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Anchors Aweigh to Botany Bay

The adventures of George Mills, sheep thief

And mind it's all yours what you touches-es, Or you'll land down in Botany Bay.

This line from an old Australian folk song reminds us that the saying "might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb" once had a literal meaning. This is the story of George Mills, a labourer from Fawkham.

Born in 1769, George had lived most of his life in and around Fawkham parish, he'd married Anne and in 1789 one of their 4 children, John, was baptised at All Saints' Church.  For a while he worked for Robert Monk at New House Farm, Church Road, Hartley (where Bazes Shaw and Northfield are today).

In July 1799 a spate of sheep thefts had begun, but the authorities were only able to solve the mystery after two sheep were stolen from Henry Killick in Fawkham on 20 April 1801. Three days later a trio of Fawkham men (George Mills, Richard Martin and William Couchman) were committed by local magistrates under Mr Hart Dyke on an array of charges relating to sheep stealing in Fawkham, West Kingsdown, Ash and Hartley. One of the charges George faced was the theft of two sheep that were grazing near his former employer's property.   Robert Monk reproached Mills "for robbing him who had employed him in farming business", to which George said "he was very sorry for what he had done and hoped the prosecutor [Monk] would forgive him."

Sheep stealing was a classic crime of desperation, but some people stole them to order for butchers and tallow makers. The carcass of the sheep that George took was left abandoned in a wood, normally the case with tallow thieves, but nobody, even at the time, believed that that was his motive.

George had to wait until the assize judges of the Home Circuit visited Maidstone (the origin of the term "Home Counties") in August 1801. The "grand jury" struck out all the charges against Mills except the one of theft from Robert Monk. The indictment accused Mills and Couchman that "on the 12th day of January in the 41st year of our the reign of our sovereign lord king George the third....with force of arms at the parish aforesaid [took] 2 sheep of the price of £2 of the goods and chattels of Robert Monk then and there being found feloniously did steal, take and drive away against the peace of our said lord the king..." Although the indictment states the crime occurred in Fawkham, the parish was often wrong; Robert Monk owned or rented no land in Fawkham at the time. He was however the tenant of New House Farm in Hartley, where George had once lived.

Mills who had admitted the offence was found guilty, Couchman was cleared for want of evidence - "tho' I have reason to believe he was the most guilty", William Garrow the trial judge later wrote. This was a capital offence then, so George faced the judge in his black cap and listened  to the dreaded words of condemnation. At the end of the assizes the judges altered George's sentence to transportation instead. Mr Garrow said "I did not think myself at liberty to pronounce a lighter sentence than that of transportation, in doing which I was informed that I conformed to the general practice of the learned judges."  This is the same William Garrow dramatised in the 2009 BBC series.  

The sentence caused considerable disquiet locally, especially because the victims Mr Monk and Mr Burberry had given George a good character reference at the trial. Shortly after Mr Hart Dyke and others wrote to the Home Secretary requesting that he be pardoned.

"We are informed that Mills, who has a wife and four small children, has resided all his life in the parish of Fawkham, where his parents now live, and that he bore the character of an industrious and honest man until he was apprehended for the offence of which he was convicted, and it is also represented to us by the principal inhabitants of Fawkham that Mills (who appears to be an Ignorant man) was led to commit his crime more through the act and persuasions of some bad men, into whose company he fell, than by any vicious and depraved habits of his own, and the master with whom he formerly lived has told us, that if Mills was at liberty he would have no objection to take him again and employ him even in a service of trust."

Lord Pelham, the Home Secretary, wrote to Mr Garrow, for his views. He gave a fair summing up of the case and supported the plea for clemency: "I.. shall feel satisfaction if your lordship's judgement shall concur with that of the very respectable magistrates in thinking that he may with propriety be restored to his family." However in his desire to be fair, he mentioned the other charges against George. This fatally destroyed his case, for it gave Lord Pelham grounds for refusal, which he did almost on receipt of Garrow's letter.  

