National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Young Tom Morris (1851-1875)

Young Tom Morris (1851-1875)

Scottish golf champion

Young Tom Morris was the son of Old Tom Morris, the pioneering professional golfer. In 1865 he became the youngest player to compete in the open championship aged 14 and in 1868 the youngest to win it at 17. He also scored the first recorded hole-in-one. He was champion again in 1869, 1870 and 1872 but his promising career was cut short when he died suddenly just a few months after losing his wife in childbirth. Numerous societies subscribed to a memorial of him playing golf which was erected in St Andrews Cathedral cemetery where he had been buried. Young Tom Morris was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.

Birth in 1851

Thomas Morris (here given as Moris) was born on 20 April 1851, the son of Thomas Morris, golf ball maker and Agnes Byne. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for St Andrews gives the date of baptism as 10 May 1851 by Dr Craig, witnesses Jane Bruce and Mrs Keith.

Birth and baptism entry for Young Tom Morris

Birth and baptism entry for Young Tom Morris (20 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland,  OPR 453/19, page 381

1861 and 1871 censuses

In 1861 Thomas Morris, 9, scholar was enumerated with his family at 40 High Street in the village of Prestwick in Ayrshire. His father's occupation was recorded as golf club maker and his mother's as house-keeper. The census return for the distict of Monkton and Prestwick shows that his sister and two brothers were all born in Prestwick.

1861 census return for Young Tom Morris

Detail from 1861 census return for Young Tom Morris (51 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1861/606/3, page 9

By 1871 the family had moved back to St Andrews and were enumerated at 6 Pilmuir Links. The census return for the household is over two pages. The second page shows Thomas Morris, 19, was 'Champion Golfer of Scotland'.

1871 census return for Young Tom Morris

Detail from 1871 census return for Young Tom Morris (34 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1871/453/4, page 24

Marriage in 1874

Thomas Morris, aged 23, married Margaret Drinnan on 25 November 1874 at Crofthead according to the forms of the Church of Scotland. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for Whitburn gives his occupation as golf ball maker. The witnesses were his brother and sister - John Morris and Elizabeth Morris.

Marriage entry for Young Tom Morris

Marriage entry for Young Tom Morris (46 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1874/673/50

Death in 1875

Thomas Morris, 24, golf club maker and widower of  Margaret Drinnan, died at 10:00 on 25 December 1875. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for St Andrews gives his father's occupation as golf club maker (master). The cause of death was a pulmonary haemorrhage causing apnoea. The informant was John Morris, his brother.

Death entry for Young Tom Morris

Death entry for Young Tom Morris (34 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1875/453/168