This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)
THOMAS WILLIAM CORY and ELIZABETH ANN MAY (4)
THOMAS WILLIAM CORY was baptised 25 May 1832 at St George’s chapel in Deal, which served the seafaring community of the lower town. . The baptism was also entered in the register of the mother church of St Leonard’s, Deal, higher up.
In the 1841 census the family were still living in Lower Street. 9-year-old Thomas was the fifth of eight siblings still at home. The eldest boy had left.
Although his father was a gardener and previously a publican, Thomas , like so many others in Deal, became a boatman.
Thomas has not been found in the 1851 census. He was now 19 and like his older siblings had left home.
371775 Register Ticket Thomas Corey Born at Deal in the County of Kent - day of May 1833 Capacity Boy 1 C
Height 5 5½ Hair - Complexion Eyes - Marks -
First went to sea as Boy. Has served in the Royal Navy – Has been in Foreign Service – When unemployed resides at –
Issued at HMS Trafalgar 1 day of Nov 1851.
The date of birth given is a year out, but there is no other Thomas Cory born in Deal around that time, and the month is right.
“ There are many cases in which Deal men have entered the Navy. During the Crimean War a body of them volunteered to man a ship of war and fight her in the Baltic. That proposal was not accepted, and parties of men joined vessels going to the Black Sea, laboured in the trenches before Sebastopol, and at the close of the war, as they themselves relate, were paid off without bounty or reward for their hard services on shore.” ( E.C. Pain, The Last of Our Luggers. )
Their battle honours included Alma, Inkerman and Sebastopol.
Following Nelson’s victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, HMS Trafalgar was the second ship to bear that name . She was a 120-gun ship of the line. She was launched by Nelson’s niece in 1841 with Queen Victoria in attendance.
The initial cause of the war was Turkey’s rejection of Russian attempts to secure comparable rights with France over the protection of Christian religious sites and subjects in Ottoman-held Palestine. Russia also claimed other Ottoman-controlled territories and invaded the Balkans. Turkey declared war. When Russia went on to invade Bulgaria, Britain and France joined the war on Turkey’s side.
The main operations of the Crimean War occurred around the Russian naval port of Sevastopol, which suffered heavy fighting and a long siege. A number of the Traflagar’s crew died en route to the Black Sea via Gibraltar, the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus, the Port of Sinope and Kalamita Bay. She was present at the siege of Sevastopol in 1854. In October and November, 100 marines were transferred to Balaclava, transports of cavalry arrived and other HM vessels joined the fleet. On 17 October at 12.50, firing commenced at Fort Constantine. ‘At one o’clock the allied fleets, whose large vessels had been slowly creeping up to the town in tow of steamers, opened fire upon the town, which from that moment became enveloped in a dense cloud of vapour’. The Trafalgar opened fire at 13.10 and ceased at 13.25, firing again at 17.26 for 13 minutes: She ‘ceased firing not being able to see the object on account of the smoke and darkness’.
The harsh Crimean winter deeply affected the unprepared armies surrounding Sevastopol, and many troops fell victim to cholera and dysentery.
In September 1855 t he Russians finally abandoned Sevastopol to the allied forces of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia.
Thomas returned to Deal, where he eventually owned his own lugger and became one of the outstanding seamen on the east Kent coast.
The Deal Boatmen have a history both as smugglers and as lifesavers. They saved many lives when ships ran aground on the Goodwin Sands. There was no lifeboat at Deal until 1865.
ELIZABETH ANN MAY. We know from the 1851 census that Elizabeth was the daughter of Sarah May . We have no information about her father.
1835 16 Jan Elizabeth Ann May illeg. daughter of Sarah . Alfred Square. Alfred Square marks the northern end of the “old town” of Deal.
Her mother Sarah was from Deal. In successive censuses, Elizabeth says she was born in Ramsgate. It may be that Sarah went away for her pregnancy and returned to her home town for the christening. Or it may be that Elizabeth was mistaken. She may have been born in Deal and moved to Ramsgate while she was still too young to remember her previous home. Her half-brother was born and baptised in Ramsgate.
Sometime between 1835 and 1843 Elizabeth’s mother married. We know that her new surname was Sackett. Her husband’s first name may be Edward, a tailor of Ramsgate, but this has not been confirmed.
