The Essery family name appears to be a corruption of Esworthy.
That name is mentioned in conjunction with Essery in "A Dictionary of Devon Surnames" by Spielgelhalter, using Rt. Essaworthy of 1275 as a reference.
Whilst researching in the Record Office at Barnstaple, I came across one family where the marriage took place with the father's name being Essery (written Efsery), the first child was baptised as Ebsery and he was married as Ebsary, so there are probably a lot of other corruptions of the name. The corruption of Essery from Essworthy is entirely possible when taking into account the Devon Dialect and the way that the Devonians like to shorten most words.
The majority of the corruptions have been to replace the second "e" with another vowel, eg Essary, Essury, Essiry, Essory, but I have also seen Essey and Essry. I don't believe that Esser is a variation as that appears to have mostly had Germanic origins and the spread of the name in 1837 is mostly in the north of the country rather than around Devon.
The Essery name itself appears to be mostly Devon and Cornwall based around 1837, but there are pockets in several sea ports, e.g. East End of London, Liverpool Docks (W Derby), Portsea Island and Portsmouth, Newport Monmouthshire, Bristol and Cardiff. Possibly a wife in every port? There is one pocket that I have been unable to explain, based around Bedford. There is a possibility that this family is a corruption of the Essely family that bore Arms in the Lincolnshire area until they seemed to died out circa 1595. It was the Essely family that got me interested in family history as I was told that I had the right to bear Arms. It turned out after a little bit of investigation that the Arms were for this Lincolnshire family, and had nothing to do with mine.
"BIDEFORD (ST. MARY), a sea-port, incorporated market-town,
and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally
in the hundred of SHEBBEAR, Great Torrington and N. divisions of DEVON,
39 miles (N. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 201 (W. by S.) from London; containing
5211 inhabitants, of whom 4830 are in the town. This place, called also
Bytheford, of which its modern appellation is a variation, derives its name
from being situated near an ancient ford on the river Torridge . . . after
the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, many French Protestants
settled in the town, and established the manufacture of silk and cotton;
a great quantity of wool was imported from Spain, and, in 1699, its trade
with Newfoundland was inferior only to that of London and Exeter . . . Ship-building
is extensively carried on: during the late war, several frigates were launched
at this port, and there are eight or ten dockyards, in which smaller vessels
are built. The principal articles of manufacture are cordage, sails, and
common earthenware; there are also several tan-yards, and a small lace manufactory.
. . The free grammar school, of remote foundation, was rebuilt in 1657 .
. . A charity school is supported by the trustees of the Bridge Estate,
and by subscription; a building has likewise been erected for a national
school." [From Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England (1844.
M: Elizabeth Unknown
Family tree on Internet: www.essery.demon.co.uk/history.htm
Source: Fern & Graham Phillip, 01 Jan 2000
Please send additions, corrections or other
Dennis L. Matthews
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