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National Maritime Museum

Thompson family


Reference code(s): GB 0064 THM

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Thompson family

Date(s): 18th century - 19th century

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 119 items

Name of creator(s): Thompson | Edward | [1738]-1786 | Commodore
Thompson | Thomas Boulden | 1766-1828 | Vice-Admiral
Thompson | Thomas Raikes Trigge | 1804-1865 | Vice-Admiral


Administrative/Biographical history:

Edward Thompson, Commodore ([1738]-1786);Thompson, son of a merchant, appears to have gone to sea at the age of 12. He is said to have made a voyage to Greenland in 1750. He served on board the STIRLING CASTLE, Hon East India Company, in 1755 and in 1757 was promoted as Lieutenant of the JASON. In 1758, he was moved to the DORSETSHIRE in which he took part in the blockade of Brest and the Battle of Quiberon Bay. He was on board the BELLONA from 1760 to 1763 and then on half pay. In 1771, he was promoted to Commander and served in the North Sea on preventive service. He moved to the RAVEN later that year. He was again on half-pay from 1772 until 1778, when he was appointed to the HYENA and went out to the West Indies, accompanied by his nephew, Thomas Boulden Thompson.

In 1783 he was appointed to the GRAMPUS in which he went to the west coast of Africa as Commodore of a small squadron there. He died there of a fever on board the GRAMPUS in 1786. Edward Thompson was a master of poetry and verse, which later earned him the nickname 'Poet Thompson'. He was a friend of David Garrick and John Wilkes. There is a detailed biography entitled 'Poet Thompson' in the papers of Lady Ellinor Thompson, written by her.

Thomas Boulden Thompson, Vice-Adm, 1st Bt (1766-1828). Thomas Boulden took the surname Thompson from his uncle, Edward Thompson, when he came under his guardianship at an early age. He went to sea with his uncle in 1778. In 1783 he was appointed, again with his uncle, to the GRAMPUS and, on his uncle's death, was promoted by a senior officer to Commander, which was later confirmed. In 1787 he went on half-pay. He was advanced to post rank in 1790 but had no employment until 1796, when he was appointed to the LEANDER, and in 1798 was sent as part of a squadron to the Mediterranean to reinforce Nelson. He took part in the Battle of the Nile and later, on board the LEANDER, fell in with the GENEREUX when he was wounded and then captured. He was acquitted at a court-martial and praised for his defence of the ship. He was knighted and awarded a pension. In 1799 he was appointed to the BELLONA and stayed in her until 1801 at Copenhagen when the ship stuck fast on a shoal within range of the Danish guns. Thompson was amongst the wounded and lost his leg. In 1806 he was created a baronet and was appointed Comptroller of the Navy, apost he held until 1816. He was then appointed Treasurer of Greenwich Hospital and Director of the Chest. He became a Rear-Admiral in 1809, and Vice-Admiral in 1814. He was Member of Parliament for Rochester, 1807-1818. He died at his home at Hartsbourne, Hertfordshire in 1828.

Thomas Raikes Trigge Thompson, Vice-Adm, 2nd Bt (1804-1865) Thompson was the son of Vice-Adm Thomas Boulden Thompson, and entered the Navy in 1818 after going to the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth in 1816. He became Lieutenant in 1825 and promoted in 1828 to the command of the CADMUS along the coast of Brazil and Patagonia, 1828-1830. He became a Captain in 1837.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Thompson family, including papers of Edward Thompson, including a certificate appointing Edward Thompson a Brother of Trinity House; commissions for the RAVEN, HYENA and GRAMPUS, 1771-1783; notebook pertaining to his service on the west coast of Africa, 1784-1785; state of the prizes MAASTROOM and MARIA ELIZABETH taken by the HYENA, 1782 and a notebook containing poetry written by Thompson, 1777-1778. (1 box)

Papers of Thomas Boulden Thompson including commissions issued to Thompson, 1783-1821; a pocket book with details relating to the LEANDER's seamen who received wounds at the Battle of the Nile; papers relating to the BELLONA and the loss of Thompson's leg at Copenhagen, 1801; freedoms of the cities of Gloucester and Rochester; extensive personal papers on the estate of Hartsbourne and family papers including legal documents. There is also a small notebook containing details of boys recommended by Thompson for admittance to Greenwich Hospital. (6 boxes).

Papers of Thomas Raikes Trigge Thompson, comprising official letters mainly dealing with Capt TRT Thompson's encounter at Tahiti involving Queen Pomare and the French, 1843-1845 and his time on the coast of Central America, 1846; personal papers; papers relating to TRT Thompson's time on board HMS CADMUS; letterbooks and service papers.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers, part of the Thompson family papers, are on loan from the executors of the late Lady Ellinor Mary Thompson.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Oct 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2011-04-19

Naval battles | Battles
Naval prizes | War seizures | War (concept) | International conflicts
Poetry | Literary forms and genres | Literature

Personal names
Thompson | Edward | 1738?-1786 | Commodore RN | author
Thompson | Sir | Thomas Boulden | [1766]-1828 | 1st Baronet | Vice Admiral
Thompson | Thomas Raikes Trigge | 1804-1865 | Vice-Admiral

Corporate names
Greenwich Hospital
HMS Bellona
HMS Cadmus
HMS Grampus
HMS Hyena
HMS Leander
HMS Raven

Gloucester | Gloucestershire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Rochester | Kent | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Tahiti | Society Islands | French Polynesia | Oceania
West Africa | Africa
Central America