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Fry family (chocolate): Wikis


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The Fry family was prominent in England especially Bristol, in the Society of Friends, and in the confectionery business in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.



The earliest known Fry ancestor is supposed to be Sir Richard Fry who married secondly Joan Beaufort, great granddaughter of John of Gaunt.[1]

The patriarch of the most important branch of the family was John Fry (1699?–1775), [2] a shopkeeper of Sutton Benger, Wiltshire who was not involved in the chocolate business; his father was Zephaniah Fry (1658–?) who joined the Society of Friends. His son, William Storrs Fry (1736–1808), was the father of the Joseph Fry (1777–1861) who married the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry née Gurney (1780–1845). There is also another William Storrs Fry (circa 1806–1844) who was one of the 11 children of Joseph and Elizabeth Fry.

The start of the chocolate dynasty

John Fry's other son, Joseph Fry (1728–1787), was apprenticed to Henry Portsmouth of Basingstoke as an apothecary and doctor. He married Portsmouth's daughter, Anna (1719/20–1803). Joseph Fry founded a chocolate company called Fry, Vaughan & Co. in Bristol. He also founded Fry and Pine later Joseph Fry & Co., a typefoundry.

Typefounding Frys

Joseph Fry & Co., the typefoundry, was continued by Joseph Fry's elder son, Edmund Fry (1754–1835)[3] and renamed Edmund Fry & Co. Edmund Fry had two sons who survived to adulthood: Windover Fry (1797–1835) and Arthur Fry (1809–1878). Windover joined him in the business.[4] An example of a font that the firm designed is Fry's Ornamented[5]

Chocolate making Frys

After Joseph Fry's death in 1787 his wife, Anna Fry, took over the chocolate company and it was renamed Anna Fry & Son. The son was the first Joseph Storrs Fry (1769–1835) who, after his mother's death, renamed the firm J. S. Fry & Sons under which name it became quite well known. Joseph Storrs Fry was the first to introduce factory methods into the making of chocolate and the first to use a Watt's steam engine to grind the beans.

The sons of Joseph Storrs Fry and his wife Ann Allen (1764?–1829) are

  • Joseph Fry (1795–1879) (See below)
  • Francis Fry (1803–1886) (See below)
  • Richard Fry (-1878)

They also had four daughters. The sons all became partners in the firm.

Francis Fry (1803–1886), his interests and his family

Francis Fry was the son of Joseph Storrs Fry and his wife Ann Allen.[6] Besides the directorship of the chocolate firm, he was also involved in porcelain, typefounding, director of the Bristol Waterworks, and railways (including the Bristol and Gloucester Railway). He was also a well known collector of old Bibles. He headed the firm when it started producing the first chocolate bars in 1847.

He married Matilda Penrose (circa 1808–1888). They had four sons and three daughters including:

  • Francis James Fry (1835 – November 15, 1918) (See below)
  • Theodore Fry (See below).

Francis James Fry (1835–1918) - his family

F.J. Fry was the son of Francis Fry (1803–1886). He was Sheriff of Bristol in 1887. He married twice and had two daughters and four sons.[7]

Blue Plaque for Norah Cooke-Hurle in Brislington.

His daughter, Norah Cooke-Hurle born Fry (1871–1960), was an advocate of better services for people with learning difficulties.[8] In 1988, the University of Bristol named their new research centre after Norah Fry, because she did so much for people with learning difficulties.

One of his sons was Geoffrey Storrs Fry (1888–13 October 1960) From 1929, the first (and last) Baronet Fry of Oare in Wiltshire. He was private secretary to Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin. He married Alathea Gardner, the second daughter of Lord Burghclere.[9][10][11]

  • [Ann] Jennifer Evelyn Elizabeth Fry (1916–2003), only child of Geoffrey and Alathea Fry. She was the wife of Alan Ross, the poet.

Theodore Fry - his family

Theodore Fry (1836 – 1912), was the son of Francis Fry (1803–1886). He was Liberal MP for Darlington and made baronet. His wife, Sophia Fry née Pease (1837-1897) was a prominent philanthropist and political activist.[12] Their son, John Pease Fry (1864-1957),[13] the second baronet, became Chairman and managing director of Bearpark Coal & Coke of Durham

Joseph Fry and his family

Joseph Fry (1795–1879),[14] son of the first Joseph Storrs Fry (1769–1835) and Mary Anne Swaine (1897-1896)[15] were the parents of:

