| William ROBERTS m 1832 Sarah NEWPORT
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William ROBERTS was tried at Bedford Assizes 8 Mar 1823, sentenced to Life and was transported to Van Diemen's Land aboard the Asia (1) which arrived at Hobart on 18-19 January 1824 having departed London, Downs and Portsmouth, England on 28 Aug 1823.
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Convict Applications for Permission to Marry : Archives Office of Tasmania
William ROBERTS, Asia, to marry Sarah NEWPORT, Free, -- October 1832. [CON 45/1] [RGD36/2:1832/2015]
On the 6 November 1832 William ROBERTS and Sarah NEWPORT made a Petition to Marry to Lieutenant Governor George ARTHUR. [CSO 1/379/8600/p63]
On the 24 December 1832 in the Parish of Sorell in the County of Buckinghamshire, the marriage of William ROBERTS and Sarah NEWPORT, both of the Parish of Pitt water, was solemnised in this Church by Banns according to the Rites of the Church of England by James Norman, Chaplain, with the permission of the Lt. Governor. Both made their X mark in the presence of John WELLS of Sorell (who signed) and Mary NEWPORT (her X mark) of Pitt water. Henry Batten SORELL. [p18/70, R/N 2015] (Unfortunately no ages were recorded.)
Sarah NEWPORT was born 11 Aug 1804, chr 26 Apr 1804 Appleford, Berkshire, England d/o John NEWPORT/Fanny SHAILER [IGI Batch number C036471 extracted from parish records]
On the 22 Nov 1839 a son, George, was born to William and Sarah ROBERTS. William's status was described as Prisoner of the Crown at the child's baptism which took place three months later in February 1840. At the time the Roberts were living at Forcett. The baptism was conducted in the Parish of Sorell in the County of Pembroke by the Chaplain, James Norman, who had married William and Sarah seven years previously. [p28/1235]
William ROBERTS was granted a Ticket of Leave on 10 July 1829 and a Conditional Pardon in April 1836. [No. 846]
On 22 Jul 1839 William ROBERTS was found guilty in the Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land of stealing three hogs from Mr GATEHOUSE who had a farm near Sorrell. Two assigned convicts named TUBB/S and LEACH who were employed at the ROBERTS' farm were also involved in the crime. Witnesses were David PHILLIPS who resided at Longbottom in the district of Pittwater, about a quarter of a mile from William ROBERTS; Thomas WRIGHT who was in the service of David PHILLIPS; Daniel ROON, a constable; Patrick James SMITH, a district constable, who in company with chief district constable BYRON, apprehended the prisoner at the London Tavern; and Clement GATEHOUSE Esquire who testified about an earmark.
After the jury's verdict Judge CJ PEDDER remarked:
"The prisoner held a conditional pardon, and had been in the colony since 1824. Although he had been punished for insubordination and neglect of duty, it did not appear he had ever been charged with felony. How far his present convictions may affect his emancipation was uncertain, but his Honor would take care he had the benefit of every privilege to which he was entitled. Owing to the number of persons who had obtained indulgences from the government, setting themselves down in various parts of the country either as thieves or the receivers of stolen property, it became necessary to put some decisive check to a system, under which numbers of unfortunate assigned servants were led into rather than preserved from crime. In the present instance, the sentence of the Court would be - transportation for seven years; and his Honor had no doubt Roberts would find his way to a penal settlement for some time at least."
The trial was reported in the Hobart Town Advertiser, 26 Jul 1839 and is reproduced on Decisions of the Nineteenth Century Tasmanian Superior Courts, published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and the School of History and Classics, University of Tasmania. (Brought to my attention by Meg Bate)
William ROBERTS served 2 years at Port Arthur. He was again granted a Ticket of Leave on 1 January 1844 and was Pardoned on 5 September 1845. His Conditional Pardon was extended on 3 February 1852. [CON 31/34]
At left: North View of Eagle Hawk Neck, which joins Tasman's Peninsular to the main land of Van Diemen's Land. Inscription: There is, at this place, a chain of dogs, which are so savage, that should any convict escape from the penal settlement of Port Arthur, it is impossible for them to pass into the colony. From a sketch by Captn Hext 4th The King's Own Regiment, 1845.
At right: Etablissement penitentiare de Port Arthur, Terre de Van-Diemen by Cyrille Pierre Theodore Laplace, 1854, engraving, (reproduction) National Library of Australia. Displayed at Convict Museum, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney.
In February 1852 William and Sarah ROBERTS sailed on the schooner Gem from Launceston to Melbourne as steerage passengers. The passenger list shows William ROBERTS: Ship to the Colony: Asia (1st), Conditional Pardon. Sarah ROBERTS: Ship to the Colony Boadicea, Free by Servitude. [POL 20/9/1 p588] Presumably their son George (William) ROBERTS, aged 12, also sailed with his parents on the Gem but there is no clear listing for him. There is '& 1 child, in steerage' listed amongst the adults but it is one entry removed from that of Sarah ROBERTS. Her entry is one removed from that of her husband so perhaps the recording was just rather haphazard.
The shipping information for Sarah is incorrect as she was never a convict. This could have been a clerical error. Also she did not arrive in VDL on the Boadicea which in any case was not a convict ship. In 1835 this ship sailed from London to Hobart with 193 free females under a Bounty Scheme arranged by the London Emigration Committee which operated from 1833-1837 to redress the imbalanced ratio of males to females in the Colony. The arrival of the Boadicea at Hobart on 2 Feb 1836 with female immigrants was reported in the Hobart Town Courier on 12 Feb 1836.
Sarah was in VDL at least ten years prior to that so why did she fib about coming on the Boadicea? Perhaps to erase an association with the known convict ship Dromedary which brought her father and most likely his family to VDL thirty-two years previously.
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