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PERRY AND FISON FAMILIES
Mary Sherwood nee Perry (Seated)
The Perry family is connected to the Sherwood family through the marriage of Mary Perry to Charles Sherwood in Fowlmere in 1833.
Mary Perry's family were from the small village of Fowlmere in the county of Cambridgeshire. Her parents were James and Harriet Perry, nee Wilson. James and Harriet were both born about 1791. James in Fowlmere and Harriet most likely in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. They married in the parish church Saint Mary the Virgin in 1812.
The couple had 7 children, 2 girls and 5 boys. Three of their children Mary, Susanna and Frederick emigrated to South Australia in the 1850's.
James Perry worked as an agricultural labourer and maltster. A maltster's work involved the preparation of malt for brewing.
Mary's mother Harriet died in Fowlmere in 1834. She was 44 years old. Mary's father James died there in 1864 at the age of 72.
James' parents were James Perry and Sarah Fison. James senior
appears to have settled in the village at about the time he and Sarah
married in 1783. James was born in Thaxted, Essex about 1753.
FOR FULL STORY SEE BELOW
c. 1791: Born Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, England.
1812: Married Harriet Wilson in Fowlmere.
1812: First child Mary born Fowlmere.
1841: Fowlmere Census, age 50, Head of household.
1851: Fowlmere Census: Living town estate, Fowlmere, age 60.
1861: Fowlmere Census: Age 70, pauper.
1864: Died Fowlmere, age 72.
c. 1791: Born most likely in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
1812: Married James Perry in Fowlmere.
1834: Died in Fowlmere, age 44.
Family of Mary Sherwood nee Perry
Mary Sherwood nee
Perry (1813-1881) arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia with her husband
Charles and family in April 1856. Her sister Susan Harrup and brother Frederick
Perry followed soon after.
The decision to
leave Fowlmere and settle in Australia must have been a serious topic for
discussion in the Sherwood, Perry and Harrup households. We can barely imagine
how difficult it must have been when it came time to leave. It would have been
very difficult for Mary as she left behind her father James, and her brothers
William, Thomas, James and John. It must have been especially hard for Mary's
66-year-old widowed father James. He would eventually farewell three of his
children, Mary, Susan and Frederick knowing full well that he would never see
Not long after
arriving in Australia the Sherwoods settled at Wistow a small rural community
forty kilometres south east of Adelaide. Susan's two eldest sons, William and
Arthur Harrup, followed in October 1856. Susan and her husband Rayner Harrup
arrived here in 1857.
Cynthia Collison, a great, great granddaughter of Susan and Rayner Harrup,
'Susan and Rayner settled near Strathalbyn but unfortunately Rayner died about
five or six weeks after arriving in South Australia. Family folklore says that
his daughter Elizabeth Harriett worked for the undertaker until the funeral
debts were paid and that he was buried at Strathalbyn. Susan remarried, George
Roebuck of Macclesfield, and when he died she married George Beames. They lived
at Glen Osmond then Frewville. She died at Pioneer Cottage Mount Barker, the
home of her daughter and son-in-law, Susannah and Joseph Mitchell.'
Some time after
Rayner’s death, Susan may have left Strathalbyn. When she married George Roebuck in 1864, Susan gave her
residence as Bugle Ranges, a small village not far from Wistow. When George died Susan married for the third time.
She married George Beames in 1871. Susan
according to the marriage certificate was living in Wistow.
In 1858 Mary’s
youngest brother Frederick arrived in Adelaide. Frederick Perry was born in
Fowlmere in 1832 to James and Harriet Perry. When he was 9 years old he was
living with his father James in High street Fowlmere. His mother Harriet had
died in 1834 when he was 3. Frederick Perry worked as an agricultural or farm
labourer. This was the fate of many young men who were the sons of village
He was 26 when he
landed in Port Adelaide onboard the ship Sir Thomas Gresham. One or more members
of the family no doubt met him at the port. Soon after arriving Frederick made
his way to Wistow. It was there that his sister Mary and brother in law Charles
were living. Also living not far from Wistow at this time was
Frederick's sister Susan Harrup. This
meeting of the Sherwoods, Perrys and Harrups was no doubt an important time for
catching up on news from home about friends and family. Frederick would have
brought news from his father James and his brothers when he arrived.
