Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship William Pitt - 1806

Embarked: 120 women; 1 male
Voyage: 223 days
Deaths 4
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 604 Guns: 20 Crew: 49
Previous vessel: Tellicherry arrived 15 February 1806
Next vessel: Fortune arrived 12 July 1806
Captain John Boyce. John Boyce was employed as 3rd Mate on the William Pitt under Captain Charles Mitchell in 1786.
Surgeon Joseph Blyer
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the William Pitt identified in the Hunter Valley

The William Pitt came down the River from Deal on 2nd July 1805 and anchored at Portsmouth. [7]

Prisoners Embarked

On Monday 8th July 1805, Ann Thompson, Lucy Gardner, Rachael Robinson, Jane Butterworth, Alice Scholfield, Catherine Frazier, Ann Hughes, Mary Lees, Ellen Mackintosh and Even Hodgson were removed from the Lancaster Castle prison in order to be embarked on the William Pitt lying at Portsmouth. [9] On the same day, at Norwich, Barbara Surman (Suringham), from the County Gaol and Priscilla Medcalf from the City Gaol were conveyed to Portsmouth for the same purpose. [8]

On Saturday afternoon 13th July, twenty five female convicts were removed in two wagons from Newgate prison also to be embarked on the William Pitt. Their behaviour was highly indecorous, and they tore the tilt off the wagon, kindly intended to conceal their shame, and rent the air with the most horrid expressions. [12]

The following women were probably those women from Newgate - Elizabeth Board, Mary Burnett, Mary Davis, Sarah Hall, Catherine Hamilton, Ann Harris, Ann Haynes, Mary Howster, Mary Jenkinston, Ann Johnson, Ann Kelly, Mary Lowrie, Ann McCarty, Sarah McLaughlin, Mary Mercer, Elizabeth Paget, Hannah Palmer, Ann Percy, Mary Raycraft, Sarah Rumbold, Alice Sherrard, Mary Smith, Mary Stedling, Jane Tues, Sarah Whiley and Mary Wood.

Also among the prisoners was a woman from York and her daughter from Newcastle, convicted of theft. They had not met for some time till they embarked on board the ship. [13]

Mary Wade was tried in Somerset - At the late Bath sessions Mary Wade was convicted of robbing her master John Fowell Esq., of that city, of a silver spoon. Mr. Ackland, the chairman, expatiated on the aggravation of the offence, where ingratitude and breach of faith were added to the crime of theft; and said that every instance of the kind should be punished with the utmost rigour of the law - he therefore sentenced her to 7 years transportation.[1]

Henry Perfect, who was convicted of obtaining money from the Earl of Clarendon, under pretence of its being for the relief of a distressed female, was the only male prisoner sent by the William Pitt. [2] The Hampshire Chronicle noted the unusual circumstances.....It is mentioned that in the William Pitt transport there are 120 female convicts, and one man, named Perfect. Perfection may be very desirable to the female eye, but he must be a fortunate fellow indeed if he can keep on good terms with 120 ladies of this description. [6] More about Henry Perfect here.

Cabin Passengers

It was reported that the Volunteers from the Royal Veterans boarded the William Pitt On Friday 12th July 1806. [10]
Gregory Blaxland
Other Passengers included Charles Grimes, Surveyor-General; Mr. Neate Chapman, Deputy Commissary; Mr. Robert Fitz, Deputy Commissary, his wife and two children; Mr. John Townson, formerly a captain in the New South Wales corps; James Thompson, his wife and four children; Mrs. R...and her four children, to join her husband, a convict; Mr. Bates with the appointment of Deputy Judge Advocate for the settlement at Hobart; and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Blaxland, three children, two female servants and one overseer.[3]

Gregory Blaxland later complained to the Transport Board of the 'exceedingly bad treatment' he received at the hand of Captain Boyce.

Departure from Falmouth

The Bury and Norwich Post reported on 17th July...With the outward bound East India fleet, which are under orders to sail this morning, are going out two large vessels for Botany Bay. One named the Laurel, is fitted for the male convicts, and has a detachment of the 8th Royal Veteran Battalion on board. The other is the William Pitt, and is fitted for the accommodation of female convicts, and free settlers. Of the former description there are a greater number and some of them of the most nefarious characters this country ever produced. [11]

The arrived at Falmouth on Friday 2nd August 1806 and departed bound for Cork on 10th August 1805 in convoy of 13 of his Majesty's ships, with the East India fleet. The fleet included many transports and English East India ships going on to India. The Royal Navy's ships, Diadem (Flagship of R/Adm Popham)(64 guns) Raisonable (64), Belliqueur (64), Diomede (50), Leda (38), Narcissus (32), Espoir (18), Encounter (14) and Protector Troop-carrying East India Company ships: Duchess of Gordon, Sir William Pulteney, Europe, Streatham, Union, Comet, Northampton, Glory..... and the William Pitt..... South African Military History Association.

Departure from Cork

It was reported that The East India fleet, under convoy of 13 of his Majesty's ships departed from Cork on 31st August 1805. Also departing Cork on this day was the Tellicherry with Irish prisoners for New South Wales.


