Norfolk’s Navigator

The World of John Secker 1716-95, Quaker Mariner John Secker was a Norfolk sailor who penned his personal recollections of around 65 voyages, mainly undertaken in British and foreign merchant vessels, to encompass destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas between 1729 and 1755. The son of a Quaker miller and born at Swafield near North Walsham in 1716, he was taught to read and write, and through the influence of maritime relatives, he first put to sea aged fourteen. A remarkable narrative of his working life is among the treasures of the Norfolk Record Office, one of just a handful of autobiographical accounts that survive for able seamen before the Napoleonic Wars. Secker was almost constantly at sea between the ages of 14 and 40 years of age, progressing through the roles of servant, cook and cabin boy, to seaman and chief mate in coastal and long distance