 1854. Died 1920 Wessington Springs, South Dakota. Married Julia ZECH
    (from Poland). John emigrated to the USA in 1882. He had a wide range of occupations - hotel manager, farmer, horseman, stock trader. Later he bought the Willard Hotel, Wessington Springs.

  3. Mary Elizabeth VERRY born 1856, died 1931 Alpena, South Dakota. Married John Edwin Clark COOK 1878 at Peterstow. They emigrated in 1884.
Descendants of this USA branch were researched by the late Lillian Good. Email me for a look-up if you think you are connected.


I have been unable to resolve this branch (presuming of course it is indeed a branch of the Much Dewchurch family) - but it seems to descend from a Thomas VERRY who married  Sarah JAMES at Kington, Herefordshire in 1763.


John VERRY, batchelor and Alice PREECE, spinster were married at Upper Bullingham, Herefordshire in 1806. Witnesses were Mary PREECE and George Williams. I have not seriously researched this Preece family but the following suggests that Alice was the daughter of William PREECE (born 1753 Upper Bullingham) and Ann JONES who were married at Callow in 1780. They had Alice (born Aconbury 1783) and Thomas (born Aconbury 1786) and possibly others.

This connection is afforded by the will of Alice JONES, widow dated 1828 in which she bequeaths to -
This will is alluded to in the will of John VERRY Senior of Aconbury, dated 1842 which includes -

"to my eldest son John VERRY, which sum was bequeathed to him by my wife's Aunt Alice JONES which said sum was paid as part of the aforesaid estate" (ie freehold property in Little Birch).

The will had an interesting sequel in that John VERRY Junior was granted administration of his father's Will in 1853 (sic) having sworn that his father died leaving no lawful will; nothwithstanding that his father's will was probated in 1842. I suspect that the problem concerned Alice JONES' legacy which John Verry Senior used to buy some property and that repayment had not been resolved.

William VERRY - founder of the Gloucestershire Branch

Because of a chance discovery we know that the Verrier/Verry families of Herefordshire and the neighbouring county of Gloucester have a common origin. In 1611 William VERRY of Minsterworth in Gloucestershire attested to the verbal Will of Henry ROWLES of Churcham. He stated he was born at Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire, was aged about 70 years and had come to Minsterworth about 50 years previous. (To save you doing the sums he was born about 1541 and left home about 1561.) The latter date may be important as glassmakers (assuming they were) generally kept the trade, father to sons. This date suggests they had abandoned it before that time and goes some little way to confirm Reade's assertion that Verrier's glass furnace at Dewchurch was remodelled by a glassmaker from Lorraine in 1597. It also confirms the Verrier's arrived in Dewchurch - indeed Herefordshire - about the time of the Reformation. Otherwise many unaccounted co-descendants should be winking out at us in the records. But they are not.

William (VERYER) took a matrimonial action against Agnes FEWTERER in 1562. Both were of Elmore, next to Ministerworth. From the fragmentary information surviving on just one document the action appears to have concerned a breach of contract. The outcome is unknown.However the surname FEWTERER is rare and we can safely conclude that it was the same Agnes who went on to marry William COWLEY at Elmore in November 1562. And William (VERRY) married Matilde BROOKE at Elmore in January 1563.

About that time William went farming in Minsterworth. He was soon in litigation with the neighbouring Manor of Rodley over encroachment. In that action his surname was written VERRIOR. But, to complicate matters he was also "alias ASCHETON". I will sugggest a possible reason shortly.

In 1599 Edward BARSTON,  attempted to recover dues from several orchardists in the Ministerworth area. They were - Amicell BULLOCK, William NASH, Thomas JAMES, John GRAINGER, William VERRY, John SMITH, Christopher MILLARD, John LEIGHTON and Richard ORAM. The action concerned the movement of apples and pears down the Severn to coastal ports. In 1601, Amicell BULLOCK, William VERRY and others challenged Edward BARSTON, then Deputy Collector of Customs, Port of Gloucester. Barston had become very unpopular with local merchants. In 1596 the Mayor and burgesses of Gloucester had alleged that Barston and other Deputy "Customers" of he Port of Gloucester were receiving extraordinary fees", concealing customs and port dues and engaging in private trading. Most goods required a "cocket" (certificate) of clearance which (of course) involved a fee. Barston charged greater than the law intended. The outcome is unclear but as subsequent collectors did nothing to pursue it VERRY and co probably won the day.

The Gloucester Port Books (Public Record Office, London) have several references to William VERRY.

Examples are -
In the "Anthony" of Minsterworth, 12 tons, Master PYGATE 7 March 1581, William VERRY sent 13 wey malt to Carmarthen in Wales.
In the "George" of Padstow, 10 tons, Master John ADDAMS 27 January 1584, William VERRY sent 6 wey white peas to St Ives, Cornwall.

In the "John" of Minsterworth, 6 tons, Master George ABADAM, William VERRY sent 15 March 1585 6 wey of malt to Cardiff
- and so on, wey being a weight used at that time.

When William VERRY died in 1614 he was living at Dynny in Minsterworth in a relatively comfortable "mansion" house, with orchards and fields of corn. He gave six shillings and eight pence to the poor; mentions his wife Johanne (his first must have died), his kinswoman Margery BULLOCK (possibly a relation of Amicell above or the Bullock family who neighboured the Lowe Farm in Much Dewchurch), his sister's son William BADDAM, godson William WOOLES, daughter-in-law Amy BOYFIELD, debts to John HIET and to George BADDAM (who was possibly master of the ship "John" above). His executors were his "loving neighbours" BOSLEY and Thomas AUSTEN.

