Tuesday, 20 December 2016

'Reminiscence - John Cottam' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT, Walking In Their Shoes - First Person Narrative:

 A last dab of powder on her nose and in the mirror Elizabeth sees him again.  Her joy turns to sorrow.  She hears mother’s words, “You carry the looks of your father and ’tis your young brother James who carries his ways.“

Twenty-three years gone yet we still miss him so.  I think the suddenness of it broke mother’s heart. 

Father loved working for the Railway.  They say he was a hard worker who learned quickly and lived by God’s law.  A strong man for his height.  Little schooling yet moved right up to engine driver at only 29 years and carried his pride inside. 

That last morning he left with lunch package and thick coat for the Nottingham/Toton run.  Mother always rose early to see him off and as usual he gave her extra kisses for us when we stirred.

If only he hadn’t got out to check the brakes … if only the other shunting hadn’t happened…

Thomas the fireman said father was always careful and checked things ‘proper’.  They didn’t know eight other wagons were being shunted nearby.  It was so dark and foggy at five o’clock that morning. With God’s help, he may not have seen anything.  But I know he would have heard it.  Too late.  I shiver and cry … all those carriages going over him.

Not the time to dwell though.   I will go now to the church to be wed.  I know father would be happy for us.  I must keep my thoughts to that.


John Cottam: 28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancashire, England – 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows,
Nottinghamshire, England.  (My Great Great  Grand Uncle – Mum’s Father’s Father’s brother)
Elizabeth Pashley Cottam: 1854 – 1890, daughter of John Cottam and Rebecca Pashley (1831-1869).  Elizabeth married David Rankin Apr- Jun Qtr, 1883 at Warrington Lancs, England.

Newspaper articles:
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 11 October 1860, “Fatal Accident on the Midland Railway”

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 12 October 1860.  “Fatal Accident at the Nottingham Station”

‘A Tragic Ending’ - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT

May 8 1873, the Lancefield Examiner describes the shocking accidental death of Mr. James Cottam: “killed when a large mass of earth collapsed on him crushing against the cart, whilst doing roadworks at Chintin.  Conveyed to Melbourne hospital paralysed in both legs and with internal injuries, he passed a week later, on 1st May aged 44 years.  His funeral was attended by 60 horsemen and many friends at the pretty little township of Darraweit Guim on 3rd May 1873.”

James Cottam had a good freehold farm and stock but work for the Springfield Shire Council assisting John McCarty with road building would help a lot, providing more savings now they had 6 children and his wife Eliza in child again.

The two men worked hard undermining the face of a large hill cutting until time for ‘smoko’.  After discussing the grass crop for stock feed and state of the dairy cows this year, James shared his concerns for Eliza who was unwell and his pride in his oldest daughters for their housework and efforts at butter and cheese making.  He reminisced about his brother John back in England with 4 grown up lads and a daughter. 
“I wish they were here with us working this land together, but I do thank the Lord for my strong body and the opportunities in this new country.  Twenty years now I have been here and 12 with my dear Eliza – altogether we have been so blessed.”

Returning to work, with their backs to the cart they began pitching the pile of earth over their shoulders.  Sweating heavily and muscles straining they heard a thunderous rumble above.

‘Lancefield Examiner’, 08 May 1873
James Cottam b 20 Mar 1829. Croft, Winwick, Lancs. UK. (Lancashire England Birth & Baptisms 1813-1911)  d 01 May 1873 Certificate of Death Schedule B, Died Gipps Ward, Melbourne Hospital.  (My GG Grandfather – Mum’s father’s father)
Married 23 Aug 1860. Certificate of Marriage. Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. To Eliza Shanks (b 1829 according to marriage and death certificate, Poyntzpass, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Address of farm: Cottam’s Road, Chintin
James and Eliza Cottam’s children: Mary Ann 1862-1935, Elizabeth 1864-1846, Martha 1866-1902, James 1868-1923, George 1869-1960, Joseph 1871-1953 and Agnes McLeod born after her father’s death.1873-1912.
Brother John Cottam b.28 Aug 1831 Winwick, Lancs. UK. d. 09 Oct 1860 Nottingham Meadows, Nottinghamshire, UK.

John Cottam’s children: Joseph 1853-1926, Elizabeth 1854-1890, James 1856 – 1929 (?), John 1857-1905 and Jack  b.1859.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Laurence Flynn - The Assignment and Probation Systems in Tasmania (NON FICTION)

The Assignment and Probation Systems:

Since the first days of settlement in the Australian colonies convicts had been transported under the assignment system.  Contrary to general assumption, convicts were not automatically sent to labour gangs, or the penal settlements such as Maria Island. Macquarie Harbour, and later, Port Arthur.  Transfer to these establishments was usually as punishment for further offences committed after arrival in the colony.  Under the assignment system convicts were assigned to work for free settlers or sometimes to the public works department as unpaid labourers.   

