Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Trove Tuesday: John Wardley, Convict per Blenheim, 1850

John Wardley was convicted and sentenced to seven years transportation on 22 October 1847 at the Westmorland (Kendal) Quarter Sessions.

His offence: "Larceny before conv'd of Felony (two ?Conv's?)"

Class: HO 27; Piece: 83; Page: 346.
Home Office: Criminal Registers, Middlesex and Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales; Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security, and related bodies, Series HO 26 and HO 27; The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.
Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.


The Blenheim, with her cargo of 294 male convicts, was expected to depart Plymouth on 15 March 1850.

1850 'SHIP NEWS.', The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880), 17 July, p. 469, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65975909
1850 'SHIP NEWS.', The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880), 27 July, p. 492, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65975127
1850 'Domestic Intelligence.', Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), 26 July, p. 2, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8767595


The Blenheim eventually departed Woolwich on 23 March 1850 and Plymouth on 10 April 1850, arriving in Hobart Town on 24 July 1850.

Just two days later, an article appeared in the Colonial Times, advertising the men who had arrived for hire, outlining the various skills they held. Most of the convicts who arrived on the Blenheim were unskilled labourers, but amongst them there were also blacksmiths, butchers, bakers, carpenters, clerks, stonemasons, and shoemakers, to name a few.

1850 'COMMISSARIAT.', Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), 26 July, p. 2, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8767598
1850 'MIDLAND AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.', Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), 27 July, p. 5 Edition: AFTERNOON, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36266616

From another article published in the Launceston Examiner on 27 July, it appears that the Ramillies, which arrived the same day as the Blenheim was actually carrying the wives and children of the convicts on the Blenheim. I doubt this was the case, as another article published in Hobart on the same day describes the passengers of the Ramillies as bounty immigrants and private passengers. The same article says there were 28 women and 48 children on board the Blenheim, as well as the convict men.

1850 'SHIPPING NEWS.', The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), 27 July, p. 2, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2962409

1850 'SHIPPING NEWS.', The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), 27 July, p. 2, viewed 7 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2962409

Unfortunately, John Wardley's entry in the description lists does not shed any light about his trade or origins. It doesn't even have his age!

DESCRIPTION LISTS OF MALE CONVICTS CON18/1/53 State of Tasmania, Archives Office of Tasmania
Thankfully, I have more luck with the Indents of Male Convicts (CON14/1/33) and the Conduct Registers of Male Convicts Arriving in the Period of the Probation System (CON33/1/95):

John Wardley is 42 years old, 5'8", is married and has seven children. And his trade... Labourer. (I was disappointed... I wanted him to be one of the skilled trades, so he would be easier to trace!)

But, these items do tell me something exciting - John Wardley is from Dalton, Lancashire, England. Now I have somewhere to look for his birth, marriage, and children!