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Annery House, post 1872, viewed from the east bank of the River Torridge in Weare Giffard parish, looking westward. "Halfpenny Bridge" was built as a toll bridge in 1835; the toll-house (toll for a foot-passenger 1/2d) is visible to the right on the river bank. The battlemented Annery kiln with its ramp is visible on the far bank. Between Annery Kiln and the present A386 road can be seen the railway line, with train proceeding downstream northward to Bideford, opened in 1872 which in places followed the course of the former Rolle Canal. Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter, ref:P&D07995
Annery House, early 20th-century photograph, before it was demolished in 1958.
Annery was an historic estate in the parish of Monkleigh, North Devon.
It was one of the original endowments of Tavistock Abbey, founded in 961. The first recorded tenant of the estate was Osbert de Annery, who took his name from the estate. By 1260 the estate was held by the Stapeldons; Bishop of ExeterWalter de Stapeldon (1261-1326) was born at Annery. From the Stapeldons, it was inherited by the Hankfords, amongst whom were the judge Sir William Hankford (ca. 1350 - 1423). In about 1800 the mansion house was rebuilt or significantly remodelled in the neo-classical style by the Tardrews. It was demolished in the late 1950s. The estate was split-up and is now in multiple ownership. A bungalow occupies the site of the former manor house. Three of the Victorian gatehouses survive as does the Georgian dower house and the stable-block.
Main entrance lodge to the west of the former mansion house, off the A388 road
Hilltop between the Rivers Torridge and Yeo looking north towards Annery Wood
The medieval mansion stood in a "fine timbered park" dating back to the 13th century or before. A deerpark may have been established as early as 1422, but is known to have been in existence by about 1540. During the reign of Richard II (1377-1399), there was a fishery on River Torridge and a dovecote.
The ancient mansion fell into decay by about 1800 and a new neo-Classical building was built[nb 1] or re-built around the original medieval mansion. It was described as having a "stucco front with Ionic order to full height and entablature plus parapet. On the east is a bow to full height. On the north is a projecting octagonal parapet." In 1912, it was described as having an outer and larger inner hall, four reception rooms, at least 12 bedrooms, oval room, library, well-appointed kitchen and butler's pantry, and a servants' hall. The dining room had "richly carved paneling" and the outer hall contained black marble and stone. Unusually modern for the time, there were 5 water closets and 4 bathrooms. A glass-sided portico was supported by Corinthian columns. Views from the property included Annery's woodland, much of which is gone now, and the River Torridge valley.
Located on the grounds is the Dower House, a large Georgian house with a "continuous Doric verandah." During Mrs Somes's ownership the head gardener lived in the 6 bedroom Dower House and other estate workers lived in cottages at Annery kiln or in the four lodges. Flowers, ferns, peaches and nectarines were grown in glasshouses. A coach-house, stables, wood house, two cider houses, wash-house, coal house were some of the outbuildings.
It was demolished after September, 1958,[nb 2] but the kitchen garden walls, which include the date "1813" carved above a door, have survived and have been grade II listed since 1988.
The name is recorded as Anri in the 10th. century grant to Tavistock Abbey and later as Auri in 1193. In 1381 there is a record of it as Aury, and as Uppeaury in 1386. These forms with letter u are, according to the English Place-Name Society (EPNS), clearly due to errors of transcription.
In 1238 it was recorded as Anerie and also as Ass, Anery. In 1278 Ass. Anry appears, Upanry in 1332, and Saxton, the cartographer, noted it as Annarye in 1577. The EPNS says that no explanation of the name can be offered.Hallsannery is a farm in existence today 1 mile north of the former Annery mansion house.
The first surviving record of the manor of Annery is in 981, when Anri was granted together with many other lands to Tavistock Abbey by Ælfwynn, the wife of the Saxon magnate Ordwulf, son of the Abbey's founder Ordgar, Ealdorman of Devon (d.971). She also donated the following manors, all near Annery in North Devon: Hame (Abbotsham), Werdgete (Worthygate, in Parkham parish) and Orlege (Orleigh).
11th & 12th centuries
The manor of Annery is not listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, but was possibly at that time a member of the manor of Abbotsham, in Shebbearhundred. It is next recorded as Auri (a transcription error, see above) in a Bull of Exemption and Confirmation of Pope Celestine III dated 1193 confirming it to Tavistock Abbey.
Bench end in Monkleigh Church, Devon (parish church of Annery) showing the Ormonde knot and arms of Butler: Gules, three covered cups or, both displayed on escutcheons within Gothic cusped lancet arches
Anne Hankford and Thomas Butler (or Boteler) had two daughters, Margaret Butler (c. 1454 - 1539), grandmother of Queen Anne Boleyn, and Anne Butler (born c. 1455), who inherited Annery and brought it to the family of her husband Sir James St. Leger. In the special levy of 1552-1553 made on all lay persons having an annual income of at least £40 from land or personal estate, Dame Anne St Leger of Annery was assessed at £402, the fourth greatest assessment in Devon behind only three branches of the great Courtenay family.