The majority of assigned convicts worked on the land but some were also employed as domestic servants.  Assignment of convicts occurred aboard the transport ship when it arrived in Hobart Town. Convicts were required to remain in the service of their assigned masters until either formerly transferred, their sentence had expired, or they were granted a ticket-of-leave or pardon (conditional or absolute).  Initially the government favoured this method of convict management because costs were limited to the administration of the system.  The costs associated with providing convicts with clothing, food, shelter and medical attention were borne by the settlers they were assigned to .  

However, by the 1830s, resistance to the assignment system was gaining momentum in Britain.
The system was becoming regarded as little more than slavery, ineffective for either reform or deterrence (Brand, 1990: 1). In addition, it was deemed to be an inconsistent form of punishment because convicts could be treated either harshly or laxly depending on the character or individual circumstances of the master. The assignment system had been the very basis of Lieutenant Governor Arthur’s penal code. Probation was a result of the 1837-38 Molesworth Committee.
Arthur’s replacement, Sir John Franklin, was instructed to implement the trial system in early1839.

Under the probation system, convicts were subjected to five stages of punishment, decreasing in severity as time and good conduct progressed (Brand, 1990: 17). The first stage was served in a penitentiary or in hulks in Britain prior to transportation to either Norfolk Island or Van
Diemen’s Land, which had by now become the only destinations in the Australian colonies for transportees.
In the second stage, convicts were placed in a system of probationary gangs in which they would work with up to 300 men, with a superintendent in charge. To overcome potential problems arising from large numbers of prisoners congregating together, they would first be strictly classified and initially confined using the separate system, a system whereby convicts were housed in individual cells or apartments where they would eat, sleep and work. This is a different concept to solitary confinement, where prisoners were confined in small dark cells as an extra form of punishment for misconduct though this rarely happened in practice. In addition, they were subjected to a program of moral and religious instruction in the belief that this would engender reform.
In the probation gangs, prisoners were worked at hard labour, but the gangs were split into three divisions with differing levels of severity of labour. Under a regime of reward and penalty, prisoners could be moved between divisions to undertake lesser or harsher forms of labour. In addition, each prisoner was awarded daily credits or debits for good or bad behaviour. As their level of credits increased, their period of confinement could be reduced, or conversely, extended if the debits mounted.

As perceived merit decreed, a prisoner could move on to the third stage – the attainment of a probation pass with which he might gain paid work. There were three classes of pass that differed primarily in the proportion of wages that the convict received with the rest being held in account by the Government. The probation pass could be revoked for misconduct, and the convict returned to the probation gangs. Gaining a ticket-of-leave was the fourth stage, which was valid only within the colony. The final stage was the pardon (either conditional or absolute).
The system had various shortcomings, and several modifications were made to the system by Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Stanley, and his successors, Gladstone and Earl Grey.

The system was eventually abolished in 1853 with the cessation of transportation to Van
Diemen’s Land.

Convict Probation and the Evolution of Jetties in Tasmania
Rick Bullers
2007, pp.1-3

Friday, 15 July 2016

Laurence Flynn (1808-85) From Convict to Settler (NON FICTION)

Laurence Flynn, my (John Flynn) great great grandfather, was born around 1808 in the Lismore region of County Waterford, Ireland. He married Mary Lyons in 1832 and they subsequently had seven children, one son and six daughters, by the year 1844.
Four years later in 1848, during the Great Famine, he was tried and convicted of sheep stealing.  His sentence was transportation for seven years. He served his sentence, brought his wife and four of their children out to join him and settled in the Port Cygnet district, south of Hobart where he lived out his life until his death in 1885.

Laurence Flynn was the son of Mary Flynn.  He had a brother John and a sister Mary (1). No father is listed in his Convict Indent Record. 
His wife’s maiden name was Mary Lyons, born c. 1816. Laurence and Mary were married on the 19th Jan. 1832 (2) at Lismore, Co. Waterford. They had six children – James (1833)(3), Mary (1835)(4), Catherine (1838), Bridget (abt 1840), Julia (1841)(5), Johanna (abt.1842) and another Mary (1844)(6).
One presumes that the first Mary b. 1835, died prior to 1844 as no further record of her can be found.

Entry for Laurence and Mary Flinn, Marriage in the parish of Lismore, Co. Waterford.
Record of Marriages from 1822-1839, page 31.  Last entry on right, No 19.

Laurence was a forty year old labourer with a wife and six children to support when he was  charged with stealing a sheep from Jack Morrisey, County Waterford. He was tried in the Lismore Assizes, this was his first offence. He was convicted and his sentence was “To be Transported for Seven Years & Kept to Hard Labour til Transported”.  His 15 year old son, James, was also tried and convicted with him of the same offence and he was sentenced to 3 months gaol. James was released from gaol on completion of his sentence and was not transported. The date was 4th July 1848 (7) and it was a time of famine. 

The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, death and emigration between the years 1845-1852. During this famine, approximately 1 million died and another 1 million emigrated from Ireland.

