Robert Scrooby Fisher (senior) was born in 1742, according to the age on his burial record.
I haven’t been able to find his baptism, but there is a baptism for a Robert Fisher on 3 June 1743 at St Saviours, Southwark, Surrey to parents William and Mary Fisher that may be his.
42 year old bachelor Robert married Leah Weale by banns on 17 January 1785 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, Surrey, England. Robert’s unusual middle name of ‘Scrooby’ was also used on his marriage register entry.
Leah was described as a widow of Bermondsey, and she was unable to sign her name, making a mark ‘x’ instead. Witnesses to the marriage were John Scott and James Fawcett.
Leah was possibly the widow of Thomas Weal. A Leah Jones, widow, married Thomas Weal bachelor in 1781 at St Paul, Shadwell, London. I’m unable to find her baptism as I don’t know her maiden name.
I do not know Robert’s occupation, as he is only ever described as a gentleman in later documents.
Robert appears to be part of a wealthy family, and appears in several records living in Rotherhithe in Surrey.
Historically the area was the most northeastern settlement in the county of Surrey. The docks at Rotherhithe existed from the beginning of the 16th century. In 1792 there were eleven dockyards in the parish, of which a considerable number of ships for the East India Company were built.
Rotherhithe became part of the parliamentary borough of Southwark in 1832, and of the county of London in 1888. The population of Rotherhithe has been trebled in the 19th century. Rotherhithe is more open and more prosperous than Bermondsey. The riverside parts have been almost entirely rebuilt, large warehouses taking the place of houses of the seafaring and longshore population of former days.
Robert Fisher can be found living at three addresses in the following Surrey records –
- 1792-93 Swan Alley, (Surrey Land Tax Records)
- 1795-98 23 Adam Street, (Surrey Land Tax Records)
- 1798-1812 23 Adam Street, (Surrey, Jury-Qualified Free & Copyholders 1696-1824)
- 1813 17 Albion Street, (Surrey, Jury-Qualified Free & Copyholders 1696-1824)
In the 1798 Land Tax Redemption Records for Adam Street, Rotherhithe, Robert Fisher is the owner of five properties – leased out to four, living in one.
On 29 January 1795, the Sun Fire Insurance Office insured Mr Robert Scrooby Fisher, of 23 Adam Street near the church in Rotherhithe, gentleman. Other properties held 24, 25 and 26 Adam Street.
Robert and Leah had five children –
- Sarah b 1787 Deptford, Kent d 1853 Camberwell, Surrey. Marr John Wyatt. 5 children
- Robert Scrooby b ca 1788 Kent d 1850 Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Marr Ann Scott 1812.
- Sarah* b 1795, Rotherhithe, Surrey
- Joseph b 1797 Rotherhithe, d 1875 Camberwell. Marr Lucy Manclarke. 9 children.
- Mary Ann b Rotherhithe, d Marr Samuel Fowell (Captain Royal Navy). 1 child Samuel. Note Mary Ann’s husband Samuel is mentioned in her father Robert’s will.
*Strangely another Sarah is born to the couple, baptised St Mary Rotherhithe (the daughter of Robert Scroobe and Leah Fisher), unless it is the same Sarah being rebaptised 8 years later?
When their first child Sarah was born the family Robert and Leah were living in Mill Lane, Deptford in Kent, England. I’ve been unable to find the next child Robert’s baptism, but according to later records for him, he was also born in Kent. He immigrated to Hampton Virginia, USA aboard the ship the “Henry Clay” in 1820.
Between 1788 and 1792 the family move from Deptford in Kent to Swan Alley in Rotherhithe, Surrey.
They can then be found living at 23 Adam Street, Rotherhithe from 1795 until 1812, when they make their final move to 17 Albion Street in 1813 where Robert also owned four other properties from 23 to 26 Adam Street.
Robert died on 12 February 1814 at home at 17 Albion Street, Rotherhithe aged 71 years, occupation gentleman. He was buried at St Mary, Rotherhithe on 15 February 1814.
His will was proved on 25 February 1814, in which he left his property to his wife Leah, and his son Robert on attachment to the British Government in the USA, and Leah’s various unnamed grandchildren.
Properties mentioned in the will bequests included Margaret Street, Mary le Bow, a house in Albion Street and houses at 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 Adam Street.
The death duties were paid by Mrs Leah Fisher of 17 Albion Street, Rotherhithe.
Leah Fisher died in January 1819 at Lower Neptune Street, Rotherhithe, Surrey.
She was also buried at St Mary, Rotherhithe aged 75 years.