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  1. #1
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    Default What is a Mariner

    Hi,
    My 3 x great grandfather Philip Tanswell in Bristol had his occupation recorded as Mariner on his marriage in 1796 and again in 1812 Poll Books & Electoral Register. At other times he was a Victualler - several different pubs and towards the end of his life a Master Porter.

    He was friendly with a Captain Thomas Etheridge as he left him some silver items in his Will. Etheridge was master of 10 different ships and sailed over a 30 year period to a variety of different places, from Jamaica to the Mediterranean but I can find no evidence that Philip ever sailed 'the seven seas'. His first marriage was at 19 years old and I have all records after that until his death in 1819. I think they probably met when Etheridge was Bristol Corporation Quay Warden and Philip Master Porter.

    I am wondering why Philip recorded himself as a Mariner. Were there mariners who didn't actually go to sea?

    My late brother told me that our grandfather told him as a young boy that his grandfather (great grandfather?) was a pirate. I am wondering if somehow Philip was involved with privateers - although if he was I can't work out when that could have been.

    I would appreciate any information on Mariners in Bristol in the 18th Century.
    Thanks
    Margie

  2. #2
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    Mariner is an old fashioned term for a sailor.

    Mariners would undoubtedly have gone to sea.

    People often had multiple occupations sometimes even at the same time. I do research in the slate industrial area of North Wales, and there you can find people described as "quarryman, farmer, grocer" etc. The inference of course is that none of the occupations on their own were sufficient for them to live on.

    With regards to piracy; I have a distant ancestor who was a Captain of a Coastguard cutter in the mid to late 1700s, whose principal role was to deal with / fight pirates in the Bristol channel and in the Irish Sea. These pirates came from all over - there is newspaper account of a skirmish with a French pirate. They were really smugglers and smuggled the traditional brandy and lace, but also tea, which was an incredibly valuable commodity and was subject to taxation.

    In terms of Bristol's history, I suggest that you "google" and see what you can find.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Hi Megan and thank you for the information. I am wondering if someone working as a Coastguard could be described as a Mariner.

  4. #4
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    My x3 great grandfather Richard Rogers was also a victualler who was later described as a mariner. In his case, I strongly suspect he was "pressed" into the navy. His first child was born in 1805, and the second (my x2 great-grandfather)in 1817! He appears to disappear completely off the radar between those years and as his premises were at Platform Wharf, Rotherhithe, right next to the Thames, he would presumably been in a prime hunting ground for the press gang. Unfortunately I've been unable to prove any of this, so he may just have absconded (or abstained!) for a long period of time...

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thank you for that davy. I have lots of records for my 3 x great grandfather from the time of his first marriage when he was 19 up to his death age 47 so being press ganged isn't the answer as he was certainly around all the time with three wives, children, various pubs, and acquiring property etc.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary C View Post
    Hi Megan and thank you for the information. I am wondering if someone working as a Coastguard could be described as a Mariner.
    If they were stationed on a ship then yes. The coastguard was really part of the Customs service.

  7. #7
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    Default What is a Mariner

    Quote Originally Posted by Megan Roberts View Post
    If they were stationed on a ship then yes. The coastguard was really part of the Customs service.
    Many thanks Megan

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