Master mariner of Whitby


William Farndale
13 July 1743 to 27 April 1777

The Kilton 1 Line

The Whitby 3 Line 












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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB





William Farndale, son of William and Abigail Farndale (FAR00130).

(Brotton PR)


William Farndale was born in 1743 in Brotton, Yorkshire, the son of Abigail nee Gear and William


William Farndale, married Elizabeth Barry at Whitby on 24 Sep 1766. (He was 23).

(Whitby PR & IGI)


Abigail Farndale, daughter of William Farndale, Master Mariner and Elizabeth Farndale, baptised 29 Dec 1767 (FAR00192).

Elizabeth Farndale, daughter of William and Elizabeth Farndale baptised Whitby 28 Oct 1769 (FAR00193).

Robert Farndale, son of William Farndale, sailor and Elizabeth Farndale baptised 26 Oct 1772 (FAR00197).

(Whitby PR)


William Farndale, son of William Farndale buried Brotton 27 Apr 1777. (He would have been aged 34. Not sure to be this William, but it probably was, five years after the birth of his last child?).

(Brotton PR)

Elizabeth Farndale of Brotton buried Skelton 24 Mar 1811 aged 83. (Therefore born 1728. Not sure to be this Elizabeth?).

(Skelton PR)

The records of Abigail Farndale (FAR00192) suggest that William became a master mariner.




master mariner is a licensed mariner who holds the highest grade of seafarer qualification; namely, an unlimited master's license. Such a license is labelled unlimited because it has no limits on the tonnage, power, or geographic location of the vessel that the holder of the license is allowed to serve upon. A master mariner would therefore be allowed to serve as the master of a merchant ship of any size, of any type, operating anywhere in the world, and it reflects the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners and deck officers.


The term master mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms, such a person was a master craftsman in this specific profession (e.g., master carpenter, master blacksmith).


The Extra Master's qualification (issued only in the United Kingdom), which was discontinued in the 1990s, used to be the highest professional qualification and it was the pinnacle for any mariner to achieve. There are also various other levels of master's certificates, which may be restricted or limited to home trade/near coastal voyages and/or by gross tonnage. The holder of a restricted master's certificate is not referred to as a "master mariner".

In the British Merchant Navy a master mariner who has sailed in command of an ocean-going merchant ship will be titled captain. A professional seafarer who holds a restricted or limited master's certificate who has sailed in command of a ship (i.e. appropriate to the size, power or geographic limits of their certificate) can also be titled captain.