Prison records show that Laurence was held in Waterford City Gaol and the record below  lists his residence as Carrignagower, Lismore, which is a small hilly, rural area a few miles outside Lismore.

Entry for Laurence and James Flynn in the Waterford Prison General Register 1846-1849. (Left side page)

Entry for Laurence and James Flynn in the Waterford Prison General Register 1846-1849. (Right side page)

On the 4th April 1849 he was transferred to Spike Island, Cork Harbour, near Queenstown (now Cobh) Co Cork, where he  spent the next two years imprisoned at hard labour, waiting for a convict ship to take him to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL)(7).

Laurence was very lucky to have survived this incarceration and penal servitude as records indicate that over 1000 convicts were buried on the island by the time the prison closed in 1883, with most dying between 1847 and 1857, the period when he was there. The prisoners were unsuited to the hard labour due to their general debility. The convicts were responsible for the landscape of the island, extensive naval docks on nearby Haulbowline Island and many other military installations around Cork Harbour, where Spike Island was situated.

Laurence finally departed 13 September 1850 from Queenstown and arrived in Hobart Town, VDL on 13 December 1850 on the ship Hyderabad (3), voyage No. 322. The ship’s captain was T.A. Castle and there were 300 convicts onboard. His Conduct Record (8) for the voyage gives the following information. 
Spike Island Prison Report: Good. 
Surgeon’s report: Good. 
Description: Age 42, Height, 5’ 6½”, fresh complexion with grey hair, brown whiskers and eyebrows. Grey eyes, large nose, long chin, mouth medium, oval face and no distinguishing features. His trade was Farm Labourer; he was Roman Catholic and could read a little. 
His Police No. was 23504.

Entry for Laurence Flynn in the Convict Conduct Register, CON 33-1-100, Image 109. TAHO

Postcard of Hobart Town 1848. Artist FGS de Wesselow. Private Collection

On the same voyage, was a convict Thomas Donovan. Whether Laurence previously knew Thomas in Ireland or just became acquainted on the 'Hyderabad' is a matter for conjecture but interestingly their families were united by marriage when Thomas’ son Peter married Laurence’s granddaughter Catherine Flynn in 1881 in the Port Cygnet area where they all settled. 

The ProbationSystem was in operation in VDL when Laurence arrived.  Laurence’s Probation period began with him working with the Gang stationed on The Old Wharf.  This probation lasted from December 23, 1850 until March 19, 1851, a period of three months and twenty one days(8). During this time he would have been held with the other male convicts at the Prisoners’ Barracks in Campbell St. This short probation period can possibly be explained by the fact that he had already spent two years in prison in Ireland prior to boarding the Hyderabad and also his good conduct record. 
Following this probation Lawrence worked for Mr George Ford on the Government Domain for a 3-4 week period in May 1851 (8). Presumably he would have received some small payment for this, which would have gone to pay for his accommodation.

Laurence was recommended for a Ticket of Leave on the 3rd of August 1852(9), after applying for it on the 15th of June 1852(8). Tickets of Leave allowed convicts to live and work for wages wherever they wanted to within a certain Police District. They were generally given to convicts with good behaviour after they had served a certain amount of their sentence. This would appear to be the case for Laurence as his Conduct Record shows no evidence of magistrate appearances. Once a year the convict had to report in at the ticket of leave muster or else the ticket was revoked.

Launceston Examiner (Tas.:1842-1899) Saturday 31 July 1852, page 8.
Convict Dept Ticket of Leave Granted.

After receiving his Ticket of Leave Laurence applied to bring his family out from Ireland, however he was informed on the 29 November 1852 that he would have to pay half of the cost of passage before his application could be completed(8).

 Entry for Laurence Flynn in the Convict Conduct Register CON 33-1-100 Image 109. TAHO

During the period between receiving his ticket of leave and his family arriving, Laurence was granted his Conditional Pardon on the 14th of June 1853(10), effectively making him a free man, allowed to leave the colony but not to return to England. 

Conditional Pardon Entry for Laurence Flynn CON 22-1-8, page 673. TAHO

His Certificate of Freedom was granted on the 6th of October 1853(11), signalling the completion of his sentence.  He had served only five years of a seven year sentence.  This was probably due to the practice of early governors granting pardons as a cost saving process.
Entry for Laurence Flynn for Certificate of Freedom.
Laurence must have been a hard worker, because within four years of his application to bring out his family he had raised the necessary eighty pounds. This was the amount of the bounty which had to be paid to the master of the vessel, Sir W.F. Williams, for conveying his family to VDL. Laurence’s wife, Mary (40), and four of their children - son James (22) and daughters, Bridget (16), Johanna (14) and Mary (12) arrived in VDL on the 2nd of December 1856(12). Julia is not on the passenger list but research has found a Julia Flynn, a servant (cook), in the household of Jas Barry in the 1871 England Census for Lewisham, Kent, England. The record shows Julia as 28 years and from Co. Waterford. The age is similar to Laurence and Mary’s daughter Julia, but further research is necessary to validate her identity.

