Select Perry/Parry Miscellany



Here are some Perry/Parry stories and accounts over the years:

Perry and Parry - UK Distribution

The table below shows the distribution of Perrys and Parrys in England and Wales in the 1891 census.

Numbers (000's)
Perry
Parry
Total
Parry %
Wales
  1.6
  7.8
  9.4
   88
North West
  1.9
  4.6
  6.5
   81
West Midlands
  4.2
  1.3
  5.5
   24
South West
  4.3
  0.5
  4.8
   11
London
  4.3
  1.3
  5.6
   23
Elsewhere
  7.7
  7.5
 15.2
   40
Total
 24.0
 23.0
 47.0
   42

Parry is clearly a Welsh-origin name which extended into NW England (Cheshire and Lancashire).   The Perry clusters were in counties such as Staffordshire and Warwickshire and in SW England.


Perry and Parry - Worldwide Distribution

The next table shows the current distribution of Perrys and Parrys in English-speaking countries. 

Numbers (000's)
Perry
Parry
Total
Parry %
UK
  44
  37
  81
  45
USA
  67
   4
  71
    6
Canada
  21
   1
  22
    5
Australia
  13
   5
  18
  28
New Zealand
    2
   1
   3
  25

Either the Parrys did not travel; or, more likely, many Parrys became Perrys after they had arrived in America.


Perry As A Drink

Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pear juice.  It is similar to cidar in that it is made using a siimilar process and often has a similar alcoholic content (which can be as high as 8.5% alcohol).  It takes only three years for a perry pear planted in the right conditions to bear fruit; but up to thirty years before it is at full maturity.

The earliest perry may have come from France.  But perry-making in England has traditionally been a speciality of three English counties (Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire) and of Welsh border counties.  Perry pears were said to only thrive "in sight of May Hill."  But perry pears are now grown in other areas such as Somerset and East Anglia.  The most common used variety is the Blakeney Red. 


The Parrys of Golden Valley in Herefordshire

In the church of Turnastone in Herefordshire, there is a sculptured slab showing the figures of Thomas Parry ("Thome Apparri") and Agnes ("Agnet"), his wife.  This was erected during the lifetime of Agnes in memory of Thomas who had died in 1522.

Underneath the altar is a tablet, now badly damaged, which commemorated Richard ap Harry who died in 1626.  He was the great grandson of Thomas.  The James and George Parrys who gave the family details to the Herald in 1634 would have been Richard's cousins.

The Parrys of New Court and the nearby Vaughans of Tretower intermarried in each generation, making their cross relationships puzzling.  Both were proud of their believed kinship with David Gam, the hero of the battle of Agincourt in 1415.



Reader Feedback - Perrys in Gloucestershire

You should add the Hunter alias Perry family of Wotton under Edge and Winterbourne in Gloucestershire.   By the late 1600’s they had dropped the Hunter part and were using only Perry as their surname.   Originally from the north of England, these were a wealthy family of clothiers and overseas merchants.   They were made armigerous in 1623.  There is some evidence that a branch of this Perry family settled in early Virginia, migrating to the Carolinas by 1800. 

R.Starr (dphilox@gmail.com)



Thomas Perry & Co of Bilston

In his 1893 A History of Bilston, George T. Lawley gave the following description of the Thomas Perry & Co. works in his town.

"Vast foundries - where every conceivable article of machinery and skill is made - exist in this town. The manufactured goods produced by Thomas Perry & Co. of Highfields have for excellence of material and workmanship competed with and rivalled the manufactures of the whole world.  The enormous plants for the manufacture of steel armor plates for war ships and batteries have been made here. Huge engines, masterpieces of strength, size, and mechanical superiority, are also numbered among its production.  The testing of the castings enables the workmen to detect any unsoundness or faults and insures to the purchaser a genuine article.

Orders are executed for countries in every quarter of the globe.  The "fire and thief proof sales" made by them have justly attained a wide celebrity.  Several monster sales have been made to foreign governments which are wonders of skill, strength, and ingenuity."

Thomas Perry & Co continued as a family firm until 1942 when it was merged with two other companies to form the British Rollmakers Corp (BRC).   


William Perry of Jamestown

William Perry immigrated to Virginia in 1611 and was therefore described as an ancient planter.  He survived the Indian uprising in 1622 and in early 1624 he and four others went to England to ask the Virginia Company for relief from taxes because of the losses they had sustained at that time.  Perry took an Indian boy with him to England and asked for funds that could be used for rearing of the child in the Christian faith. 

Perry married the widowed Isabell Pace in 1623 and eventually took up residence at her plantation, Paces Paines.  William and Isabell produced a son, Henry Perry.  In February 1624 Mrs. Perry and her son were living on Jamestown Island in the New Town.  Sometime prior to 1629 William Perry was placed in command of the settlers living in the vicinity of Paces Paines and Smith’s Mount (formerly known as Burrows Hill) and served as that area’s burgess. 

Captain William Perry made his will on August 5, 1637 and died the following day.  He was interred in the graveyard of Westover Church in Charles City. 


Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan

On July 8, 1853, four black ships led by USS Powhatan and commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry anchored at Edo (Tokyo) Bay.  Never before had the Japanese seen ships steaming with smoke.  They thought the ships were "giant dragons puffing smoke."  They did not know that steamboats existed and were shocked by the number and size of the guns on board the ships.

Perry brought a letter from the President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, to the Emperor of Japan.  He waited with his armed ships and refused to see any of the lesser dignitaries sent by the Japanese, insisting on dealing only with the highest emissaries of the Emperor.

The Japanese government realized that their country was in no position to defend itself against a foreign power and Japan could not retain its isolation policy without risking war.  On March 31, 1854, after weeks of long and tiresome talks, Perry received what he had so dearly worked for - a treaty with Japan.


After the signing of the treaty convention of Kanagawa, the Japanese invited the Americans to a feast.  The Americans admired the courtesy and politeness of their hosts and thought very highly of the rich Japanese culture.  Commodore Perry broke down the barriers that had separated Japan from the rest of the world.

Today the Japanese celebrate his expedition with annual black ship festivals.  Perry lived in Newport, Rhode Island, which also celebrates a Black Ship festival in July.  In Perry's honor, Newport has become Shimoda's sister city.


Perrys and Parrys to Australia

The table below summarizes the Perrys and Parrys who came to Australia in the 19th century as convicts or as free settlers.

Numbers
Perry
Parry
Total
Parry %
As convicts
  80
  28
 108
 26%
Assisted immigrants
 118
  32
 150
 21%
Unassisted immigrants
  91
  21
 112
 19%

The current percentage of Parrys to Perrys in Australia is slightly higher than the numbers shown above.
 

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