Things then took a further turn for the worse for George, as on 9 November he and Richard Martin were two of the 12 prisoners moved by order from Maidstone to the prison hulks at Woolwich. The hulks were ancient Royal Navy ships turned into floating prisons. The Maidstone Journal reported they were "escorted by Mr Watson and a strong guard.." Conditions on the hulks were terrible and disease was rife. New prisoners were scrubbed until they bled, put in uniforms and leg irons and then set to work in the docks.

George sent a plea for clemency on his own behalf in November from the hulk Prudentia.  It was supported by Thomas Bradley (curate of Fawkham and rector of Hartley), the churchwardens and Robert Monk. In it he wrote "That your petitioner earnestly conjures your lordship, by that mercy you will yourself one day expect, to evince a compassionate regard towards an unfortunate individual whose cruel destiny, has not been brought on by extravagance or depravity, but by the pressure of extreme want, as God knows at the time, the crime which has caused his banishment was perpetrated, his family were on the point of perishing, not having a morsel of bread to satisfy the craving of nature." Alas Lord Pelham refused to be "the blessed instrument of restoring him to society and to his sorrowful wife and children."

Finally in September 1802 the time came for sentence to be carried out. He and around 400 other male and female convicts were transferred to HMS Glatton at Portsmouth under Captain Colnett. On board were also 30 paying passengers. The ship set sail at 4pm on the 23rd September in light breezes and fair weather. For many on board, when they saw the Lizard on the Cornish Peninsular next day, it would be the last time they would ever see England.

They arrived at Port Jackson (Sydney) on March 13th 1803. Mr Colnett was an enlightened commander for his day and far fewer convicts died on the journey (12) than previous voyages. Nevertheless 100 of them had to be hospitalised on their arrival.

Although the ship had men's and women's prisons, it seems that prisoners were not confined to them all the time and were given work to do. They were even allowed to carry their knives. Security was a concern for the captain, during the voyage he had the ship's carpenters build scuttles on deck for the officers to communicate with each other should the prisoners attack. Discipline was harsh and several crew and prisoners were flogged for things like theft and other infractions of the rules. George appears to have kept his nose clean and does not appear in the punishment log.

Convicts were either put to work on government projects or were assigned to free individuals to work as unpaid labour. In 1805 he was working for a Mr McDougal as a labourer in Paramatta, which was the best farmland in early Sydney. He applied for and got a "ticket of leave" in 1810. This allowed him to work for whom he liked, but he had to stay in a particular area and report to the authorities regularly. He was also expected to attend Church whenever possible. In 1814 he was working as a labourer in the colony, in 1822 he was employed in Sydney as a servant to a Mrs Squires.

George remarried in 1821 to Mary Anne Phillips, a convict who had come out in 1815.  He appeared again in the 1828 census of New South Wales, where he and Mary Anne were living at Kissing Point, now an affluent suburb of Sydney. They were certainly better off, they now even had a convict servant, George Brake.  We meet George in 1834 when he cultivated his land and orchard, and Mary Anne was a washerwoman.  His house was broken into by 3 robbers, who threatened them and stole his 24 shillings of change and a watch he had owned for 25 years.  All the same he was relunctant to prosecute and didn't identify the assailant Abraham Maher at the police station, because he didn't want him to hang.  However the evidence against Abraham Maher was overwhelming and the jury convicted him (it appears he did not hang because he was convicted again in 1837).

George Mills appears to have died at the age of 76 in 1845 (NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages index).

His fellow prisoner from Fawkham, Richard Martin, did even better for himself, he worked for a government botanist at first and then was employed by the governor himself. In 1828 he was a farm steward, and owned 80 acres in his own right. In the end, both George and Richard did much better for themselves in their new land, than they would have done had they stayed in Kent.

It's not been possible to trace what happened to Anne Mills and their four children, but there is little doubt that life would have been hard. Already as a result of the court case they were on parish relief, which meant they were living in poverty. It was only in later years that wives were allowed to accompany their convicted husbands to Australia, so sadly it is unlikely they ever met again.