Entry for Mary Flynn and children in the Descriptive List of Immigrants, December, 1856, Tasmania, Australia, Passenger Arrivals, 1829-1957. 
NB: The  bounty of 80 pounds is listed in the far right hand column.

Later Laurence applied for another daughter - Catherine to be sent out to VDL.  She left London on the 'Broadwater' on 10th May 1864 and arrived in Hobart Town on 31st August 1864.
As part of the agreement for her transport she was to go to Mrs Wilkinson at Campbell St, Hobart Town.
Catherine was aged 26, RC religion, could read and a general servant.  Her native place was Co. Waterford, Ireland. (13)

Catherine Flynn: Description list of Immigrants, 'Broadwater' 1864.      (First entry on list)

The Flynn family settled at Woodstock (now known as Pelverata) in the Port Cygnet area, south of Hobart where they worked a small farm. The Irish convicts who settled in the Port Cygnet area were not well educated, most signing documents with a cross. They were predominantly Roman Catholic and more active religiously than the protestant settlers. They were the first denomination to have a church built there. This tended to have the effect of retaining the Irish people in the district. After working for wages or leasing small land holdings, most pardoned convicts were able, in time, to purchase their own land through hard work and saving what money they could. 

Laurence Flynn and his son James purchased 50 acres in partnership in April 1870 (14) for the total price of sixty pounds, twelve shillings and sixpence. In July 1884 Laurence purchased a further 15 acres in his own name for the sum of twenty pounds (15). Laurence appears to have been a good citizen and continued living in the region until his death in 1885. He was survived by his wife and four children. 
After arriving in VDL as a convict with nothing except the clothes on his back, he was able to provide his heirs with cash and property. Certainly it could be said he left his children with the opportunity for a better life than they would have had in Ireland.

Laurence Flynn Gravestone at Roman Catholic Cemetery, Port Cygnet. Private Collection



(1)  TAHO, CON14-1-43, Images 42 & 43 Convict Indent Register, Lawrence Flynn

(2) PARISH OF LISMORE, CO. WATERFORD Record of Marriages from 1822-1839, page 31. Laurence and Mary Flinn. http://www.register.nli.ie

(3) rootsireland.ie  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore, Co. Waterford. James O'Flynn baptised 19 Feb 1833. Father Laurence O'Flynn, Mother Mary Lyons.

(4) rootsireland.ie  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Cappoquin. Co. Waterford. Mary Flynn baptised 04 Mar 1835. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Mary Flynn.

(5)  rootsireland.ie  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore. Co. Waterford. Julia Flynn baptised 17 May 1841. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Flynn.

(6)  rootsireland.ie  Church Baptism Record. Parish of Lismore. Co. Waterford. Mary Flynn baptised 26 Feb 1844. Father Laurence Flynn, Mother Mary Flynn.

(7)  Irish Prison Register 1846-1849.  Book No. 1/39/2 Item 6.

(8)  TAHO, CON33-1-100, Image 109 Convict Conduct Record, Laurence Flynn

(9)  trove.nla.gov.au  Launceston Examiner (Tas., 1842-1899) Saturday 31 July 1852, page 8.  Convict Department Tickets-of-Leave Granted. Lawrence Flynn.

(10)  Ancestry.com.  Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records. 1800-1899 (Provo.UT., USA) Conditional Pardon, Lawrence Flynn, 14-6/1853

(11))  Ancestry.com.  Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records. 1800-1899 (Provo.UT., USA) Certificate of Freedom, Laurence Flynn, 6th Oct 1853

(12)  Ancestry.com.  Mary Flynn and four children, 02 Dec 1856.  Tasmania, Australia, Passenger Arrivals, 1829-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011

(13)  Convict Applications to Bring out families to Van Diemen's Land Index 1827-1873. Published by The Tasmanian Family History Society, April 2001.

(14) Ancestry.com.  Tasmania, Australia, Deeds of Land Grants, 1804-1935 for James Flynn and Lawrence Flynn.  Date 22 April 1870. [database on-line]. (Provo, UT, USA)

(15)  Ancestry.com.  Tasmania, Australia, Deeds of Land Grants, 1804-1935 for Lawrence Flynn.  Date 29 Jul 1884. [database on-line]. (Provo, UT, USA)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

NON FICTION Family History Stories. Jane Castings (1813-1895) : "From Female 'Fagin' to Gaoler's Gentlewoman"

In an effort to share family history with other descendants of our families (or anyone else interested) I will be posting some stories of different ancestors that my husband and I have researched.  Please let us know if you can fill in any of the gaps or add any colour to help complete the tapestries.

This story comes from studying with Uni of Tas and completing the unit 'Convict Ancestors' in their Family History Diploma.  Choosing a convict was impossible in my family (as far as I have researched!) making it an easy choice to work with one of the many in my husband's family
So firstly a little introduction to Jane's story: 

Jane Castings is my husband’s ancestor, four generations back.
She was caught and convicted for receiving stolen goods of cheese and bacon in Leicester, England.  Originally it seemed her act was due to the poverty and hard times in England and with four little children she was doing what many were forced to do at that time – stealing food for survival.

