James Simpson Bishop

James Simpson Bishop was the oldest of the eleven children of Simpson Bishop and the oldest of the eight children with his first wife Elizabeth Taylor of Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.

When James was 18, his mother died of tuberculosis. Within 18 months, his father had re-married to Elizabeth Ellinor. Sadly, that marriage would only last 7 years at most, with his father becoming a widower again, and re-marrying to widower Sarah Washington in 1868.

After his mother and first step-mother's deaths, his father moved north to work in the cotton industry of Lancashire, but James remained in Wicken.

James married Ann Bailey Bowers of Wicken, Cambridgeshire, and the couple settled down to have at least eighteen children between 1861 and 1887. In 1889 his wife Ann tragically died from Pneumonia, leaving James with his large young family. Ann's childless sister Sarah Bowers and her husband George Farby of nearby Little Thetford, stepped in to help look after the children - earning themselves the name "Granny and Grandad Farby".

James worked as a Coprolite Labourer in 1871, but otherwise he worked as an Agricultural Labourer right up until a few days before his death in March 1901. His married daughter, Ann Canham, was with him when he died at High Fen, Wicken. The death certificate notes that he died from "Influenza - seven days, Pleursory of diaphragmatic pleura and Peritonitis - four days".

The Cambridge Independent Press ran his obituary on 22nd March 1901. It read: "Obituary - We regret to record the death of Mr. Simpson Bishop, who died on Friday last, at the age of 59 years. Mr. Bishop has been working on Mr. Charles' farm, High Fen, for several years. His illness was a very short one, he only being away from his work a week before he died. He was interred in the Cemetery on Monday last. Mr A Bullman performed the Burial Service."

Life Events


  • 1842 in Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 27th March 1842 at St. Andrew's Church, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.



Census and Residence

  • 1851: 9yrs, Little Wapses, Twineham, West Sussex, England.
  • 1861: 19yrs, The Black Cottage, Fordham, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1871: 28yrs, Beerway, Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1881: 39yrs, High Street, Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1891: 49yrs, Hall Fen, Stretham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 1861: Horsekeeper
  • 1871: Coprolite Digger
  • 1881-1891: Agricultural Labourer


  • In the presence of his daughter Ann on 15th March 1901 at High Fen, Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 59 years. Cause of death: Influenza - 7 days, Pleusary of diaphragmatic pleura and peritonitis - 4 days. Certified: C.G.Cory MRCS


  • 18th March 1901 at Wicken Cemetery, Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England.

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