James Fisher EDISBURY

by Annette Edwards

The Edisbury family have been connected with the Wrexham area for centuries. Erddig Hall was  built about 1684 as a home for the High Sheriff of Denbighshire, Josiah Edisbury.  It was sold 30 years later  to the English politician Sir John Meller who added the two wings and bequeathed the hall  to his nephew Simon Yorke in 1733.

Because of this connection I`ve gone another generation back with John Fisher Edisbury`s   story.

James  Edisbury was the son of Charles Edisbury and was born in Wrexham in 1803. His marriage was announced on 27th February 1829 in the  Carmarthen Journal.

“At Wrexham, on Tuesday, the 17th inst by the Rev. George Cunliffe , M, A. Mr. James Edisbury, of Holywell, to Miss Elizabeth Walker Ratcliffe, eldest daughter of the late Henry Walker Ratcliffe.  Esq. of Wrexham.”  

Elizabeth Walker Ratcliffe was baptised  in Wrexham  on 28th April 1806, the daughter of Henry and Mary Ratcliffe grocer.

Elizabeth Edisbury  died on 5 July 1832 at Holywell.  On 14 January 1834 James married Sarah Ratcliffe at St Bridget, Chester.  Again a bit odd considering his first wife was also Ratcliffe.

James Fisher Edisbury was born in Holywell on 13 October 1837, his father was James Edisbury and his mother was Sarah.  He had an elder sister Emily Walker Edisbury who was born in 1834 but died in 1839. His mother Sarah died when James Fisher was less than 3 years old.

12th May 1840 North Wales Chronicle

On the 6th inst. much respected, the beloved wife of Mr James Edisbury, Liquor merchant, and grocer, Holywell.  (This was Sarah aged 31)

 James had a business in Holywell for quite a few years.

 North Wales Directory 1835 Holywell & Bagillt:

 James Edisbury, High St. Grocer &/or dealer in sundries, and tobacconist:   Tallow Chandler,Wine and Spirit merchant.   

In 1841 James Fisher and his father were in High Street, Holywell where James snr. was a wine merchant.

They are both missing in 1851, parts of the  Flintshire census are missing , they could have both still been in Holywell.

James was in Wrexham by 1855, he is named in a list of subscribers to the fund for the aid of  the widows and orphans of soldiers who had died in Turkey .  (The Crimean War)

In February 1857 he was moving into Wrexham and was letting out his home.

BE LET, all that desirable residence called Bersham Hall,” with productive Garden, Orchard, and about eleven acres of prime land. The House is pleasantly elevated and contains two Kitchens, Dining and Drawing Rooms, small Breakfast Parlour, and four Bedrooms. The locality is exceedingly healthy and within two miles of Wrexham. For further particulars apply to the owner, Mr. James Edisbury, who is going to reside in Wrexham, for the better convenience of his business purposes. N.B.—The House and Land will be let separately, if required, and immediate possession may be had.

James was now an auctioneer and accountant, and in 1858 his business was in Brook Street House, Wrexham.

James Edisbury died on 21 September 1859, he left effects of under £200, his will was proved by his son James Fisher Edisbury.

DEATH OF MR. EDISBURY, AUCTIONEER.—In our obituary of this week will be found the death of Mr Edisbury, auctioneer and appraiser, of this town, who died at his residence in Brook-street, on Wednesday last. The deceased was a native of Bersham, where his father had accumulated a considerable amount of property, as a shopkeeper during the time that Wilkinson carried on the Bersham cannon foundry.  Deceased at one time carried on an extensive business as grocer and wine merchant in Holywell. In politics he was a liberal, and on one or two occasions took a very active part in the Flintshire elections. In religion he was a dissenter, and at the last anti-state church meeting that was held in Wrexham he expressed his concurrence in all that had been said, although at the same time he held the office of churchwarden. (Edited)

 In 1861 James Fisher was a master chemist in Wrexham, he was in Penybryn with his brother in law John Edisbury and his wife Mary Elizabeth who was born in Holywell.  She was James`s half sister.  Two of their children have the middle name Ratcliffe and their mother`s maiden name was Edisbury.    So it looks like an Edisbury married an Edisbury. (Very complicated!)

James Fisher married Harriet Jones in 1863. 13 June 1863 Wrexham  Advertiser.

MARRIAGE.—A large concourse of people assembled in the old church on Tuesday last to witness the marriage of Mr J. F. Edisbury, of this town, chemist and druggist, with Miss Jones, only daughter of Mr Thomas Jones, of High-street. Seldom has a wedding in the same social circle in Wrexham excited so much interest or attracted so large a crowd of on-lookers. This is, doubtless, attributable to the high respect in which the families of both bride and bridegroom are held in the town.. The father of the former is one of our oldest and most respectable tradesmen, while the bridegroom is one of our youngest tradesmen, whose late father was well known as a lover of antiquarian lore. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Canon Cunliffe, M.A., and the bridesmaids were Miss M. J. Bardsley, Miss Rhodes, Miss Jones, and Miss Baugh. The bride was attired in white silk, covered with white flounces, and a most magnificent bridal wreath and veil. The bridesmaids were dressed in Tarleton with blonde veils and blue flowers. The bells sent forth a merry peal at the close of the ceremony, and in the afternoon the youthful pair took their departure for the Lakes.

Two announcements the following year tell a sad story.

28 May 1864.Births.  EDISBURY – On the 21st, the wife of Mr J. F. Edisbury, of a daughter, still-born.

11 June 1864. Deaths. EDISBURY—On the 7th inst., Harriet, the beloved wife of Mr J. F. Edisbury, chemist, High-street, Wrexham, aged 25 years.