However on further research it was a shock to find out that she was described as a female 'Fagin', Charles Dickens style. (*)  She trained and paid a group of teenage boys to steal the goods that she requested and worse still was the cause of a half dozen young boys being transported ‘beyond the seas’.

In 1846 Jane left her husband and children behind in Leicester and was transported for seven years to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) aboard the ‘Sea Queen’.  She served time on the Hulk ‘Anson’ anchored in the Derwent River and in the Cascade Female Factory, Hobart.  Jane delivered an illegitimate child Maria in this House of Correction two years later.

A year prior to gaining her Certificate of Freedom by servitude in 1853, Jane married an ex- convict and they lived for a short time in the old area of Wapping in Hobart. Eventually they moved to the East Coast of Tasmania to be near her daughter Maria and husband William Graham (another ex- convict).  Jane appears to have settled into married life and kept her ’slate clean’ so it can be assumed that leaving England behind, serving her sentence and being given freedom provided her with a positive life in the ‘new land of opportunity’

Photograph of Jane Castings (L) and her daughter Maria Castings (R) who was born in Cascades Female Factory.  
Private Collection

* Reference: Charles Dickens. Book –‘ Oliver Twist’
See Wikipedia, Oliver Twist, Plot Summary.   
 Website   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Twist



There’s something sinister about prisons and I suppose that is the whole idea of them.  But when I visited the remains of the Cascade Female Factory in Hobart, Tasmania in 2012, I wasn’t prepared for the immediate and lasting impact on me.  The re-enactment I watched of the whole convict story - from the 'getting nicked', the trial, the boat trip, arrival at the wharf to the work duties required of them - was too close for comfort. Especially as the main character was a woman who gives birth to a baby in the prison and then grieves the baby’s death.  The prison presented as such a large forbidding area, all those great big stone walls, a desolate place now filled with sad and horrible memories.

I went there to pay respects to Jane Castings my husband’s Great Great Grandmother and her baby girl ‘Maria’  (his Great Grandmother) who was born there in the factory.  

A photo of section of the old Female Factory, Cascades, Hobart 
Page URL:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACascadesWomens.jpg
File URL:://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/CascadesWomens.jpg
Attribution: By Beattie Studios, Hobart (State Library of Victoria, image b36020) [Public domain],  
via Wikimedia Commons

Jane herself was born Jane Pratt in Leicestershire, England around 1813 (1) although the birth years on her convict records vary between 1817 and 1832.  However Jane states her age as 33 on a petition she writes in 1846 prior to her transportation (2) and this matches a Baptism record for the Parish of Burbage in Leicester with the date 18th April 1813 (1) that we found when doing our family history trail around the UK in 2015. 
Her parents are listed as Charles and Sophia Pratt on the Baptism record, the same as on Jane's Convict Indent Record (3) father Charles, Mother Sophia, and siblings - brother William and sisters Maria and Sophia and her native place as Burbidge (sic) near Leicester. 

Jane would have been about 19 yo when she married Henry Castings 10 July 1832 (4).  They had four children – William (1833) (5), Sarah (1837) (6), Emma (1839) (7) and son Hiram (1844) (8). 
On her Convict Conduct (9) and Indent Records (3)  it states; lived with Mr Wright MP for the last 2 years  (I have not been able to find out what the MP stands for, maybe it is an error and is meant to be NP abbreviation for Native Place).  This would mean that Jane lived there since the time of Hiram’s birth.  It is noted that Hiram was a Castings family name – Henry Castings brother was Hiram.   
Now - does this mean that the whole family lived with Mr Wright or was it just Jane?  There is no Census at the time for proof.  In the 1841 Census the Castings family were all living together in Navigation Street, St Margaret, Leicester (10) with no sign of a Mr Wright there or nearby. Yet at the time of Jane’s conviction her address is a house in a yard in Redcross Street Leicester (11). 

The questions that remain unanswered:
  • Was there a marriage separation and she was either living with Mr Wright or in the yard of his residence?
And eventually I am interested to discover what became of the Castings Family in England

On 2nd March 1846 Jane's life changed when she was brought before the Leicester Boro Quarter Sessions court for two felonies. See: Court Felonies & Six British Newspaper Articles
Two teenage boys - Charles Anderson and William Smith were accused of stealing 3 pounds of cheese and Jane Castings being an accomplice to the fact. The boys pleaded Not Guilty but were found Guilty by the Jury.  Jane also pleaded Not Guilty and the Jury agreed Not Guilty.
The second charge was for the same couple of lads stealing 4pounds of bacon and Jane for receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen.  Again they all claimed innocence but this time they were all found Guilty.  The boys were sentenced to whippings and hard labour and Jane to be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years.

