Joseph Fisher (1812 - 1881)

blacksmith of Wedmore



This page explores the life of my great great grandfather Joseph Fisher, a blacksmith of Wedmore and Rughill, Cocklake, Somerset, England.


Joseph Fisher was born into a long line of Fishers in Wedmore to parents Richard, a blacksmith, and Maria.

Joseph was baptised on 29 Apr 1812 in St Mary's Parish Church, and was married there on 3 Apr 1838. The bride was Amelia Hickman. He was described as of full age, but she was a "minor". She gave her mark X instead of a signature, but, if Joseph's own signature is anything to go by, he was able to read and write. The witness was a James Fisher and addresses were simply Wedmore.

When Joseph married he took on his wife's illegitimate baby Jane whose baptismal entry for 30 Nov 1837 merely reads:

"HICKMAN, Jane, d. Amelia, Wedmore, Single woman"

The records show that illegitimacy was fairly common practice in Amelia's family, and there is no way of knowing whether Joseph was belatedly doing the right thing in taking Amelia as his wife or whether he was generously agreeing to provide for someone else's child. Either way the couple went on to have children of their own, one of whom was my great grandmother.

Joseph, like his father, was a blacksmith. He and Amelia appear as follows in the 1841 census at Borough, Wedmore: 

Joseph Fisher, head, 25, blacksmith, wife Amelia, 20, daughters, Jane 3, and Caroline 1. In the same house were relations William Vowles 15 and Sophia Hickman, 9 - of whom more on the page for Amelia's mother, Caroline.

The 1851 census shows the family at Coombe Batch, Wedmore: 

Joseph, 35, head, blacksmith, born Wedmore, Amelia, 34, and children Joseph 6 scholar, Caroline 11 scholar, Harriet 4 scholar and Jane 8 m. This Jane was the younger sister of the one who Joseph took on when he married. She had died an early death, and had been buried as "Jane Hickman Fisher, age 9" on 22 Apr 1847. The Fisher surname showed that Joseph had clearly regarded her as his own.

The 1861 census shows:

Joseph Fisher, head, 49, blacksmith, Amelia wife, 44, Joseph, son 16, Amelia, scholar 8, John 6 scholar, Octavius 3, Caroline Vowles, mother-in-law, 77, widow, pauper. All born Wedmore. Address Wedmore village. 

The 1871 census shows the family at Rughill, Cocklake, (a hamlet of Wedmore):

Joseph, 58, blacksmith, with wife Amelia, son Joseph 26, blacksmith, son Octavius 13 and single daughter Caroline 30.

Joseph died on 4 Feb 1881 at Cocklake, Wedmore, age 68 (documented wrongly as 63) of partial hermiplegia (2 years) and bronchitis. The informant was Amelia Smith, daughter; his profession was given as master blacksmith.

The Fisher family bible, augments my own research to identify Joseph and Amelia's children, although whether or not Joseph was the father to those born before their marriage is open to question.

  • Jane Hickman Fisher was born 2 November 1837. She was baptised Jane on 30 Nov 1837 Parish register reads "HICKMAN, Jane, d.o. Amelia, Wedmore, Single woman". She died age 9 and was buried in the parish church on 22 April 1847.
  • Caroline Fisher was born on 16 January 1840.. In her early adult life she was a servant. Then in the September quarter of 1874 she married Edward Webber, a butcher born in Rughill. There do not seem to have been any children. Edward was still a butcher in High Street, Wedmore in the 1901 census.
  • James Fisher was born on 29 October 1842. He died age 3 and was buried on 30 December 1845. What an unhappy Christmas the family would have had!
  • Joseph Fisher was born on 21 October 1844 and became a blacksmith like his father. However, he died in his 30s on 20 April 1878, probably unmarried, although he may have been the Joseph Fisher who married Jane Mounter at Langport, Somerset in 1872.
  • Harriet Fisher, spelt in the bible as Harriett, was my great grandmother. She was born on 24 Feb 1847 and has her own page.
  • James Fisher was born on19 July 1849 and was named after his dead brother. Sadly though, he too died young as his name was given to yet another sibling.
  • Jane Fisher was born on 19 July 1849 and was named after her dead half?-sister. The family bible annotates her as "died", but does not give the date. She did appear with the family in the 1851 census.
  • Amelia Fisher was born on 2 May 1850. She married Charles Smith who in the 1881 census was listed as, head, 30, dairy man, born London; Amelia Smith, wife, 28 born Wedmore, son Charles Joseph 8 born Wedmore and daughter Harriet Jane, 2 born Surbiton. Address New Portland Rd, Kingston On Thames, Surrey. The marriage itself has not been found and may never have taken place.
  • Octavius Fisher, born in 1858, has his own page.
  • James Fisher was born on 28 March 1859 and was probably the third James to die young, as nothing more is known of him.