  • Joseph Storrs Fry II (1826–1913). Headed the chocolate firm after 1886 and very active in the Society of Friends. He never married but was known for his philanthropy.
  • Sir Edward Fry (1827–1918), a judge on the British Court of Appeal. Edward Fry was the father of the art critic and artist Roger Fry and the social reformers, Joan Mary Fry (1862–1955), Margery Fry (1874–1958) and Ruth Fry (1878-1962). His daughter, Agnes Fry (1869-1958) compiled his biography.
  • Albert Fry (1830?–1903). He worked with John Fowler (1826–1864)[16] to develop and manufacture a drainage plough in the mid 1800s. He founded the Bristol Wagon and Carriage Works.[17] He was a Chairman of the Council of the University of Bristol and, along with other members of his family and of the Wills family, a major donor[18]
  • Susan Ann Fry (1829–1917) married in 1856, as his third wife, Thomas Pease and was the mother of Edward Reynolds Pease who help found the Fabian Society.[19]
  • Lewis Fry (1832–1921) was the Liberal, later Liberal Unionist, MP for Bristol from 1878 until 1886 and from 1895 until 1900. He was Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Town Holdings, 1886-1892.[20] He was a member of the Privy Council. He was the first chairman of the Council of the University of Bristol.
  • Henrietta Jane Fry (1840-1911) who married in 1862, William Whitwell (ironfounder) [19]

and three other daughters, one of whom died in infancy [19].

Other members of the family

  • Cecil Roderick Fry (1870–1952)[21] was the last member of the family to head the chocolate firm before it merged with Cadburys.
    • Jeremy Fry (1924–2005) was an engineer and inventor, son of Cecil Fry. Founded Rotork.

Other Frys

Other Quaker Frys who might or might not be related to this family are:

For other people with the surname "Fry" but probably NOT related to the Quaker Chocolate manufacturing Fry family see Fry (surname).



  1. ^ Fry, Theodore (1887). "A brief memoir of Francis Fry, F.S.A. of Bristol". "Barclay & Fry".  
  2. ^ Dates of Birth and Death of John Fry (1699?–1775) are given in a catalogue entry in the online catalogue of the Library of the Society of Friends: Lately published (price 1s. 6d.) and sold by the author at Sutton Benger near Chippenham, Wilts; and by his sons Joseph Fry, apothecary in Bristol, and John Fry, cheesemonger in White-chapel, London: An alphabetical extract of all the annual printed epistles, which have been sent to the several quarterly-meetings of the people called Quakers, ... A proposal. As there remain, now unsold, but a few copies ... Those counties that are willing to encourage the printing a second edition, are desired to send their subscriptions to Luke Hinde, in George-yard, Lombard-street, where the subscribers will be supplied at ten-pence per book. - [London, 1765?].
  3. ^ See H. R. Tedder, 'Fry, Edmund (1754–1835)', rev. A. P. Woolrich, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 [1] accessed 17 March 2007.
  4. ^ Windover Fry, Typefounder was listed as bankrupt 20 July 1824 in The Bankrupt Directory By George Elwick (1843) pg.153 (on Googlebooks)
  5. ^ Fry’s Ornamented typeface
  6. ^ ODNB article by David J. Hall, ‘Fry, Francis (1803–1886)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [2], accessed 13 Sept 2007.
  7. ^ F.J. Fry entry in Who was Who.
  8. ^ University of Bristol Norah Fry Research Centre: Brief biography of Norah Cooke-Hurle
  9. ^ G.S. Fry's entry in Who was Who.
  10. ^ The Times, Saturday, 15 October 1960; pg. 8; Issue 54903; col G: Obituary Sir Geoffrey Fry.
  11. ^ The Times, Friday, 28 May 1915; pg. 11; Issue 40866; col C: Forthcoming marriages.
  12. ^ Times obituary of Theodore Fry is at Durham Mining Museum website.
  13. ^ J.P. Fry entry in Who was Who.
  14. ^ Note: he was not the Joseph Fry (1777 –1861), who was husband of Elizabeth Fry
  15. ^ The Biographical dictionary of British Quakers in commerce and industry, 1775-1920, by Edward H. Milligan, Sessions of York (2007) ISBN 978-1-85702-367-7. p191: article on Joseph Fry (1795-1879).
  16. ^ See ODNB article by Jonathan Brown, ‘Fowler, John (1826–1864)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2007 [3], accessed 15 Sept 2007.
  17. ^ "Obituary of Albert Fry". "The Times" (37063): 10. April 24, 1903.  
  18. ^ The Library of the University of Bristol, 1876-1975 by Nicholas Lee at accessed 15 Sept 2007.
  19. ^ a b c The Biographical dictionary of British Quakers in commerce and industry, 1775-1920, by Edward H Milligan, Sessions of York (2007) ISBN 978-1-85702-367-7.
  20. ^ Lewis Fry entry in Who was Who
  21. ^ C.R. Fry entry in Who was Who.


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