Feuar or not but a Thank You note

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

Smuggling

Surrounded as it was by the expanse of the Clyde estuary Cumbrae was perhaps the most logical place to station a revenue cutter early in the 18th century.  Although the island did not boast a particularly safe anchorage, something which was later rectified, the island was central to the activity of smuggling.  The island was however a sentinel guarded the passage into the Western heart of the Scottish mainland.

The island’s centrality eventually lead to the stationing of the Royal George revenue cutter on the island in the latter part of the 18th century where it remain until 1820 when it sailed away never to be replace.

There is no real evidence suggesting that Cumbrae was the heart of smuggling activities across the Clyde, although, given the times, those with a fishing boat may well have indulged.  Rather, as far as Samual Ford was concerned, the sudden influx of a large revenue crew worked in his favour in a rather unexpected way.

The influx of a large crew needed to sail the Royal George resulted in turn a demand for house.  The solution, which appears to have only happened only on Cumbrae, was a distribution of land to those connected with the Royal George.

When the government initiated what was called the ‘preventative service’, it effectively sold the rights to investors, most of whom were farmers simply because farmers had the finance needed for such a large investment.  The deal proved beneficial to the investors and the number of preventative cutters, later called revenue cutters, increased as did the famers, and the governments, coffers.

But the benefits did not end there.  The crew of the revenue fleet, called mariners rather than seaman, could expect to double their wages through the distribution of the proceeds from seized contraband and impounded vessels.  The result was, for the island of Cumbrae, a distribution of those proceeds across the island.

The question i have addressed in my latest posts has been the issue of initial problem, namely smuggling which you can find here.

 

 

The Wright Inheritance

In writing a historical story one is continually confronted with the changing nature of the material accessed.  As a result of new information being accessed the story itself must change.  Following my recent purchase of the publication by J.R.D. Campbell, Clyde Coast Smuggling, I have found it necessary to review any number of historical facts concerning James Ford’s father, Samuel Ford.

The information provided by Campbell has alerted me to readjust the location of Margaret Ford’s residence at the time of the 1841 Census.  Not only have I had to rethink my previous assumptions, but the valuable information concerning the distribution of the ‘feu plan’ of 1781/2 confirms what I had hitherto suspected, that Samuel Ford’s marriage to Margaret Wright had important social and economic implications.

For instance, the fact that the ‘feu plan’ confirms that One Thomas Hunter was given a plot of land along Stuart Street which tallies with the record of the 1841 census where Hunter, now aged 79 is still in residence, supports my readjustment of the Ford’s residence on Stuart Street.

Further, Campbell’s publication confirms that the residence occupied by the now widowed Margaret Ford and her family was initially granted to Alexander Wright, grandfather of Margaret Ford.  Remembering that Margaret Ford’s father, Robert Wright was the son of Alexander Ford and a mariner on the revenue cutter the Royal George, it appears and is probably true, that Alexander Wright bequested the property to Samuel Ford on his marriage to his son’s sister, Margaret Wright.

Such benevolence would explain why an otherwise unknown quarry labourer came to be known a feuar, an owner of property in Millport.

The full details can be found on the page The Wright Inheritance.

Where is Samuel Ford hiding?

It is frustrating, to say the least, that there appears no record of Samuel Ford’s parent or where he may have been born.  But is that the end of the matter?  Surely Not.  What can we glean from the record that might assist in tracking down the Illusive Samuel Ford?

I added some thoughts on the matter.  For my latest additions see Chasing Samuel Ford.

 

The illusive birth certificate of Robert Wright.

I have, for some years, been searching for the birth certificate for Robert Wright, the father of Margaret Wright who married Samuel Ford.  All these searches failed to locate Robert.  But today .. success .. I located his OPR.  For the details go to the new Births page.