Elizabeth used the name Sackett for one of her own children, so it is possible that Sackett was her father. If he was a sailor, he could have been at sea when she was born, and married Sarah afterwards. But the fact that she was not living with the Sacketts in 1841suggests that this was not the case.
Elizabeth seems to have been brought up, for a time at least, by her mother’s family in Alfred Square.
1841 Census. Alfred Square, Deal.
Elizabeth May 76 Pauper Yes (born in Kent)
John May 40 Mariner Yes
Rebecca May 25 Yes
Elizabeth May 5 Yes
Thomas May 30 Mariner Yes
Harriet May 30 Yes Thomas May 8 Yes
Jane May 5 Yes
Lydia May 3 Yes
Louisa May 1 Yes
The baptismal register shows that Sarah May’s father was probably John May of Deal. The 1841 census does not give relationships, but we can assume that the older Elizabeth May was the younger one’s great-grandmother. Rebecca was probably her aunt and Thomas her uncle. The fact that 5-year-old Elizabeth’s name is given before Thomas’s and the rest of the children, suggests that Thomas and Harriet were not her parents.
Elizabeth’s age is one year out. She was 6. But a grandfather or great-grandmother might have been vague about this, when her mother was not there to check. Sarah had probably left little Elizabeth behind when she left her parental home to marry Mr Sackett and start a new family. We only know of one child from this marriage. Elizabeth had a half-brother Edward Sackett, born in Ramsgate in the first quarter of 1843.
Elizabeth became a dressmaker. We find her again in the 1851census. She is now living with her mother and half-brother.
1851 Census. 19 Dolphin Street, Deal
Sarah Sackett Head Mar 38 Deal
Elizabeth May Daur Un 17 Dressmaker Ramsgate
Edward Sackett Son 8 Scholar Ramsgate
Dolphin Street runs from the northern end of Middle Street to the beach.
Thomas and Elizabeth were married in Deal on 19 Oct 1857, only a year or so after Thomas’s return from the Crimea.
The couple had nine children baptised at St Andrew’s, Deal.
1 Dec 1858 Mary Ann Norris d/o Thomas William & Elizabeth Ann. Peter St; Mariner
1 Feb 1861 Sarah Sackett Bridge Row; Mariner
It is interesting that Elizabeth chose to give her daughter her mother’s married name, even though she was not herself a Sackett.
The 1861 census shows this small family.
1861 Census. Deal. 2 Bridge Row.
Thomas William Cory Head Mar 28 Boatman Deal
Elizabeth Ann Do Wife Mar 26 Ramsgate
Mary Ann Do Dau 2 Deal
Sarah Do Dau 8 Mo Do
Then a son was born.
3 Dec 1862 Thomas Edward Lower St; Mariner
Thomas junior died soon after. His death was registered in the first quarter of 1863.
Four more sons followed before the next census. The family were moving house every few years.
31 Jan 1864 Richard William Lower St Mariner
8 Feb 1867 Edward John 62 Lower St Mariner
15 Jan 1869 William Henry Worthington 7 Bulwark Row Boatman
5 Mar 1871 Morris Henry 7 Bulwark Row Boatman
Bulwark Row was one street inland from the beach.
1871 Census. Deal. 7 Bulwark Row.
Thomas W Cory Head Mar 38 Mariner Deal
Elizabeth A Do Wife Mar 36 Ramsgate
Mary A Do Daur 12 Deal
Sarah Do Daur 10 Scholar Do
Richard Do Son 7 Do Do Edward Do Son 4 Do Do
William Do Son 2 Do
Morris Do Son 1 Mo Do
Two more children were born, including a second Thomas.
10 Sep 1873 Harriet Annie (born 21 Aug 1873) 7 Bulwark Row; Boatman
17 Aug 1876 Thomas Edwin 78 Lower St; Boatman
This Thomas too died in the first quarter of the following year.
Thomas was famous for his work as a boatman in the Downs, the stretch of water where ships turned the corner from the English Channel towards the port of London.
From E.C. Pain. The Last of Our Luggers and the Men Who Sailed Them. T.F. Pain & Sons. Deal & Sandwich. 1929.