In 1864, Fredrick
Perry and Frances Brett were married by the Rev. T.Braithwaite at the Primitive
Methodist Chapel, Wistow. The following year the couple moved to the south east
of the State. Their first child Mary Elizabeth was born in1865 at Langhornes
Creek. Two sons William and John were born in 1867 and 1868 at Belvidere. In
1870 a second daughter Frances Jane Perry was born at Lake Plains. James was
born in 1872 at Montura and Alfred Edward in 1876. His birthplace was not
Some time prior to
1882, Frederick and Frances moved to Gawler, 40 kilometres north east of
Adelaide. In 1882, Frederick was working as a baker in Gawler South. From 1882
to at least 1885 he worked as a carter and was living in Murray Street Gawler. Frederick's
nephew Stephen Sherwood was also living in Gawler at this time. He worked as a
storekeeper and baker in Cowan Street. Around 1888 Frederick was working as a grocer
in Block road Gawler south.
passed away in 1890 at the age of 62. He died at Milang, a small town on the
edge of Lake Alexandrina. His wife Frances died there in 1911.
The Sherwood, Perry
and Harrup families maintained close links by settling close to each other when
they came to South Australia. The three families all lived in or not far from
Wistow, soon after arriving here. When
Susan’s daughter Susannah Harrup married Joseph Mitchell in 1869, the ceremony
took place in her cousin Alfred Sherwood’s home in Melbourne Street, North
Adelaide. Alfred was Mary
Sherwood’s eldest son. When Susan
Harrup married George Roebuck in 1871, they married at Christ Church, North
Adelaide. Witnesses to the marriage
were Susan’s nephew Alfred Sherwood and his wife Jessie.
probably sometime after the death of Charles' mother Elizabeth Sherwood, Mary and
Charles moved to Penola near the Victorian and South Australian border. In 1874
they along with their son Charles selected land at Mt. Arapiles and Natimuk,
Victoria. They remained there until Charles' death in August 1880. Mary went to
live with her daughter Elizabeth and her husband Samuel Meek. They had bought
land at Kiata not far from Nhill. It was at Kiata that Mary died from bronchitis
and exhaustion in September 1881. Mary along with her daughter Elizabeth and son
Arthur are buried in the Woorak cemetery.
Very few personal
details are known about Mary. The only references to her are in two family
stories passed on by my grandfather Arthur Gordon Sherwood. According to Arthur,
his father Arthur Sherwood senior (Mary's son) was a shearer before he married.
He travelled throughout South Australia and Victoria on horseback working as a
shearer and stockman.
Because of the
travelling involved there were long periods when Arthur didn't see his family.
On one occasion his mother Mary Sherwood wanted him to take his brother Fred
shearing with him. Apparently Mary felt that Arthur would be safer travelling in
the company of his brother. Arthur wasn't keen on the idea of taking his younger
brother with him as he believed Fred would get a hard time from the other
particular visit to his mother, Arthur had saddled his horse and was ready to
leave when Mary became upset and asked him not to go. She wanted him to settle
down and become a farmer. He said that he would do so if he could select land
near Woorak, Victoria which he later did. Arthur bought land at Woorak West in
the late 1870's and established a wheat farm.
story tells us that Mary gave Arthur a bible. (See Bibles link) Arthur took the bible with him as
he travelled throughout South Australia and Victoria. The bible was passed on to
Arthur's son Arthur Gordon Sherwood. From Arthur Gordon it passed to his son
Arthur (Pat) Sherwood. Pat Sherwood was my uncle. He was kind enough to give the
bible to me.
One final matter
involving Mary concerns the presentation of a bible to her by another son
Stephen. When Stephen married Jane Arnold at Port MacDonnell, South Australia in
1876, the couple presented Mary with a large and very impressive family bible.
The first page inside the bible reads...
Presented to Mary
Sherwood by her son and daughter Stephen and Jane Sherwood, February 28th 1876.
Mary and Charles
were living at Mt. Arapiles, Victoria at the time. They more than likely
attended the wedding in Port MacDonnell, where the presentation was made.
death in 1880, Mary went to live with her daughter Elizabeth Meek at Kiata. When
Mary died the following year, the bible stayed with Elizabeth. Elizabeth in turn
gave the bible to her daughter Maude Meek, later Sherwen.
Life Before Australia:
There are two churches in Fowlmere,
Cambridgeshire. The oldest is the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin which
dates back to the 12th century. The other is the Fowlmere Independent Chapel. It
opened for public worship in 1782.
It is in the registers of the parish church
that we find the baptism entries for the Perry family. Mary Perry daughter of
James and Harriet Perry was baptised there on 6 June 1813. Mary was 20 weeks old
W.L. Mansel was the Rector of the parish. He
didn't live there but instead paid a curate to carry out his responsibilities.
