Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sampson Gourd, Gardener of Liskeard


Sampson Gourd was the sixth child of John Gourd and his wife, Radigan Pearce. They may have lived at Linkinhorne, Cornwall, England; or at Liskeard, 8 miles south, where he was christened on 20 May 1722. In fact, all of their big events occurred at Liskeard, which is situated at the head of the Looe Valley and south of the Bodmin Moor area. It has a history as a market town and was one of the four original Stannary towns. The market charter was granted by Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III) in 1240.

On 11 November 1746, Sampson married Martha Batten. They had four children together; and Martha died just after the birth of their last child, Sarah, and was buried on 4 February 1754. In October of that same year, he married Jane Calloway, who was born in about 1733. Nothing is known of her parents at this time. They added four more children to the family, the youngest being Matthew, our ancestor.

Sampson worked as a gardener. In 1753, his father, John, also a gardener, filed a complaint against Sampson and his brother. Apparently he needed financial help from them. Looking at Sampson's marriage dates, and his first wife's death in 1754, this may have been a difficult time for Sampson.

Complaint by John Gourd of Liskeard, gardener, being poor, old, blind and impotent and unable to work, that his sons John of Helston and Sampson of Liskeard, gardeners, do not contribute to his relief ordered that John contributes 1s. 6d. and Sampson 6d., weekly, to their father's relief and maintenance.

The Cornwall Poll Books list Sampson Gourd in 1774 and he was the only Gourd listed. These Poll books recorded the names of everyone in Cornwall who voted at Parliamentary elections. The qualifying criteria for the right to vote were based on the value of ones holdings, but as the century progressed this was relaxed to include leaseholds etc. Another limiting factor was the distance that had to be traveled to the appointed place for recording ones vote. Sampson's land was listed as being in Linkinhorne.



Sampson was buried on 8 May 1777, having lived in and around Liskeard all his life. Three years later, his wife, Jane was buried on 19 January 1780.

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