Thomas Greene of Wapping, mariner

Continuing my search for the children and grandchildren of my 8 x great grandfather, Captain William Greene (1626 – 1686), I’ve come across another person who might be his son.

Initially, I was interested in Thomas Greene simply because, like my ancestor, he was a mariner living in the Stepney area at around the right time. At that stage, I knew that he and his wife Mary had a daughter, also named Mary. However, I’ve now discovered that they also had a son named William. This means that their children could be the two grandchildren mentioned in Captain Greene’s will of 1685.

Sketch of Wapping by Whistler

Sketch of Wapping by Whistler

On 21st July 1678, a child named William Green was christened at the church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. He was the son of Thomas Green ‘of Threefoot aley mariner’ and Mary, his wife. I can’t find Three Foot Alley on contemporary maps, but one source  lists it among the alleys running off Ratcliffe Highway (along with Five Foot Alley, Five Horseshoe Alley, and many others), while another source places it in the hamlet of Wapping. Three years later to the day, on 21st July 1681, ‘Thomas Green of wapping mariner’ and Mary, his wife, had a daughter named Mary baptised at the same church.

On 21st May 1683, Thomas, son of Thomas Green of Ratcliffe, mariner, was buried at St Dunstan’s. On 12th October 1684, a couple named Thomas and Mary Green had a son named Thomas christened at the church of St Mary, Whitechapel. However, I’m not sure if either of these records refer to the Thomas and Mary Greene who were in Wapping in 1678 and 1681.

A narrow alley in Wapping (via

A narrow alley in Wapping (via

I haven’t found any definite records of other children born to Thomas and Mary, nor have I found any trace of the couple after 1681. If their children survived, then William would have been seven years old and Mary four in 1685, when Captain William Greene composed his last will and testament. The absence of further records for the family might mean that Thomas and Mary died some time after 1681, which would explain why they don’t merit a mention in Captain Greene’s will.

The fact that Thomas Greene named his son ‘William’ might be an indication that this was his own father’s name. Certainly, if he married Mary some time in the 1670s, he was the right age to have be the son of Captain Greene. Of course, at this stage this is all speculation. Finding evidence of Thomas’ birth, and confirmation that Captain Greene had a son of that name, would be the only way to prove the theory.

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