Robert Amberson Marten was born in Glastonbury in 1699. His father was William Martin, probably a soap boiler in Bristol. The origin of the Martin (sic) family was almost certainly from the Glastonbury area - but William appears to have married Elizabeth the niece of a Bristol trader and adventurer Robert Amberson some time in the early 1680's. Robert Amberson Marten was the youngest of at least four children.

The Martin family had undoubtedly been caught up in the tumultuous events of the Civil War and the Monmouth rising of 1685 that hit the West coiuntry particularly hard. This may explain some of the movement to and from Bristol and the problems and persecution encountered by the non conformists and Quakers prevalent amongst the Bristol traders and Soap boilers.

Robert Amberson Marten was born into much more benign times just as the trading port of Bristol was booming with new colonies and adventures. This entrepreneurial spirit was to colour his life and bring him to the Port of London where his subsequent family was to settle. At one time he indeed professed to be a Quaker but whatever the case he remained strongly apart from the establishment and non conformist.

We know a fair bit about his career as his second eldest son Nathaniel Marten wrote a testimonial of his father's life in about 1815. Nathaniel describes his father in glowing terms. He was undoubtedly a tall man of about six foot.

Robert Amberson Marten married Alice Harford, when she was reputedly only 15 years old. They had five children who grew to adulthood. Their careers bear testimony to the range of Robert's business interests. He worked variably as a wine merchant, debt and tax collector and even mushroom grower. Although he was clearly in contact with merchants who sailed the world he never himself went abroad as far as we know.

The most distinguished son of his was Humphrey Marten who became Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada. His second son, Nathaniel Marten pursued a career in London in Pastry making becoming a Freeman of the Cooks Company. His youngest son also Robert Amberson Marten died at sea.

The London Gazette records that Robert Amberson Marten twice had spells in debtors prison which is at odds with his son's radiant account - but was probably an occupational hazard of his zealous entrepreneurial nature.

He seems to have died in Dorset in 1758 seemingly on another venture that seem to have got more and more eccentric as he got older.

 

Family of Robert Amberson MARTEN and Alice HARFORD

See also
Robert MARTEN's parents: William MARTIN (1655- ) and Elizabeth AMBERSON ( - )
Robert MARTEN's siblings: William MARTIN (1685- ), Lydia MARTIN (1691- ) and George MARTIN (1696- )
Alice HARFORD's parents: Thomas HARFORD (1659-1720) and Martha Butler

Husband: Robert Amberson MARTEN (1699-1758)
Wife: Alice HARFORD (1709- )
Children: Martha MARTEN (1726-1775?)
Humphrey MARTEN (1730-1790)
Nathaniel MARTEN (1735-1816)
Robert Amberson MARTEN (1736-1773)
Alice MARTEN (1742-1823)
Marriage 1725

Husband: Robert Amberson MARTEN

Name: Robert Amberson MARTEN
Sex: Male
Father: William MARTIN (1655- )
Mother: Elizabeth AMBERSON ( - )
Birth 2 Sep 1699 Glastonbury 1
Baptism 5 Sep 1699 (age 0) Glastonbury (St John The Baptist)
Death 1758 (age 58-59) Dorset
Burial 13 Sep 1758 (age 59) St Mary's, Burton Bradstock, Dorset

Wife: Alice HARFORD

Name: Alice HARFORD
Sex: Female
Father: Thomas HARFORD (1659-1720)
Mother: Martha BUTLER
Birth 1709 Bristol
Baptism

Child 1: Martha MARTEN

Name: Martha MARTEN
Sex: Female
Spouse 1: Edward POSGATE ( -1762?)
Spouse 2: Stephen GOULDER ( - )
Birth 1726
Death 1775 (app) (age 48-49)

Child 2: Humphrey MARTEN

Name: Humphrey MARTEN
Sex: Male
Spouse: PAWPITCH ( -1771)
Birth 2 Feb 1730
Death 26 Jun 1790 (age 60) Windsor

Child 3: Nathaniel MARTEN

Name: Nathaniel MARTEN
Sex: Male
Spouse: Martha CLARKSON (1736-1790)
Birth 19 May 1735 London
Occupation btw 1770 and 1790 (age 34-55) Freeman of the Cooks Company
Death 17 Oct 1816 (age 81) Assembly Row, Mile End
Burial 24 Oct 1816 (age 81) Bunhill Fields MI

Child 4: Robert Amberson MARTEN

Name: Robert Amberson MARTEN
Sex: Male
Birth 27 May 1736
Baptism 14 Dec 1749 (age 13) St Dunstans, Stepney
Death 1773 (age 36-37)

Child 5: Alice MARTEN

Name: Alice or Alicia MARTEN
Sex: Female
Spouse: Burton BINDON (1726-1799 )
Birth 1742
Death 21 Apr 1823 (age 80-81) Clonmel, Ireland

Sources

1 "Marten Papers". Text From Source: Reference: ADD.MS7744/P/21