Another case affecting Hartley is that of William Lovegrove, who was convicted of stealing a hog from Mr Edmeades of Hartley Court in 1791.
Source documents
1.  Plea for clemency from Dartford Magistrates (PRO HO 47/26/60)

My Lord,

I beg leave to state to your lordship that a man of the name of George Mills was at the last assizes for the county of Kent convicted of sheep stealing, and received sentance of death, but was reprieved before the judges left the town, and now remains in Maidstone gaol under sentance of transportation.  We are informed that Mills, who has a wife and four small children, has resided all his life in the parish of Fawkham, where his parents now live, and that he bore the character of an industrious and honest man until he was apprehended for the offence of which he was convicted, and it is also represented to us by the principal inhabitants of Fawkham that Mills (who appears to (...) Ignorant man) was led to commit his crime more through the act and persuasions of some bad men, into whos company he fell, than by any vicious and depraved habits of his own, and the master with whom he formerly lived has told us, that if Mills was at liberty he would have no objection to take him again and employ him even in a service of trust.  We, who are the magistrates before whom Mills was brought when he was first apprehended and who have had some opportunities of enquiry into his former way of life, and connections, have no reason to doubt the truth of the informations that have been made to us respecting him and conceive that he is a proper object of mercy and if the royal favour is extended to him that he may hereafter become a good and useful member of society.

We are my lord, your lordships most obedient and very humble servants

Peter Rashleigh
T Lambard
J Hart Dyke

Dartford Sept 1801


2. Letter from Lord Pelham to William Garrow esq
Ref: TNA/HO13/14

Whitehall, 15th September 1801

Sir

Inclosed, I transmit you by the king's command a letter on behalf of George Mills, who was tried and convicted before you at the last assizes at Maidstone for sheep stealing and I am etc.

Lord Pelham

Thomas Pelham (1756-1826) was Home Secretary 1801-1803


3. Reply from William Garrow to Lord Pelham
Ref: TNA/HO 47/26/60

Pegwell, 17th September 1801

My Lord

In answer to your lordship's letter of the 15th instant, which I have this moment received, I have the honour to state for your lordship's information that:

George Mills was indicted (together with William Couchman, who was for want of evidence acquitted of this and several other charges, tho' I have reason to believe he was the most guilty) for stealing 2 sheep the property of Robert Monk.  It appeared from the testimony of the prosecutor that in January last, he lost 2 sheep from a field near the road and found the skins in an adjoining wood, that in April following the prisoners were apprehended and on the prosecutor's reproaching Mills for robbing him who had employed him in farming business, he said he was very sorry for what he had done and hoped the prosecutor would forgive him, and acknowledged that he and Couchman had stolen the 2 sheep and put the skins in the wood, but denied having stolen any other of Monks's sheep.

Mr Monk and one Birbury, a constable and reputable farmer, gave Mills a very good character and stated that he had a wife and four small children - as the confession of the prisoner was voluntary the jury found him guilty, and I did not think myself at liberty to pronounce a lighter sentance than that of transportation, in doing which I was informed that I conformed to the general practice of the learned judges.

I ought perhaps to inform your lordship that it appears by the calendar that Couchman and Mills were committed by Mr Dyke, charged with several other felonies.

I have stated to your lordship all that I know respecting the prisoners, whose case your lordship has referred to me, and feel at a loss how to offer any opinion upon the question of the extension of the royal mercy to the convict, but shall feel satisfaction if your lordship's judgement shall concur with that of the very respectable magistrates in thinking that he may with propriety be restored to his family.

I intreat your lordship to have the goodness to excuse anything of inaccuracy or want of form in this answer, as it is the first time I have been called upon to perform this duty, and have not the means of consulting any person of more experience.

I have the honour to be, with great respect, my lord, your lordship's most obedient humble servant,

W Garrow
The Right Honourable Lord Pelham


4. Home Secretary's decision in case
Ref: TNA/HO13/14

Whitehall, 18 September 1801

Gentlemen

In consequence of your application on behalf of George Mills, his case has been referred to the judge before whom the convict was tried, for his report; and I am sorry I cannot in this instance comply with your recommending the convict for any further extension of the royal mercy, it appearing that the prisoner was charged with several other felonies than that for which he has been convicted.

