The Story of a Family through Eleven Centuries, Illustrated by Portraits and Pedigrees: Being a History of the Family of Gorges

By Frederick Brown; Raymond Gorges | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
The Gorges Family in Herefordshire

FERDINANDO, fourth and youngest son of Henry and Barbara, and probably a godson of Sir Ferdinando, attended neither the University nor the Inns of Court, like his brothers, but instead, being a restless and ambitious youth, sailed off to Barbados in search of riches. This West Indian island was entering upon a new and prosperous phase of its existence, the introduction of sugar-cane cultivation having revolutionized land values and laid the foundations of immense fortunes.

CAPTAIN FERDINANDO GORGES OF EYE c. 1628-1701

Ferdinando probably went out under the auspices of Colonel William Hilliard, a Somersetshire gentleman with property near Ilchester, who was one of the earliest planters, a councillor, and highly influential. Beginning with a plantation of 500 acres valued at about £400, Colonel Hilliard found himself after some years a man of wealth, and having "a great longing to suck in some of the sweet air of England," he sold part of his land to Sir Thomas Modiford for £7000, and, leaving Ferdinando in charge of his interests, returned home. We accordingly find the young man in 1655, as the Colonel's factor, buying a plot in Indian Bridge Town. In the same year he bought one half of 133 acres on his own account, paying 31,850 lbs. of good, well-dried Muscovado sugar, and four years later he acquired the Angus plantation.

After the traditional manner, Ferdinando had married his employer's daughter, Meliora, and some of their children may have been born in Barbados. He returned to England and is described in various deeds as a merchant of London. He was connected with the African trade. In 1668 his eldest brother, Thomas, made him a trustee under his will, referring to him as "my dear brother, Captain Ferdinando Gorges of London, merchant." In 1673 he acquired the manor of Eye, about two miles north of Leominster, probably attracted to Herefordshire by the presence of old Barbados friends, such as the Pyes, the Draxes, and others. At Eye Ferdinando built a substantial brick house, which presumably replaced

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