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"COUDREY" ... Where did it come from ??

This page details the references found to the origin of the name and it's many variations


Information #02

This information was sourced from the

"History and Variations
of the Name Corddry"

and click HERE and HERE for further details
The article is based on the name ... 'CORDDRY'

However, the article refers to thirty variations of the name
including the present 'modern day' spelling of 'COUDREY'


History and Variations of the Name Corddry

There are four similar names, all of apparently French origin, possessed by families
who may be unrelated except by the similarity of their surnames

Querderai ... Querderay ... Cordray
(coeur de roi = heart of king)
Coudray ... Cowdrey ... Cowdray
(coudraie = hazel hedge, hazel grove)
Corderie ... Cordrey
(corderie = rope walk)
Corduroi ... Corduroy
(corduroi = cloth of the king)

Howard Corddry discovered information about a family named Coudray who lived in the Loire Valley of France in the 11th century or earlier
There have been at least two histories of the family written
One by Eugene A Cordry, called 'Descendants of Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri Pioneers' (1973) and the other by Mary Mehling about the
Cowdrys (1911)
Both authors give the origin of the name as
Coudraie which is French for hazel-hedge
A different origin of the name may be
Querderai similar to the French for 'coeur de roi' or 'heart of king'

In their versions of the 'Visitation of Wiltshire' dated 1623, George Marshall in 1882 spelled the name as
Cordray except in the first generation, and GD Squibb in 1954 spelled it Corderoy throughout
In the official report of the 'Visitation' of 1623, the spelling was
Names like
Cowdrey being phonetically different were probably unrelated
Cordrys probably settled throughout the British Isles
Scott's 'The Heart of Midlothian' gives the name
Cordry to a Scottish schoolmaster

Robert Cordray of Pittsburgh did extensive genealogical research and traced a family line from a
Roger de Querderai (French for 'heart of king') who was granted a charter in England around 1200
His grandson Richard changed the spelling to
Cordray in 1287
Their descendent
William Cordray in his will dated 1621, changed the spelling to Corderoy and this is the spelling used by his sons who arrived in America in 1648
Descendents branched off and adopted various spelling of their last name
Cordray . Cordry etc
Sometimes a person used various spellings, even in the same document
Coadry . Cawdry . Cordery . Cowdery
The progenitor of the Sussex County Delaware/Snow Hill Maryland line, John (1662-1722) spelled his name
The Delaware Cordrys evidently started spelling their surname
Cordrey sometime after 1835
William D Corddry (1835-1911) moved to Snow Hill, Maryland in 1853 from the Bacon area of Sussex County, Delaware and started the Snow Hill line, he apparently spelled his name as Cordrey
It has been said that he changed the spelling of his name to
Corddry at the suggestion of his wife when he and his oldest son founded the WD Corddry & Son Company in 1883
She felt that the altered spelling looked better in print

Variations on a Theme:

Querderai Coudray Corderie Corduroi Coadry Coudray
Querderay Cowdrey  Cordrey Corduroy  Caudry  Couderie
 Cordray Cowdray Cordry Corderoy Cawdery Couderay
Cordrai Cowdry Corddry Corderie Cawdry  
Cordai Cowderoy Corderay Corderey    
Corday Cowedery   Cordery    

Most, if not all, of the English families of stature had a coat-of-arms
Because the spelling of the surname varied from generation to generation, only the coat-of-arms borne by a family could positively identify it
However, a specific shield belonged to one individual at a time
Members of the same family carried variations of the basic, original shield of their common ancestor

Although some ancestors of the
Corddrys spelled their names Cordry . Cordrey . Coadry . Cordery . Cowdry . Caudry or Corderoy (sometimes several ways in the same document) the evidence is strong that they descended from the first family grouping listed above - Querderai
If so, the crest of their coat-of-arms bore a red heart with a crown of gold, stars, and a crowned lion
When this was granted is unsure, but evidence uncovered by Alison Corddry McEwan in London indicates that it was prior to 1490

Corderoy Coat of Arms depicting 'A Crowned Lion Passant' was assumed by The Royal College of Arms to ante-date 1417
Cordray Arms are an example of 'armes parlant'
The crest of a red heart wearing a gold crown is consistent with the French translation of the origin of
Cordray . Querderai or 'heart of king'
An original, undated family shield was gold on black with no bordure
All of the charges on the shield - stars, chevron, and lion - were originally gold
Cordrays of Chute had a silver lion rather than gold lion, and one changed his stars to gold
Per the 'Visitation of Wiltshire' dated 1623 and edited by Marshall,
William Cordray/Corderoy of Chute Wiltshire (deceased 1621) had a shield with a silver lion wearing a gold crown, a gold chevron, silver stars, and a silver bordure
This pedigree in the 'Visitation of Wiltshire' describes the family's coat of arms as: "arms; sable, a chevron or between two mullets of the second in chief and a lion dually crowned of the second in base within a bordure of the third"