Mary was the eldest of James and Harriet's
seven children. She had a younger sister Susan who later married Rayner Harrup.
Her five brothers were William, Thomas, James, John, and Frederick. Susan and
Frederick later joined Mary in Australia.
The marriage of Mary Perry to Charles Sherwood
in the parish church of St. Mary took place on Christmas Eve 1833. The 24
December that year was a Tuesday. It was the first month of winter. We can
speculate as to those who attended the ceremony. Taking their places in church were Mary's parents James and Harriet Perry, and Mary's 80-year-old
grandfather James. With them was her sister Susan and her five younger brothers.
Representing the Sherwoods no doubt were Charles' parents William and
Elizabeth, and Charles' sister Jane and younger brother William. The two
witnesses to the marriage were John Law and Sarah All. John was about the same
age as Charles and may have been a friend of his. Sarah could well have been a
friend of Marys. Sarah was also a witness at Jane Sherwood's marriage to Thomas
Morley in 1835. The minister at that time was William Metcalfe. He was the
Rector of Fowlmere from 1814 to 1850.
The year 1834 was an eventful period in Mary's
life. A little over two weeks after she married, her new husband Charles was
convicted of assault and threatened with imprisonment. Her grandfather James
died in April and her first son Alfred was born in June and baptised in December.
Her only sister Susan was married in October and her mother Harriet died in
After marrying the couple remained in Fowlmere
where they raised their family. Mary's life would not have been easy, bringing
up ten children in a time of great hardship. Unemployment and hunger were not
uncommon in those times. Ensuring that all her children were properly fed and
clothed would have been no easy task.
Every ten years beginning in 1841, a detailed
population census was taken in England. The census provides us with some unique
information about family members. Mary married to Charles Sherwood had by 1841,
five young children; Alfred 7, Charles 5, William 3, Harriet 2 and my great
grandfather Arthur who was just four months old. Living in the village were
Mary's four brothers, her sister Susan and her father James. Mary's sister Susan
had a carriers business in Fowlmere. Her husband Rayner Harrup was a shoemaker.
On the census Mary's father James Perry, age
fifty was the head of the household. Living with him was his son William age
twenty-two, a farm labourer and his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) and their
two-month-old daughter Ann. Also living in the house were James' sons John age
twelve and nine year old Frederick. James' third son also named James, was a
seventeen-year-old farm worker. He was lodging with John Purkes and his family
at Shepreth End. Thomas does not appear on this census. The last mention of
Thomas in Fowlmere was when he witnessed his brother William's marriage in
February 1840. He does not appear on either the 1841 or 1851 Fowlmere census
returns. A family story has it that Thomas Perry fought in the Crimean War. It's
interesting to note that a Thomas Perry arrived in South Australia by 1842. His
occupation was turnkey (jailer) He married Louisa Slee and had several children.
Whether this Thomas is related or not is yet to be determined.
Again according to Cynthia Collison...
'Mary's brother William was living at number
67, the Town Estate in Fowlmere at the time of the 1851 census. The Town Estate
belonged to the church and on it were five cottages to house those with nowhere
to live. They were referred to as poor houses. At number 67 there were eleven
Perry family members. They were Mary's brother William and his wife Elizabeth,
and their children Ann, Joshua, Harriet, Ellen, Thomas, and William. Living with
them were Mary's 60-year-old father James (a widower) and William's brothers
James 26, John 22, and Frederick 19. Once again Mary's younger brother Thomas
does not appear.'
By 1861, James Perry's two sons James and John had married and had their own families. James was still living with his oldest son William and his family. He was 70 years old and a registered pauper. He died in 1864 and was buried in Fowlmere on 24 August age 72.
In December 1994, I received a letter from Denis Hitch, the author of ‘A Mere Village. A History of Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire.’ Denis wrote to tell me that a Geoffrey Perry of Suffolk, England was tracing the Perry family of Fowlmere. Geoff I later found out is a great grandson of William Perry (c.1818-1879) William was Mary Sherwood’s brother.
Thank you for your letter of January 3rd regarding your branch of the Perry family...
As you can see from my address I live only 30 minutes away from Fowlmere and sometimes stop at the Queens Head pub there, for a bite and a beer. Last October I mentioned to the new landlord of this pub, of my supposed connection with Fowlmere, and he produced Dennis Hitch’s book which showed that my grandfather could have come from the village...
A number of letters were exchanged between Geoff and myself regarding the Perry family history.
© R J Sherwood. 2001
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