William DRY (1794–1871)
His wife Mrs Ann DRY née Sirman (1793–1868)
Their son Edward DRY (1834–1897)
Their daughter Ann Lydia DRY (1825/6–1898)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 6, D68½

Ann Dry

+ IN MEMORY OF / WILLIAM DRY / WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE / JULY 27, 1871, AGED 76. + [shown above]


Left short edge: REV EDWARD DRY / THEIR SON / DIED FEB. 1, 1897, AGED 63


Ann Dry inscription

William Dry was born in Oxford in 1794, and came from a line of Oxford tailors with that name.

William’s grandfather, also called William Dry (the son of another William Dry, who was an Oxford brewer) was apprenticed to the Oxford tailor Thomas Joy for seven years from 1 May 1756, and he started up a prosperous tailoring business of his own in St Peter-in-the-East parish. He married Mary Higgins at St Cross Church on 7 February 1766.

On 24 January 1779 he took on his own son William as his apprentice: this was the father of the William Dry buried here. He was described as a tailor and draper of St Peter-in-the-East parish when he married Sarah Partington of St John’s parish at the church at North Hinksey (where they were both lodging prior to the marriage) on 13 October 1793. They appear to have had just two children:

  • William Dry (born in Oxford in 1794 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 31 October)
  • Benjamin Dry (born in Oxford in 1795/6 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 30 January 1796;
    died aged about nine months and was buried there on 18 September.

William’s grandmother died in 1807 and his grandfather in 1819, and the family business was taken over by William’s father and his father’s younger brother Richard Dry. William’s father died at Oriel Street the age of 50 in 1817 and was buried at St Peter-in-the-East churchyard on 19 June, and his Uncle Richard inserted a notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 18 October 1817 to say that following the death of his brother, he had taken his nephew William Dry, then aged 23, into partnership. Two years later in 1819 William’s grandfather, also William Dry, died at the age of 77 (will),

Ann Sirman was born in Oxford on 5 November 1793, the daughter of James Sirman senior and his second wife Lydia Stevens. She had one full brother, James Sirman junior, born in 1792. Their mother died in 1818 and their father in 1829.

William Dry was described as being of St Mary the Virgin parish (and was probably living at his father’s house in Oriel Street) when he married Ann Sirman of St Martin’s parish at St Mary the Virgin Church on 6 September 1821, with James Sirman and Catherine Spiers as witnesses. They had the following children:

  • William Dry (born at the High Street, Oxford in 1822 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 27 October)
  • James Dry (born at the High Street, Oxford and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 9 March 1824 and received into the church on 9 May)
  • Ann Lydia Dry (born at the High Street, Oxford in 1825/6 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 29 January 1826)
  • Edward Dry (born at Beaumont Street, Oxford in 1834 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 30 July).

William Dry continued to run the prosperous family business with his uncle after his marriage in 1821, and probably went to live over the shop at the east end of the High Street with his new wife. The business is variously described as being in the High Street or in King Street (the part of Merton Street that runs southwards from the High, where Richard Dry lived). Pigot’s Directory for 1823/4 and 1830 jointly lists Richard & William Dry as tailors in the High Street.

27 Beaumont Street

At some point between 1826 and 1834, when he was still only in his thirties, William Dry retired and moved with his family to Beaumont Street: thus only his uncle, R. Dry, is listed as a tailor in the High Street in Vincent’s Directory for 1835. By 1841 his uncle too had retired, and the business was probably sold.

The number of William Dry’s new house varies in the early days, eventually settling at 27 Beaumont Street (right).

The 1841 census shows William calling himself a gentleman and living with his wife at Beaumont Street with their youngest son Edward, plus one male and two female servants. In the Post Office directory of 1841, William Dry was given the title Esq. and listed in the Gentry list.

Two of their sons went up to the University of Oxford when they reached the age of 18:

  • William Dry was matriculated from Brasenose College on 9 June 1841, obtaining his BA in 1845;
  • Edward Dry was matriculated from University College on 26 April 1853, obtaining his B.A. in 1857.

