Octavius Fisher (1857 - ?)




This page explores the life of my great great uncle, Octavius Fisher, blacksmith of Rughill, Cocklake, Wedmore, Somerset, England.


Octavius Fisher on the left and Leonard George Clarke (of Fisher descent) on the right

Octavius Fisher on the left, about 1915, and and my father, Leonard George Clarke (L G Clarke), on the right in World War Two.

The photo of Octavius is courtesy of Stanley Castle and is a detail of a group photo from his CD-Rom about the Cocklake hamlet of Wedmore

Octavius Fisher holds a special interest for me because I have a photo of him. Furthermore the likeness between him and my father is - to me - breathtaking.

Octavius was the youngest child of Joseph and Amelia Fisher, born in 1857. He appeared in the 1861 census as a scholar age 6 living with his parents, grandmother and older siblings (Joseph, son 16, Amelia, scholar 8, John 6) at an address given simply as Wedmore.

Octavius was almost certainly the Uncle Occy whom my aunt remembers her mother, my grandmother, talking about. He became a blacksmith like his father, and would travel round the farms plying his trade. Perhaps that is how he met Martha Stone of Compton Bishop, Somerset, who was to become his wife. The couple married at the Registry Office in Axbridge on 2 December 1880.

The couple appeared in the 1881 census at Wedmore: Octavius, head, blacksmith age 23, wife Martha 25, children Alice 4, Joseph 2, and with mother Amelia 65. Octavius' father, Joseph, had just died, so presumably Octavius was looking after his mother. Stanley Castle observes in his CD-Rom book that a George Masters probably operated at the forge between the death of Joseph and the reappearance of "Occy" as the Cocklake blacksmith.

The 1891 census showed: Octavius head of household, age 33, blacksmith living at Cottage, Rughill (ie back at Cocklake) with wife Martha 35 and children Harriet J 8, Amelia 6, Joseph 3, Caroline 6 months.

The 1901 census was also for Rughill: Octavius, head age 44, blacksmith with wife Martha 45 and chldren: Joseph 13, Caroline 10, Gertrude 6 and Octavius 3. 

Octavius and Martha had the following known children:

  • Alice Fisher was born circa 1877. She was baptized on 18 Mar 1883 at Wedmore.
  • Joseph Fisher was born circa 1879. He must have died before 1885; before 1888, as a brother was named Joseph then.
  • Harriett Jane Fisher was born about 1882 at Wedmore, but there is some disagreement about the precise date. She was probably the Harriet Fisher who was the witness at the marriage of my grandmother in 1903. In view of her closeness to my grandmother, she was also probably also the Harriet Jane Fisher who married either Frederick William Bevens or Charles David Smith in Edmonton in the December quarter of 1909. Edmonton was where my grandmother had settled. Interestingly her aunt, born Amelia Fisher, had "married" into a Smith family in London, but their son, who would have been about the right age, was a Charles Joseph Smith.
  • Amelia Fisher was born in 1885.
  • Joseph Fisher was born circa 1888.
  • Caroline Fisher was born in 1891.
  • Gertrude Fisher was born circa 1896.
  • Octavius John Fisher was born in the June quarter of 1897.
  • Wilfred Fisher was born in the April quarter of 1901.

The 1911 census shows Octavius, 54, a blacksmith, born Wedmore, at Cocklake, Wedmore, with wife Martha, 55, born Compton Bishop, daughter Caroline, 20 and sons Octavius 13 and Wilfred 9.

There is a record for an Octavius Fisher as a Cocklake blacksmith in a Trade Directory for 10 Apr 1919, but there is no way of knowing whether this was Octavius at age 62 or his son Octavius John who would have been an adult of 22 at the time.

According to Stanley Castle, Kelly's Directory listed Octavius Fisher as the Cocklake [Rughill] blacksmith in 1883, 1889, 1894, 1897, 1902, 1906, 1910, 1914 and 1919.