“The old legitimate occupation of the Deal boatmen (apart from smuggling),” wrote the talented author of ‘Sketches of Deal, Walmer and Sandwich,’ was designated ‘hovelling’. The calling involved taking provisions and supplies to vessels in the Downs, saving lives, and performing salvage operations to ships on the Goodwin Sands, work now largely done by the lifeboats and steam-tugs. They also supplied anchors and cables to ships whose ‘ground tackling’ had been lost by being obliged to slip their cables through stress of weather, or whose cables had parted – an occurrence more common before hemp cables were replaced by chains. Another important work performed by the luggers was ‘sweeping’ for and fishing up lost anchors and cables.”
Deal was once celebrated for its hemp cable factories, but this was not during the period under review [1858-1909]. It was not until hovelling became practically a thing of the past that the Deal lugger disappeared….
It is also recorded that during January of that year  “upwards of 500 ships are riding at anchor in the Downs, presenting one of the grandest sights witnessed here for many months.”…
“During the last three years,” stated one nautical witness in 1869, “upwards of 600 anchors and chains have been recovered from the Downs, and were offered for sale by auction at the Lord Warden’s Depôt.”…
The usual charge for carrying out an anchor in normal weather was £1 per cwt. (the value of the anchor), and from 10s to 15s per cwt for a cable….
“Another object of interest,” stated the ‘Bath Chronicle’ in 1876, “is the field behind the Castle, where the ships’ anchors and chains, which have been raised from the Downs, have been stored. There they lie, of all sizes, and in all states of preservation, some almost new, others covered in barnacles, their massive iron shanks half-eaten through with decay, testifying to the number of years they have remained at the bottom, but yet have not sunk beneath the sand a bit further than the day they were cut adrift. The raising of these anchors forms one of the means of subsistence to the boatmen of Deal. It is during a gale from the S.W. or N.W. when vessels by the hundreds are lying in the Downs, that to avoid fouling each other, or dragging their anchors, many of them were forced to slip their cables and hoist sail. When the sea subsides, the luggers go out, two of them sailing together a parallel course, the length of a warp apart, one end of which each boat holds, while the middle part sweeps the ground till it catches in the flukes of some abandoned anchor.”…
The prizes for salvaging were rich - awards of £130 and £212 were typical of those made, which in the 1850s and 1860s were enormous sums.
In those days all Deal and Walmer beach was full of those wonderful sea boats hauled up on the shingle, while their mizzen booms almost ran into the houses on the opposite side of the roadway. The Deal luggers are about 40 ft long and 13 ft beam, more or less. The small luggers are called ‘cats’. There is a forecastle or ‘forepeak’ in the luggers where you can comfortably sleep [ weather and seasickness permitting ]…. There is a moveable ‘caboose’ in the ‘cats’ right amidships, in which three or four men packed close side by side can lie. These large boats are lugger-rigged, carrying the foremast well forward, and sometimes, but very rarely,…. a mainmast also, with a maintopsail as well, of course, as the mizzen behind. The mainmast is now hardly ever used, being inconvenient for getting alongside shipping….
