Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Northampton - 1815

Embarked: 110 women
Voyage: 169 days
Deaths 4
Surgeon's Journal - yes
Previous vessel: Indefatigable arrived 26 April 1815
Next vessel: Canada arrived 5 August 1815
Captain John A Tween.
Surgeon Joseph Arnold
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and Passengers of the Northampton identified in the Hunter region

The Northampton was the next convict ship to leave England with female prisoners after the departure of the Broxbornebury in December 1813.

Newgate Prison

The prisoners came from counties throughout England and Scotland. Many were incarcerated in Newgate prison prior to transportation. Below is a description of Newgate as it was when Elizabeth Fry visited later in 1815....

Elizabeth Fry's visit to Newgate in 1815


The Northampton departed Portsmouth on 1st January 1815.[3]

Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on 18 February that the Northampton had been 'captured off Madeira by an American ship but afterwards liberated, the enemy not liking the cargo, and suffered her to proceed on her voyage'.

Surgeon Joseph Arnold

This voyage of the Northampton was the first of those which had a naval surgeon regularly appointed to care for the convicts after the disastrous losses on the Surry and General Hewitt in 1814. The downfall of Napoleon having brought about a general peace, the navy had ceased to require the services of Dr. Arnold and he thought himself fortunate to obtain 'even so unpalatable an appointment' as surgeon on the Northampton. More about the appointment of Naval Surgeons.

Joseph Arnold embarked on the Northampton at Deptford on 7th November 1814. He kept a journal during the voyage, a transcript of which is available at the State Library of New South Wales.

Rio De Janeiro

The journal begins on 8th March 1815 at Rio de Janeiro when Dr. Arnold went on shore to attend a Mass.

He later recorded one of the more vexing occurrences during their stay at Rio....Three female passengers who had embarked in England to join their husbands in New South Wales having been permitted to go on shore at Rio refused to return on board again, and concealed themselves so effectually as not to be discovered before the ship sailed. Every means was taken to prevent their remaining behind, the master of the ship applying to the Consul who used his influence without effect. Their names are Mary Cribb, Susanna Jones and Susanna Hill.

The Northampton sailed from Rio de Janeiro under a fair wind on Saturday 18th March, however strong winds and a high swell on 21st March caused many of the women to become sea sick.

The weather was excessively hot at this time. The weather had cleared by 31st March and Joseph Arnold remarked in his journal that the first albatrosses were seen on that day. The following day the wind had turned foul but the weather was still fine.

On this day the Newgate convicts were served out two suits of cloths which was a gift of the Sheriff of London.

The Voyage

The Memoir of Joseph Arnold by Dawson Turner.........

Saving the short detention in South America, the Northampton had made the voyage without interruption; though by no means without furnishing many an anecdote to the journal, and those, for the most part, of a painful description.......... What else was to have been expected from such a crew? Disease, intemperance, and passion the latter commonly showing itself in the form of jealousy, were naturally in full operation among them, and produced their necessary results upon minds and bodies already debilitated by an abandoned life. Death, in more than one instance and in more than one appalling form, terminated the victim's sufferings. The want of strict discipline, too, among the officers and of that 'steady cautious self control' so feelingly recommended so little practised by poor Burns, sadly added to Dr. Arnold's annoyances.

Tristan de Cunha

They sighted Tristan de Cunha on 6th April and that morning Joseph Arnold recorded in his Journal one of the more dramatic events that occurred and explains the comment above concerning the want of discipline among the officers.....

Catherine Inglis, a convict, in a fit of passion this morning took a large quantity of Laudanum, but I made her throw it up again by a strong emetic. She is a handsome Scotch girl, and has long been a dashing lady of the Town, having travelled over the greatest part of England. She reads well and writes tolerably. The Capt. as soon as he saw her took her into his Cabin and cloathed her, very unwisely in a ladylike fashion, and she has had always a servant to attend her. Being of a very romantic turn she seems to have taken much hold of the affections of Mr. Tween, and there being a slight quarrel between them last night, she made use of the expedient of the Laudanum to destroy herself, but was discovered soon enough to prevent its deadly effects.