Sir
Pelham

(to) .... Rashleigh; ... Lambard; ... Dyke


5. Order to move prisoner from Maidstone to Woolwich
Ref: TNAHO13/14)

31st October 1801

(to) High Sheriff of Kent

Usual letter to remove 12 male convicts to the hulks in the Thames.


6.  Prisoners removed to Prison Hulk at Woolwich
(Maidstone Journal 10 November 1801)

Early yesterday morning the following convicts were removed from the county gaol, escorted by Mr Watson and a strong guard, to Woolwich and there put on a hulk, to remain 'til a vessel shall be appointed, by government for their conveyance to New South Wales, viz..... George Mills, Richard Martin..... (12 in all, another batch had been moved on 10 September 1801 - Maidstone Journal 15.9.1801)


7.  Petition from George Mills on board Prison Hulk Prudentia

The humble petition of George Mills now under sentance of transportation for the term of his natural life on board his Majesty's hulk Prudentia at Woolwich.

To the Rt Hon Lord Pelham,

Sheweth

That your petitioner was convicted at the assizes for the county of Kent on July last of stealing a sheep valued at 20 shillings, for which serious offence he is impressed with deep contrition.

That your petitioner has a large family, consisting of a wife and 4 small children, who are through his misfortune obliged to become burthensome to the parish as they depended entirely on his labour for support.

That your petitioner can confidently assert that he never in his life before commited any schemes of fraud, or injured any man's person or property, but that his days were ever honestly laborious.

That your petitioner can bring all the respectable inhabitants of the parish in which he lived to prove that his character ever was (previous to this unfortunate period) irreproachable and that he never wandered abroad from his settlement, but always conducted himself as a steady and industrious man.

That your petitioner earnestly conjures your lordship, by that mercy you will yourself one day expect, to evince a compassionate regard towards an unfortunate individual whose cruel destiny, has not been brought on by extravagance or depravity, but by the pressure of extreme want, as God knows at the time, the crime which has caused his banishment was perpetrated, his family were on the point of perishing, not having a morsel of bread to satisfy the craving of nature.

That your petitioner most humbly hopes, as this is his first offence, that your lordship will, with your usual humanity, condescend to commiserate his unhappy situation, and become the blessed instrument of restoring him to society and to his sorrowful wife and children.

And he will, as in duty bound, ever pray etc etc etc

(signed)

T Bradley, curate of Fawkham
Robert Monk, prosecutor
(..) Cooper, churchwarden
(..) Killick, churchwarden