It seemed a harsh punishment compared to the boys being the ones who stole the goods.  But on further research through the British Newspapers the reason became obvious.
A headline in ‘The Leicestershire Mercury’ Sat. Feb 28 1846 p.1. for the Leicester Police Courts held in the Town Hall on Mon Feb 23 1846, read:

TRAFFIC IN JUVENILE DELINQUENCY  and the article went on to say: Jane Castings (a married woman, residing in a yard in Redcross-street) was charged with receiving the stolen property, and with carrying on a systematic course of petty thieving, through the instrumentality of these and other youths, whom she paid so much for their “jobs” like any other tradeswoman.

‘The Leicester Chronicle’ on the same day Sat. 28 Feb 1846, p 3.  Reports on the charges against Jane Castings in the Town-hall, Leicester, Monday Feb 23 including:
The police found in Castings’ house, besides the basket, lard, and bacon, which have already been matter of investigation, a quantity of eggs under some flour, a piece of cheese under a bed, and eighteen duplicates for blankets, sheets, frocks, night-gowns, shifts and other articles.

A report of the Borough Sessions in ‘The Leicester Journal’ Friday 06 Mar 1846, pg 4:  
The Recorder, in addressing the Grand Jury, alluded to the case of Jane Castings and the two lads, charged with her, and said he had long had suspicion that there were parties in the town who encouraged juvenile thieves in the commission of offences, and assisted them in the disposal of the stolen property. 

In ‘The Leicestershire Mercury’ the next day Sat 07 Mar 1846 p1, the findings of the trial are reported more fully and the Recorder at the Leicester Quarter Borough Sessions addresses Jane thus:
“Upon you I shall pass a severer sentence – (the prisoner here threw out her arms, and cried aloud for mercy) – Your prayers will bring no mercy from me.  You kept these boys at your house, and taught them to steal that you might live on the guilty fruits of their thefts. – (Prisoner: “Oh!  Have mercy on me for the sake of my children!”) You are not fit to bring your children up.  It is for the sake of your children, and that of other people’s children, that I am about to pass sentence upon you, that you be transported for seven years.”  The prisoner here fell down in the dock, and was carried out of Court screaming… We have since been told that the same woman, Castings, has been the means of getting ‘at least half-a-dozen youths transported’, by encouraging them in acts of robbery!

Jane spent the first few weeks imprisoned at Leicester Boro Gaol until sent to London where she was registered as arriving at Millbank prison on 18th April 1846 (12).

I wonder if her family knew she was in Leicester gaol and whether they were able to visit her there for the last time before she was sent to London?

Whilst in Millbank Penitentiary Jane wrote a begging petition for pardon to the Right Honorable Sir James R G Graham, Baronet, Her Majesty Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department.  Jane denied her guilt and represented her good character and support of her family by working for Mr Barber a Manufacturer in Leicester.  She stated that her husband of 14 years suffered indifferent health and was unable to work regularly as a Turner and Wheeler and she would be leaving her four poor little children in this situation, never able to return to them.

Handwritten petition for pardon from seven years transportation by Jane Castings. Leicester Borough Quarter Sessions Report, Leicestershire Record Office, Leicester England. 
Reference: Volume DE 4384/336/1, Pages 366 and 367; Under ‘Felonies’Easter Session, Monday 02 March, 1846.

Clemency was not granted.

It was only two months before Jane left her birth country on the ship ‘Sea Queen’ with 169 other women convicts.  They embarked from Woolwich England for Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) Australia on 08 May 1846.

Jane must have been lucky as the Surgeons Report (9) in her Conduct Record has no listing of her attending the Doctor for any complaints of sickness, etc. unlike most of her fellow convict passengers who have many entries.  Surviving 114 days at sea they finally arrived at Hobart, VDL on 29 August 1846.

Picture of Hobart Town 1846: Francais: Hobart-Town. Atlas Pittoresque, planche 156.
Page URL:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAtlas_pittoresque_pl_166.jpg
Attribution: By Louis Le Breton, Mayer, Griaud. scan Jeffdelonge (Public domain) via Wikimedia.Com

What were all these convict women thinking as they disembarked on their wobbly land-legs and were marched up the hill to the Female Factory to see their new 'home' for the first time ?  “…stone buildings at a distance of about a mile and a half from the town up the Hobart Town rivulet” (13).

What was Jane thinking as she plodded along?  Was she still worried about her young children and sickly husband back in England? Or had the long sea voyage put so much distance between them that she had shut the door on her British life?

We can try to picture this sea-weary convict Jane, looking at the solid rock walls that were to imprison her in this strange new country.  In comparison to the photo of Jane as an older woman (in the Introduction) the various descriptions below of her in her Convict records tell us a little about her at 33 years of age as she is herded through the gates.

CON15/1/3 – Height 5’ 3 ½”, age 27, Trade - housemaid (good), Protestant, can read and write (3).      
CON19/1/5 – Age 20, dark complexion, long head, dark brown hair, oval face, low forehead, light brown eyebrows and blue eyes, long, sharp nose and chin and a wide mouth (14).                                                                                                     

CON41/1/10 Conduct Record – Surgeon’s report – Orderly Mess Woman (9).

