Ethel was born in 1879 in St. Pancras, London, the daughter of unknown parents.
She died in 1951 in Croyden, Surrey.
Her husband was George William Spencer Thornton, who she married in 1903 in Croyden, Surrey. Their five known children were Recent Leslie (1904-?), Doris Ethel M. (1905-?), Recent John (1907-?), Edna Winifred M. (1909-1937) and Kathleen G.F. (1911-?).