French Origin

According to Howard Corddry, the family is well documented as of French origin under the name of Coudray and living in the Loire Valley in the 11th century or earlier
This family name is still represented by place names and by chateaux, at least seven of them scattered over an area of some thirty five miles radius centered about ten miles south of Saumur
There is some uncertainty about the exact age and initial ownership of an ancient tower called the
'Tour du Coudray' at the Castle of Cinon, an outstanding feature in the area
There is also a
'Chateau le Coudray' near Seuilly, four miles southwest of Chinon also in the Saumur region

Howard Corddry obtained a book 'The Norman People' published by an anonymous genealogist in London in 1874
It states:
Corderoy or Cordray - From Cordai or Corderay in the Contentin Peninsula - William de Corday occurs in Normandy 1105-1108 - Peter de Cordrai in England (13th Century) - the family is frequently mentioned (the spellings Cordrey and Cordery are also listed as variants of Cordray)
Cawdery or Coudray - a branch of the Beaumonts, Viscounts of Maine (see Anselme article on Beaumont) - Benedict de Coudray was a witness to a charter - Roger de Menilwarin to Deulacresse Abbey (Mon ii) - Mathew C held one fee from Ralph de St. Amand (Testa)

The discovery from 'The Norman People' that
Coudray was a branch of the Beaumont family made it relatively easy to trace the migration of the Coudray family from the Loire Valley to Normandy
Both had their origins in the same Loire region
As the Beaumont family shifted from central France northward to the Seine and thence westward to Falaise in Normandy, the
Coudray family apparently went also
The Beaumonts were a Norman and English family
Roger de Beaumont, a kinsman of the dukes of Normandy, fought at the battle of Hastings in 1066
He was a second cousin of the father of William the Conqueror, and contributed sixty ships as well as troops for the expedition
He added large estates in Warwickshire to the Norman fiefs of Beaumont and Pont Audemer
He later served as Counsellor to William, William Rufus, and Henry I as Kings of England

In Anselme's 'Histoire Genealogique' there is a reference dated September 1367 to:
Jean de Beaumont, Chevalier, Seigneur du
Coudray en Berry
Berry was a former ancient province of France situated southeast of the Loire and adjoining the
Coudray area on the east
Late in life Roger de Beaumont (Chief Counsellor to William the Conqueror's wife Matilda and regent during his invasion of England) retired to the Abbey of St Peter in Berry, near its western border with the
Coudray area

The concentration of the estates of the Beaumont family in the Loire Valley, adjacent to the
Coudray concentration but on the north side of the Loire River, places its origin centering about twenty miles north of the river and the same distance northwest of Tours, and twenty miles northwest from Paris
Within ten miles of this central point, there are five Beaumont estate or place names, and another five within a fourty five mile radius


The Beaumont connection offers an explanation of the statement by the Royal College of Arms that the
Corderoy Coat of Arms depicting 'A Crowned Lion Passant' was assumed to ante-date 1417
The rolls of individual coats-of-arms adopted subsequently had already been transferred to the official permanent records, and the roll containing the
Corderoy Coat of Arms had not yet been transferred
There is a pedigree of
Corderoy in the 'Visitation of Wiltshire' (1623)

We can safely assume that some
Coudrays went to England under the banner of Robert de Beaumont in 1066
We can also safely say that some of them were still there in 1207, as was reported by the Duchess of Cleveland after a meticulous search and by Bardsley in various spelling variations after 1297
The Battle Abbey Roll, a scroll of names initially constructed in 1338, was reconstructed by Sir Anthony Browne about 1539, probably when the original roll was found during a reconstruction of the Battle Abbey Gatehouse
......(click here for details on The Battle Abbey Roll)
Its scroll was initially thought to be a list of men who accompanied William the Conqueror as leaders in the battle of Hastings in 1066
By others, it is thought to designate what families in England came over with the Conqueror
The Duchess of Cleveland used Holinshed's version of the Roll as a basis of her list, published as 'Battle Abbey Roll with Account of Some Norman Lineages' by John Murray in 1889
She found in her research the names of
Coudray . Cowdray and Couderie in 1207
She found in the Duchesne listing of scroll itself the name
On page 207 of Volume 1 of Cleveland's 'Battle Abbey Roll' appears the following:
Padworth in Berkshire was at an early period in the family of
Coudray who held it by the service of finding a sailor to manage of ropes of the Queen's vessel, whenever she should pass over into Normandy - the Coudrays continued to possess this manor in 1465 - Lysons

