This page reports on a visit to Wedmore by my husband and myself in April 2004. The purpose was to try to see for ourselves how my Fisher ancestors might have lived their daily lives.
My first impression of Wedmore itself was its small size. Most towns grow over the years, but Wedmore reminded me of a traditional "olde worlde", tucked-away English country village. It could readily serve as a film set for a period film. I wanted to locate the places of special interest with respect to my ancestry. So I asked a passer-by where the public library was - only to be told that Wedmore didn't have a public library.
Armed with a street-map, we easily found the parish church where so many of my Fisher ancestors had been baptised, baptised their children and then been buried themselves.
The church struck me as huge considering the size of the town, and I was delighted and surprised to find that it wasn't locked - very unusual these days. We scoured the church looking for Fisher inscriptions but we found none. Then we scoured the churchyard. I suppose I was looking, more in hope than expectation, because I knew from the Tutton website that I could expect only one marked Fisher grave - for Jane Hickman Fisher, the half sister of my great grandmother who had died on 22 April 1847, age 9. We found nothing at all for my Fisher ancestors. According to a book by Hazel Hudson's, over 30,000 interments were probably made in that churchyard. The parish records show around 10,500 between 1561 and 1812. (No records were kept in the middle ages.) So presumably markers on many of the graves were temporary and the graves were later re-used. Nevertheless that does not explain the absence of stones on the much more recent graves of Joseph, Amelia and Harriet.
We next walked round the corner to the street called The Borough where my great great grandfather, Joseph Fisher, was listed as a blacksmith in the 1841 census, but we saw nothing to indicate where a forge had once been.
Then we walked round another corner to Combe Batch, where Harriet Fisher, known as Harriet Pope, had had her grocer's store in the early 1900s. I had hoped to find some sign of it, but there was none. Neither was there any sign of the bakery opposite where Maud was supposed to watch my grandfather working while he was still a baker's boy and she was a dressmaker working from above her mother's shop. But there were no signs of anything I sought. I wished I had managed to locate an old map which might have marked the positions of shops and places of trade in old Wedmore.
My husband wanted us to visit the nearby and world-famous Cheddar Gorge, which is only three miles from Wedmore. It was an awe inspiringly beautiful place. Yet although not high season, the shops at the foot of the gorge were gaudy and touristic, and visitors were milling around everywhere. I found myself yearning for the peace that must once have been there. I wondered, too, about much time my ancestors had spent there, whether they had taken the beauty for granted and whether they had partaken much of the famous Cheddar cheese produced in the caves.
Finally, for that day, we visited the cemetery, just outside Wedmore on the Cheddar Road. I was confident we would find the graves of my ancestors there, but there was nothing before about 1940. (Later I was to be told that this was the 'new cemetery'.)
By now I was becoming quite depressed. It was as though, as far as Wedmore was concerned, my Fisher ancestors had never existed. However, the next day, my depression would turn to elation when I found a second cottage/forge where my ancestors had lived and worked. Later I also had a new idea on the location of the Wedmore forge where Joseph had worked.