Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Matthew Gourd of Liskeard in Cornwall

Liskeard (Cornish: Lys Kerwyd or Lyskerrys), pronounced Lis-KARD, is an old stannery (tin mining) and market town, lying at the head of the River Looe Valley. This description is found at Cornwall-online, "To the north west of Liskeard lies the windswept uplands of Bodmin Moor, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The moors, shrouded in mist and mystery, hold abundant clues for those who want to delve into the past - burial chambers and holy wells, giant stones and Bronze Age settlements, decayed mine-workings and disused quarries. When you visit the moors you are retreading the footsteps of Neolithic man, of Cornish Kings, and of the thousands of miners who once worked the area." Liskeard was granted its market charter by Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III) in 1240. It was an ancient place long before Matthew Gourd, the son of Sampson and his wife, Jane Calloway, was christened on 17 November 1758. There is still a traditional weekly market in Liskeard today.

Matthew married Elizabeth Parker on 1 April 1779 at Christow, Devonshire, England, her birthplace. Their marriage record states, "Mathew Gourd of the Burrough of Liskeard in the County of Cornwall Gardiner & Elizabeth Parker of this Parish Spinster were married in this Church by Licence this first day of April 1779 by me William Hill Curate." Matthew and Elizabeth both signed the record. Witnesses were Richard Parker, Elizabeth Balle and William Roleston.


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Christow is located 54 miles NE of Liskeard, and on the other side of the Dartmoor area, now a National Park. When I look at the map, I wonder, "Which way did they go?" Did they go north or south around the area, or straight through, which would have decreased the distance they had to travel, but may have been a more difficult trip.

Matthew and Elizabeth had a large family that included Mary, William, Betsey, Sampson, John Parker, Matthew, Matthew, and Jane. All of the children were christened at Liskeard, where the family made their home, except the last two. Matthew and Jane were christened at Linkinhorne, just nine miles NE of Liskeard. Linkinhorne has a very nice parish history site. There is a medieval church at Linkinhorne. There are also some ancient wall paintings of "The Seven Works of Mercy," considered to be some of the best. There is also a nice introduction to English Medieval Wall Painting. They don't have anything to do with Matthew and Elizabeth unless you consider that they may have been interested in them, because they would have been interesting then, as well as now.

As stated in his marriage record, Matthew made his living as a gardener. Matthew's son, John Parker, is our ancestor.

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