was the seventh child, the
third son, and the second surviving son of John Holt (1718-1783) and
Martha, née Storm
He was born on
was baptized in Whitby
Presbyterian Chapel on
Flowergate Chapel, though much changed, still survives though appears not to attract the large congregations it once did.
1751 his parents were
almost certainly living in the house in Baxtergate (now the
nearly all his
children were baptised as Presbyterians, John Holt had a pew in
was taught seamanship
by his father John. The first mention of Thomas that we know of in the
is of him on board the Prince of Wales in 1769
second mate on a voyage that started in May 1769, when he was still 17,
he will almost certainly have been at sea for a number of years as an
indentured servant prior to this.
owner and master of this vessel was his father. Thomas remained second
1770, but by 1771 he was Mate, still with his father as Master. His
father was no doubt a
strict teacher, who would not be lenient on his son as he wished him to
well and quickly. And presumably Thomas did easily assimilate all the
skills, because in 1772 we find him as Master and owner of the newly
This was the year he came of age, and Pallas
may have been a 21st
Birthday present to Thomas from his father. Thomas’ brother William
his first ship at the same age. Pallas survived long enough for
She was surveyed on
Chapman was born
Elizabeth Walker (1701-1735) was the sister of the Quaker John Walker (1705-1785), master mariner and merchant who employed the young James Cook as Servant and later as Mate in his collier ships Freelove, Three Brothers, and Friendship between 1747 and 1755.
Esther Stockton was also the co-heiress, of Isaac Stockton, and therefore very eligible. Clearly Thomas Holt must have been similarly eligible in the eyes of Esther’s parents.
Thomas was master of the Pallas until 1775. He then remained the main (part) owner of the Pallas though it had a series of masters: in 1777-79 it was George Bell, Joshua Robb in 1780-81, Jonathan Tindill in 1782-83, Thomas Chilton in 1784, James Dunning from 1791-93 and Jonathan Peacock in 1793-4. Between the Muster Rolls and Lloyds Registers we can piece together some information about the ship Pallas in these years. She was sheathed in 1776, possibly as part of preparations for her being involved in the Transport Service during the War of American Independence. We know that she served in that role certainly from 1778 to 1782, during which time she was armed with six four-pounder guns.
1778 when the French
entered the War, with
In 1782 Pallas
repairs, including re-sheathing. In that year in addition to acting as
transport, she also went on a trip to the Baltic, during which (at
Pallas continued to trade after the
war for another ten
Meanwhile Thomas was becoming a family man. It is possible that he is the Thomas Holt who was living in Flowergate according to the Poor Rate Assessment Book of 1778. If so, it was there that was the home for their children, namely:
Martha, named for
her paternal grandmother (who was already well over sixty and was to
for another 35 years or so), was born in 1775, but she seems not to
Esther, named for
her mother, was born
Margaret, named for
her paternal great-grandmother, was born
named for his grandfather, and the couple’s only son was born
Thomas and Esther had no more children, even though they were both still under 30. Thomas is described as a master mariner in all these parish records.
Thomas was a shipowner, though it is not easy to be certain about which ships he did own apart from Pallas. He was probably a part-owner of Wisk (with, among others, his brother John), and less certainly of Martha and Harpooner (the owners of both vessels included both his brother William, and Joseph Holt, brother of his cousin Thomas), Prince William Henry and Fanny.
cost of the war caused another sharp surge of inflation, which caused a
of problems for sailors and merchants. However, any problems caused to
must have been compensated for by the fact that he became a very rich
the death of his father in October 1783. Under
the terms of the will Thomas received a farm at
did not last for long. In 1793
It was in the 1790s that their daughters Martha and Margaret were married.
Whitby Ship Register transcripts suggest that Thomas (and
brother John) moved to Runswick by 1799 (see footnote 30). However this
almost certainly a transcription error for Ruswarp. Much of the town of
Wisk, of which
Thomas was (almost certainly) a part-owner, continued to trade during
years. There was the constant risk that merchant vessels would be taken
enemy, and insurance premiums were high. From 1803 Napoleon was
died aged 52, and was buried in the Quaker Burial Ground at
 Mrs Manley’s book, with a list of the children she delivered is held by the Whitby Lit and Phil
 Flowergate in a street in
 This, and subsequent, information about ship voyages are from the Whitby Ships Muster Rolls.
 Presumably named for the Greek goddess Pallas Athene, goddess of wisdom, and patroness of urban arts and handicrafts. Assuming that the ship was commissioned by Thomas’ father John, and the name chosen by him, it is not only an appropriate choice of name under the circumstances but also a chance for him to display a knowledge of classical mythology (at that time a sign of being a gentleman).
 Registered on
 A ship here being a technical term for a vessel with three square-rigged masts.
 Strictly 333 and 41/94 tons; shown as a decimal for convenience.
 Strictly 101 foot 7inches. The decimal version is adopted for convenience.
 Interestingly Thomas’ younger brother William was to marry a Quaker some 16 years later. His wife was Mary, the daughter of Thomas Lotherington and Katharine Lacy
 His first wife was Susannah Lotherington, daughter of John Lotherington. Abel’s third wife was Hannah Gaskin.
 Leofwine’s son was Leofric
 The muster rolls of these ships showing James
Cook have survived.
So too has John Walker’s house in
 According to a copy of the Chapman pedigree in my possession.
 ie her undersides were covered in copper. This prevented the depredations of the boring beetle, and discouraged the accretion of barnacles, consequently making the vessels more sea-worthy and faster.
 The information in these paragraphs is taken from David Syrett: Shipping and The America War 1775-83. Athlone Press. 1970
 Richard Sipling (variously spelled) is
recorded as being the Mate
on the Pallas in 1777, 1779, 1780 and 1782. Before
that, in 1771, he had
been a seaman on the Royal Briton, a vessel
belonging to Thomas’ elder
brother John. It is possible that Richard is related to the John and
Siplin who also appear in the Pallas muster rolls,
but none of them seem
to have been baptized at
 Information from the ship’s muster roll.
 As I have only seen transcripts of the Whitby Parish Registers, it is possible she could have been omitted by a transcriber’s error.
 I suspect this is a transcriber’s error for Robert & Martha Boulby, Thomas’ sister and brother-in-law.
 Possibly the Robert Clarke who is listed as being a part-owner of the vessels Antelope, Betsey, Brilliant, Centurion, Hannah, Mackarel and Peggy in the Whitby Ship Register Transcripts for 1786/7.
 Edward was the younger brother of Aaron
Chapman (1771-1850) who was
 John Ellerby was a brewer in
 The Army was regularly used to deal with
smugglers, particularly if
they were armed and violent. A member of the 1st
Dragoons had been murdered near
 A post he continued in until his death on
 This and many other details are taken from the excellent account of the Lockleys and their descendents given me by Barbara Bolt, for which I am much indebted.
 This event is sometimes dignified with the name the Battle of Flamborough Head.
 Mainly because there were other Thomas Holts
 A 254-ton barque, built at
 Martha, a barque of 315
tons, built in
 A 341-ton ship, built at
 Weatherill records this vessel as being owned
by a Thomas Holt
between 1782 and 1785. Presumably it was named for George
 A 115-ton brig, built in
 From a transcript of the Whitby Churchyard memorials. His age is given erroneously as 59