This reference to 'Lysons' is to D and S Lysons, who wrote and published 'Magna Britannia' in several volumes
The Queen referred to was Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married Henry II of Anjou in 1152 and became Queen when Henry succeeded Stephen as King of England in 1154
The Duchy of Aquitaine, which had its northern boundary at the Loire River and which Eleanor controlled, together with Henry's Anjou, comprised half of France
Henry spent more than half his time there while Eleanor seemed to prefer living at Windsor Castle in England
Eleanor's trips
between England and France were frequent
It was, consequently, important that she have prompt, safe, and certain means of travel between the two countries
It is, therefore, quite evident that the member or members of the
Coudray family to whom Eleanor granted the Padworth estate for performing that duty had a far greater responsibility than merely furnishing a sailor to pull on some ropes

The Commander of Eleanor's private navy spelled his name
Coudray and not Couderay as in the Battle Abbey Roll
This is persuasive evidence that Eleanor took him from France to England, thereby establishing a second branch of the family from which the
Corderoys of Wiltshire may have descended
Therefore, he may have come from the
Coudray family already established in its native region on the south side of the Loire River in Eleanor's own duchy, rather than from members of the family previously settled in England in the region of Hampshire or Wiltshire and engaged in trade with European ports

Howard Corddry concluded this overview of his research by stating:
So in the final analysis we have, at present, a choice between Roger de Beaumont and Eleanor of Aquitaine as the motivation that took the
Coudray family from the Loire Valley to England
Padworth was approximately midway between Windsor and Southhampton Water on a seventy mile two day ride, and, therefore, might have been a convenient place for an overnight stop
Sir Walter Scott, in his historical novel 'Kenilworth' mentions Padworth early in the second chapter as a place well known in Donnington area of Berkshire as of 1575
This advances the continued existence of Padworth another one hundred and ten years beyond its known ownership by the
Coudray family in 1465 (according to Cleveland's 'Battle Abbey Roll')

The name
Couderay is of particular interest because it appears to represent an early variation from the earliest known form Coudray by the simple addition of an 'e' which may have been merely a phonetic error of transcription that occurred in England
Between 1100 and 1500 the French family name of
Coudray went through many variations in spelling until it finally was inscribed on the rolls of the Royal College of Arms in London ('Visitation of Wiltshire') in 1623 as Corderoy and then went through still more changes after crossing the Atlantic

Before a family tree that begins in 1485, there are isolated records in Bardsley's 'Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames' (published 1967) of:
John de Corderie 1293 - Peter de Corderoy 1297 - Emma Querderay 1379 - John Corderoy 1440 - and Corderay 1682
There are also listings going back to 1297 for
Cordrey . Cordery and Cordray

Guppy, in his 'Homes of Family Names in Great Britain' states that the Corderoys (and Cordereys) were a gentle family numerously represented in Chute, Wilts, in the 16th and 17th centuries; and those of the name who had settled elsewhere often found their resting-place in the church of their Wiltshire home
Robert Corderoy was mayor of Devizes Wilts in 1592
Cowderoy Park is a seat in Sussex

In the 1950s, a
William Corderoy was listed as a bell ringer at the Church of All Saints in Chilton Berkshire
Corderoy was not listed for another performance of bell ringers in 2001

There is an eight page document of unknown origin, whose author had access to genealogical records in London
Howard Corddry believed that the author was Naomi Smith, born around 1885
She was a daughter of Margaret Cordry, a great-granddaughter of John Cordry (born 1760) of Frederick County Virginia
John Cordry was part of the branch of the family, possibly linked to Anna Bernard, which is discussed in 'Descendants of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri Pioneers' (1973)

Whether our family was originally English or French (Saxon or Norman) is by no means certain
A possible line of descent has been traced to around 1200AD by Robert Cordray of Pittsburgh
He gives the name at this time as
The French and English languages were in the process of developing in this period and the close relationship of the name to 'coeur de roi' (heart of the king) can be easily spotted

