Fricker family

Stephen Fricker and his second wife Martha Rowles and their six surviving children: Sarah, Mary, Edith, Martha (b. 1777), Eliza (b. 1778) and George (b. 1785). The failure of his business speculations (including the manufacture of sugar pans) contributed to Stephen Fricker’s early death and to a sharp decline in the fortunes of his family. The family home was sold, Mrs Fricker moved into lodgings in Bristol and opened a dame school, and her three eldest daughters became seamstresses, whose clients included Southey’s mother and aunt, Elizabeth Tyler. Southey knew the Frickers from childhood and was ‘partly educated’ with the three eldest girls. The similarity between their situation and his own (Southey’s father was also a bankrupt) was perhaps an important factor in what was to be a lifelong relationship.

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