John Fry was the second child of William Fry & Elizabeth Stanbridge born Jan-March 1841 at Ardingley.
In 1861 John was living at home at Berry Farm, Ardingley.
John married Esther Elizabeth Lewry on September 14th 1864 at Ardingley, Sussex. Esther was christened March 21st, 1841 at Slaugham, Sussex, the daughter of Hannah & Henry Lewry, a farmer. John’s sister, Mary Fry, had married Esther’s brother, Henry Lewry 2 years previously.
By 1867 it is known that John was landlord of the Bull & Snuffers, Maidstone. The following from the Maidstone Telegraph of May 8th, 1869 show that John was found guilty of allowing drink to be consumed on his premises on Sunday morning, during the hours of divine worship. He made the excuse to the police constable who caught him that the people were lodging in his house who had obtained the beer without his knowledge. However several of the men were found not to be lodgers, & he compounded his guilt by offering the constable a drink! He was fined £2 & 9 shillings costs.
In 1871 John & Esther were living at the Bull & Snuffers, Union St, Maidstone where John was a beerhouse keeper. There were several hoop makers living with them. Their 6 year old daughter Elizabeth Alice was visiting William C & Hellen Browning & their daughter Hellen (7) who were living at the Farm House, Kemsing, Kent. William Browning was the proprieter of a steam threshing machine.
In 1881 John, Esther & Alice were still at the Bull & Snuffers. Living with them were 3 boarders – Charles Miller (62) a pensioner, John Clifford (62) a general labourer & Jesse Tomlin (68) a general labourer.
John was in trouble with the law again in 1883 according to the Sevenoaks Chronicle & Kentish Advertiser of July 27th. Men were found drinking again on a Sunday morning in his pub. For this he was fined 40 shillings & 13 shillings costs. John was caught again in December for the same offence of selling intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours – another £2 fine plus costs. The licence of the Bull & Snuffers was transferred from John Fry to Henry John Baker in January 1884!
In 1891 John was no longer a publican but had moved to Bradbourne Rd, Sevenoaks where he was now an agricultural stockman. Daughter Alice was at home but his wife Esther was visiting her recently widowed sister-in-law Annie Summarsall & her family at Preston, Brighton. Esther’s mother-in-law Elizabeth Fry was also there, presumably all helping look after the 7 children.
In 1901 John was still living at Sevenoaks, now 5 Bethel Rd. He was described as a vanman. Although he was recorded as married no family were with him at this time & there is a death recorded for Esther Fry, aged 57, in July-September 1899 at Sevenoaks.
Daughter Alice had married Edwin Stemp in 1892 at Sevenoaks. Edwin was born c1867 at Sundridge, Kent, the son of Mercy & Thomas Stemp, a gardener, & the family were neighbours of the Frys in Sevenoaks in 1891.
John, aged 70, was still working as a carman in 1911 & was now described as a widower. He was still living at 5 Bethel Rd & had 2 boarders with him – Elizabeth & Herbert Best, a cabdriver, & their baby son. When completing the census John signed the form ‘Edward' Fry & he had at first entered his name on the schedule as Edward, but replaced it with John. Obviously rather confused!
John died July-September 1921, aged 81, at Sevenoaks, Kent.
Daughter Alice & her husband (now listed as Richard Stemp) were living at 5 Bethel Rd, Sevenoaks in 1939 & Richard was a gardener.
The children of John Fry & Esther Elizabeth Lewry were:
f.126.96.36.199 Elizabeth Alice Fry born December 1st, 1864 & christened February 12th, 1865 at Cowfold, Sussex; died Oct-December 1948 in Tonbridge, Kent