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
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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).
- Did Jane move out of the family home to support the family due to the poverty and suffering at such a terrible time in England ? See:Living Conditions in 19th Century England
- Was there a marriage separation and she was either living with Mr Wright or in the yard of his residence?
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.
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.
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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.
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
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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)
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.
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.
Entry for Jane Casting (sic) and David Haynes in the Marriage Register, District of Hobart, RGD37/1/12 no 265, 14 February 1853. TAHO
Gravestone for Jane Castings at Swansea Cemetery, Tasmania, 2012
REFERENCES AND CREDITS:
(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.
Female House of Correction, Hobart Town VDL 1848 & 1849, Maria Castings daughter of Jane Castings 'Sea Queen', Baptized October 31 1848