Profile of Thomas Lee Norton a Master Mariner

Lee Thomas Norton (often Thomas Lee Norton in records) was a mariner by trade, plying the seas around England. Thomas was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, baptized on September 18, 1816 to parents Jeremiah Norton a shipwright and his wife Elizabeth Sharpe.

When Thomas was 15 years old he became an indentured servant to William Moore a Mariner. The index of the indenture was found on the Norfolk Records Office website. I sent a records request and it arrived via email in short order.

Lee Norton’s indenture

It reads “Be it remembered that on the 31st day of January 1831 Michael William Moore Mariner brought an indenture dated the 29th instant by which Thomas Lee Norton hath put himself apprentice to the said Michael William Moore for seven years from the date and prayed that same might be recorded according to an order of assembly made the 7th day of July 1785.” Lee was going to spend the next 7 years on William Moore’s ship.

Thomas has not been found on any census records, one assumes he was rarely home. He did manage to marry twice. The banns were read in London at St. Botolph, Aldgate for him and Rebecca Susannah Garrard, with the wedding taking place on the 6th of February, 1843. In 1851 Rebecca is living at St. George’s in the East and is a Mariner’s wife, but Thomas is not present.

I did find a news clipping from the Lloyd’s List 16 Oct 1849 that Thomas was in charge of the ship Studley traveling from Glasgow to Genoa in 1849.

Lloyd’s List 16 Oct 1849

The Ancestry collection UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927 has him receiving his Master certificate in 1850.

Thomas Lee Norton Master Mariner Certificate

Thomas Lee was next married in 1854, his wife also a widow was Mary Ann Janet (Tarlton) Boughton. Mary was the daughter of Thomas Weldon Tarlton a sailor, they were married in Stepney on 26 March 1854.

marriage of Thomas Norton to Mary Boughton in Stepney, Middlesex, England

I have found no record of Thomas Lee having any children and he passed away in 1862 at the age of 45 in London.

Names were very important to the Norton family. Lee Thomas/Thomas Lee’s brother was Richard Lee and I have found that their grandmother’s name was Martha Lee. Also Richard Lee Norton named his first born Richard Lee (b.1854 in Quebec City) and his second born son Thomas Lee (b1857). It seems the Lee name had special meaning to them.

I hope I continue to uncover more about Thomas, his journeys, and his story.

  8 comments for “Profile of Thomas Lee Norton a Master Mariner

  1. August 5, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    What an interesting story. I love seeing the master mariner certificate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 5, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      Sometimes I wonder if these ancestors profiles are of interest to anyone, so thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. August 6, 2021 at 7:56 am

    That is very interesting. I also have an ancestor who became a mariner at age 13. If I recall correctly, out of Manchester. I have a few records pertaining to that, but he never became a master. I wonder if there would be an indenture record somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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