Dry’s business partner, his uncle Richard Dry, died at Merton Street on 30 November 1848 aged 75 and was buried at St Peter-in-the-East churchyard on 7 December.

The 1851 census shows William Dry (56), now describing himself as a landed proprietor, living at his home in Beaumont Street with his wife Ann and their three house servants. Their four children were all away from home: William (28) was a Curate lodging with a silversmith at 8 Rowcroft in Stroud; James (27) is hard to find and may have been abroad: Ann Lydia (25) was visiting the Biddle family in Stroud; and Edward (16) was boarding at Abingdon School.

William Dry involved himself in public works: in the 1850s he was a Governor of the Radcliffe Infirmary, and was one of the Trustees of both the St Clement’s and the Gosford Turnpike Roads.

Two of their sons were married in the 1850s:

  • On 10 May 1854 at St Peter-in-the-East Church, their eldest son William Dry junior married his first cousin Susannah Emma Dry (born 1820, the daughter of his uncle Richard Dry);
  • On 3 August 1853 at Chertsey, James Dry married Elizabeth Ann Greive.

William Dry’s mother Sarah Dry, described as the “relict of William” died at her home St John Street at the age of 93 on 9 December 1859, having outlived her husband by forty years. Her death was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, and she was buried in the family vault in St Peter-in-the-East churchyard on 16 December.

In 1861 William Dry (66), still describing himself as a landed proprietor, was living at Beaumont Street with his wife Ann, his unmarried daughter Ann Lydia (35), and two servants.

Mrs Dry died in 1868:

† Mrs Ann Dry née Sirman died at Beaumont Street at the age of 74 on 22 October 1868 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Her death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 24 October 1868 read simply: “Oct. 22, Ann, wife of William Dry, Esq., of Beaumont-street.”

Her youngest son was married the following year:

  • In the second quarter of 1869 in the Highworth district of Wiltshire, Edward Dry married Hannah Cockhead (born in Swindon in 1848/9).

William’s daughter Ann remained at Beaumont Street with him, and they can be seen there at the time of the 1871 census together with a cook and a housemaid. William (76) was now described more modestly as a retired tailor. He died five months after that census:

† William Dry died at 27 Beaumont Street at the age of 77 on 27 July 1871 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 2 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

His short death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 29 July 1871 read: “July 27, at his residence, 27, Beaumont-street, Oxford, William Dry, Esq.” His effects came to nearly £120,000.

William Dry’s four children

1. William Dry junior (born 1822)

William Dry junior and his first wife, his cousin Susannah Emma Dry (sometimes named Emma Susannah Dry), had three children:

  • Mary Emma Ann Dry (born in Barwell, Leicestershire and baptised there on 25 January 1855, and admitted to the congregation of St Peter-in-the-East Church in Oxford on 7 September 1855)
  • William Dry (born at Burton Abbots in 1856 and baptised at Black Bourton on 30 May; died on 24 November aged 14 days and buried there on 25 November, with a death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal)
  • William James Surman Dry (born at Black Bourton in 1858 and baptised there on 30 May).

William Dry junior was appointed Vicar of Black Bourton in September 1856. His first wife Susannah died there in 1858 at the age of 38 and was buried in its churchyard 19 May. He married his second wife, Clara Burt Crampton, in the Axbridge district in the fourth quarter of 1860.

At the time of the 1861 census William Dry junior (38) was living with Clara (31) and the two children of his first marriage at the Vicarage House in Black Bourton; they had three servants. Their daughter Blanche Julia Dry was born at Burton Abbots on 23 October 1861 and baptised at Black Bourton Church on 24 November, and an announcement of the birth was placed in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

William Dry junior was Rector of Whitchurch in Hereford from 1862 to 1880, and his youngest daughter Elizabeth Ada Peirce Dry was born there in 1865 and baptised at Whitchurch Church on 14 May. At the time of the 1871 census he and Clara were at the Rectory in Whitchurch with William (12) and Elizabeth (5), plus two servants. His daughter Mary (15) was boarding at a college for young ladies in Notting Hill Square.

