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SIR WASEY STERRY

 
Sir Wasey Sterry was born 26 July at Stockland, Devon, and baptised there 2 September, 1866. Wasey was the sixth generation christened "Wasey" in the Southwark family line. Wasey was the son of the Rev. Francis Sterry, who is considered as the greatest English Sterry genealogist, and Augusta Emily Middleton. From 1869 until 1898 Francis Sterry was Rector of Poltimore near Exeter, Devon and owned the Sterry family estate at Eastbury House, Barking, Essex, which had been in the family since his great grandfather, Benjamin Wasey Sterry, who was born almost exactly 100 years before him. Rev. Francis Sterry inherited the family estate in 1842. He was then aged only 12 when his father died. He lived there until 1884 when he sold Eastbury House and purchased a new home which he called "Fort Hill" in Barnstaple, Devon where he retired some time before 1898 and which has remained in family hands until at least 1936.

Wasey was educated at Eton College, Oxford, where he attended from about the age of 12 until he was 18 (1878-1885). He then went on to Merton College, University of Oxford (1885-89), where he gained second-class honours in classical moderations in 1887 and the final school of litterae humaniores 1889, graduating B.A. 1889 and proceeding to MA in 1892.

He became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn in 1892 and continued as an attorney or jurist the rest of his life. In 1901 he entered the British Colonial Service and was assigned to the Sudan to serve as judge in the courts. In 1907 Wasey received the third class of the Egyptian order of the Medjidie from H.H. the Khedive of Egypt. He was appointed Chief Justice of Sudan in 1915. Two years later he became Legal Secretary to the colonial Government of Sudan and remained in this position until 1926. In 1918 he received his C.B.E.(Civil).

In 1919 at the age of about of 53 Wasey married Renee Marie Lydie Bonfils in Cairo, Eqypt. They had no children.

He was acting Governor-General of Sudan in 1923, 1924 and 1925. It was also while he was Legal Secretary in Khartoum that he was made a Knight Bachelor by the King of England, in 1925. From 1928 until 1938 Sir Wasey was a judge on His Britannic Majesty's Supreme Court for Egypt, presumeably having taken up residence in Cairo after leaving Khartoum. During this period he was awarded Order of the Nile (2nd class). He appears to have retired to England in 1938.

Sir Wasey lived through some very exciting historical times. He would certainly have been familiar with the exploits of "Lawrence of Arabia" who was that spectacular Englishman who led local guerilla forces in Arabia during the first World War.  He would also have known of the work of the British archaeologist who made one of the richest and most celebrated contributions to Egyptology: the discovery (1922) of the largely intact tomb of King Tutankhamen. For the next 10 years Carter supervised the removal of its contents, most of which are housed in the Cairo Museum.

Sudan at that time was controlled by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (declared in 1899) whereby the Sudan was given separate political status in which sovereignty was jointly shared by the khedive of Egypt and the British crown, and the Egyptian and the British flags were flown side by side. The military and civil government of the Sudan was invested in a governor-general appointed by the khedive of Egypt but nominated by the British government. In reality, there
was no equal partnership between Britain and Egypt in the Sudan. From the first the British dominated the condominium.

The first manifestations of Sudanese nationalism occurred in 1921, when 'Ali 'Abd al-Latif founded the United Tribes Society and was arrested for nationalist agitation. In 1924 he formed the White Flag League, dedicated to driving the British from the Sudan. Demonstrations followed in Khartoum in June and August and were suppressed. When the governor-general, Sir Lee Stack, was assassinated in Cairo on Nov. 19, 1924, the British forced the Egyptians to withdraw from the Sudan and annihilated a Sudanese battalion that mutinied in support of the Egyptians. The Sudanese revolt was ended, and British rule remained unchallenged until after World War II. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Map of Sudan


After his retirement, Sir Wasey took up the pursuit of genealogy in his father's footsteps. He also published "The Eton College Register, 1441-1698" in 1943. He kept his father's papers which reveal a painstaking assemblage of data over a sixty year period (1862-1911), culminating in a beautifully lettered chart of this entire branch of the English Sterrys 1633-1952.

Sir Wasey died on 9 August, 1955 at Windsor near London at the age of approximately 89 years. It is not known when his wife died.