The ship called at Madeira on 1st October and remained three days and stopped at San Salvadore for three weeks.

Cape of Good Hope

They reached the Cape of Good Hope on January 4th 1806, four days before the Battle of Blaauwberg. The Battle of Blaauwberg, also known as the Battle of Cape Town, fought near Cape Town on 8 January 1806, was a small but significant military engagement. It established British rule in South Africa, which was to have many ramifications during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.....Read about the Battle of Blaauwberg.

The ships log for the 8th January records that constant firing of cannon and musketry of the English and Dutch armies could be heard.; The William Pitt remained at the Cape five weeks during which time the prisoners may have been disembarked and held on shore. (Bateson, Charles, Log of the William Pitt (Log 184G, Commonwealth Relations Office, London).

William Pitt

Arrival in Port Jackson

Although the Tellicherry departed Cork at the same time the William Pitt was nearly two months longer on her voyage. William Pitt reached Port Jackson on 11 April 1806 with one hundred and seventeen female prisoners who all arrived in a state of good health.

Two women had died on the passage out. (One female prisoner was discharged from the ship prior to sailing).[5] Three children also died, one of small pox. The Sydney Gazette recorded that small pox had prevailed with much malignity for the considerable space of two months.[4]

A quantity of tea and also seeds arrived on the William Pitt. None of the seeds received on the William Pitt germinated due to the heat of the ship's hold in which they were stowed. Governor King with barely concealed annoyance, later recommended that seeds be sent in packets rather than casks and be regularly aired. Some of the items that were supposed to have been sent were taken out of the vessel in Portsmouth by orders of the Transport Board. They included 10 casks of hats; 15 casks of shoes; 6 bales of shirts; 30 bales of clothing; 3 puncheons of barley; 8 puncheons of wheat and 6 bales of stockings. In addition many of the bales of slop clothing were much damaged on the voyage.

Departure from Port Jackson

John Boyce was intending to leave the colony in the William Pitt by May 1806, however the vessel was still under repair on 25th May and did not quit the Cove until 1st June 1806. [5] It was reported that she was to touch at Port Dalrymple on her way to China. [14]

Researcher Contribution

On board the William Pitt when she departed Port Jackson were three female convicts Mary Oakley, Diana Bent and Rose Sabin. They were disembarked at Port Dalrymple. Rose Sabin had been convicted of stealing shirts and sheets from Capt William Limbery RN. She was convicted at Kent assizes to seven years transportation on 12 March 1804. Email contributor.

Diana Bent was tried at Hereford on 13 March 1804 and sentenced to transportation for life. Mary Oakley was tried at Southampton Assizes

Free people given permission to leave the colony included William Dunsdene John Green, Jerry Shean and Joseph Camm.

The William Pitt arrived at Canton on 3 October 1806

William Pitt convicts identified in the Hunter Valley region :

Adams, Mary
Alias Kinsela, Tristram. Mary Adams was born c. 1783. She was tried at Southampton (Portsmouth) Quarter Session 6 October 1803.The Hampshire Telegraph 22 August 1803 reported: This morning Mary Adams was examined before the sitting Magistrates, at the Guildhall, on a charge of her having stolen a quantity of lace, muslins, &c. from the shops of Mr. Paine and Mr. Allen, drapers, at Portsea. After a short investigation she was remanded for a further examination and sentenced to 7 years transportation. Mary married twice -
1). Enoch Kinsela (Fortune 1806). Issue Eliza b. 1810. Thomas b. 1812. Charles b. 1814.
2) William Tristram in 1815. William Tristram arrived on the Guildford in 1812 and was employed as a stone cutter in 1814. He was appointed constable in Sydney by 1820 and Liverpool in 1825 - 1828. He was appointed gaoler at Newcastle gaol on 18 May 1845. Mary was employed as Matron of the gaol. In 1848 the prisoners confined in Newcastle gaol were transferred to the new gaol at Maitland. They were accompanied by William and Mary Tristram who became the Gaoler and Matron at Maitland Gaol. William and Mary were dismissed from their positions at Maitland after the escape of prisoners Davidson and Smith in 1849 and also because it was found that William had been drawing from government rations for his private servant. They auctioned their household goods and returned to Sydney. Mary Tristram died in Sydney on 18 August 1862 age 81. William died just one month later aged 85.

Clothier, Hannah
Alias Blakefield, Best, Scott. Born in England c. 1773. 1). John Blakefield. 2). Anthony Best (ship Indian) 3). John Scott. Hannah was granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1823. In this same year John Scott sought maintenance for an illegitimate child born to Anthony Best and Hannah . Scott had married Hannah and had been supporting the child. Read about the circumstances in the Sydney Gazette. In 1828 Hannah was 57 years of age and had become free by servitude. She resided at the estate of Archibald Bell at Patrick Plains

Epton, Ann
Alias Ham, Edwards. Born in Lincolnshire c. 1783, daughter of Joseph Epton. Spouse 1. George Ham. Spouse 2. James Edwards. Convicted at Lincoln Quarter Sessions on 25 July 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1828 she was 40 years of age and was employed as a housekeeper by James Duff at Patrick Plains. Ann died in 1864