A total of ten women and children died on the passage out, four of whom were convicts -

Ann Turner who fell overboard (in a fit of jealousy according to the surgeon) and drowned at Rio;

Eliz. Cowan who also died at Rio and was described by Joseph Arnold as a poor wretch who was sent on board with an infamous character, that she feigned epileptic fits and fatuity. Her fatuity however appeared to be real as well as her convulsions. She could not eat the salt provisions she became dropsical and emaciated and at length died of debility ;

Susan/Ann Frost died at sea after leaving Rio - she was of good appearance and strong habit of body however about a fortnight before she was attacked by a complaint with some symptoms of cholera and great pain in the stomach which swelled. Dr. Arnold treated her as best he could however she died on 22nd March;

Sarah Shurwell died a fortnight before arrival. She was about 50 years of age - this old woman came on board in a bad state of health being of a broken constitution on our way to Rio suffered much with a dropsical complaint which disappeared to be replaced with a chronic case of dysentery with proved fatal. She had two fine daughters on board, one of whom was in keeping of Mr. Weir the ship's surgeon. Her husband and son were also transported all for the same offence.

Free Passengers

Free passenger Mrs. Dodman died of apoplexy and was buried at Rio. The surgeon described her as a healthy good-looking woman whose husband had been transported previously and had sent for her to join him (this was probably Thomas Dodman who arrived on the Indefatigable; her two year old son William Dodman died while at sea after leaving Rio and the last of the family on board, daughter Sarah at sea died on 9th April.

Thirty free women and about 40 of their children came on the Northampton.

They included:
Mary Barnes;
Mary Bradbury
Mary Browne
Elizabeth Carl and 2 children
Elizabeth and Sophia Martha Childs;
Anne Clements;
Charlotte Dickson and 2 children Ellen and Mary Ann
Sarah Drake and 2 children Mary and Elizabeth; lost two children on the voyage
Jane Greentree and children Reubin, Henry, George, Thomas, Francis
Elizabeth Hanham and 2 children David and Charlotte;
Harriet Herring;
Mary Huggins and 4 children Dinah, Sara, William, John; lost one child
Catherine Leonard and 1 child Elizabeth.
Sophia Mason;
Anne Morley and 2 children James and Mary;
Anne Noble and one child George age 5; lost one child on the passage
Martha Pennel
Ellinor Plummer;
Mary Ritchie and 2 children Emma and James
Mary Russell and one child Anne;
Ellen Sewell and 5 children John, Thomas, George, Sarah, Jane;
Mary Sherwill;
Anne Shiverson and 4 children Gorinna, Severina, Sybilla, Eliza
Mary Spitaledone and 1 child
Mary Thurston
Dorothy Walker and 5 children George, Henry, Elizabeth, Emma, Marie
Sophia Ward and 1 child Sophia (Sophie later petitioned for a ticket of leave for her husband Michael Ward who arrived on the Indefatigable)
Sarah Wheeler; Rachel Whyat (wife of Joseph Wyatt)

A number of these free women intended to join their husbands who had previously arrived as convicts.[2]

The surgeon later remarked in his journal...... Marriage is recommended however, but as if without regard to propriety; persons who have left wives, in England, and women who have left husbands in England marry again and several of the women we brought out to join their husband, found them married here, and in one case, what is very extraordinary, a Mrs. Cribb came out with me to join her husband; in the Northampton, and another Mrs. Cribb (wife to the same man) is going home with me in the Indefatigable!

Other free passengers on the Northampton included:

Ensign Stewart of the 46th regiment,
Mr. Browne, settler and
Mr. White, settler.
John Bailey who arrived free with his convict mother Anne;
William Blake husband of convict Susannah Blake. (Later Susannah and William petitioned Governor Macquarie to grant Susannah a Pardon so that she could return to England to join her three infant children she had left behind);
Simon Watling son of convict Ann Watling (later Simon Watling was admitted to the male orphan school)
Andrew White came free later became a landholder at Liverpool.