William and Clara retired to Merioneth, and in 1881 can be seen living at Llwyhnon, Pennal with (Elizabeth) Ada (15) and Clara’s parents, plus a cook and housemaid.

William Dry junior died in the Machynlleth district at the age of 63 on 8 January 1886.

2. Edward Dry (born 1834)

At the time of the 1861 census Edward Dry was a clerk without cure of souls, lodging with a farmer at 36 Hill, Sutton Coldfield. He served as Rector of Whitchurch, Herefordshire from 1862 to 1880.

In the second quarter of 1869 in the Highworth district of Wiltshire, he married Hannah Cockhead (born in Swindon in 1848/9). The 1871 census shows Edward (36), described as a gentleman, living with Hannah (22) at Holly Green, Bledlow. He was still there in 1891, but Hannah was not at home.

Edward Dry died in Bledlow in 1897, and his body was brought to Oxford to be buried in his parents’ vault:

† Edward Dry died at Bledlow, Buckinghamshire at the age of 62 on 1 February 1897 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

His effects came to £36,812 1s. 1d., and his wife Hannah was his executor.

3. Ann Lydia Dry (born 1825/6)

Ann Lydia looked after her parents until her father’s death on 29 July 1871. At the time of the 1891 census when she was 65 she was still living at her parents’ home at 27 Beaumont Street. She was alone except for William Long (60), a builder who was acting as caretaker for the house.

She died at this house in 1898, and was buried in the same grave as her parents and brother:

† Miss Ann Lydia Dry died at 27 Beaumont Street at the age of 72 on 27 April 1898 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Her effects came to £36,812 1s. 1d.

4. James Dry (born 1824)

A few months after his wedding James Dry and his wife Elizabeth Ann Greive emigrated to New Zealand, arriving at Auckland on 18 January 1854 on the Northfleet. They had two sons:

  • James Frederick Dry (born at St George's Bay, Parnell, Auckland on 4 April 1854 and baptised at the Anglican Church at Parnell on 25 May);
  • Francis Allen Dry (born at St George's Bay, Parnell, Auckland on 25 April 1855 and baptised at the Anglican Church in Parnell on 6 June).

James Dry was a solicitor in Parnell in 1855, moving to Eden Crescent in Howick in 1856 and to St George's Bay by 1859 On 31 May 1861 a forthcoming auction of all his books, furniture, oil paintings, and engravings was advertised in the Southern Cross, and the next month, on 6 June, the family of four returned from New Zealand to England on the Frowning Beauty.

James and his wife are hard to find in the 1871 census. Their sons were both at private boarding schools on census night: James Frederick (17), who was deaf throughout his life, at Piddington, Oxfordshire and Francis (15) in Dedham, Essex.

At the time of the 1881 census James (56) and Elizabeth (55), and their sons James (25) and Francis (24), who like their father were described simply as gentlemen, were living at Waveney, Carshalton, with three servants.

In 1891 James (67) and Elizabeth (65) were on their own at the same address with just one servant.

At the time of the 1901 census James and Elizabeth were living at 1 Tregunter Road, Kensington with two servants.

James Dry died at 1 Tregunter Road at the age of 81 on 28 April 1905, and probate was granted to his younger son Francis Allen Dry, Esq. His effects came to £4,053 10s. 4d.

His wife Elizabeth Ann Dry died in the Fulham district (probably at 1 Tregunter Road) at the age of 87 in 1907.

His younger son Francis Allen Dry died in Oxford at the age of 55 in 1911.

His elder son James Frederick Dry died at the Warneford Asylum in Headington, Oxfordshire at the age of 63 in 1928. No one claimed his body, and he was buried at Holy Trinity churchyard in Headington Quarry on 7 August.



Please email stsepulchres@gmail.com
if you would like to add information

These biographies would not have been possible without the outstanding transcription services
provided by the Oxfordshire Family History Society

© Friends of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery 2012–2017