8. List of those transported to NSW on HMS Glatton September 1801
Ref: TNA/HO11/1

(September 1801) Includes George Mills and Richard Martin


9. HMS Glatton Captain's Log 1801-2
Ref: TNA/ADM 51/1467

Sept 9th       Spithead - 110 male convicts come on board (stores coming on board)
Sept 15th      Moved to St Helens
Sept 23rd      Set sail at 4pm in light breezes and clear weather
Sept 24th      Lizard
Sept 27th      Cape Finisterre - served hops and tobacco to company
Sept 28th      Cape Finisterre - general washing for company and convicts
Oct 2nd        Three crew members flogged; male convicts questionned about theft
Oct 9th         Arrive Porto Santo 9pm.  13 gun salute to fort.  Sent for water.
Oct 10-13th   Took on stores (10 bullocks, 8 tons + water, beef, vegetables, wine).
Oct 13th       Death of Lucy Jones (convict)
Oct 14th       Set sail.  James Smith (crew) flogged for drunkenness
Oct 15th       James Smith (crew), and James Hazell (marine) flogged
Oct 18th       James Smith (crew) flogged for riotous behaviour
Oct 19th       Convicts say fish rotten; flogged ringleader John Turnbull
Oct 22nd      James Smith (crew) and John Cropper (marine) flogged
Oct 23rd       Male convict punished for theft; killed 3 bullocks; convicts washing
Oct 25th       Squally weather with lightning and thunder; cask of rum for crew
Oct 26th       Nathaniel Green (convict) flogged for insolence
Oct 28th       Convicts' beds aired
Oct 29th       James Wood (convict) died; sail carried away in storm
Nov 1st        Washed below and sprinkled vinegar
Nov 3rd        James Hunt (convict) flogged for mutinous behaviour
Nov 4th        Spoke to ship Actius? out 24 days from Liverpool to coast of Africa
Nov 5th        Female convict punished for insolence.  Convicts' bedding mended
Nov 8th        Male convict flogged for disobedience
Nov 10th      Male convict flogged for insolence.  Examined female convicts' clothes
Nov 13th      Three male convicts flogged for theft, another for deserting his watch
Nov 15th      Crossed equator
Nov 16th      Convicts James McCreamer John Walker flogged, and 3 female punished
Nov 18th      Carpenters finished deck scuttles for communication if convicts attack
Nov 19th      Francis Haughton, Richard Burton, James Chapman, James Lewis, James Purnell, William Thornber, George Hopwood, William Curtis, William Dennison and George Row (convicts) flogged for theft (mostly 36 lashes)
Nov 22nd      Armourers employed at forge.  Convicts Isaac Rowbottom, Robert Ellis, John Jeffard, William Stevens flogged (12-36 lashes).  Cleaned men and women's prisons
Nov 27th      Lieut Peter Mitchell arrested for contempt
Nov 28th      Spoke to a Portugese fishing boat
Dec 1st         Moored in Rio de Janiero harbour.  Sent officer ashore to fort
Dec 2nd        Ennis Lewis ran away from ship.  Richard Smith (marine) flogged
Dec 3rd        Marines John Cowley, Joseph Luffman, Richard Johnston, William McLauchland, Joseph Ralph and Thomas Stradling flogged
Dec 4th        George Curtous, master's mate arrested
Dec 6th        James Smith, Dougald Livingston (crew), John Hollaway flogged.  James Johnston (quartermaster) flogged for smuggling liquor and James Smith (marine) incarcerated for sleeping on duty
Dec 7th        Convicts William Dennison, William McDonald, George Moncore and George Low flogged
Dec 8th        Taking on water.  Convicts John Hughes and Robert Ellis flogged.  Portugese Commodore came on board
Dec 9th        Sent cutter to get 3 Britons out of an American ship that had sailed
Dec 10th       Restored Lt Peter Mitchell to duty
Dec 11th       Sent sick convicts to Pound? Island as before
Dec 13th       Set sail
Dec 14th       Marines Richard Smith and Joseph Harris flogged
Dec 15th       Marines John Cropper and William Stapleton flogged
Dec 16th       Sight Gough Island (2,950 ft high near St Helena)
Dec 20th       James Smith (crew) and William Harris (marine) flogged for fighting
Dec 22nd      Spoke to south sea whaling ship Charming Betty
Dec 23rd       Armourers at forge.  Death of Michael Thorn, convict
Dec 25th       Launched jolly boat to pick up hammock that fell overboard
Dec 26th       Lt Allen Stewart arrested
Dec 29th       9pm - strong gales, heavy swell
Jan 1st         Cooked wheat for people's breakfast
Jan 5th        Strong gales and squally weather.  Marine James Peyton flogged
Jan 7th        Convict Charles Stevens flogged for pulling knife on fellow convicts.  Marines Thomas Phillips and Joseph Eager flogged
Jan 10th       Marine Richard Smith flogged
Jan 11th       Convict George Turnbull flogged
Jan 13th       Joseph Dunn (crew) flogged for neglect of duty
Jan 14th       "Got all the convicts on deck and examined below, some thefts having been committed"
Jan 18th       Gales, some damage.  Marine James Wycke flogged
Jan 19th       Death of Frances Brough (convict)
Jan 20th       Lt Allan Stewart put in confinement
Jan 25th       Scrubbed hammocks and bags
Jan 31st       Death of Sarah Makin (convict).  Washed chests and bags
Feb 1st         Very light wind - only 18 miles covered.  James Johnston flogged for striking female convict.  Death of William Pitt (convict)
Feb 3rd        William Smith (crew) flogged.  John Williams (convict) found dead in his hammock
Feb 5th        Death of John Rees (convict).  Convicts washing
Feb 7th        Marine Lt William Mitchell arrested for abusive language to Mr Robinson
Feb 9th        Served tobacco to crew.  Death of William Lyons (convict)
Feb 12th       Crew and convicts washed clothes
Feb 13th       F Sickham (female convict) flogged for disobeying orders
Feb 14th       Marine Richard Smith flogged.  Death of Thomas Littlejohn (convict)
Feb 15th       Chests and bags washed below
Feb 16th       Convicts Thomas Bolestow, Peter Humphrey, Hugh McEvoy and William Simkins flogged (McEvoy only on suspicion of theft).  Marine Thomas Stradling flogged
Feb 19th       From 12.30 hard squally with hail, thunder and lightning.  Fire bale fell on deck but no-one injured
Feb 24th       Marine John Young flogged for allowing crew Lt into marine's officer's cabin contrary to his written order of 10th Feb
Feb 26th       Convicts washing clothes.  Marine Alexander McDonald flogged
Feb 27th       Awaiting favourable wind to turn into Bass Strait (between Tasmania and mainland)
Feb 28th       Saw Van Diemans Land at 10.30
Mar 1st         Death of John Thomas (convict).  Marine Joseph Ralph flogged
Mar 3rd        Storm carried away job stay breaking arm of Mr Rubridge, midshipman
Mar 4th        Lt Thompson arrested for mutiny, unofficerlike conduct etc
Mar 8th        Saw coast of New Holland at noon
Mar 12th       Unable to enter harbour because of current, sent sick convicts ashore
Mar 13th       Moored in harbour 11.30
Mar 14th       Governor came on board, convicts taken ashore