HO24/12 Millbank Prison Register – Age 29, born 1817,  Occupation - Worsted Spinner (15).

Entry for Jane Castings, Police No 789, noting no offences recorded and annotated detail 'Ticket of Leave 12 February 1850; Free Certificate 02 March 1833 (sic s.b.: 1853); and her daughter's birth ; Convict conduct Register CON 41/1/10, Image 24 TAHO

When the women convicts first arrived those not allowed to go straight to employment served their Probation on the HMS Anson, the convict hulk anchored in the Derwent River off the Queen's Domain, Hobart.  This was used as a female Place of Correction and the reward for good behaviour was assignment to employers outside the gaol.  The Conduct Record above shows on March 16 1847, a year after her arrival, Jane was assigned for another period of six months on Gang Probation as 3rd Class in the Class System on the HMS 'Anson' Hulk

Picture of a typical Convict Hulk: The Beached 'Discovery' at Deptford.
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADiscovery_at_Deptford.jpg
File URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/Discovery_at_Deptford.jpg

Muster Records were carried out periodically to keep track of the convicts and ex-convicts in the colony. Jane is listed in the 1846 Muster (18) serving Probation on HMS Anson.  The only other record found regarding Jane's workplace is when she was hired by R Walker, Hobart but unfortunately it has no date or particulars (19)

After two years Jane gave birth to a daughter Maria, recorded on her Convict Conduct Record (9)  as: "… delivered of an illegitimate child at the Cascade Factory, 28 October 1848".    Maria's birth is also listed in the ’Children Born to Female Convicts Under Sentence' (16) 
She was baptised on 31st October, three days later as listed on the ‘Baptisms Solomnised at The Female House of Correction, Hobart Town VDL (17).  There is no father listed on any records - most probably this will never be known.

The Conduct Record (9) also shows she was given a Ticket of Leave on 12 February 1850.  So she was now free to work for herself or others, so long as it was within the law and within a designated district and that she stayed well behaved.  What ever happened in this period Jane seems to have reformed and received no bad reports. However she would have become pregnant around the middle of 1851 because in 1852 Tasmanian Birth Records (20) register a female child born in Hobart on 20th March to Jane (formerly Castings) and David Haines (sic) a shoemaker.  (Could Jane have been working for David Haynes on her Ticket of Leave?)  After much research no further information about this baby has been found at all, and unlike Maria she is not listed as a birth or baptism at the Female Factory.  No record of her death has been found in the Tasmanian BDMs, so there is a question left hanging as to who this baby girl was and whether she survived or died - possibly shortly after birth.

Entry for Birth of unnamed female daughter of Jane (formerly Castings) and David Haines (sic), 1852 in Hobart, Tasmania. TAHO

After almost seven years on 2nd March 1853 Jane received her Certificate of Freedom by servitude with a clean record.  Little Maria had survived where many babies and infants did not. 

Certificate of Freedom Granted, listing Jane Castings 'Sea Queen'. The Cornwall Chronicle, Launceston, Tasmania, Saturday 12 March 1853, p208.  TROVE

Like many of the other convicts Jane remarried, regardless of her first husband in England. (At that time seven years apart seemed to be accepted as sufficient time to move on) 
On the 14th February 1853, at St George’s Church, Hobart, Jane wed David Haynes a shoemaker and ex convict.  (See Marriage Register entry below)
No record has been found in the 'Convict Permission to Marry Records'. 
David and Jane went on to have two more children – Selina (1854) (21) and David jr (1857) (22).

Entry for Jane Casting (sic) and David Haynes in the Marriage Register, District of Hobart, RGD37/1/12 no 265, 14 February 1853. TAHO
Reference: Marriages, Source: Family Search.com: Australia, Tasmania Civil Registration 1803-1933

Jane’s daughter Maria Castings married a man much older than herself, an ex convict and also a shoemaker (23) who lived on the East Coast of Tasmania.  Later on Jane and David Haynes and children moved to Swansea and settled there near daughter Maria and her husband William Graham and family.  
Serendipity puts David now in the positions of Gaoler/Watchhouse keeper and Poundkeeper for the Swansea area - making wife Jane - the Gaoler's Gentlewoman !  

It appears Jane led a lawful life in Van Diemen’s Land, with no more sign of her Dickens female ‘Fagin’ character (Introduction *).  It is only hoped that her recruited juvenile boy criminals were also able to make the most of their new lives over the seas and far away from home.

Jane died on April 23rd 1895 (24) as a respectable free settler and is buried at Swansea Cemetery, with a lovely headstone erected by her husband David. 
Interestingly he names his wife as 'Maria Jane' and has her age inscribed as 74 years although in reality she would have actually lived to be 82 years old.