A family tree has been traced in England as far back as
Roger de Querderai
A charter, circa 1200, refers to a
Roger de Querderai
A somewhat later charter refers to
Engleram de Coudrai
It is not known whether
Coudrai and Querderai were related or acquainted
These two charters were granted by Adam Fitz-Peter for a property at the Abbey (or convent) de Rivalle
The Rivalle area is in Yorkshire near the English coast
The grants gave Roger and nine others the right to mine and smelt iron
The charters also referred to two grants for the convent on thirty acres in Shitlington, probably nearby

Roger de Querderai begat Hugh, who begat Richard
Richard, of the Isle of Wite and Hampshire, changed the spelling of his name to
Cordray in 1287
Richard begat Robert, who begat John, who begat John
Then came
Sir Thomas Cordrey born in Chute Wiltshire England around 1460-1485
He may also have spelled his name
Cordray or Corderoy or something similar
He married Jane Grey (Gray) of Somerset County (there is a Grey Lake in Somerset County, thirty six miles west of Chute and eight miles southwest of Glastonbury)
Their children were Thomas II (his heir), Richard and Maude
Chute is a tiny place with two churches, St Mary's and St Nicolas
As of 1981, it still did not have telephone service

Thomas II Cordray was born in Chute around 1494-1510
He married Jane, a daughter and heiress of Roger Sennore (Seamour, Seymour) of Andover Southhampton County (now Hampshire), eighteen miles northeast of Chute
His will was probated on 2/16/1547
Their children were Thomas III (his heir), Alys and Katherine

Thomas III Cordray of Chute was born around 1545
He married Jane Coxwell, daughter of Thomas Coxwell of Berks County, around 1575
He may have been married twice
Their thirteen children included Edward (his heir), James, William, Jeromy, John, Thomas, Robert, Richard, Elizabeth, Jane (two of them), Alys and Mary
Robert Cordray of Pittsburgh is descended from James
The Delaware Cordrys and Snow Hill Maryland Corddrys are descended from William

The second son was
William Corderoy (Cordray)
He was the heir of his brother Edward
He was the father of Anna Corderoy Bernard, who led the first group of Cordrays . Corderoys to America
William was born around 1575 in Chute, Wiltshire, and died 9/9/1623
He married Bridget Goddard, daughter of Edward Goddard of Woodhay Southhampton County England
They were married around 1600 approximately thirty five miles from Padworth
(Note: John 'The Planter' Cordry bought a property in Delaware Maryland in 1755 that he named 'Goddard's Lott', the same as the maiden name of Anna Corderoy Bernard's mother)
William Corderoy named one of his daughters Eleanor, possibly because the name had been handed down in the family tradition for several centuries, from the first Coudray in England who was aligned to Queen Eleanor
Their six children were William II (born 1601) his heir, Edward (1603) from whom the Delaware and Snow Hill Maryland Cordrys . Corddrys may be descended, Anna (1608), Eleanor (Ellinor, Elinor) (1608), Bridget and John (1607)

William's will was written on 6/15/1621, and was proved 11/4/1623
In his will, William changed the spelling of his name from
Cordray to Corderoy
His brother James and two cousins were instructed to raise money for twelve years to pay to his son William II Corderoy (age 22) fifty pounds yearly
William II was left his father's lands in Chuet, Conholt, Langley, Mowse, Uphan and Wilton
In default the lands were left to his other sons Edward (20) and John (16)
His daughter Eleanor (11) was left four hundred pounds
His wife and her maid were left beds, beddings, etc. and their diet
His other two daughters Bridget (21) and Anna (15) were left twenty pounds yearly
Bridget, at age 24, married Samuel Iremonger of Dennington, Berks, in 1628

The presence of Cordrys in England preceded by several centuries the influx of Protestants (Huguenots) from France during the religious wars (1562 to 1598) and following 1685, when the 'Edict of Nantes' was revoked......(click here for more details)
Instead, the Cordrys in England may have come over from France with the Normans during the 11th century

The New World - America

There are two main legends about the
Cordry family in America:
#01 - that it was originally composed of French Huguenots who left France because of religious persecution; and
#02 - that there were three brothers who came over together and settled at three different locations on the east coast
No proof has as yet been found for either of these legends

According to George Corddry, in spite of the prevalent assumption that the Cordrys who came to America were of French Huguenot descent, this now seems unlikely
There is no evidence that any of the Cordrys who came to America were French or spoke French


There is much more information on the "Family in America" that is not included here
as we know the 'Australian Coudrey's' emigrated from England
However, should you wish to read this additional history, simply click on the links at the top of this page