Thomas Martin was a man of many parts. His early life is a mystery, but in 1781 he was married to Margaret Lowthian in Carlisle, and by 1787 was settled in the parish of Dalston. The couple had six children born in the parish up to 1802, at which point Margaret would have been aged approximately 45. The Dalston baptism registers give occasional occupational labels to fathers, and Thomas Martin gathered three different designations in a thirteen-year period. He was identified variously as a cotton manufacturer, a joiner, and a publican, but he is remembered for other skills as well. He was a salaried overseer for the parish in the 1810s, a workhouse manager in the 1820s, and he may well have had architectural credentials (perhaps in confirmation of his success as a joiner at scale). He was said to have been the supplier of plans for the first restoration of Dalston church in 1818.
When writing his will, Martin identified himself as an innkeeper. It is interesting to note, though, the occupations of his children which also ran from the practical to the professional. Among his sons Richard was a warper (in the textile industry), while George was an innkeeper in Scotland; the son he didn’t mention in his will, Isaac, was a surgeon. This was a lower-middling family with aspirations to gentility, and numerous family skills. Even so, the next generation seems not to have lived long enough to capitalise on their father’s investment in this part of Cumberland. Sons Richard and Isaac both died in the 1830s (aged 48 and 43 respectively), and by 1890 there was no-one in the parish of Dalston named Martin.
Sources: Carlisle marriage of 10 March 1781; Dalston parish registers, baptisms of 1 July 1787, 5 July 1789, 31 July 1791, 17 August 1794, 24 April 1797 and 1 January 1802; J. Wilson (ed.), The Monumental Inscriptions of the Chruch, Churchyard and Cemetery of St Michael’s Dalson, Cumberland (Dalston, 1890), p. 101; Carlisle Archives PROB/1826/W246 will of Thomas Martin 1826; SPC 44/2/49 Dalston overseers’ of the poor vouchers, Thomas Martin legal accounts 6 February 1816-17 March 1817, and 18 October 1819 to 15 October 1821.