Looking for information for John Bassett pre his marriage to Martha Carbis in Paul, Cornwall
Not much is known about John Bassett born 1970 before his marriage to Martha Carbis in 1812, other than his occupation which was listed as sojourner in the parish register.
A sojourner “just means someone who is a temporary resident, but in Parish Registers its meaning is a little more precise. When the Hardwicke Act was introduced in 1754, clerks were required to enter the parish for each party to a marriage. If they had been resident for more than 3 weeks then they were shown as “o.t.p.” (of this parish). However, for someone who had only taken up residence in lodgings to avoid the necessity for banns fees, this was frowned upon and the word “sojourner” was added to the entry to indicate that they had met the letter of the law but didn't really belong.”(Found in the Glossary of the website belonging to West Penwith Resources)
If this definition is applied to my John Bassett it implies that he had moved into the parish in order to marry Martha and that he may not have been living in Madron for much longer than 3 weeks.
The idea that he was not born in Paul is also supported by the the 1851 & 1861 census which gives John’s birthplace as Madron a neighbouring parish of Paul.
On investigation of the Madron Parish records there is a record of a John Bassett who was christened in 1790. Unfortunately only one parent, the father, was given.
"5 Sep 1790 John s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron"
On John Bassett's death certificate (he died 1868) his father is listed as William a farmer and his mother is listed as Mary unknown a farmers wife. (the names and/or may or may not be an accurate record). If John Bassett’s parents were farmers at some stage the usage of word paupers may inidicate that they have come upon hard times.
The use of the term "farmer" seems to cover pretty much anyone who owned or rented a piece of land on which they carried out some type of farming-like activity.
John’s father, William, was listed as a pauper at his christening - perhaps he fell on hard times at one point just but before and perhaps even after that he may have had a smallholding. Maybe at Johns birth his father was struggling, but later he managed to rise above the pauper status just before the birth of his last daughter Jane.
After perusing the parish records I have identified John’s the possible siblings, below are the transcribed entries
1. “4 Jan 1784 Anne d/o William Basset at Madron”
2. “11 Sep 1785 Francis s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron”
3. “20 Jan 1788 William s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron”
4. “5 Sep 1790 John s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron”
5. “8 Mar 1792 Mary d/o William Basset, pauper at Madron private baptism"
6. “9 Mar 1794 Mary d/o William Basset, pauper at Madron”
7. “13 Mar 1796 James s/o William Bassett, pauper at Madron”
8. “17 Feb 1798 Hanna d/o William Basset, pauper at Madron private “baptism
9. “23 Mar 1800 Jane d/o William Basset at Madron private baptism”
The most likely marriage for William is to a Jane Mathews Banns Pub July 27, Aug 3 & 10 1783 the actual marriage took place on March 13 Sep 1783.
In all there appear to be 3 marriages for persons named William Bassett in Madron.
• William Bassett (signed with child like writing) Jane Mathews (signed with a mark) Banns Pub July 27,Aug 3 & 10 1783 Marr 13 sep 1783 Witness Sibion Thoastes? who signed his name Witness Mathew Hoken who signed his name Page 212 Reg#844
• William Bassett (signed with a mark) to Eleanor Sampson (signed with a mark) 1761 23 June Witness James Bassett who signed his name Witness Margery Grenfell made a mark Page 45 Reg#178
• William Bassett to Magery Grenfield 1735 Aug 23
However the William who married Jane seems the most likely one based on a bit of investigation. The other William’s marrying in Madron are too early:
This William was able to sign his name however the signature was in very childlike writing. This may have been an indication that there was some source of income in his background – enough to at least for him to learn how to write his name. Or he may have learnt to write his name for a single purpose such as to sign apprenticeship papers.
When he became a pauper he may not have had enough money to pay for his own children to learn to write which would explain why when his son John comes to get married he is unable to sign his own name in the parish register.
On William’s marriage certificate it stated that both William and his bride were both of the parish of Madron.
The idea that John’s mother is Jane Mathews is John’s father is contradicted by John’s own death certificate which says it was Mary. (Death certificates however are notoriously unreliable)
Looking at the list of John’s possible siblings it would appear that something must have happened between 1784 and 1785 as his father was not listed as Pauper on his sister Anne’s christening record but by 1785 he was listed as a pauper, on his son Francis’s christening record.