Henry Phibbs FRY (1807–1874)
St Giles [Ss Philip & James] section: Row 2, Grave B26

Henry Phibbs Fry


In Memory of

Henry Phibbs Fry D.D.

Died Jan 11. 1874 Aged 66



See also entry for
Henry Phibbs Fry
in the
Australian Dictionary
of Biography

Henry Phibbs Fry was born in Sligo, Ireland in 1807, the eldest son of Oliver Fry (1773–1868) and Mary Phibbs. His parents were married on 19 September 1806 and had the following children, all born in Ireland:

  • Henry Phibbs Fry (born 26 September 1807)
  • Susanna Fry (born 18 March 1809, died 4 June 1809)
  • William Fry (born 13 July 1810, died 31 July 1810)
  • Mary Fry (born 13 January 1812)
  • Eliza Fry (born 10 April 1813)
  • Katherine Fry (born 7 April 1814)
  • Oliver Fry (born 12 June 1815, died 20 July 1815)
  • Susanna Fry (born 3 December 1817, died 5 May 1821)
  • Oliver Fry (born 21 May 1819)
  • Jane Fry (born 5 October 1820, died 31 August 1826)
  • William Fry (born 16 February 1822)
  • Georgina Ewing Fry (born 27 April 1823)
  • Ann Stewart Fry (born 8 June 1830, died 14 June 1830)

Henry Phibbs Fry went up to Trinity College Dublin, where he obtained his B.A. in 1828.

He was ordained Deacon in August 1838, and in November that year the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent him to serve in Van Diemen’s Land (renamed Tasmania in 1856): he was already married to his first wife (name unknown), and took her with him. He opened a school in Hobart in 1841, and was ordained priest in 1843.

Fry left Hobart on leave in February 1849 and returned temporarily to Britain, and in 1850 graduated M.A., B.D., and D.D. from Trinity College Dublin. In 1850 his book A System of penal discipline with a report on the treatment of prisoners in Great Britain and Van Diemen’s Land was published in Hobart.

He returned to Hobart in 1851, leaving his first wife, who had no children and suffered from ill health, behind in Britain : she died soon afterwards.

On 16 December 1852 at St George's Church, Hobart, Henry Phibbs Fry married his second wife Mrs Catherine Belcher, née Dunn. She had been born in London in 1825/6, the eldest daughter of John Dunn, and was the widow of Thomas L. Belcher, a Tasmanian banker. They had the following children:

  • Henry Stackhouse Luther Fry (born in Hobart on 28 October 1853)
  • Oliver Armstrong Fry (born in Hobart on 22 January 1855)
  • Mary J. Fry (born in Hobart in 1856/7)
  • Catherine Alethe Sarah Fry (born at 13 Westbourne Gardens, Bayswater, London in 1858 and baptised at St Peter’s, Notting Hill on 5 December)
  • Edith Pauline Alexandra Colville Fry (born at 28 Kensington Gardens Square, Paddington, London in 1863 and baptised at St Peter's Church, Notting Hill on 19 August)

Rather surprisingly (as he had hitherto been described as a “redhot Puseyite”) Henry Phibbs Fry became an enthusiastic Low Churchman, and in 1854 he gave his firstborn son the middle name Luther, and published his Forty Reasons for Leaving the Church of Rome.

Fry became ill, and early in 1858 returned from Tasmania to Britain with his wife and first three children: originally he was on leave, but they never returned, and his last two children were born in London. They were living at 13 Westbourne Gardens in 1858.

By the time of the 1861 census Henry (53) and Catherine (40) had moved to 9 Manor Terrace in Lambeth with their first four children.

By the time of Edith's birth in 1863 they had moved to 28 Kensington Gardens Square in Paddington, and they can be seen there in the 1871 census with Henry (17), Oliver (16), Catherine (12), and Edith (7), looked after by a cook, maid, and housemaid; Mary is hard to find in this and future censuses, and may be the Mary Jane Fry who died at Portsea in 1862.

Soon after that census Henry Phibbs Fry moved with his family to Oxford (possibly when his eldest son Henry was matriculated at the University of Oxford from St John’s College on 12 October 1872). They lived at St Catherine’s at 66 Banbury Road (now the Oxford English Centre).

