Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Sharrocks of Cornwall

In 1620, the College of Heralds visited Cornwall. Their visit was to check on the pedigrees of families claiming the right to bear arms. Armigerous families. Amongst the minor gentry of Cornwall was a family listed as the Sharrocks of Veryan. A later note was attached to the family tree claiming that they had originated in Lancashire, fled to Ireland, where they stayed for a hundred years before moving to Cornwall.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to link my wife’s paternal line to the Visitation family. She seems to be descended from a Thomas Sharrock, born about 1640, location unknown. His oldest known child was Matthew, baptised in St Just in Roseland in 1671. Matthew is my wife’s 6 times grandfather.

The family lived in and around St Mawes, where they were farmers. Matthew described himself as Yeoman, one step above a tenant farmer, and fairly respectable, as he was the Reeve of the Manor of St Mawes.

Throughout the 18th century, the family remained in St Mawes, presumably farming and also fishing. Certainly Joseph Sharrock, who died in 1833, was a mariner. The next generation joined the Royal Navy and then the Coastguard. The Coastguard was recruited from Navy personnel. Usually, tours of duty were not in the man’s home town, so the family moved to Boscastle on the north coast of Cornwall.

The next generation of my wife’s family was born near Swanage in Dorset at yet another Coastguard station. Joseph Pascal Rowe Sharrock, born in 1843, became a mariner in the Merchant Marine, often sailing out of Boscastle. The family now remained on the North coast of Cornwall, spread out between Newquay and Bude.

The next generation left the sea and settled in Newquay.

Although I cannot find any link between the Visitation family and that of my wife, all of the Sharrocks in Cornwall till quite recently are members of this one family. There were also Sharrocks in Cornwall before the Visitation family. So, the note on the 1620 pedigree might be correct and the Sharrocks arrived in Cornwall in the 14th century. Long enough to be naturalised?