10. Census of convicts in New South Wales post 1815
Ref: TNA/HO10/1/2

George Mills - arrived 1803 on HMS Glatton - convicted at Maidstone assizes July 1801 - pardoned 1810 - became labourer in the colony.
Richard Martin - arrived 1803 on HMS Glatton - convicted at Maidstone assizes July 1801 - pardoned 1807 - became landholder in the colony


11. George Mills burgled 1834
Sydney Herald, Thursday 20 November 1834, page 2

Monday [17th] Before his honour Mr Justice Dowling and a civil jury.

Abraham Maher stood indicted for feloniously and burglarously entering the dwelling house of George Mills at Kissing Point on the 14th September last, and taking therefrom one watch, 24 shillings of the current coin of the realm, and sundry artices of wearing apparel.  The prisoner pleaded not guilty.

George Mills examined - I live at Kissing Point; I gain a livelihood by cultivating a small piece of ground and an orchard; my wife washes; I remember the 14th September; we retired to rest early that evening; about 7 o'clock the dogs began to bark in an unusual way; when I got up and opened the door, there were 3 men coming towards the hous; the foremost man desired me to go back and lay down on my face on the bed; fearful of violence I returned to the bedroom as desired; I met my wife coming out of the room; the man told her to go back; he then commanded me to tell him where my money was, and not to make any noise, or he would knock my brains out; I begged of him, for God's sake, not to use any violence towards us, as we were very old persons, and said we had no money; he said I was a liar; I swear the prisoner at the bar is the man; my wife is 60 years old, I am 65; I told him there were a few shillings in a box, which I pointed out to him; it was a moonlight night, and I had just lit the lamp; the prisoner went to th ebox and took out 24 shillings and some articles of wearing apparel; the box was not locked; they then went to the safe and took some provisions; when the prisoner first entered he had a small piece fo the upper part of a corn stalk over his face; there is a house at the distance of 50 rods from mine; I had been told that 3 men were coming to rob me, but the time appointed had passed; the watch is mine, I have had it about 25 years, and it cost me when I purchased it £7.

By the Court - I did not swear to the prisoner at the Police Office; I said my sight was bad and I could not swear to him; I did not wish to swear to him; I did not wish to hang him; I have been 32 years in the Colony and never injured any man; I now swear the prisoner is the man, because I fear they may come again to my house if not prevented; I have not been advised by any person to swear to him; he was dressed in an old fustian frock; they were not more than 5 minutes in the house; my wife was very much alarmed.