Henry Phibbs Fry died there at the beginning of 1874:

† Henry Phibbs Fry died at St Catherine’s, 66 Banbury Road at the age of 66 on 11 January 1874 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 15 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

The following brief report on the funeral appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 17 January 1874:

THE FUNERAL OF THE REV. DR. FRY.—The mortal remains of the Rev. Dr. Fry, who died at his residence, St. Catherine’s, Banbury-road, on Sunday evening last, after a painful illness, were interred in the Jericho Cemetery on Thursday last, in the presence of a large number of persons. The service was impressively read by the Rev. E. C. Dermer, Vicar of St. Philip and St. James. The deceased, who was a Good Templar, and took a lively interest in the Temperance Cause, was followed to the grave by about 60 members of that Order, wearing their regalia.

His effects came to under £3,000, and administration was granted to his widow, Catherine Fry. She was granted the lease of their home at 66 Banbury Road in 1874.

At the time of the 1881 census Catherine was living at 66 Banbury Road with three of her children: Henry (26), who had been a student of Lincoln’s Inn since 1876; and Catherine (21) and Edith (17), who had no occupation. Oliver (26) was now a barrister in practice at 1 Staple Inn.

Her son Oliver Armstrong Fry married Annie Zetterquist Rolfe at Hailey near Witney on 7 October 1884, with the following announcement inserted in the Morning Post on 10 October:

FRY—ROLFE. — On the 7th inst., at St. John’s Church, Hailey, Oxon, by the Rev. J. W. Rolfe, rector of Swanton Novers, Norfolk, assisted by the Rev. T. F. Rolfe, head master of Tamworth Grammar School (brothers of the bride), Oliver Armstrong Fry, of the Middle Temple, barrister-at-law, and St. John’s College, Oxford, M.A., of 141, Portsdown-road, Maida-vale, second son of the late Rev. Henry Phibbs Fry, D.D., to Annie Zetterquist Rolfe, youngest daughter of the Rev. G. C. Rolfe, vicar of Hailey-cum-Crawley, Oxon.

Mrs Fry and her unmarried daughters Catherine and Edith are hard to find in the 1891 census, and may have been abroad.

At the time of the 1901 census Mrs Fry was living at 27 Morpeth Mansions, Westminster with Catherine (32) and Edith (31).

Mrs Fry died at 27 Morpeth Mansions on 5 January 1905.

Children of Harry Phibbs Fry and his second wife
  • Henry Stackhouse Luther Fry (born 1854) had ceased working as a barrister by 1901, when he was with his brother Oliver and his family in Paddington and described as living on his own means. in 1911 he was boarding with a builder and decorator and his wife in Acton. He died at 8 Wellington Square, Hastings area at the age of 86 on 24 February 1940. His effects came to £5,476 10s. 2d., and his executor was his unmarried niece Sadie Olive Catherine Fry.
  • Oliver Armstrong Fry and his wife Annie had two children: Reginald Witherby Fry (born in Paddington in 1885) and Sadie Olive Catherine Fry (born in Paddington in 1890): both were baptised at Hailey. Oliver Fry was the editor of Vanity Fair from 1889 to 1904, hence at the time of the 1891 and 1901 censuses, when he was living at 141 Portsdown Road, Paddington with his wife and two children, he was described as a newspaper editor as well as a barrister. The address was given as 58 Portsdown Road in 1911, and his son Reginald (25) was now an actor. He died at Belgrave Court, Walmer, Kent at the age of 76 on 3 June 1931. His effects came to £344 9s. 3d., and his executor was his son Reginald (who had married Edith Russell in Paddington in 1914) was now an actor manager.
  • Catherine Alethe Sarah Fry (born 1858) never married. She died on 6 March 1916 at 78 Beaufort Mansions, Chelsea. Her effects came to £750 5s. 10d., and her solicitor was her executor.
  • Edith Pauline Alexandra Colville Fry (born 1863) disappears after the 1901 census. A notice was inserted in the London Gazette of 2 February 1917 to establish whether she was living or dead, and to find her personal representatives. Another notice was published in the Melbourne Argus of 2 July 1920 explaining that she was entitled to “several thousands of pounds” under the will of her sister.



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