Thurtell and Related Families
Thurtell and Related Families

Notes for Thomas THURTELL

According to the Thurtell Family History done by Susan Persia Thurtell about 1968 and information received from the Norwich Public Library on the records of the Thurtell family, Thomas Thurtell was born in 1765 and died in April 1846. He was a member of the Norwich Common Council in 1812, alderman of Conisford Ward in 1814, sheriff in 1815, and mayor in1828. He married Susanna Brown, who died in 1848. They had nine children. Thomas lived at Harford Hall Farm, Ibswich Road, Lakenham, England. He was obviously a person of an extremely tempestuous, violent, and unforgiving character. His treatment of his family was often tyrannical, and one feels that much of their criminal behavior was his responsibility. He refused to pay the lawyer's expenses in connection with John's trial; he deprived Charles of his promised marriage settlement and legacy (owing in part to William's influence); and his mayoralty was extremely stormy.

The Thurtell family tree done by Harriet Thurtell about 1900 lists the children of Thomas and Susanna Brown Thurtell as: Thomas (m. Sarah Brooks), John, Horace, James, and two Daughters who died unmarried. This is obviously the same family since the dates of death of Thomas and Susanna Brown Thurtell are in the family tree. The information from the Norwich Public Libraries received by James L. Buck of Hobland Hall in September 1964, and copied and sent to Irene Thurtell Foresman Peters and copied and sent to Susan Persia Thurtell about 1967 is probably much more accurate.

Information received from Peter Murray in 1997 shows that Thomas Thurtell, baptised July 21, 1765, at St. Julian, Norwich, Norfolk, England, died April 8, 1846, aged 81, and was a "highly respected and opulent merchant of Norwich" and three times mayor of Norwich. A prominent member of the Whig party in Norwich, he became a member of the Common Council in 1812, alderman in 1815, sheriff in 1815, and mayor in 1828 (elected by the Court of Aldermen after two inconclusive popular votes). He was mayor in 1829 when the Old Fye Bridge was built, as indicated on a brass tablet uncovered in 1932 when the bridge was widened. It is most noteworthy that he was chosen as mayor even after the trial and execution of his son John, and in fact had disowned him. He had done his best to set his sons Thomas and John up in business in 1814, and they purchased and manufactured silks and bombasin for him. Later they became involved in something underhanded that he (the father) knew nothing about. Nevertheless, he appears to have survived this scandal, and others which followed in connection with his sons, with undiminished reputation. His mayoralty appears to have been extremely tempestuous and his critics vocal; and the dreadful legal troubles of his sons must have caused much grief, but in the obituary on his death it is stated that he was universally esteemed as an honest and upright man.

He married, in Blundeston, Suffolk, on September 25, 1787, Susannah Browne, who was born in 1764 and died in 1848. Susannah's sister, Anne Browne, married Thomas' brother, John Thurtell; and her brother, Robert Browne, married Thomas' sister, Sarah Thurtell, in a triple wedding ceremony at the Church of St. Mary in Blundeston.

Thomas Thurtell was still living in Flixton Parish at the time of his marriage, presumably with his father. He, his wife, and a daughter are buried in the new church at Lakenham; and two of their children are buried in the churchyard of Lakenham Old Church. His residence was Harford Hall farm, by Harford Bridge, on the Ipswich Road, in Lakenham Parish. We are told that he farmed this property under Southwell, landlord, and died there. However, property records for the farm apparently show that Thomas, described as esquire, only occupied it as lessee between 1811 and 1819, so perhaps the rest of the time there was some other arrangement. Lakenham was at that time very close by Norwich to the south, and is now well within the city. In the index of Norwich city officers, Thomas appears in 1815 as alderman, South Conisford, and in the same year as sheriff.

Thomas and Susannah (Browne) Thurtell had 10 children according to family sources, but the names of the last three listed and other details are the result of subsequent research. In some contemporary records some of these children have been associated with Hobland Hall and the name of their father Thomas confused with John, presumably as a result of staying for a time with their uncle John Thurtell of Hobland Hall.


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Susan T. Miller
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