After much searching and with help from the National Library of Scotland I have now confirmation that Samuel Ford is not recorded in the Register of Sasines so technically he was not a feuar.
This raises more questions.
We know that both Alexander Wright and his grandson, William Wright, are recorded in the Register of Sasines and that hereditary title to Tenement No 40 went from Alexander to William bypassing Robert Wright who would have been the legal heir in the normal course of events. Yet the Wright memorial make no mention of either being a ‘feuar’.
Nor does the information correspond with the fact that ‘Mrs Samuel Ford’ is recorded as the ‘owner’ of her Crichton Street residence in the 1855-56 Valuation Poll.
It would seem that Cumbrae recognised Samuel Ford as an ‘honorary’ heir to the Stuart Street property which the inscription on the Ford memorial apparently recognised.
I have include a paragraph from my book manuscript which I think summarising events.
The Ford inscription is therefore not some sort of benign act of vanity on the part of Samuel Ford. Nor was it a saccharine coated award bestowed by a gratuitous community for services rendered. Rather, the inscription was a recognition, an acceptance, that Samuel Ford was worthy of being held in the same esteem as those who held heritor title. It was a honour bestowed on one of their number, an appreciation extending beyond any utilitarian reason by those who themselves had little to offer other than the word ‘friend’. The word ‘feuar’ inscribed on Samuel Ford’s memorial is therefore Samuel’s response to that recognition, a ‘thank you’ note written as only a quarrier would, in stone, a tribute to a community that saw fit to accept an outsider as one of their own.
Copyright John Ford 2020