Is Mariner to Nautical Assessor a likely career change in late 1730s Bermondsey?


In What records might survive of nautical assessor who died on London Docks in second half of 18th century? I have presented evidence that the father of John Stacy (1759-1831) was Henry Stacy, perukemaker of Bermondsey.

This does not fit with a family story that can be found in "Colonial Cameos and Genetic Gambits - the Stacy Brown Story" compiled by Albert E. Stacy (my 1st cousin twice removed) in 1986. In it he writes on page 12:

Reliable record also has it that John Stacy's father was a nautical assessor on the London Docks and was killed by a fall in the hold of a merchant ship in the course of his duty.

It seems unlikely to me that the professions of perukemaker and nautical assessor would belong to the same man.

Yesterday, I came across the Will of John Stacy, mariner, of St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey that was written on 12 Feb 1736, and proved on 5 Mar 1741, naming his wife Catherine as its executrix:

The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 717

Although I have no baptism records for John Stacy (1759-1831) or his candidate father, Henry Stacy, perukemaker of Bermondsey, I have found records of three candidate brothers to Henry:

  • Francis Stacy/Stacey, a Custom House Officer, and his wife Elizabeth, of Long Lane, baptised a son John (born 21 Mar 1748) on 13 Apr 1748 and a daughter Nancy (born 7 Oct 1751) on 3 Nov 1751 at St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey
  • John Stacey, an Officer, of Snowsfields, buried his son John, age not given, on 20 Jul 1759 at St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey
  • Thomas Stracey, of Snowsfields, buried his daughter Elizabeth, aged 4, on 8 Feb 1760, at St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey

Three of the four “brothers” naming a son John, when no other son’s names are known for any of them suggests that their father may have been named John. From this I am speculating that John Stacy, mariner, may have had four sons born between about 1725 and 1735 when he wrote his Will in 1736, and omitted naming them due to their young ages.

Is it likely that a Mariner might return from the sea to become a Nautical Assessor?

If so, perhaps the family story may have been a mistelling of:

John Stacy's grandfather was a nautical assessor on the London Docks and was killed by a fall in the hold of a merchant ship in the course of his duty.


Posted 2019-07-01T01:55:23.713

Reputation: 10 741

Can you define Nautical Assessor for your circumstances? – AdrianB38 – 2019-07-02T09:07:26.690

@AdrianB38 the only thing I know about nautical assessors is what's in the quote from my cousin's book: "a nautical assessor on the London Docks and was killed by a fall in the hold of a merchant ship in the course of his duty" – PolyGeo – 2019-07-02T09:47:18.453

Two slightly different definitions of Nautical Assessor on this URL - one is "a Court-appointed expert. ... assist the Admiralty Court (ie the branch of the courts dealing with shipping law) in collision claims and other cases involving issues of navigation or seamanship, as a kind of non-partisan expert witness." But also, further down that page: "a man who inspected damaged cargo on behalf of an Insurance Company". Inspecting cargo would seem to fit more with a fall in the hold of a merchant ship.

– AdrianB38 – 2019-07-02T11:25:39.690

@AdrianB38 I’m thinking the second sounds more likely for the death circumstances and the first more likely for a mariner to transition from. I don’t feel like I’m on the verge of identifying who the story is about. – PolyGeo – 2019-07-02T12:01:42.363

No answers