Papers of Henry Curtis Cherry

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 3 manuscript volumes of a projected work by H.C. Cherry Antiquarum et insignium familiarum in comitatu Bercheriensi prosapiae; or, Genealogies of Berkshire families together with a manuscript name index for each volume.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Curtis Cherry was born in Bombay in 1798, the 4th son of Catherine (1768-1861) and John Hector Cherry (1763-1803). Both sides of his family had risen to prominence in the East India Company and his brothers and other relatives continued in that service. Henry however returned to England to study at Cambridge and enter the church, being ordained a priest in Norwich in 1823. After serving as curate of Horningsheath in Suffolk for four years Henry was appointed Rector of Burghfield, Berkshire in 1827 and remained there for the rest of his life, building up the congregation and supervising the rebuilding of the church in 1843.

In 1822 Henry Curtis Cherry married Anne Alicia, the 17 year old daughter of Major-General Sir John Cameron and his wife, a niece of the first Lord de Saumarez. This family connection was probably instrumental in Henry's appointment as domestic chaplain to Lord de Saumarez in 1831. After the first Lord de Saumarez died in 1836 Henry continued to serve his son and successor in the same capacity. It was around this time that Henry Curtis Cherry began work on his Antiquarum et insignium familiarum in comitatu Bercheriensi prosapiae; or, Genealogies of Berkshire families, including his own. From a prospectus written in 1851 it is clear that Henry hoped to publish this work, including pedigrees and family coats of arms "in the first style of Tabular Typography and of Woodcut Engraving" when he had found a sufficient number of subscribers. However the work was never printed, perhaps partly because of changes in Henry's own circumstances.

Henry and his wife had 8 sons and 7 daughters, several of whom died young. Their last son was born in about 1852 and his mother died soon afterwards. In August 1853 Henry was married again to Emily Sutherland, the widow of a Colonel, but things did not go well and according to her own account &quo;from the first moment of her marriage she was a miserable woman". There were major disagreements between Emily and her mother in law over the upbringing of the motherless infant and Henry took his mother's side. Eventually in 1855 Emily took the scandalous step of leaving her husband. He tried to bring her back, at least once by force, and in 1857 she applied to the court of Queen's bench to protect her. The case went against Henry and he was ordered to pay sureties amounting to 200. These proceedings can have done nothing for Henry's reputation and he gave up all hope of publishing his magnum opus. Henry Curtis Cherry died at Burghfield in 1864 aged 66.

Access Information

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1951


This description was prepared by Gil Skidmore

Other Finding Aids

Cherry's own indexes