Research Forum

FRY 1780-1855
published by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 10:52
My ancestor Richard FRY (1780-1855), one of the 'Weston Worthies', was one of the original four men to finance the building of The Hotel in Weston (now The Royal Hotel) along with PARSLEY and COX the main men behind the project. He went on to manage the hotel himself for a while in around 1818 (and it became Fry's Hotel), then at some point he went on to buy another premises on South Parade which became The Bath Hotel. Then he moved next door to a building called Myrtle Cottage which he ran as a lodging house till his death. He was also one of the early Town Commissioners and his son-in-law, Joseph JAMES, was also a key local figure and builder who worked at Knightstone for Dr Fox for many years. You can read everything I know about Richard FRY already, over on my own blog about him if you're interested, here:

My reason for posting here is that I would love to find out much more about Richard FRY and his life. In particular, I am curious about his role in the establishment of the original hotel. He must have been relatively wealthy but I can't figure out how or what his background was. I also wonder whether there was a company set up to manage the shares in the enterprise, perhaps he only played a small part? I have no idea how he came to be involved in the hotel project in the first place or how he knew the other men involved.
I do know he was living in Clifton before moving to Weston, and he seems to have been living in another hotel in Sion Row there. However, I don't know the name of that and I don't know what he was doing there before he invested in Weston. The Hotel was built in 1808, but he didn't actually go to manage it until around 1818, so I'm curious as to what he was doing all that time.
I basically haven't been able to find out anything else about his earlier life, other than the fact that he was born in Bisley, Gloucestershire, he had a wife, Elizabeth FRY (nee MAIDEN), and they had two children after ten years of marriage, who they named Elizabeth and Richard. Elizabeth married my 3 X Great Grandfather, Joseph James, and Richard emigrated to New Zealand. I have one clue that the FRYs may have been involved in an Odd Fellows organisation, and I know Joseph JAMES was a non-conformist, so they may have been too, but I don't know anything else really.
I would love to know much more about the history of the main Hotel in Weston in general. For example, what it was like when he was there, and also The Bath Hotel too. Apparently this was originally known as 'The Mason's Arms' but I can't find anything at all about that, so I don't know who actually built it or why it then later became known as The Bath Hotel (even later, The Imperial).
I also haven't even been able to locate a will for Richard FRY to see what happened to his property and who it all subsequently went to. If anyone has any ideas on how I can find that, that would be hugely appreciated? I believe Richard and his wife Elizabeth were buried in St John's graveyard, and with me living a long way away from Weston, if anyone is visiting the church or the graveyard and could see if there's a headstone you could possibly photograph for me, I would love to see that? In fact, any information or any further clues that anyone might have for the FRY family, would be very gratefully received! I'd also love to hear from fellow descendants, and I have done my DNA on Ancestry if anyone would like to see if we are a match!

Comments ..

Submitted by Pat Hase on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 11:58

In our transcriptions on this site we have photographs of the tombstones in St John\'s Church along with transcriptions of the Memorials. Sadly there is no mention of the FRY family.  In a booklet published by the Society in 1991 following a survey of that graveyard there is a map of the position of each grave but again - no mention of the FRY family. However, it does include a list of Rector\'s Wardens from 1830

  • 1830-31 J P CAPELL
  • 1831 John FRY
  • 1832 Charles HOWE
  • 1833 John FRY
  • 1834 Richard FRY
  • 1835 John FRY

and Richard FRY is listed as the People\'s Warden for 1836 and again in 1846.  

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Submitted by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 12:42

Thanks Pat. How strange that there's no record of them there in the graveyard! The page I have with his burial entry on is this one. I don't understand where he was put!? Haha

Thanks for that info re the Rectors/Wardens! I wonder who this John FRY is though? A brother of Richard's perhaps? I recognise the name CAPELL too as he was involved in the first hotel too I believe. Do you know what was involved in being a People's Warden? or Rector? Thanks!

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Submitted by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 13:42

I'm wondering whether there's any chance they were buried at Milton Cemetery? I think that's where Joseph and Elizabeth JAMES are. I wanted to check the register as I believe the society produced a CD with all the records? But I don't have a Windows PC, only a Mac. Is it available online at all to search? 

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Submitted by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 13:45

I spotted this note on the Milton Cemetary section, "As a result of the Burial Act in the early 1850s, Weston was given permission to open a Municipal Cemetery and at the same time the existing Burial Grounds at St John’s and Emmanuel were closed to new burials.  The Cemetery is now run by Weston-super-Mare Town Council." Could this be why the FRY's aren't at St John's even though they're in the register? Where would they have been buried if they weren't buried there though? 

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Submitted by Graham Payne on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 14:28

As you have already established Richard Fry was buried in St John's in 1855 but but his burial location is unknown. He was not buried in Milton Road Cemetery as burial their did not commence until May 1856. You will find the burial transcripts covering the period 1856-1970 for Milton Road Cemetery on this site.

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Submitted by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 17:15

Thanks Graham, how frustrating! So does this basically mean that he was buried in St John's graveyard somewhere, but we'll just never know where? Argh! Hate hitting a dead end haha!

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Submitted by Honey Langcaster-James on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 17:15

No pun intended!! haha

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