It is a fine sight to see one of them crowded with men and close reefed, cruising in the Downs, 'hovelling’, or ‘on the look-out’ for a job in the gale. While ships are parting from their anchors and flying signals of distress the luggers supplying their wants or putting pilots on board wheel and sweep round them like sea birds on the wing…
A literary visitor…in a gale… makes his way into Beach Street through a narrow winding thoroughfare, a view of the dark green foaming ocean bursting suddenly on his sight. A crowd of vessels lay in the Downs within a mile of land, tumbling heavily upon the billows and plunging nearly bows under as the tug at their cables brings them up in their caper-cutting. The surf is boiling all along the beach with a ceaseless roar – deep and resonant as thunder. Seagulls are flying close inshore, uttering strange, harsh cries as they dive into the seething waters. Here and there groups of longshoremen, with large scarves twisted round their necks and stout pilot coats buttoned closely over their jerseys, are sheltering under the lee of little tarred boat-houses, while half a dozen boatmen, all dressed in oilskins and sou’westers, are busy a few yards away preparing to launch a large lugger, and a few others are busy in laying a row of long greased ‘planks’ like small railway sleepers from her bows to the water’s edge, to assist her passage over the pebbly incline. The crew clamber over her bright varnished side, the signal is given, a shout raised, the chains which hold her let go, and first slowly, but gathering way as the slope becomes steeper, she speeds at last with the velocity of an express train plump into the breakers. A shower of spray bursts in a white cloud over her bows and she rears upon the foamy crest of the incoming surge until she seems ready to stand on end; but while you watch spellbound, expecting to see the billows beat her back again, and perhaps fling her wrecked and broken upon the beach, the impetus given in running off the beach has carried her well out, and the nimble crew have already hoisted the reefed lugsail; and as they haul off the sheet, you stand watching and admiring the seamanship of the fellows who are handling her as she goes bounding over the high seas, the spray casting ceaseless showers over her as she plunges on her errand. ( Thomas’s granddaughter, Edith Cory, described how she helped launch the lifeboat in a similar way, the women and girls picking up the rollers as the stern cleared them, and running round to place them under the bows, while the men pushed.)…
[The ‘Bath Chronicle’ reports] None enjoy being thoroughly idle more than those sailors, who know what hard work is, such as many of us would shudder to undertake. Pleasant moments have I spent with them in their reading-rooms, learning from them the ins and outs
of their life, the tone of their conversation being unrestrained and jovial, yet never coarse; their good manners apparent by the way they admitted a stranger among them, being anxious to entertain him with their charts, their books or their papers, with a degree of unreserve yet respect that is seldom met with….
But times were often hard for the Deal Boatmen. One of Thomas’s elder brothers, Morris Clayson Cory, emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. Two years later he drowned, when a party of Deal boatmen tried to rescue the crew of a schooner in a gale.
1881 CENSUS. 78 High St, Deal
Thos. CORY Head M 48 M Mariner Deal
Eliz. CORY Wife M 45 F Mariner Wife Ramsgate
Mary A. CORY Daur U 22 F Deal
Rich. CORY Son U 17 M Bricklayers Labr
Edwd. CORY Son 14 M Scholars
Wm. CORY Son 12 M Scholars
Morris CORY Son 10 M Scholars
Harriet CORY Daur 7 F Scholars Deal
Sarah has left home and is a servant to Sarah C. Mason, a widow Annuitant of 76, at 48 West St, Deal.
In 1881 Thomas William Cory was awarded £2.2s.6d by the Shipwrecked Mariners Association for the loss of the 'Ellen'.
The Deal Maritime Museum has a massive photograph of Thomas William Cory with his family in its entrance hall. Jean Nightingale, daughter of Richard Cory , identifies them, not entirely accurately, as:
Top Row (right to left). “The right hand figure is Grandfather who was born in 1864 Richard William who married Jane Bushell Baker and was a bricklayer.
Edward (Ted) married Aunt Annie who lived next door in Middle Deal Road and he was a carpenter.
Aunt Sally married a publican and had the Deal Hoy in Duke Street.
William (Bill) [Actually this is Morris, a soldier who married Elizabeth Harris.]
Second Row. Aunt Polly [Mary] and she married a boatman. Great Grandfather Thomas William married Elizabeth Ann née May Minnie [Harriet Annie] married a Royal Marine and as they had no children of their own, Ethel [ Richard’s daughter ] had a son before she died [ of TB ], who was illegitimate, so Minnie took the child over.
Bottom Row. Morris married Maud and lived in Princess Street and he was a boatman. [This is actually William Henry, a boatman, who married Maud Betts.]
Sarah Sackett Cory’s marriage is recorded,
18 Aug 1888 St Leonard, Deal, marr. by banns George Thomas NORRIS b 26 Whitesmith High St Deal s/o Alfred Hadley NORRIS - Whitesmith
Sarah Sackett CORY s 27 High St Deal d/o Thomas William CORY - Waterman
Wtn. Thomas CORY, Edward John CORY, Harriet Annie CORY, Emily Sarah NORRIS
They had the following children:
26 Mar 1891 George Alfred 2 Sandown Terrace - Whitesmith
19 Mar 1892 Herbert Edward as above
21 Nov 1894 Arthur Henry Murray born 21 Oct 1894 "Deal Hoy" 16 Duke St - Publican
21 Aug 1896 William Worthington Hadley James as above - Licensed Victualler
10 Oct 1900 Sidney Charles 3 Waverley Terrace, Cannon St: Whitesmith
It seems that Sarah and George took over the Deal Hoy pub from her uncle John Cory, who was the licensee in 1881.