By the Prisoner - I certainly did not swear to you at the Police Office, but it was not because I doubted whether or not you were the man; I did not wish to hurt you; I swear positively you are the man, I never saw you before.

Mary Ann Mills - I am the wife of the last witness; I am 60 years old on New Year's Day next.  I remember 3 men coming to my house on the evening of the 14th September; I should know them again; the prisoner at the bar is one of them, he was the first person that entered; I had a full view of his features 3 times over; the lamp was burning at the time, and there was a small fire; we were just going to bed, and my husband was fastening the door on the inside when the dogs began to bark; my husband opened the door, when 3 men entered; I never saw the prisoner before that time; I was in the bedroom, one of the men took the lamp off the table when prisoner called for a light; the prisoner took my husband by the back of the neck, and forced him to lay upon the bed with his face dwonwards, and told him if he either moved or spoke, he would knock his brains out; that was the time he called for a light; I was going out of the bedroom when the prisoner desired one of the men to push me back, which he did, when I was also forced to lay upon the bed with my face downwards; the prisoner said if I stirred he would knock my brains out, and I was much alarmed; the position in which I lay did not prevent my taking particular notice of the prisoner, whom I saw distinctly before I was forced on the bed; my sight is very imperfect; I cannot see without glasses, but I had them on at the time, and it is impossible I can be mistaken in the prisoner.

Prisoner - Look at me Mrs MIlls; how can you make such a statement, when you have not looked upon me since you have been in that box?

Witness turning round and looking at the prisoner with great firmness - Oh I can look at you my good man - I can look at you, I say, with a clear conscience; you are the man.

By the Court - My spectacles did not come off when I was thrown down; if I had not had them on, I certainly would not have seen so well; the foremost many was very tall, and was obliged to take his hat off when he went into my bedroom, and had to stoop on entering; he wore a black hat on that occasion, and I then had a full view of his face; I cannot distinguish the voice, it was like that of an Irishman, I don't think it was much like a man from the north country; my husband's sight is defective, he has lost the sight of one of his eyes.

Summary of remainder of case

Phillip Hyde, boat builder.  He met the Maher at Mr Hearn's lodging house (called "The Australian") on the Parramatta Road on 20th September, just before he was competing in a prize fight, Maher was his second.  He saw the watch and pledged it for 6s on Maher's behalf, as he was known to the house and Maher was not staying there.  Maher said he'd known Hyde for 2 years, and added he had been sent to Norfolk Island for a crime he didn't commit before and would not like to go back.  He saw a man called Jenkins executed but didn't know him (before his execution, Jenkins had confessed to robbing George Mills, but the court produced a witness to prove Jenkins was in custody at the time).

Mary Hearn said the prisoner had called himself Johnson.  She kept the watch for 3 weeks until her son broke the winding chain, so she sent to Mr Oatley's for repair.  Mr Hyde said it belonged to Johnson.  She admitted that she couldn't be sure he got the watch from the defendant.  However Esther Harris, who lived at Mrs Hearn's said she said Maher give Hyde the watch.

Charles Hearn, son of Mrs Hearn, said that when he took the watch for repair he was told it was stolen.  

William Keys - I am foreman to Mr Oatley, my master keeps a register of all watches which come into his hands.  I remember the prosecutor Mr Mills calling at the shop, and lodging an information, that his house had been robbed, and his watch stolen; he described the watch, and requested that it might be stopped, together with the person who brought it; I knw the watch by the description given of it, it had been occasionally at the shop for the last 20 years for repairs; I should consider its value to be about 50s.

William Small, wardman for No. 3 ward said Maher was arrested at Mr Thomas Hyndes's at work, he recovered watch from Mr Oatley's.

Defendant Maher represented himself and called Thomas Wright a stonemason on remand on a charge of robbery.  He said Hyde gave him the watch at Mr Morris's pub, as payment for going to the fight with him.  He told Maher he could use it easily for a bet of 15s or £1.  When questioned by the court Wright was unable to describe the watch.  Mr Charles Morris was called by the defendant but did not appear.  Thomas May was at Hearn's on the 20th and saw Maher take the watch from his pocket, did look like the exhibit in court.  Defence case concluded.