On 4 May 1867 James Fisher remarried to Minnie Jones. It was announced in the Wrexham Advertiser.

 EDlSBURY JONES-On the 1st inst., at Brynyffynnon Chapel, Wrexham, by the Rev. William Wilson, assisted by the Rev. R. Harding, uncle and brother- in-law of the bride, Mr J. F. Edisbury, Bersham Hall, to Minnie, third daughter of T. C. Jones, Esq., J.P., Leeswood House, Wrexham.

The couple went to live in Bersham Hall, and in August 1868 there was an announcement. Births. 3rd inst. at Bersham Hall, Wrexham, the wife of Mr J. F. Edisbury, of a daughter.

This was Minne Adeline their first child.

In January 1870 James Fisher placed an advert. He was renting the hall so he could move to Wrexham to be closer to his business.

TO be LET, with or without 4 ½ acres of Meadow Land, BERSHAM HALL. containing dining and drawing rooms, five bedrooms, kitchens, stable, coach- house, shrubberies, and walled kitchen garden.—Apply to J. F. EDISBURY, Wrexham.

 By 1871 they were living in the smart end of the town at 4 Grosvenor Road.  There were 2 daughters; Minnie Adeline aged 2 and Phillis May who was 1. Another little girl, Daisy Gwendoline  was born there but sadly died on 4  March 1878 aged just 10 weeks. She was the first of the Edisbury family to be buried in Wrexham Cemetery.

They were at Belgrave House in 1881 and had another 3 children, Stanley Dutton 8 , Rose Myddleton Christine 5 and Mary Violet who was just 7 months old. His wife Minnie died there aged 35 on 25 January 1882.

 By 1881 James Fisher had  extended his business interests and  started producing mineral  waters. In 1884 an article was printed in the Wrexham Advertiser.

VISIT TO THE NORTH WALES DERATED WATER FACTORY, WREXHAM. The recent enlargement of this factory affords a fitting occasion for referring to the notable development which the aerated water manufacture carried on has attained, and to the beverages with which its proprietors, Messrs. J. F. Edisbury and Company, have associated their names. Although scarcely four years have passed since the business connected with this factory was taken over by purchase from the Zoedone Company (the great demand at that time for Zoedone preventing that Company from giving attention to mineral waters) the local trade in its products has already reached such dimensions as to employ in the delivery of those products no less than nine vans, exclusive of the output per rail in North and South Wales and the adjacent English counties. Branch depots are also established at Chester, Oswestry, and Birmingham.

 In 1887 he was forced to put a notice in the news warning people of imitations.

“  FIVE POUNDS REWARD “ Owing to the unprecedented success of the A 1 STONE GINGER BEER,  which this Season has been brought out by Messrs J. F. Edisbury and Co., Wrexham, certain unscrupulous persons have been offering for Sale, and passing off as J.F.E. & Co’s. A 1,” some very feeble and unpalatable imitations, in some instances actually using the bottles of this firm. Consumers are requested to see that they get what they ask for. Have the bottle opened before them, and if found to be not the A 1 (when such is asked for) bring the same to the North Wales Factory, were it can be immediately ascertained if it is spurious. The A 1 being a standard article of a certain specific gravity. The above amount will be paid to anyone giving such information as will lead to the conviction of such unprincipled person or persons found using the A 1 Bottles, or representing any other “make” as the A 1 Stone Ginger Beer., manufactured only by Messrs J. F. Edisbury and Co., North Wales Factory Wrexham. June, 29th, 1887.”

 James Fisher and his family were still at Grove Road in 1891, but in 1901 he was in Littleton House on  Beechley Road,  he was boarding with Frederick Robbins  a mason from Bath.

1911  finds him at Holm Villa on the   Kings Mills Road. He is with Sarah Heywood  who was 70 , James Fisher Edisbury  73 retired chemist.

He states he was “ born Holywell but lived all life in Wrexham “

James Fisher Edisbury died  on 20 October 1920 in Spring Road, he was aged 83.

Over the years he had achieved many things, he was a respected chemist, a JP, a member of the School Board,   the Poor law Union, a talented musician  and a good businessman. 

James Fisher was also a prominent member of the Freemasons and in 1916 an article was published.

MR, J. F. EDISBURY, OF WREXHAM. MASONIC JUBILEE PRESENTATION. The members of the Square and Compass Lodge of Freemasons, 1336, met at the Masonic Hall, Wrexham, on Tuesday night to do honour to Worshipful Brother J. F. Edisbury, P.M., P. Prov. G.J. W., who attained his Masonic jubilee this year and celebrated his 79th birthday a few weeks ago. W. Bro. Edisbury’s Masonic record is a most interesting one. He has passed through all the stages of the craft, arch and mark lodges to the thirty-third degree of Knight Templar. He was initiated at the Cestrian Lodge, 425, on February 1st, 1856, and became a founder of the Square and Compass Lodge, 1326, Wrexham, in 1870. Despite his great age, Bro. Edisbury continues to take an active interest in Masonic work, and regularly attends the lodge he assisted to found at Wrexham forty-six years ago. (Edited)

 James Fisher died aged 83 on 20 October 1920 at Spring Road, Wrexham  and was buried with his wife Minnie and little daughter Daisy Gwendoline.

Researched by Annette Edwards.  August 2019.

The 1916 photograph of James Fisher with his daughter Minnie Adeline was published in the Wrexham Leader some years ago. Carl and Carol Morris kindly sent it to me, Carol`s mother Jennie was born an Edisbury.

Bersham Hall photo is  courtesy of Vic Davies. Rhostyllen. A History through pictures.

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery J-02330