16 Duke St. (Deal Hoy), Deal
John L. CORY Head M 57 M Deal Licensed Victualler
Elizabeth CORY Wife M 56 F Deal
Alice DIXON Grand Daur 12 F Deal Scholar
The Universal British Directory (1791) says of Deal: 'A hoy which carries goods to London sails one week and returns the next.' A 'hoy' was a coastal trading vessel used during the 17th and 18th centuries.
On 4 Nov 1890 their son Morris married Elizabeth Harris at St Andrew’s Deal. The groom’s name was originally entered as ‘Morris’, a common name in this family, but this was crossed out and replaced with ‘Maurice’. The latter is how he signs the register. He was a soldier. Probably the recruiting officer wrote down his name with the more usual spelling, and Morris accepted it thereafter. In the same way my father Edmer Sampson became Edmar when he joined the Royal Marines and spelt it that way for the rest of his life.
By the 1891 census, only one of Thomas and Elizabeth’s adult children was left at home. They were living in a 4-roomed house.
1891 Census. Deal. 78 High St.
Thomas W Cory Head M 58 Sea Mariner Deal
Elizabeth A do Wife M 55 Ramsgate
William H W do Son S 22 General laboror Deal
Bill Cory, grandson of Thomas William’s son, William Henry Worthington Cory, says:
has been described in various censuses, birth certificates etc., as
a labourer, or a tinman's solderer. Officialdom at that time didn't
recognise the boatman on Deal beach as a distinct occupation. He was
always a mariner and did a little fishing, a little salvaging of the
wrecks on the Goodwins, a little boat building and a little smuggling.
If times were hard
England’s Glory was a South-end lugger, and is described in “The Longshoreman” as “the old lugger – by which familiar description we were in the habit of calling our favourite boat upon the beach; a stout, staunch sea-tub.” It was England’s Glory that launched at the same time as 0the Reform on the terrible night when the latter was driven on to the Pier and lost with eight hands.
In conjunction with the Sandown lifeboat, England’s Glory was the subject of one of the most remarkable salvage claims recorded in local history. The British ship Iron Cross, from Shanghai to London, laden with tin and a valuable general cargo, got ashore on a dangerous part of the Goodwin Sands on the 7 th February, 1866. A heavy sea was running at the time, and the stranded vessel would doubtless have become a total wreck but for the timely assistance of the lugger England’s Glory and the Sandown lifeboat. As soon as the lugger left the beach an exciting scene ensued. The Sandown and Walmer lifeboats were immediately launched. The latter arrived at the wreck first, but missed a rope thrown out from the ship and drifted rapidly to leeward. In the meantime England’s Glory and the Sandown lifeboat had got possession. In rowing back to the ship the Walmer lifeboat was several times struck by enormous seas; four of her oars were broken, and the iron rowlocks on which they rested were bent nearly double. On two or three occasions the boat narrowly escaped being turned over. Eventually, with the assistance of two steam tugs, the Iron Crown was floated and taken to London. The salvage claim was not settled till the following June. A valuable ship, her crew, passengers and cargo, had been saved from destruction, and in consideration of the exceptional services rendered, and of the conditions prevailing at the time, an award of £12,000 was made, about £7,000 of which amount was divided amongst local boatmen, some sixty-two in number…
UNPREMEDITATED OCEAN REGATTAS
Depicting in “The Longshoreman” “one of those unpremeditated ocean regattas rendered deeply exciting by the significance of the stake at issue,” the master of England’s Glory pays a well-merited tribute to the Early Morn. “I had plenty of faith,” he says, “in the sailing powers of our boat to out-distance all her rivals but one, and that was the lugger named the Early Morn , reputed to be one of the swiftest sailers hailing from Deal.”…
“Of the half dozen boats which got away from the beach almost as soon as England's Glory , two were not long in giving up the race; the other two held on for a while, then one after the other dipped their lugs and hove about for the land. Now it was come to a match between the Early Morn and ourselves. The two remaining luggers were overtaken by one of
those black frosty squalls which are characteristic of the easterly winds in these parts. When the squall had passed the Early Morn was rising and falling upon the seas under her mizzen only, with a mere stump of naked foremast sticking up forward and her big lug trailing in the water alongside. Thus England's Glory with Old Corry at the tiller, out-distances all the rest and is the only lugger of the six left in the running.”…
The author of “The Longshoreman” (Herbert Russell) shows an intimate knowledge of the sailing qualities of the Deal luggers. In choosing the Early Morn and England’s Glory as rivals in a race to the Goodwins on active service, he selected the two swiftest luggers on the beach in those days. If the former did not take the Borough Members’ prize – usually £10 – in Deal Regatta, it might almost be taken for granted that first honours would fall to the latter.