Port Jackson

By the 5th June the Northampton had reached Bass Strait and after several days of adverse winds arrived in Port Jackson on the 18th June 1815.

The Memoir of Joseph Arnold by Dawson Turner.........

With great pleasure Joseph Arnold found himself at Sydney where his first care was to pay his respects to General Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor. Both him and Mrs. Macquarie he had previously known well upon their first arrival; and he confidently anticipated a kind if not a cordial reception. But in every hope of this nature he was woefully disappointed; power had, as is but too common produced a strange alteration in his Excellency; 'his manners' to quote from the journal 'were cold and disgusting; and, what was worse, he told me that he had no instructions respecting me, except, in a postscript from the Transport Board, to provide me rations; and that he, consequently would not be at a farthings' expense on my account, nor would he give himself the trouble to find me either lodgings or a passage home; for both which as well as for everything else, I had only myself to look to. He added that I must consider myself at my own charge, as soon as I should have delivered up my medicine chest and instruments, and that, if I should call upon him again, he would not see me, for that he had not time'. What greatly increased Dr. Arnold's vexation on this score was, that his money ran short, and that the expense of living at Sydney was heavy.

He found he could not bring it below 13s a day notwithstanding he abstained from all luxuries, even such as wine, beer, and butter, and restricted his lodgings to a single room, and that of an inferior description. Most gratifying to him was it then, when, on waiting upon Sir John Jamison, whom he had also known before, he found himself welcomed in the most friendly manner, and invited to eat constantly at his table. And scarcely less were the hospitality and kindness shown by Col. Molle, the lieut. Governor; by the Supreme Judge; by the Judge Advocate; by the principal medical practitioners in the town; by the officers of the 46th regiment; and by many of the leading inhabitants. They all rejoiced, as well they might in the acquisition of the society of such a man; and the effect produced upon him was so strong that, within a week after his uncourteous treatment at Government House, the impression was evidently effaced from his mind; and his journal records 'I am, certainly, spending my time very pleasantly, with continual invitations from one person or another'

Convicts Disembarked

Joseph Arnold reported that convict Elizabeth Wright was sent on shore on 21st June in a dying state suffering from pneumonia. Francis Webb was also sent to the hospital on 21st June. Elizabeth Robinson was considered insane and was to be sent to the Asylum at Castle Hill. She had been causing difficulties throughout the voyage - tearing her clothes and others' to pieces, wandering about the ship at night and disturbing everyone's rest. Sometimes the surgeon had found it necessary to place her in a 'straight waistcoat' and on arrival he requested that she be suitably confined. The remaining prisoners were landed 23 June in a healthy state.

On the day the prisoners were all disembarked, Joseph Arnold's cabin on board was knocked down. This placed him in a difficult situation as he was then without accommodation. He was also to discover that his surgical instruments worth about 60 pounds went missing on that day. I am again adrift, he wrote, every thing is so expensively dear; it will cost be without wine beer or butter 13s/ a day with the greatest frugality for living, I have hired a room at Mr. Nichols's where Capt. Tween lives; Meat of all kinds is 1/3 a pound, Spirits 8s/ a pint, Eggs 4s/ a dozen, bread /20d a quartern loaf. Butter 5s/6d a pound.

His appeals to Governor Macquarie for a passage home had fallen on deaf ears. He found the Governor cold and unhelpful and although he was flattered to have been entertained by the other dignitaries mentioned above, in the end he remained in Sydney only three weeks before departing on the Indefatigable.

Parramatta Female Factory

What became of the convict women when they landed on 23rd June 1815?

Joseph Arnold recorded many details of the women some of which can be found amongst the Colonial Secretary's Papers. He recorded the names of fifty-four women and children who were sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta. They would have been transferred to Parramatta by water. William Henry Alcock was Superintendent at the factory when the women of the Northampton arrived. They would have been employed at spinning, weaving and knitting......

