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It was one of the original endowments of Tavistock Abbey, founded in 961. The first recorded tenant of the estate was Osbert de Annery, who took his name from the estate. By 1260 the estate was held by the Stapeldons; Bishop of Exeter Walter de Stapeldon (1261-1326) was born at Annery. From the Stapeldons, it was inherited by the Hankfords, amongst whom were the judge Sir William Hankford (ca. 1350 – 1423). In about 1800 the mansion house was rebuilt or significantly remodelled in the neo-classical style by the Tardrews. It was demolished in the late 1950s. The estate was split-up and is now in multiple ownership. A bungalow occupies the site of the former manor house. Three of the Victorian gatehouses survive as does the Georgian dower house and the stable-block.
The medieval mansion stood in a "fine timbered park" dating back to the 13th century or before. A deerpark may have been established as early as 1422, but is known to have been in existence by about 1540. During the reign of Richard II (1377-1399), there was a fishery on River Torridge and a dovecote.
The ancient mansion fell into decay by about 1800 and a new neo-Classical building was built[nb 1] or re-built around the original medieval mansion. It was described as having a "stucco front with Ionic order to full height and entablature plus parapet. On the east is a bow to full height. On the north is a projecting octagonal parapet." In 1912, it was described as having an outer and larger inner hall, four reception rooms, at least 12 bedrooms, oval room, library, well-appointed kitchen and butler's pantry, and a servants' hall. The dining room had "richly carved paneling" and the outer hall contained black marble and stone. Unusually modern for the time, there were 5 water closets and 4 bathrooms. A glass-sided portico was supported by Corinthian columns. Views from the property included Annery's woodland, much of which is gone now, and the River Torridge valley.
Located on the grounds is the Dower House, a large Georgian house with a "continuous Doric verandah." During Mrs Somes's ownership the head gardener lived in the 6 bedroom Dower House and other estate workers lived in cottages at Annery kiln or in the four lodges. Flowers, ferns, peaches and nectarines were grown in glasshouses. A coach-house, stables, wood house, two cider houses, wash-house, coal house were some of the outbuildings.
The name is recorded as Anri in the 10th. century grant to Tavistock Abbey and later as Auri in 1193. In 1381 there is a record of it as Aury, and as Uppeaury in 1386. These forms with letter u are, according to the English Place-Name Society (EPNS), clearly due to errors of transcription.
In 1238 it was recorded as Anerie and also as Ass, Anery. In 1278 Ass. Anry appears, Upanry in 1332, and Saxton, the cartographer, noted it as Annarye in 1577. The EPNS says that no explanation of the name can be offered. Hallsannery is a farm in existence today 1 mile north of the former Annery mansion house.
The first surviving record of the manor of Annery is in 981, when Anri was granted together with many other lands to Tavistock Abbey by Ælfwynn, the wife of the Saxon magnate Ordwulf, son of the Abbey's founder Ordgar, Ealdorman of Devon (d.971). She also donated the following manors, all near Annery in North Devon: Hame (Abbotsham), Werdgete (Worthygate, in Parkham parish) and Orlege (Orleigh).
The manor of Annery is not listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, but was possibly at that time a member of the manor of Abbotsham, in Shebbear hundred. It is next recorded as Auri (a transcription error, see above) in a Bull of Exemption and Confirmation of Pope Celestine III dated 1193 confirming it to Tavistock Abbey.
By 1260 the estate was held by the Stapeldons; In that year Walter de Stapeldon was born, probably at Annery, and later served as Bishop of Exeter from 1307 to 1326 and as King Edward II's Lord High Treasurer. The family originated at the estate of Stapledon in the parish of Cookbury, near Holsworthy, Devon.[nb 3] His monument and effigy exist in Exeter Cathedral. The subsequent sole heiress, Thomasin Stapledon married Sir Richard Hankford.
Sir William Hankford (died 1422), from a family long established at Bulkworthy KB Lord Chief Justice of England was the most notable member of the Hankfords of Annery who inherited Annery by marriage to Thomasin Stapledon. "Hankford's Oak" within the former estate was believed to mark the site where Hankford was shot dead by his gamekeeper, either accidentally or as a contrivance of suicide by the judge, who reportedly instructed the gamekeeper to shoot any apparent intruder who refused to answer when challenged. He is buried in Monkleigh Church's Annery Aisle, where his monument exists. Since his son Richard I Hankford died before him, Hankford's heir was his grandson, Sir Richard II Hankford, who married firstly Elizabeth FitzWarin (or "FitzWarren") the sole heiress of her father Fulk FitzWarin, 7th Baron FitzWarin (1406–1420), feudal baron of Bampton.  His daughter from this 1st marriage was Thomasine Hankford, who inherited from her mother Bampton and married William Bourchier, 9th Baron FitzWarin (1407-1470). Richard II Hankford's second wife was Anne Montagu (d.1457), a daughter of John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c.1350-1400). Richard II Hankford's daughter from his second marriage, Anne Hankford (c. 1431 – 1485), was the heir to Annery. She married the extremely wealthy Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond.
Anne Hankford and Thomas Butler (or Boteler) had two daughters, Margaret Butler (c. 1454 – 1539), grandmother of Queen Anne Boleyn, and Anne Butler (born c. 1455), who inherited Annery and brought it to the family of her husband Sir James St. Leger. In the special levy of 1552-3 made on all lay persons having an annual income of at least £40 from land or personal estate, Dame Anne St Ledger of Annery was assessed at £402, the fourth greatest assessment in Devon behind only the three branches of the great Courtenay family.