England’s Glory , usually manned by an exceptionally smart crew, was invariably foremost in salvage operations…
England’s Glory bore a name that was an inspiration to any crew, and all that it implied was never more nobly vindicated than on the memorable night of November 30 th , 1867, when above the tumult of the tempest might have been heard the ringing cheers of an excited crowd of sight-seers as “the old lugger” rose to the heaving breakers after the Albion had perished in a gallant attempt to launch with an anchor and chain…
It will thus be seen that “the old lugger” held as fine a record as any boat on the beach, and on two occasions at least she braved and survived overwhelming conditions to which two of her equally stout contemporaries succumbed… The disasters to the Reform and the Albion illustrate as nothing else could the enormous risks which the Deal boatmen never hesitated to take when any vessel in distress was in need of their services…
The older type of craft represented by the Early Morn and England’s Glory were unsurpassed, in point of sailing qualities, by boats of more recent design. This was to some extent accounted for by the fact that the newer boats were built with a view to fishing as well as hovelling, to say nothing of the advantages of speed to the earlier craft, when it came to smuggling.
Contemporary writers attributed the decline of the Deal lugger to the development of steam as a propelling agency and the advent of steam-tugs in the Downs… Another contributing cause of the steadily diminishing number of Deal luggers was the relative decrease in the recurrence of wrecks on the Goodwin Sands and the resultant effect on hovelling…
The dwindling of the larger type of boat on this part of the beach made the Beach House improvement scheme possible in 1892… Projects… absorbed their capstan grounds and boat-houses. ( Thomas’s granddaughter, Edith Cory, began work at the Beach House Hotel as a chambermaid.)…
Several were purchased by pleasure boat proprietors, converted into sailing yachts with swallow-tailed sterns, and transferred to more prosperous south coast towns, where they became the delight of casual trippers…
There is the burial of a probable grandson, named after Thomas William:
8 Jul 1898 Thomas William George CORY age 18mths of Deal.
Elizabeth Ann Cory died in 1894, at the age of 59.
Thomas cannot be found in the 1901 census. His son Richard and his family are also missing. It may be that Thomas had moved in with them, or that one or more enumerator’s books is missing.
In the 1911 census, he was living alone in the almshouses in Beach Street. He was receiving a pension for his services in the Navy.
3 Alms Houses, Beach St, Deal, Kent
Cory, Thomas William Head Widower 78 Pensioner Navy Deal, Kent
Thomas William Cory died on the 3rd March 1914. The East Kent Mercury records that he was buried with full military honours in acknowledgement of his service in the Crimean War.
His grandson William Thomas Cory, son of William Henry Worthington Cory, applied to join the army in the same year.
Sgt William Thomas Cory
William Thomas Cory of Deal, Kent, was apprenticed as a potter on leaving school but when the First World War started, he went to enlist. He walked from Deal to Belvedere to the recruiting office. Although only 14 and big for his age, they guessed he was underage and rejected him. Each year he tried again until aged 17, they let him into the Royal Sussex Regiment. A fit young man, he became a Sergeant 1 st Class and a PT Instructor.
He was sent to France after basic training and his regiment reached the front-line after a 10 day train ride in goods trucks on the 1 st November 1918. Eleven days later the Armistice was declared. William went into the Rhineland as part of the Army of occupation and returned home in 1920.
Royal Museums Greenwich. Log of HMS ‘Trafalgar’ 1851-55. www.rmg.co.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.22274
Next Generation: 3. CORY-BAKER
Previous Generations: 5. CORY-LANGLEY