Grave 8

Joseph Sigmond

1750  – 1832

Here lies
[?Joseph son of ] Gabriel ZL* died on 
30th Tishrei and buried on 1st Cheshvan
5593 eighty two years
May his soul be bound up in the bond of life eternal

*of blessed memory

פ נ

גבריאל ז"ל נפטר ביום

ל׳ בְּתִשְׁרֵי ונקבר ביום אי בְּחֶשְׁוָן

תקצ״ג שמנים ושני שנים


Died 24th October

Joseph Sigmond was born in Posnania, now Poland around 1750. His father, Gabriel Sigmond, was killed during the the first partition of Poland in 1772 and his family were exiled. 

The eldest son Joseph Gabriel Posner went to America while Joseph P Sigmond came to England where he initially settled in Exeter. Encouraged by a Mr Patch, an eminent surgeon in Exeter, he studied 'the anatomy and surgery of the Teeth'. 

Joseph became very successful, publishing a 'Short Essay on The Teeth' in 1790 and devising a new method for constructing false teeth. In 1791 he was living at his house 'nearly opposite the Devonshire-bank, in the Church-yard, Exeter'. 

In the early 1790s Joseph married Catherine Mosely, a resident of Exeter and in 1794 their only child, George Gabriel Sigmond was born. 

Joseph had begun to advertise as a Surgeon Dentist in both Exeter and Bath from 1788  frequently travelling between the two cities. In the mid 1790s the family moved permanently to Bath and by 1798 Joseph was practising and living at Edgar Buildings. 

He continued to establish his reputation as a surgeon dentist as well as writing manuals on dental hygiene. In 1800 he was granted a Royal Patent for his 'British Imperial Lotion and Dentifrice for Preserving the Teeth and Gums'.

As well as prospering  professionally and financially, Joseph become part of fashionable society. He was a Freemason, and his house was reported to be a 'rendezvous of the most distinguished persons and a large portion of the nobility and gentry of the country who were interested by his misfortunes and pleased with his skill. His hospitality annually brought to his house all the foreign musical talent'.   

Joseph's wife Catherine died in 1825 and is buried in the adjacent chest tomb, grave 9.

In 1827 Joseph sold 8 Edgar Buildings to Mr Prew, a 'Surgeon Dentist', and the good will of his practice to Mr Winkwork, also a surgeon dentist at 3 Edgar Buildings for £3,359 (about £350,000 in 2021).

Joseph died at the age of 82 in 16 Gt Pulteney St, 'beloved and respected by all who knew him', according to the Bath Chronicle. In his will he left £200 to his servant Joanna Hooper 'as a tribute of respect for her affection to me'. His grave, alongside that of his wife, is also a chest tomb. 
A 1838 biographical memoir of Joseph's son George includes the following:

'Joseph landed in Devonshire, penniless and unknown. The elegance of his manners, his extensive information, and the generous sympathy which the wrongs of his father-land had excited it the minds of Englishmen, secured him the friendship and the fostering kindness of the nobility and gentry of the county: amongst his warmest friends was Mr Patch, the eminent surgeon of Exeter who strongly recommend him to study that anatomy and surgery of the Teeth, a subject which had, at that period, excited little attention'.

In his will, Joseph refers to his 'Estate and Effects in Louisville  Georgia North America'.  This is where his bother Joseph Posner lived  and ran a very successful boarding house and general merchandise store, although he later lost most of his money investing in a hot spring resort (perhaps influenced by this brother's experience of the hot springs of Bath?). Like his brother, Joseph Posner became highly respected. Very unusually he married a slave, Sylvia with whom he had son who died in childhood. When Joseph Posner died  in 1820, he left  money to his siblings: 'Dr Joseph Sigmond, now living in Bath: Dr David Posner, now living in the Kingdom of Poland, and his sister Diana'. We know from a notice that Joseph Sigmond placed in the Bath Chronicle, that David Posner died in 1823. We have not been able to find any information about Diana. 

Joseph and Catherine's son George Gabriel Sigmond became a famous doctor and toxicologist. After studying at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge and then at St George's Hospital London, he travelled widely in Europe before becoming the physician to the family of Sir Francis Burdett in Bath. He later became physician to the Marylebone Dispensary and Charing Cross Hospital in London where he lived. He wrote many professional papers, including 'Tea: Its Effects Medicinal and Moral'. There is no record of him marrying or of his death. But it is likely that he died in 1847, possibly abroad. 
Associated addresses
  1800-1825   8  Edgar Buildings   Bath
  Possibly also residence of Sigmond family form 1795
     16  Great Pulteney Street   Bath
  Address at death