Studied archaeology around Puttenham
Kerry, 1833-1908, was born in Smalley, Derbyshire. He studied architecture for a while, and became a school-master before taking Holy Orders at the age of 30. In his spare time he studied art and archaeology. Every parish where he served he spent his time collecting local history, including his time as Curate of St John the Baptist Church, Puttenham, near Guildford between 1868 1877.
His motto was gather up the fragments, so that nothing be lost and this was demonstrated in his collection of local history scrapbooks. He was very concerned that his work be carefully preserved and sold 25 volumes of his research to Sir Henry Bemrose. These volumes contained transcripts of about 40 local parish registers, but he kept one folio that contained the history of his family dating back to Tudor times.
Within his life Kerry saw the decline of village life. The construction of road and rail networks meant local shops and industries declined as villagers took their trade further away from home. As the old structure of village life was passing away, Kerry realised the importance of recording eyewitness accounts and reminiscences of those who could remember it. Many thought he was wasting his time recording memories, but some saw the value and helped him get it published.
During his time as Curate at Puttenham, Kerry collected archaeological material from the area. As he was a keen amateur archaeologist and kept copious notes of his investigations, many of his finds are now recorded on the Surrey Historic Environment Record. He also published books on Elstead and its Church in 1872 and A History of Waverley Abbey in 1878.
With the same meticulous care he gave his research, Kerry planned his own funeral. He had the cards printed, with everything but the date, and even addressed the envelops himself!