Mary Williams + 1 child Emma
Catherine Smith
Mary Bell
Eliza Williams
Harriett Marks
Margaret Ryan
Mary England + Hannah age 15; Rebecca 6; Charles 4.
Ann Berridge
Mary Perry
Ann Bayley + John age 5; Thomas 3
Margaret Bryan
Mary Langridge
Amelia Hatfield + John age 6; Harriett 4; Thomas 9 months
Ellen Dobson
Maria McIntire
Sophia Crouch + James age 9
Hannah Brown
Frances Johnston
Mary Leonard + Mary age 1 1/2
Ann Riley
Mary Greenwood
Ann Watling + Simon age 4
Rebecca Dias
Mary Williams
Rose Johnson + Catherine age 6
Catherine Ruben
Sarah May
Elizabeth Hill + Ann Hill age 1
Mary Fitzgerald
Ann French
Ann Wiltshire + Caroline age 2
Sarah Craston
Jane Hutchell
Alice Buckley + Alice age 1 1/2
Mary Maskell
Catherine Glenfield
Rachael Sleydon + Robert age 2
Eleanor Rice
Elizabeth Brett
Sarah Lawson + Sarah age 1
Jane Head
Hannah Norton
Frances Wilson
Mary Arnold
Ann Downs
Ann Paul
Catherine Mack
Mary Absolam
Martha Parsons
Elizabeth Neavete
Ann Ward
Jane Ingles
Elizabeth Gibbs
Maria Roberts

Also included in the Surgeon's notes are names and details of nine convict women whose husbands had been transported previously......

Anne Williams, Mary Bernard, Catherine Smith alias Houseley, Mary Grey alias Carney, Susan Braseley, Sarah O'Neal, Ann Noble, Jemima Bowers and Jane Ainsley. He recorded the women's ages, sentence, maiden name, when and where married, clergyman's name, husband's name, age and ship and place of trial.

Joseph Arnold's Recommendations

Joseph Arnold was kind enough to acknowledge the three women who had made themselves useful on the voyage as attendants to the sick - Ann Williams who he described as an elderly, trustworthy woman who had her two daughters with her, the eldest about ten years old, her husband came in the Indefatigable. She had been sent from Newgate to the House of Correction in mitigation of punishment but in consequence of receiving letters from her husband she petitioned to follow him. She could read and write and was a good sempstress and in the house of correction had charge of the young children to teach them to read. Anne Watling who had one son with her about 4 years of age and Rose Johnson was an Irishwoman with her daughter about 7 years of age he also recommended.


Some of the goods imported on the Northampton were advertised at Mr. Nichols' Stores soon after arrival.... Ironmongery an ample assortment, ribbands and silks, plans and charts, books of science, taste, and general utility, toys, boots and shoes, oils and colours, stationary, coach springs, etc jewellery, confectionary, grocery, a water closer, corks, hats and bonnets, saddlery, mercery, glass and earthen ware, butter and cheese, cutlery, Port wine, Millinery; consisting of silk dresses, spencers, caps, turbans, some elegant velvet dress bonnets, silk, chip, and straw bonnets; a small quantity of hosiery, threads, tapes, bobbins, pins, and Brazil tobacco by the basket.

The Northampton was one of two convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1815, the other being the Francis and Eliza. A total of 171 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1815.

Departure of the Northampton from the Colony

Barnabas Rix, Thomas Henshall and Henry George Alt all published their intention to leave the colony on the Northampton in October. The Northampton departed Port Jackson early in November 1815 bound for England via China. She left China 4th March and St. Helena 29th July and arrived off Hastings on 4th September 1816.[1] She carried a cargo of sandal wood imported in the Governor Macquarie.

Notes and Links

1). The Sydney Gazette published the following notices regarding absconding prisoners 21 September 1816.....