Left: bench end, Monkleigh Church, showing arms of St Leger of Annery: Azure fretty argent, a chief or a crescent for difference, with crest above of A griffin passant, shown right with tinctures
Monumental brass of Sir James St Leger (c.1441-post 1509), of Annery, in the Annery Chapel of Monkleigh Church
A small inscribed monumental brass in memory of Sir James St Leger (died 1509) survives in the Annery Chapel of Monkleigh Church, inscribed as follows: Orate pro a(n)i(m)a Jacobie Seyntleg(er)b Armig(eri) qui obiit viii0 die me(n)sis Februarii Anno D(o)m(ino) MCCCCC0 IX0 cui(us) a(n)i(mae) p(rop)iciet(ur) De(us) Amen ("Pray ye for the soul of James St Leger, Esquire, who died on the 8th day of the month of February in the year of Our Lord 1500th and 9th of whose soul may God look upon with favour Amen"). Below is a very worn brass of an escutcheon showing the arms of St Leger.
Heraldic bench end
16th-century bench end in Monkleigh Church showing heraldic achievement of St Leger of Annery, with six-quarters in the escutcheon
A 16th-century carved oak heraldic bench-end survives in Monkleigh Church showing the heraldic achievement of the St Leger family of Annery, with six quarters in the escutcheon. An escutcheon with the same 6 quarters survives in the mural monument in Braunton Church to Richard Bellew of Ash, Braunton and his wife Margaret St Leger, a daughter of Sir John St Leger (died 1596) who sold Annery:
1st:St Leger of Annery: Azure fretty argent, a chief or, a crescent for difference of a 2nd son
2nd:FitzWarin, feudal baron of Bampton: Quarterly per fess indented argent and gules
3rd: A lion rampant crowned (possibly Turberville)
4th: Hankford of Annery, for Richard Hankford (c. 1397 - 1431) of Annery, feudal baron of Bampton: Sable, a chevron barry undee argent and gules
Arms of Arscott: Per chevron azure and ermine in chief two buck's heads cabossed or
Tristram Arscott (died 1621) of Launcells, Cornwall, purchased Annery from his father-in-law, Sir John St Leger. Tristram's uncles, both named John, went on to found significant families on newly acquired estates near the original family estate of Arscott, namely at Dunsland, near Bradford, and at Tetcott, where their families built two grand mansions, both now demolished. Annery was inherited by Tristram's son John Arscott (born 1591), whose own three sons, baptised at Monkleigh, all died young, leaving their sister Elizabeth Arscott (born 1611), his sole heiress. She married a man from London named Johnson.
Arms of Prust of Thorry, Hartland: Gules, on a chief argent two estoiles sable
Annery was owned by the Prust family sometime after the Arscotts. The first family member who can with certainty be identified as seated at Annery is Lt. Col. Joseph Prust (1620-1677), who is known to have been baptised at Bideford. He was the second son of Hugh Prust (died 1666) of Gorven in the parish of Hartland, from an ancient Devon family. Joseph was a staunch Royalist during the Civil War and lost his hand at the siege of Plymouth. Joseph bequeathed Annery to his son John and daughter Anne in equal moieties. In 1679 Anne Prust married Richard Hawke, son of Josias Hawke of Bodgate in North Petherwin and brought her moiety into the marriage settlement.
1800 house and estate
The occupant of Annery in 1810 was Richard Vyvyan, Esq., one of the subscribers to the 1810 edition of John Prince'sWorthies of Devon.
The 1811 edition of Tristram Risdon's Survey of Devon (1810 Notes) states that "The estate of Annery has, of late years, passed through several hands, and now belongs to Mr. Tardrew, of Bideford". This was William Tardrew, a ship-owner and builder who played an active part in public life - amongst other duties he was a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Devon. He spent a great deal of money on improving the property, apparently before 1822 when Lysons wrote that "the house has been modernized by Mr. Tardrew", adding that until about 1800 the old house had had an impressive long gallery for which it was famous.
Tardrew operated a ship yard from an inlet of the River Torridge next to Annery kiln, but moved it to the canal sea-lock after the latter's construction.[nb 5] In 1836 Lord Rolle leased his Rolle Canal to a partnership of four men, one of whom was William Tardrew of Annery, who held six of the fourteen shares. In 1846 a new partnership was formed comprising William Tardrew and George Bragington, an original investor and Lord Rolle's former canal agent. Tardrew is said not to have contributed his agreed share of new capital to the business, and soon the business failed.
After William Tardrew died in 1853, his widow, Louisa, lived on in the house until her death, aged 92, in 1871. The whole estate, including the main house, around 560 acres of land, many cottages, Annery Kiln and other buildings was auctioned in 1872.
