The industry that made Dyffryn possible

John Cory made his wealth through coal © National Trust

John Cory made his wealth through coal

The beginning of a great business

The Cory family, who originate from Devon, came to Dyffryn in 1891. John Cory’s father, Richard, first started trading coal between Cardiff, Bristol and Ireland. During the mid-19th century he came to live in Cardiff and began to ship from this port across the world. They traded then under the name Richard Cory and Sons.

Steaming ahead

John and his brother worked together to expand the business after their father’s death in 1882 and renamed the business Cory Brothers and Co. The opening of the Suez canal in 1869 was a key factor in this expansion. The brothers began to acquire more collieries as the demand for Welsh steam coal, considered to be the best in the world, began to rise. They were well-placed to ship it to countries where it was needed for steam ships and newly developing railway networks.

From Dyffryn to docks

John moved to Dyffryn so that he could commute to Barry daily. He was one of the founders and creators of the port of Barry, which became a rival to Cardiff for the export of Welsh coal. John and his brother owned collieries across South Wales and were reputedly the largest private railway wagon owners in the UK.

Wealth and charity

They exported coal to over 120 different ports worldwide and so John became an incredibly wealthy man. This allowed him and his son Reginald to build the magnificent house and grounds you see today. He was a very generous man and his charitable donations amounted to nearly £50,000 annually.