Jury found Maher guilty and criticised evidence of Wright.  Remanded for sentence (can't find any record of sentence).


Transportation of William Lovegrove (1791)

William is given as both being of Dartford and Hartley, once again the parish in these cases being not always reliable.  But there is no doubt the 3rd case relates to Hartley, the victim Thomas Edmeads was tenant of Hartley Court from around 1769 to 1800.  Once again we can follow his progress to New South Wales.

This meant he was a very early settler, as the William and Ann was part of the third fleet to Port Jackson. William and Ann sailed 27 March 1791 from Plymouth and took 154 days, arriving 28 August 1791.

PRO ASSI 34/1334 (Kent Summer Assize 1790)

(1) The jurors for the king upon their oaths present that William Lovegrove, late of the parish of Dartford, in the county of Kent, labourer, otherwise William Burberry, late of the same labourer, on the 9th day of April in the 29th year of the reign of our sovereign lord, George III now king of Great Britain etc (1789), with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the county aforesaid, one live turkey of the price of 3 shillings (£0.15) of the goods and chattels of James Hicks then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take and drive away against the peace of our said lord the King, his crown and dignity.

Grand Jury found it not a true bill (case dismissed)

(2) The jurors for the king upon their oaths present that William Lovegrove, late of the parish of Dartford, in the county of Kent, labourer, otherwise William Burberry, late of the same labourer, on the 8th day of April in the 29th year of the reign of our sovereign lord, George III now king of Great Britain etc (1789), about the hour of one in the night of the same day with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the county aforesaid, the dwelling house of one James Hicks there situate, then and there feloniously and burglarously did break and enter and 4 glass bottles of the value of 1 shilling (5p), one canvas bag of no value, one mahogany tea chest of the value of 2 shillings (10p) and 3 tin cannisters of the value of 1 shilling (5p) of the goods and chattels of the said James Hickes in the same dwelling house then and there being found, feloniously and burglarously did steal, take and drive away against the peace of our said lord the King, his crown and dignity.

Witnesses: James Hickes, Edward Hackney, Thomas Natham, Thomas Taylor, Charles Harnsworth, Edward Lance, Mary Winn, John Saunders, 8 sworn in court.

Grand Jury found it a true bill

Puts himself, guilty, no goods, to be hanged etc.

(3) The jurors for the king upon their oaths present that William Lovegrove, late of the parish of Hartley, in the county of Kent, labourer, otherwise William Burberry, late of the same labourer, on the 17th day of March in the 29th year of the reign of our sovereign lord, George III now king of Great Britain etc (1789), with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the county aforesaid, one live hog of the value of 50 shillings (£2.50) of the goods and chattels of Thomas Edmeads then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take and drive away against the peace of our said lord the King, his crown and dignity.

Witnesses: Thomas Edmeads, John Hard, John Chapman, 3 sworn in court.

Grand Jury found it a true bill

Puts himself, convicted and has judgement on another indictment.

(4) The delivery of the gaol of the lord king of the county of Kent, holden at Maidstone, in and for the county aforesaid, on Monday the 19th day of July in the 30th year of the reign of our sovereign lord George III of Great Britain etc.  Before the right honourable Sir James Eyre, knight, chief baron our said lord the king of his court of Exchequer, and the honourable Sir Henry Gould knight, one of the justices of our said lord the king of his Common Pleas, justices of our said lord the king assigned to deliver the said gaol of the prisoners therein being....

William Lovegrove alias Burberry, attainted of burglarously breaking and entering the dwelling house of James Hickes and stealing goods value 4s etc...Let them be hanged by the neck until they are dead.  Respited transportation 14 years.

PRO HO 10/1 Muster of New South Wales

William Lovegrove, arrived August 1791 on the ship William and Ann (master Banker), tried at Maidstone July 1790, period for until 1804, now labourer in the colony.

William is not in the 1828 census of New South Wales.



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