Fox in Norfolk and Wiltshire
This page is devoted to the FOX ancestors of my father in Wiltshire and of my mother in Norfolk - the origins of the name, who they were and where and when they lived.
The genealogical data in these pages is accurate to the best of my current (at the time of writing) knowledge. This means it is of very variable reliability, since sources at one extreme are 100% certain (e.g. I know who I married, where and when, and the identity of my parents) to the mere rumour level, such as LDS data extracted from the IGI and Ancestral File, and reminiscences of elderly relatives, some now deceased. Anyone wishing to make any use whatever of this information is therefore strongly advised to contact me for source details.
The surname Fox is said by Hanks & Hodges A Dictionary of Surnames to have four different origins. The commonest is a nickname, based on some resemblance (cunning or hair colour) to the animal.
A second possibility is a translation of the Irish-Gaelic Mac an tSionnaigh, which means "Son of the fox".
The third source listed is the Anglicisation of the Jewish (Ashkenazic) names Fiks, Fiksman, Fuchs, Fuchsman, Fucks, Fuks, Fux and Fuxsman.
Fourth is the Low German Focks, meaning son of Fock (a given name derived from (Volk).
Foxe, Foxman, Fuchsman.
My paternal grandfather's father was James Fox, who was born in Wanborough, Wiltshire, on 27th March 1839 and lived with his parents at The Marsh, Wanborough. On 23rd May 1864 he married Elizabeth Adams at Little Hinton parish church. He was described at that time as a labourer, but was nevertheless able to sign his name in the register (not common for such people at the time). At least four children resulted from the marriage, all shown living with their father in the 1881 census: Elizabeth (born about 1865), (Richard) William (1868), Margaret (1869) and Ruth (1870). The first name of Richard William is in parentheses because the 1881 census does not show it, but he did use it later, such as when informing officialdom of his sister Margaret's death; he is known to have had a grandson Francis James Fox.
James's wife Elizabeth died, probably before 1872, and certainly before the 1881 census. He took in his half-cousin Elizabeth Fisher, nominally as his housekeeper. The 1881 census shows them living in Wanborough, together with three children stated to be his sons but surnamed Fisher (in addition to the Fox children listed above). These children were George (born about 1872), Joseph (1874) and Henry (1880). This census describes him as a mason.
He suffered an injury at some time which meant he had a hook in place of one hand. He had an unfortunate reputation, as described to me by my father's aunt, who knew him. She said that on one occasion when she saw him approaching along a country lane near Wanborough, she hid in a ditch until he had passed, rather than risk meeting him alone!
James Fox's father was Richard Fox, who was born in Wanborough, probably in April 1800 (he was baptised on 14th of that month). On 24th December 1826 he married Elizabeth Jefferies at Wanborough parish church. The 1841 census for Wanborough shows they had at least 5 children: Mary Ann (born about 1829), Roseanna (1831), William (1833), Margaret (1837) and James (1839).
On 19th May 1850 he, by then a widower, married Harriet Attwood. The 1871 census shows the couple living at 12 Moorleaze, Wanborough, with his 5-year old grand-daughter Robina Fox.
The 1841 and 1851 censuses, and son James's 1839 birth certificate all describe him as an agricultural labourer, but his marriage certificate to Harriet Attwood says he was a glazier, while son James's marriage certificate in 1864 calls him a tradesman.
Richard's father Robert Fox was born in Wanborough about March 1770. In January 1800 he married Elizabeth Fox at Wanborough parish church. He died in December 1805, and was buried at Wanborough parish church on 20th.
Richard's mother, and Robert's wife, was Elizabeth Fox. She was born about June 1776, and baptised on 16th at Wanborough parish church. In January 1800 she married Robert Fox. She bore him three children, Richard (baptised 14th April 1800), James (1st August 1802) and Elizabeth (12th April 1805).
Widowed near the end of that year, she married blacksmith John Fisher in December 1809. She bore him at least three children; the census of 6th June 1841 shows the couple living with Joseph (aged between 25 and 29), Thomas (between 20 and 24) and James (15), as well as Joseph's wife and daughter. The address given in the 1841 census record is "North East side of Easter Town, Wanborough".
Robert Fox's father was Richard Fox, born in Wanborough about February 1733/34 (baptised on 3rd February). The parish register entries for their children shows his wife's name was Martha. They produced at least four children: Joanna (baptised 14th April 1765), Elizabeth (24th April 1768), Robert (25th March 1770) and Thomas (4th April 1773).
This earlier Richard's father was Robert Fox. I have discovered nothing of his origins - no baptism for him appears in the Wanborough register, so it is likely that he was born elsewhere.
On 21st October 1719 he married Joan Edes at Wanborough parish church. The couple produced eight children: John (baptised 14th August 1720), Robert (19th November 1721), Anne (28th November 1725), William (22nd February 1726/7), John (26th March 1729), Betty (10th January 1730/1), Richard (3rd February 1733/4) and Mary (16th April 1736).
Elizabeth Fox's father was Thomas Fox, baptised 16th April 1727 at Wanborough parish church. The parish register entries for their children shows his wife's name was Elizabeth. The parish register shows the baptism of 6 children: Ann (baptised 12th July 1772), Thomas (27th February 1774), Elizabeth (16th June 1776), Mary (24th September 1780), John (29th June 1785) and Joannah (11th October 1789), although the spread of dates suggests that possibly the last one or two may have been their grandchildren.
Thomas Fox's father John's origins are not known, nor is anything of his marriage. The Wanborough parish register records the baptism of five of his children: Elizabeth (baptised 3rd June 1716), Sarah (11th December 1720), Hannah (between 6th September and 14th December 1723), Thomas (16th April 1727) and William (31st March 1736).
Although she was not a direct ancestor of mine, I am including a little about this lady because she was closely involved in the upbringing of my father and his siblings. She was the daughter of James Fox, my great grandfather, by his wife Elizabeth (née Adams). She was born in Wanborough on 30th November 1869, but, judging from the census records, appears to have been fostered by her uncle William Fox from a very early age. The 1871 census shows her living with that family, while her siblings were presumably with their father (I have not yet found the family in that census). The 1881 census shows her father and siblings living in Wanborough together with Elizabeth Fisher and the children she bore James Fox, but she, her uncle and his family I have not found.
When her half-brother Joseph Fisher's wife (my grandmother) died in 1922, leaving him with several children including my infant uncle, she moved in with the family (then living in Swindon) and remained with them. After the children grew up and left home she remained in the family home, first with Joseph and then alone for the 5 months between his death in November 1941 and hers (from a heart attack while in a cinema) in April 1942.
The above photo (click on the thumbnail for a larger image, 67,607 bytes) has been scanned and enlarged from an old reprint of part of the scene at the church door on the occasion of my parents' marriage in August 1935 (Apologies for the poor quality - the original I think from its appearance was photocopied from a newspaper!).
My maternal grandfather's maternal grandfather's mother was Martha Fox. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) Ancestral File records, she was born at some time before 1771 in West Newton, Norfolk. The same source says she married William Dye on 19th June 1792 at West Newton parish church, and they produced three children: Joseph (born about 1810), Charles (about 1813) and David (about 1817).
Main links within this site:
Jim's Jottings Home Page
Genealogy and Family History | Gardening with Strange Ideas
Humour? | Politics and Philosophy | Science
Jim Fisher Summary Biography | Miscellaneous Small Items
Contact me | Map of This Site | Web Site Design and Browser Compatibility Policy
Top of this page
A Personal Family History - People and Places