Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 21, 2021
Webpage updated: February 23, 2021

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ROBERT CUNDY (1819-1897)

Robert Cundy was born in 1819 and baptized at Stoke Damerel Parish Church on August 29th 1819.  His parents were Mr Robert and Mrs Mary Cundy.  Although described  as a "Labourer" at the time of the baptism his father was later said to be a "Farmer".  In a fact, an announcement in the Western Morning News on January 2nd 1883 states that the business was founded in 1820, which means that it was started by Robert Cundy's father.

Young Robert became a cow keeper and dairyman and in 1841 was living at Tavistock Street, Devonport.  With him were living Mr John Slemman, and Mrs Susannah Slemman, both described as "Agricultural Labourers", as were Mr John Tucker and Mrs Sarah Tucker and their two children, Eliza Tucker and Mary Tucker.  Presumably they were assisting Robert, who was only 21-years-old. 

On October 7th 1841 Mr Robert Cundy married farmer's daughter Miss Eliza Chapple, of North Huish, near Ivybridge, Devon, at Saint Andrew's Church, Plymouth.  They settled at number 11 Fore Street, Devonport, and by the census in 1851 they had one daughter, Mary Sweet Cundy, and two sons: Thomas Robert Chapple Cundy, and Robert William Jackman Cundy.  They had a domestic servant, of course, Miss Sarah Collings, from Ireland.  They had already lost three children: Mary Ford Cundy died at birth in 1844; Robert Eden Cundy, born in 1845, and Eliza Chapple Cundy, born March 4th 1847, both died in 1848 and were buried together on February 16th 1848 at Stoke Damerel Parish Church.  However, some more children soon followed: Robert Chapple Eden Ford Cundy, was born in 1851; Elizabeth Ford Chapple Cundy was born in 1852; William John Chapple Cundy was born on November 7th 1853; Richard Chapple Cundy was born on February12th 1856; and a second William John Chapple Cundy was born on May 29th 1859.

Mr Thomas Robert Chapple Cundy married Miss Emma Prowse at Stoke Damerel Parish Church on March 27th 1870.  He set up in the dairy business on his own account, as the Devonshire Dairy, at 25 Benbow Street, Devonport.

Mr Robert Chapple Eden Ford Cundy, assistant dairyman to his father, married Miss Evelina Palmer at Stoke Damerel Parish Church in 1871.

At the time of the census on April 3rd 1881 Richard Chapple Cundy and William John Chapple Cundy were assisting their father at 107 Fore Street, supported by 22-years-old Mr Charles Witcham, agricultural labourer, from Kingsbridge.

The previously referred to announcement in the Western Morning News on Tuesday January 2nd 1883 thanked the Nobility, Gentry and  Public generally for their support by purchasing their fresh milk, butter and cream that came from their farm twice daily.  Interestingly they called the business the Devonport Royal Dairy on the basis that Her Majesty Queen Victoria had supported them on every visit to the Borough since 1840.  Below it was a similar advert for Mr Thomas Cundy, the Devonshire Dairy, but without the Royal support.  One has to assume that Buckingham Palace quickly put an end to Robert's Royal patronage claims.

On Thursday April 10th 1884 came the big event.  Messrs R Cundy and Sons opened a new Branch Dairy at number 34 Trafalgar Place, Stoke, 'where they hope, by selling Dairy Produce of the best quality only, at Moderate Prices, to secure a still further share of public support, which their Establishment has enjoyed for upwards of Sixty years.'  Furthermore 'Messrs Cundy and Sons have made arrangements to meet the extra demand for Cream usual at this season of the year.'  And more importantly that 'Messrs C and Sons are pleased to state that all orders despatched through the Parcel Post have given invariable satisfaction to their customers'.

The change of name from the Devonport Royal Dairy became evident with the announcement on February 7th 1885 of the birth of a baby girl, Bessie Eleanor Cundy, to Mr Richard Chapple and Mrs Louisa Jane Cundy of the Trafalgar Dairy.

Mr Robert Cundy, cow keeper, died at his home, 107 Fore Street, Devonport, on November 22nd 1897.  The funeral service was held at the Anglican Church of Saint John the Baptist, Devonport, on November 25th 1897.  The business was continued by Mr Richard Chapple Cundy (1856-1935).