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seamans ticket for Richard Dearl b1828

Seaman's ticket for Richard Dearl, b.1830

The 'Glenavon' - lost at sea with all hands whilst on passage from Portland Oregon to Liverpool in December 1887. Amongst those missing, believed drowned, was William Dearl (1863-1887)

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Mastel Family History

Mastel Family History

Five generations of Seafaring DEARLs

1.William DEARL  (bef 1745-bef 1814), married in 1763 Hampshire to Hephzibah JURD (1734-1771). He is mentioned in two documents at TNA  dated 1768 as having also served on HMS Sultana and HMS Achilles. The Sultana was a Royal Navy schooner that patrolled the American Coast – the image shows an authentic replica of the Sultana.


A warrant issued on 23 mar 1780 confirmed his transfer from the Countess of Scarborough Armed Ship to the Fox: perhaps Dearl was aboard the Countess of Scarborough during the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779?


The Fox was a 32 gun Active Class Frigate, launched on 2 june 1780 in Hampshire.  According to his Will, written in 1798, he was ‘formerly Purser of HM Frigate ‘Fox, but now of His Majesty’s Ship Director’.  The Director was a 64 gun third rate ship of the line and in 1897 was under the command of Captain William Bligh, and took part in the Battle of Camperdown.  


I don’t know when Wm Dearl retired from active service or when he died, but his will was proved in 1814.  


2.Thomas DEARL (1766-1832) – son of Wm and Hephzibah, born in Fareham, Hants, died in Chatham, Kent, married to Ann ROLES in 1789 in Southwark.  Admiralty Records at TNA for 1799, 1801 and 1803 show he was a Master’s Mate and served on HMS Gelykheid, HMS Zealand, HMS Asia, HMS Buckingham.  His last posting was on HMS Fyen, a 70 gun ship of the line, surrendered to Britain by Denmark following the Battle of Copenhagen. Royal Navy Pension Records confirm he had served in the Navy for over 21 years and six months and his annual pension was £23.12s.


3.William Thomas DEARL  (~1789-1847) – Elder son of Thomas and Ann, married Mary West in Frindsbury, Kent in 1808. Record of entry in Pay Book dated 1803 when he was an ordinary seaman on HMS Buckingham (alongside his father); in 1809 he was Master’s Mate on HMS Trusty, a 50 gun 4th rate used as a troopship from 1799 and a prison ship from 1809-1915..   Appears in 1841 census in Chatham, occupation ship attender.  Living with him were his widowed mother Ann, and his two daughters.


4.Thomas DEARL (1799-1870) – younger son of Thomas and Ann, married to Harriet Elizabeth Welby in 1826 in Frindsbury, Kent. Had 11 known children, the first six born in Kent, remainder born in Ireland or Liverpool.  In 1846 an advertisement for the Belfast to London service shows Thomas DEARL as Captain of the ‘Pearl’ (see advert right). Most of the ships in the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co plied the crossing between Dublin and Liverpool, carrying goods and passengers .  But Thomas Dearl (1799-1870) 'Pearl' offered a service from Belfast to London - its not thought the service ran for very long as the journey could have taken weeks! His Certificate of Master’s Service was issued in1851.  Available Crew Lists show him as Master of the Windsor and the Warden, trading between Dublin and Liverpool, up to 1866. There are a number of articles in the press relating to Capt Dearl's involvement in two major incidents (both occurring when he was running the packet between Liverpool and Dublin) - the rescue of the Scotland in 1854 and just three days later the tragedy of the sinking of the Tayleur.  You can read the full story about this event in a recently published book 'The Sinking of RMS Tayleur' by Gill Hoffs (Pen & Sword, 2015)


5.Thomas DEARL (1826-1872) – eldest son of Thomas and Harriet, mar Sarah Ann Compton in abt 1850. Irish Crew Lists record him working as a Seaman and later as 2nd Mate on a number of ships owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company from 1864 to 1876, which carried goods and passengers between Liverpool and Dublin.  (see image of Mate Certificate 1868)


6.Richard DEARL (1828-1892) – 2nd son of Thomas and Harriet, mar Maria Dwyer 1850 Liverpool.  Irish Crew List records show Richard as 2nd Engineer from 1864 – 1884; like his brother, he also worked almost exclusively for the Dublin Steam Packet Company, though his final recorded posting was in 1890 as Fireman on SS Captain Cook, working in the home coasting Trade.