Lawrey, Mary
Alias Swan. Tried in Northumberland in 1803. Sentenced to transportation for life. Married John Swan in August 1818 at Newcastle age 35. Four of their children were on the Return of Baptisms at Newcastle on 3 August 1818. - Mary born 4 September 1813; Sarah born 8 December 1815; Jane born February 1818; Stephen born February 1818,

McLaughlin, Celia
?Sarah. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1817 and 1820

Wise, Martha
Alias Carter. Convicted at Dorset Poole Quarter Sessions. Sentenced to be transported for the term of seven years to any place beyond the seas his Majesty in Council might direct, having been found guilty of stealing a quantity of linen value 6d. and one linen workbag and sampler value 4d. belonging to Jane Matthews. - National Archives. She married John Carter (ship Ann) at Parramatta in December 1819. In December 1820 in Sydney, Martha was sentenced by the Criminal Court to seven years transportation to Newcastle for the crime of robbing George Bowman, and Miss Ann Bowman, his cousin, on the King's highway, on the night of Friday the 15th of September, near the 18-mile stone on the Windsor Road, near Parramatta. (Sydney Gazette 2 December 1820). She was sent to Newcastle on the Prince Leopold in January 1821. She was employed in government service at Newcastle in 1822. In 1825 she was employed by William Evans in the district of Newcastle. In January 1827 she was sent to Sydney Gaol by Magistrate Francis Allman. To be sent to the first class in the Parramatta Female Factory. Martha died age 36 in 1827

Notes and Links

1). Online records of the Old Sydney Burial Ground - John Muirhead who had been Mate on the William Pitt died on 9th June 1806.

2). Charles York, son of Mary Crooks arrived free on the William Pitt (CSI)

3). Convict Lucy Vaughan arrived on the William Pitt. She later entered into a relationship with James Squires.

4). The William Pitt ran aground and was wrecked in December 1814. Find out more about the William Pitt on the Wreck Site

5). From the British Library the following information about the William Pitt is available - Extra ship, repaired by Mestaer 1805, 3 decks, 4in bottom, length 124ft 2in, keel 99ft, breadth 32ft 11 1/2in, hold 13ft 3in, wing transom 23ft 7in, port cell 27ft 5in, waist 1ft 2in, between decks 5ft 4in and 5ft 10in, roundhouse 6ft 6 1/4in, ports 10 middle and 9 upper, 572 tons.
Principal Managing Owner: James Loughnan.
1. 1804/5 New South Wales and China. Capt John Boyce. Falmouth 10 Aug 1805 - 14 Aug Cork - 29 Sep Madeira - 11 Nov San Salvador - 6 Jan 1806 Cape - 11 Apr Port Jackson - Sydney Cove 22 Jun - 21 Sep Whampoa - Second Bar 5 Jan 1807 - 23 Jan Penang - 10 Apr Cape - 28 Apr St Helena - 2 Jul Downs.
2. 1808/9 Bengal and Madras. Capt William Crowder. Portsmouth 7 Jul 1809 - 17 Dec Calcutta 22 Feb 1810 - Saugor 11 Mar - 28 Mar Madras - 2 Aug St Helena - 1 Oct Downs.
3. 1810/1 Bengal. Capt Charles William Butler. Portsmouth 21 Jun 1811 - 2 Jul Madeira - 6 Nov Calcutta 18 Feb 1812 - Saugor 17 Mar - 15 Jun St Helena - 14 Sep Downs.
4. 1812/3 Batavia. Capt Charles William Butler. Torbay 25 Mar 1813 - lost to the east of Algoa Bay in Dec 1814, no survivors.

6). Convict Ships to New South Wales in 1806 - Tellicherry, William Pitt, Fortune and Alexander.

7). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the William Pitt in 1806:

8). Resources used to create Convict Ship pages.


[1] Bury and Norwich Post 13 February 1805.

[2] Lancaster Gazette 12 January 1805

[3] HR NSW Vol. 5, p. 643

[4] Sydney Gazette 20 April 1806

[5] Sydney Gazette 1 June 1806

[6] The Hampshire Chronicle, etc (Hampshire, England), Monday, August 05, 1805; pg. 1; British Library Newspapers

[7] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Thursday, July 4, 1805;. British Library Newspapers

[8] The Bury and Norwich Post: Or, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Cambridge Advertiser Wednesday, July 10, 1805; British Library Newspapers.

[9] The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, for Lancashire, Westmorland, Saturday, July 13, 1805; British Library Newspapers.

[10] The Salisbury and Winchester Journal (Salisbury, England), Monday, July 15, 1805; pg. 4; British Library Newspapers

[11] The Bury and Norwich Post: Or, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Cambridge Advertiser , Wednesday, July 17, 1805; British Library Newspapers.

[12] The Hampshire Chronicle, etc (Hampshire, England), Monday, July 22, 1805; pg. 2; British Library Newspapers

[13]The Newcastle Courant etc (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England), Saturday, August 3, 1805; British Library Newspapers

[14] Sydney Gazette 15 June 1806