Newspaper Death Notice for Jane Haynes, The Mercury Hobart, Thursday 25 April 1895, Family Notices p1. TROVE

The wording on Jane's gravestone reads:

'In Memory of Maria Jane Castings
beloved wife of 

David Haynes
April 23rd 1895
Aged 74 years’

“Someday Sometime our eyes shall see
The faces kept in memory
Someday their hands shall clasp our hand
Just over in the morning land”   

Gravestone for Jane Castings at Swansea Cemetery, Tasmania, 2012
Private Collection



(1) The Record Office for Leicestershire, England. Parish Records, Baptisms: Parish of Burbage & Burback, Co of Leicester, 18 April 1813, Reg No: 11, Jane, daughter of Charles (labourer) and Sophia Pratt, Burbage.

(2) The Record Office for Leicestershire, England. Leicester Boro Qtr Sessions Report: Volume DE4384/336/1, Jane Castings, pp 366,367. Under 'Felonies' Easter Session, Monday 02 March 1846.

(3) TAHO, CON15/1/3, Image 314, Indent Register, Jane Castings Sea Queen 1846

(4) Find My Past Used by permission of Family Search Intl, England Marriages 1538-1973 Transcription, Leicester, Leicestershire, England: Jane Pratt and Henry Castings 10 July 1832

(5) Family Search, England and Wales Census 1841, Index. William Castings, St Margaret, Leicester, Leicestershire, England (accessed 22 February 2015)

(6) Family Search, England and Wales Census 1841, Index. Sarah Castings, St Margaret, Leicester, Leicestershire, England (accessed 22 February 2015)

(7) Family Search, England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, St George, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, Index Project Batch No: CO5981-1, System Origin: England -ODM, GS Film No microfilm 590955, 870054, 870055. Emma Castings Christening 14 August 1839 (accessed 22 February 2015)

(8) Family Search, England and Wales Birth Registration Index 1837-2008, Vol 15, p.106, Line No 25,  Leicester, Leicestershire, England. Hiram Castings Birth Jan-Feb-Mar 1844. (accessed 22 February 2015)

(9) TAHO, CON41/1/10, Image 24, Convict Conduct Register: Police No 789, Jane Castings Sea Queen 1846.

(10) Find My Past, England Wales & Scotland Census 1841 Transcription, HO107, Piece no 604, Bk 13, Folio 30, p 3, Navigation St, St Margaret, Leicester, Leicestershire, England: Henry Castings

(11) British Newspapers, The Leicestershire Mercury, Leicester Police Courts held in the Town Hall on Monday February 23 1846, Traffic in Juvenile Delinquency, Jane Castings Saturday Feb 28 1846, p.1

(12) Find My Past, England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 Transcription. Source: Millbank Prison Registers – Female Prisoners Volume 1, HO24/12. Jane Castings 1846

(13) TROVE, Launceston Examiner, Tasmania, 'Backward Glances' by G. P. Saturday, 12 November, 1892, p.2

(14) TAHO, CON19/1/5, Image 174, Description List, Jane Castings Sea Queen 1846

(15) Find My Past: England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment,1770-1935 Transcription. Source: Home Office Registers of Criminal Petitions 1843-1846, Piece No 10 – HO19, Jane Castings 1846

(16) Female Convicts Research Centre website, Children Born to Female Convicts Under Sentence - extracted from Tasmanian BDM Records. Hobart. Mother - Jane CASTINGS, Child - Maria, 28 October 1848 , Hobart Female House of Correction. at http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au

(17) Ancestry, Baptisms of Children of Convicted Women 1833-1854, Baptisms Solomnised at The Female House of Correction, Hobart Town VDL 1848 & 1849, Maria Castings daughter of Jane Castings 'Sea Queen', Baptized October 31 1848

(18) Ancestry, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters 1806-1849, HO10/39, Tasmania Ledger Returns S-Z, 1846, Image 353, Jane Castings, Sea Queen 1846: Probation 'Anson'

(19) Ancestry, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters 1806-1849, HO10/41, Tasmania List of Convicts (Incomplete) 1808 - 1849, Image 347, Jane Castings, Sea Queen 1846: Hired by R Walker, Hobart

(20) TAHO, Births in the District of Hobart, 1852, No 1247, Birth Unnamed Female Haines
(sic) 20 March 1852, Registered 15 April 1852 - David and Jane Haines (sic) formerly Castings

(21) Ancestry, Australia Birth Index 1788-1922, Registration Hobart, Tasmania No. 1616. Birth Female Haynes 06 November 1854, Parents: David Haynes and Jane Pratt

(22) TAHO, Births in the District of Hobart, 1857, No 562, Birth David Haynes 01 June 1857, Registered 06 July 1857, Parents: David Haynes (Bootmaker) and Jane Haynes formerly Castings

(23) TAHO, RGD37/1/27 no 98, Marriage at Glamorgan, Tasmania, William Graham and Maria Jane Haynes, 15 October 1868

(24) Ancestry, Australia Death Index, 1787-1985, Reg No. 282, Glamorgan Tasmania,
Maria Haynes/Castings, 23 April 1895