7.William Thomas DEARL (1830-1911) – 3rd son of Thomas and Harriet, mar Selina Catherine Healey bef 1863.  William’s first recorded posting was with his brother Richard on the Iron Duke, though he seems to have worked on a wider selection of ships, either as Fireman or AB seaman, some travelling to European ports.


8.William  DEARL (1863-1887) – son of Wm Thomas and Selina, unmarried.  According to Crew Lists, William first went to sea as a Boy aged 16 in 1878, and for the first couple of years he worked on Dublin Steam Packet boats on the Dublin-Liverpool route.  He later appears as an AB seaman on cross-Atlantic ships Cephalonia and Catalonia.  Dearl, along with a number of other crew members, deserted the Catalonia in Wellington, NZ on 1 aug 1883.  Others deserted at Lyttleton (NZ) on 24 aug 1883.  Just four of the 20 crew on this page of the Crew List actually received their pay on their discharge in London on 18 oct 1883.


I have not found William Dearl on any ship's Crew Lists after he jumped ship in New Zealand, but somehow, somewhere, he joined the crew of the Glenavon, which left America in the autumn of 1887 - but did he join the crew in America or in Cork, where some of the crew had joined ship?  Wherever he joined the ship Glenavon, this placement was to prove his last ... William Dearl was amongst the crew aboard the Glenavon which was lost off sea (thought to have sunk off the coast of the Isle of Man) on 23 December 1887 sailing from Portland in Oregon to Liverpool.


9.John DEARL (1864 - ?) – son of Richard and Maria. – Appears on Irish Crew Lists as a Boy on several Dublin Steam Packet ships in 1882 and 1883. However, I have not found him in any further records in England or Ireland. - perhaps he too jumped ship or emigrated?


replica of HMS Sultana
serapis and scarborough v bonhomme richard 1789

an authentic replica of HMS Sultana

crossings from dublin to Liverpool
sailings of 'Pearl' 1846
HMS Director  in 1797

HMS Director in 1797

Thomas Dearl b1799 Masters Cert of Service
Thomas dearl b1826 cert as Mate 1868

Master's Certificate for Thomas Dearl (b.1799)

Mate's Certificate for Thomas Dearl b.1826

Glenavon lost at sea 1887
seamans ticket for thomas dearl b1798

Seaman's ticket for Thomas Dearl, b.1799

seamans ticket for Thomas Dearl b1824

Seaman's ticket for Thos Dearl, b.1827

Descendants of William Dearl

When you read the detailed entries for each of the DEARLs below, the earlier individuals seemed to have served in the Royal Navy, whereas the later ones were in the Merchant Navy - however, it is possible that some worked in both!  This would be unlikely nowadays, but until 1853 seamen in both services were recruited for a particular voyage and at the end of that voyage they were signed off and had to look for another ship about to leave port!  If you have sailors in your own ancestry, I recommend that you read Simon Fowler's book 'Tracing your Naval Ancestors' (he has also written books on 'Tracing Army Ancestors' and 'A guide to Military History on the Internet')


Even earlier than the Dearls shown below who I have been able to trace to our own DEARL ancestry, there is a reference in a document dated 1696 which is held at the National Archives in which Captain Nicholas Dyer of the ‘Suffolk Hagboat’ store ship, Deptford that “Thomas DEARLES was left sick at Portsmouth and is now believed to be dead”. [TNA ADM 106/484/221]


The chart below shows five generations of seafaring DEARLs in our ancestry - it only includes those individuals who are known to have served in either the Merchant Navy or the Royal Navy - for more complete information about the DEARLs, see the main DEARL page) If you can add any more information, please contact me!

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