The estate was acquired by Maria Somes (1816-1911), the widow of Joseph Somes who had died in 1845. He had been a former Governor of the New Zealand Company, MP for Dartmouth and a major ship owner.[nb 6] She was a philanthropist, and employed at least 20 staff on the estate; the daughter of the estate carpenter later recalled that "it was a happy time and a happy house in Mrs. Somes' days". When the estate was advertised for sale in 1912 after her death, it was described as having woodlands, shady walks, glass-houses, and a walled kitchen garden.
Mr Bayly, a famous polo player, owned the estate after Mrs. Somes. He and his wife modernised the house and installed an electricity generation plant. He died of meningitis soon after moving in. His widow lived at Annery until 1921 and then offered occupying tenants the opportunity to buy their farm or cottages, excluding the home farm and lodges. Lilias Fleming bought the property and, with Crystal Frazer, her adopted daughter, lived last at Annery. Miss Fleming died at the age of 86 in 1941. No one lived in the manor thereafter, and it deteriorated.
A Mr. Green, who was a timber merchant, bought the estate which then still had almost 100 acres of woodland. Whenever he visited the estate he stayed at the Dower House, the former head gardener's residence in the grounds, and the mansion remained empty. After his death the estate was put up for auction in several lots in September 1958, by which time the woodland had been reduced to about 20 acres and three small plantations. The mansion house was sold before auction to a Mr. Berridge who promptly had it demolished,[nb 2] and built a bungalow on its site.
In popular culture
Annerey is said to be the location of a duel scene between Don Guzman and Will Carey in Charles Kingsley's novel, Westward Ho!. It also reportedly mentions the estate's deerpark and a banquet given by Sir James St. Leger in Annery's great hall.
^It has also been said that the building was modernised and refurbished.
^ abEnglish Heritage stated that the manor was demolished in 1957, but Lauder reports that it was demolished when Berridge owned it, following its sale in September 1958.
^Worthy, who provided a biography of Stapledon's life, questions whether he was born at Annery or at the estate in Cooksbury.
^Arscott's wife was also recorded to have been Elizabeth.
^His brother was Henry Tardrew who ran an iron-foundry and bar-iron warehouse in Bideford. In 1829 he renovated the Annery Chapel in Monkleigh Church as is recorded on a stone tablet in the Chapel, where he was buried. He sold part of the estate on the left bank of the River Torridge to Lord Rolle for the building of the Rolle Canal. Annery land included Beacon Down Marsh in the parishes of Landcross, Monkleigh and Weare Giffard, in which was built the sea-lock, the start of the canal, for which he provided ships. He was one of the investors who in 1835 built "Half-Penny Bridge", a toll-bridge over the River Torridge at Annery Kiln linking Monkleigh and Weare Giffard parishes.
^Queen Victoria's sovereignty over New Zealand had been declared from his ship The Tory.
^ abScrutton, Susan, Lord Rolle's Canal, Great Torrington, 2006, p.23
^Prince, John, (1643-1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, p.462, biography of Sir William Hankford
^The Irish called him The Wool Earl, due to his being one of the wealthiest of the King's subjects in the realm (www.Tudorplace.com.ar/BUTLER[unreliable source]) In addition to the possession of major lands in the Irish counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary, he owned 72 manors in England (Marie Louise Bruce, Anne Boleyn, p. 11)
^Public Record Office, Lay Subsidies, E.179, 97/186, 99/307, 100/342, quoted by Hoskins, footnote 2 to p.82, p.539
^Hoskins, p.82. The 3 Courtenay families (unidentified by Hoskins, perhaps the Courtenay Earls of Devon seated at Tiverton Castle; the Courtenays of Powderham and the Courtenays of Haccombe, perhaps the Courtenays of Molland) were assessed in total about £1,600;
^P. W. Montague-Smith (1968). Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage 1968: With Her Majesty's Royal Warrant Holders: Comprises Information Concerning The Peerage, Privy Councillors, Baronets, Knights, and Companions of Orders. Kelly's directories. p. 365.
^Cornwall Record Office, Hawke and Yeo Family Papers, X355/350  27 June 1679: Marriage settlement(1) Anne Prust, dau. of Joseph P. late of Annery in Monkleigh, Devon, gent., decd., to (2) Josias Hawke of Bodgate in North Petherwin, gent., and (3) Rich. Hawke his son, on marriage between (1) and (3).
Anne's moiety of capital mansion house of Annery, with barns, stables, dovecotes and houses belonging, with wainscot, table boards, implements and utensils of the house, mowhay, and ground adj., where a fish pond used to be, with closes of land (premises leased in 1660 by Francis, lord Shannon, to Joseph Prust, for lives of Joseph, Anne and Anne's brother Jn; lease left by Joseph's will to Anne and John in moieties)
^Prince, John, (1643-1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, p.xvii, list of subscribers, "Vyvyan, Richard, Esq., Annery Hse, Bideford"