Saturday, March 12, 2011

Line 3.2 Anthony Fisher; Father of a Flock of Puritans

It is a good guess that Anthony Fisher, second son of William and Margerie (Bert) Fisher, was or became a stanch Puritan as three of his sons joined the the Fleet that followed John Winthrop's initial Fleet of ships carring Puritans to Massachusetts and the City on a Hill. Swayed by the continually changing religion in England, Anthony Fisher seems to have swung toward Calvinistic ideas, shaping the theology of the next generation.

Anthony Fisher was born shortly before 01 February 1557/58 when he was baptized in Stradbrooke, Syleham, Suffolk, England
Married Mary Fiske daughter of Nicholas Fiske and his wife Johan Crispe
Died April 1640 and Buried 11 April 1640 in Syleham, Suffolk, England
The children of Anthony and Mary Fisher were:
1.                  Joshua Fisher baptized Syleham, Suffolk, England, married 1. Elizabeth ? who died in 1638 in Redenhall, Norfolk, England. Joshua married 2. Anne  Orfor. He died in Dedham, MA 18 October 1674
2.                  Mary Fisher baptized 28 November 1589, in Syleham and married Roger Briggs
3.                  Anthony Fisher baptized 23 April 1591 in Syleham. He married 1. Alice ? and 2. Isabel  Rigben. He died in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA on 18 April 1671
4.                  Amos Fisher was baptized 26 April 1594 in Syleham. He married Anne  Morrice and died in 1660 in Syleham.
5.                  John Fisher was baptized 15 September 1597 in Syleham. He married an unknown wife and had two children who survived him. John was buried 04 September 1636 in Syleham.
6.                  Cornelius Fisher born 6 August 1599 in Syleham, Suffolk, England, baptized 19 1599 in Syleham, Suffolk, England, married Elizabeth ? and died in Dedham, MA
7.                  Martha Fisher baptized 25 January 1595/96, Fressingfield, Suffolk, England, married John  Buckingham and died 31 March 1659 in Syleham.
1.                  Hester Fisher baptized 25 January 1595/96, Fressingfield, Suffolk, England and buried there 06 February 1607/08

Anthony Fisher, son of William Fisher and his wife, Margerie Bert was born shortly before his baptism on 01 February 1557/58 in the Syleham church. The family was living at "Wignotte" Syleham, Co. Suffolk, England on the south bank of the Wavenay River, which separates the county from Norfolk. Anthony was the second son and third child of William and Margerie Fisher.

Anthony was born into a Roman Catholic England in the middle of a religious “war” with itself. Mary Tudor, the unhappy daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife, the Spanish princess, Katherine of Aragon, was in poor health. She was a godly woman with a strong faith but her rule had been a blood bath of terror. The protestant church was having a baptism in blood but it was growing stronger with the persecution.  Nine months after Anthony Fisher was born in little Syleham,  Elizabeth Tudor became the Queen of England and the Puritans sighed with relief. The relief was short lived. Elizabeth took the title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She chose the middle road and balanced her religious ideals (what there were of them) between the Catholic and the Protestant churches with great determination. Elizabeth took a middle road but she fought a religious war with the Catholic who believed she was not the legitimate Queen of England and the Puritians who though her “religion” was watery and deluted with Catholism. The Puritians were out to “purify” the Church of England. They were unhappy with the elaberate Roman Catholic type ceremonies and creeds that the Church of England had adopted. They wanted a church that resembled a more simple faith that was based on the Bible. They were not content to sit back and have a quiet faith. They wanted their faith to make an impact on England and the world.

Young Anthony grew up in an England that was eager to get it’s religious equalibriam back. There were still many who wanted the Roman Catholic church back but there were also many who wanted more reform to the protestant church that Elizabeth represented. We can only guess at what or who it was that gave County Suffolk and the Fisher family a leaning toward puritisiam. In the Twenty-First century, we tend to think of the Calvinist as theogoically simplistic and legalistic. They may have lended towards legalism but they were educated and determined people. The printing press had opened up the Bible and the world to them. The middle class was rising because they could now be educated. The Bible-hungry masses were now able to read the Bible in their own language rather then listening to services conducted in Latin. They could now find out for themselves just what the Bible taught. Calvinism brought forth the realization of education for the masses as well as the need for “elected” preachers who could lead their flocks in the way the Calvinists (which included the Puritian movement) felt was correct. County Suffolk was ripe and ready to move ahead.

Anthony Fisher married Mary Fiske, daughter of Nicholas Fiske and his wife Johan Crispe, on 16 Oct 1586 in Fressingfield. Their marriage is recorded in the church there. They had at least eight children, including Joshua, Anthony and Cornelius who would immigrate to the New World with the Winthrop Fleet.
 Anthony FISHER was mentioned in several wills, including his fathers, his brother, William's who also names Anthony's children. Anthony and Mary's son John in 1636 gave annuities to his parents, as did their son Cornelius in 1638. The Fishers were wealthy enough to leave wills and prosperous enough to have felt the blessing of God that marked the Puritan movement.

Anthony Fisher was buried the eleventh day of April 1640 and his widow Mary was appointed administrator of his estate on 19 April 1640. It is not known when Mary died, but both she and Anthony were alive when their three sons joined the migration sailed for the New World to live in the City on the Hill.

1. The Dedham Historical Register, 1890, Vol 1, published by the Dedham Historical Society
2. Cornelius Fisher's Will
3. Syleham Parish Records
4. Internet Derick Sibley Hartshorn III,
5. New England Historical and Genealogy Register Vol 151, April 1997 "The English Ancestry of New England Settlers Joshua and Anthony Fisher by Myrtle Stevens Hyde and John Plummer
6.  Syleham, Suffolk, England Parish Records
7. Excerpts from the Parish Records of Stradbroke, Suffolk,, Anglicised version of the original entry which was written in Latin
8. Excerpts from the Parish Records of Fressingfield, Suffolk,

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