Sir James St Ledger was the third son of Sir John St Leger of Ulcombe, Kent, by his wife Margery Donnet. James's elder brother was Sir Thomas St Leger (1440-1483), KB, the second husband of Anne of York (1439-1476), daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and thus an elder sister of Kings Edward IV (1461-1483) and Richard III (1483-1485). Annery passed to Sir George St Leger, the son and heir of Sir James St Leger by Anne Butler, and then to his son Sir John St. Leger (died 1596). The St Leger's also held estates at Dartington and Canonsleigh Abbey. At some time before his death in 1596 Sir John St Ledger sold Annery to his son-in-law Tristram Arscott (1544-1621) of Launcells, the son and heir of Richard Arscott (d.1578), the 4th son of John Arscott (d.1541) of Arscott in the parish of Holsworthy. On 7 October 1583 Tristram Arscott had married Eulalia, daughter of Sir John St. Leger and widow of Edmund Tremayne (d.1582) of Callacome, Lamerton, Clerk of the Privy Council.[nb 4]
Tristram Arscott (died 1621) of Launcells, Cornwall, purchased Annery from his father-in-law, Sir John St Leger. Tristram's uncles, both named John, went on to found significant families on newly acquired estates near the original family estate of Arscott, namely at Dunsland, near Bradford, and at Tetcott, where their families built two grand mansions, both now demolished. Annery was inherited by Tristram's son John Arscott (born 1591), whose own three sons, baptised at Monkleigh, all died young, leaving their sister Elizabeth Arscott (born 1611), his sole heiress. She married a man from London named Johnson.
Annery was owned by the Prust family sometime after the Arscotts. The first family member who can with certainty be identified as seated at Annery is Lt. Col. Joseph I Prust (1620-1677), who is known to have been baptised at Bideford. He was the second son of Hugh Prust (d.1666) of Gorven in the parish of Hartland, from an ancient Devon family. Joseph was a staunch Royalist during the Civil War and lost his hand at the siege of Plymouth. Joseph bequeathed Annery to his son John and daughter Anne in equal moieties. In 1679 Anne Prust married Richard Hawke, son of Josias Hawke of Bodgate in North Petherwin and brought her moiety into the marriage settlement.
The 1811 edition of Tristram Risdon's Survey of Devon (1810 Notes) states that "The estate of Annery has, of late years, passed through several hands, and now belongs to Mr. Tardrew, of Bideford". This was William Tardrew, a ship-owner and builder who played an active part in public life – amongst other duties he was a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Devon. He spent a great deal of money on improving the property, apparently before 1822 when Lysons wrote that "the house has been modernized by Mr. Tardrew", adding that until about 1800 the old house had had an impressive long gallery for which it was famous.
Tardrew operated a ship yard from an inlet of the River Torridge next to Annery kiln, but moved it to the canal sea-lock after the latter's construction.[nb 5] In 1836 Lord Rolle leased his Rolle Canal to a partnership of four men, one of whom was William Tardrew of Annery, who held six of the fourteen shares. In 1846 a new partnership was formed comprising William Tardrew and George Bragington, an original investor and Lord Rolle's former canal agent. Tardrew is said not to have contributed his agreed share of new capital to the business, and soon the business failed.
After William Tardrew died in 1853, his widow, Louisa, lived on in the house until her death, aged 92, in 1871. The whole estate, including the main house, around 560 acres of land, many cottages, Annery Kiln and other buildings was auctioned in 1872.
The estate was acquired by Maria Somes (1816–1911), the widow of Joseph Somes who had died in 1845. He had been a former Governor of the New Zealand Company, MP for Dartmouth and a major ship owner.[nb 6] She was a philanthropist, and employed at least 20 staff on the estate; the daughter of the estate carpenter later recalled that "it was a happy time and a happy house in Mrs. Somes' days". When the estate was advertised for sale in 1912 after her death, it was described as having woodlands, shady walks, glass-houses, and a walled kitchen garden.
Mr Bayly, a famous polo player, owned the estate after Mrs. Somes. He and his wife modernised the house and installed an electricity generation plant. He died of meningitis soon after moving in. His widow lived at Annery until 1921 and then offered occupying tenants the opportunity to buy their farm or cottages, excluding the home farm and lodges. Lilias Fleming bought the property and, with Crystal Frazer, her adopted daughter, lived last at Annery. Miss Fleming died at the age of 86 in 1941. No one lived in the manor thereafter, and it deteriorated.
A Mr. Green, who was a timber merchant, bought the estate which then still had almost 100 acres of woodland. Whenever he visited the estate he stayed at the Dower House, the former head gardener's residence in the grounds, and the mansion remained empty. After his death the estate was put up for auction in several lots in September 1958, by which time the woodland had been reduced to about 20 acres and three small plantations. The mansion house was sold before auction to a Mr. Berridge who promptly had it demolished,[nb 2] and built a bungalow on its site.
Annerey is said to be the location of a duel scene between Don Guzman and Will Carey in Charles Kingsley's novel, Westward Ho!. It also reportedly mentions the estate's deerpark and a banquet given by Sir James St. Leger in Annery's great hall.