Now, recall how William was once recorded as "alias Ascheton". Well in the records of Minsterworth and Elmore AUSTEN was often written ASHTON, ASTEN and so forth. Therein I believe lies the answer. Either his mother was an Austen or (more likely) the Austen family employed him when he arrived in the parish and, for a moment he was known as "Austen's man", the clerks, as we know, having difficulty with the Verrier name. But there is no point in pursuing it further for want of record.

His son, another William, moved next door to Westbury-on-Severn where he was soon in trouble with the "authorities" when he failed to pay his tithes. These Verry's and their neighbours seem to have been a litigious lot. For the year 1605 alone several defamation cases are recorded: Mary Brewer v. Margaret ASTEN of Elmore, James Thomas of Minsterworth v. Robert ASTEN, Alice GRANGER of Elmore v. Edward Thrum. No doubt some further digging would reveal others.

Whilst these records I have outlined give some idea of what William and his community was like, no comparison of his brothers and sisters he left behind in Herefordshire is possible, sadly. Paucity of record prevents this, Gloucestershire being better endowed with earlier records for which there is also better accessibility.

The descendants of William Verry are known down to the 19th century. Some became quite wealthy farmers at Westbury and Frampton-on-Severn, some blacksmiths at Standish and a land surveyor, Bristol.

Please e-mail if you have connections to this branch of the family.

  1. I am indebted to a fellow subscriber to the Rootsweb Gloucester List for information from the Gloucester Port Books.

  2. Re the name Fewterer. It is from the Anglo-French "veutrier" (OF "veutre") meaning "keeper of the greyhounds" (for the hunt).

  3. Again this is a further example of the devolution of this family's name, Verrier (or Verrior) to Verry. I have not noted any similar change in Verrier families elsewhere in England, who were mainly centred in Somerset and Kent. Those families appear to have been established in the Anglo-Norman period. The Herefordshire family was by all accounts a more recent arrival, albeit unproven. 


Having ascertained that the VERRIER family was in Much Dewchurch by circa 1541 two avenues were available to discover more about them. These were the published lists of Aliens (and Denizations/Naturalisation) and the Lay Subsidies.

In the time of Heny VIII immigrants in England were required to register their presence. The law however was more fully complied with in London ahd the Home Counties. In counties far removed such as Herefordshire, compliance was minimal.

A large number of French registered in 1544 as England was at war with France that year. Typical of those who registered was John VERDEYRE, born in Normandy aged 39 years who had resided in England for 16 years and was married with two children. Unfortunately the name Verrier does not occur in these accounts.

Next the Lay Subsidies for Much Dewchurch were searched. Results were equally disappointing. The Lay Subsidies (so called because Church property was exempt) were taxes levied on moveable personal property. The Subsidy of 1524 and later was a graduated one.  For example those whose goods were valued between one and two pounds paid four pence per pound, and so on. Aliens paid double these amounts, but if they were too poor to be chargeable, they paid a Poll Tax of eight pence.

Regrettably the earliest surviving subsidy for the Much Dewchurch area was 1545 and Much Dewchurch is missing. That of 1550 has just four names and that of 1584 also appears incomplete. In these fragmentary returns no Verrier is recorded. This is a pity as many counties appear to be fairly complete.

In studying the survival of these tax records it was noted that, for Dorset in 1525 foreigners included 364 Normans, 43 French, a Fleming, 18 Dutch, 2 Bretons and 122 "others". Of course Dorset, being on the channel had several ports and most of these foreigners were near the coast and others (believed to be working at cheesemaking and the like),  further inland. A county in the hinterland such as Herefordshire would have correspondingly fewer.

The Dorset example illustrates that there were a considerable number of foreigners in England well before the large influx of Protestant refugees from the 1560's and that they had come for work or business reasons. A return of aliens in London 1573 gives 1,762 of the Dutch, French and Italian Churches and 2,561 "strangers who do confess themselves that their coming hither was only to seek for their living". Samuel Kurinsky - "Glassmaking; a Jewish Traditiion" points out that some of the Huguenot (Protestant) glassmakers who arrived in England after 1560 appear to have had Jewish origins. He wrote - "Glassmakers with Sephardic or other names of Judaic origin assumed a Huguenot facade in order to make their future in England (at a time when Jews were forbidden) and "many ruses were used. Jewish glassmakers in Spain took on a Catholic disguise" . His thesis concurs with other researchers who concluded that the early glassmakers' loyalites were primarily to himself, family and the trade.

I am not implying a Jewish origin for Verrier but merely illustrating that for glassmakers generally, the traditional theory that they were usually Protestant refugees (in the 16th and 17th centuries) needs some revision.

Equally disappointing was the inability to confirm a local historian's statement that the Verrier's occupied the Lowe Farm, Much Dewchurch as early as 1590. As far as I know the Lowe had always been a property of the Bodenham's, Manor of Bryngwyn. The historian (Reade) may have had access to the Bodenham papers in the 1920's. But those since deposited contain nothing between 1495 and 1610. A whole century now appears to be missing. They do however have an intriguing reference dated 1714 of a mortgage by Bodenham of glasshouses in Southwark, Surrey which at that late date probably refers to glass furnaces then operating at Southwark, some 200 years after my ancestor reputely operated his primitive furnace in the woodlands of South Herefordshire.

Possibly the last mention of the Verry family in Much Dewchurch appear in a deed, 1726 concerning the transfer of the Mynde Estate to the Simmons family. It refers to -

"two messuages or tenements called Verry's and Powell's and now called the Farmes ....".

At a later date I will put on this site some notes on other Verrier families in England, being mainly Somerset, Wiltshire and Kent.

Here is a link to



(Some interesting 19th century Gazetteers etc)