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WILLIAM FISHER OF BARROW VILLAGE


The most important man in Barrow Village (late 18th century to late 19th century) was William Fisher. He was born in Barrow Village in 1775 and died in 1861; he was a Low Furness yeoman farmer i.e. a wealthy worker of the land. From 1811 - 1859 he kept a diary of local events: births, marriages and deaths - the 'hatchings, matchings and dispatches' column of today's Evening Mail. He also recorded seed and harvest times, catastrophes and commonplace events. The diary is important because it gives us interesting glimpses of how the villagers of this small farming community used to live during a vibrant period of the area's history; during the 48 years covered by the diary the village of Barrow grew into the industrial town of Barrow, which was founded on the wealth from the red haematite iron ore of Furness and the slate of Kirkby.


The Tithe Commution Schedule for Dalton-in-Furness 1842 shows that William Fisher's farm consisted of slightly more than 85 acres; his arable crops were grown on land near the Town Hall and Schneider Square area and probably his orchards, gardens and cow sheds were sited on land now occupied by the doctor's surgery, the Alfred Barrow School and the car park (opposite).


The Diary of William Fisher of Barrow 1811 - 1859 is owned by the Rowlandson family from Ulverston, but thanks to their generosity the Fisher manuscripts is housed in Cumbria Record Office, Ramsden Square, where it is on permanent loan. The diary was published by the Centre for North-West Regional Studies, University of Lancaster as an Occasional Paper No. 15 in 1986 and edited by the late Dr W Rollinson and former archivist, Brett Harrison.