Sarah Corbett, supposed to be on board the Atlas. 22 years of age, tried at Worcester 1812 and sentenced to transportation for life; has abandoned her infant child.

Elizabeth Wright. 19 years of age tried at the Old Bailey 1815 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Supposed to be on board the Atlas.

2). Prisoners tried in Scotland: - Elizabeth Baillie (Dumfries); Margaret Baxter, (Perth); Agnes Findlater (Glasgow); Janet Inglis alias Kidd (Glasgow); Margaret Inglis alias Catherine Wilson (Glasgow); and Mary McGavin (Glasgow).

3). Joseph Arnold had been surgeon on the Hindostan which brought Governor Lachlan Macquarie and the Headquarters of the 73rd regiment to Australia.

4). Find out more about Joseph Arnold and the Northampton 1815

5). Six convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1815 - Marquis Wellington, Indefatigable, Northampton, Canada, Francis and Eliza and the Baring.

6) Convicts and Passengers of the Northampton identified in the Hunter region


[1] 'Ship News.' Times [London, England] 5 Sept. 1816: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.

[2] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 897) Main series of letters received, 1788-1825 Item: 4/1732 Page: 160.

[3] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.340-341, 382

Convicts of the Northampton

Absolom, Mary
Argent, Susannah
Aynsley, Jane
Bailey, Ann
Baillie, Elizabeth
Barnard, Mary
Barton, Rebecca
Baxter, Margaret
Bell, Mary
Berridge, Ann
Berridge, Eleanor
Blake, Susannah
Bowers, Jemima
Brazeley, Susannah
Britt, Elizabeth
Broadfield, Sarah
Brown, Hannah
Bryan, Margaret
Buckley, Alice
Carman, Sophia
Carter, Mary
Combe, Mary
Corbett, Sarah
Coward, Elizabeth
Craston, Sarah
Crouch, Sophia
Dias, Rebecca
Downs, Ann
England, Mary
Esther, Hester
Evans, Elizabeth Ferguson, Esther
Findlater, Agnes Fitzgerald, Mary
French, Ann
Frost, Susannah
Gibbs, Elizabeth
Gibbs, Elizabeth
Granville, Catherine
Gray, Mary
Greenrod, Mary
Griffith, Margaret
Gutsell, Fanny
Halworth, Mary
Handal, Mary
Hasty, Mary
Hatfield, Amelia
Hathaway, Mary
Head, Jane
Hill, Elizabeth
Hoste, Jane
Humphreys, Jane
Hutchell, Jane
Inglis, Janet
Inglis, Margaret
Johnson, Elizabeth
Johnson, Rose
Langridge, Mary
Lawson, Sarah
Leonard, Mary
Lloyd, Ann
Mack, Catherine
Marks, Harriot
Mascall, Mary
May, Sarah
McGavin, Mary
McIntyre, Maria
Morris, Sarah
Munro, Eleanor
Neavett, Elizabeth
Noble, Ann
Norton, Hannah
O'Neal, Sarah
Parsons, Martha
Patten, Jane
Paul, Ann
Pearce, Jane
Perry, Mary
Rice, Eleanor
Riley, Ann
Roberts, Ann
Roberts, Esther
Roberts, Maria
Robertson, Elizabeth
Ruben, Catherine
Ryan, Margaret
Santaff, Ann
Santaff, Elizabeth
Shipp, Elizabeth
Shurwell, Elizabeth
Shurwell, Sarah (the elder)
Shurwell, Sarah (the younger)
Simmons, Sarah
Sladen, Rachael
Smith, Ann
Smith, Catherine
Smith, Mary
Stewart, Rosa
Turner, Ann
Turner, Mary
Ward, Ann
Watling, Ann
Watson, Sarah
Webb, Frances
White, Mary
Williams, Ann
Williams, Eliza
Williams, Mary
Williamson, Mary
Wilson, Frances
Wiltshire, Ann
Wright, Elizabeth