Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Thomas Bellot R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Seniority Royal Navy 23 December 1831

THOMAS BELLOT was born at Manchester on March 16th 1806, the son of Thomas Bellot, a surgeon practising in Oldham Street, and Jane Hale, daughter of Thomas Hale, of Darnhall, Cheshire. [1]

He was a student at Manchester Grammar School.

The following history of his achievements was included in their Register. -

On leaving school he became a pupil of Mr. Joseph Jordan, surgeon, and was admitted a member of the Royal college of surgeons, England, in 1828. He was through life employed in active service, and with much distinction, as a surgeon in the royal navy.

In 1831 he was appointed assistant surgeon to H. M. sloop Harrier, and gallantly took part in several boat attacks upon pirates in the straits of Malacca. When this ship was paid off in 1835, he passed the Royal college of surgeons a second time, for promotion to the rank of full surgeon in the royal navy; and in October of that year was appointed to H. M. brig Leveret, and served in it on the coast of Africa, in the prevention of the slave trade, until September 1839.

Besides taking excellent medical care of the crew, so as to bring back to England the whole of the European portion, he assisted in the capture, by boarding, of the piratical slave brig Diogenes, carrying a crew of fifty men, and had charge of the wounded prisoners until transferred to the hospital at Mozambique.

In November following he became surgeon to the war steamer Firefly, which took out general Maister as governor of the West India islands, on which coast he served about three years. In April 1843 he joined the Wolf, as surgeon, on the coast of China, serving there two or three years. [3]

Surgeon-Superintendent Havering

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the Havering in 1849. There was a serious outbreak of cholera early in the voyage....The Times reported on 4th July 1849 that the 'ship Havering of London which was chartered to take convicts to Sydney and bound to Dublin to embark them, put back and anchored off Falmouth port on 1st July in consequence of cholera breaking out among the crew and the small escort of 45 troops which were on board. She left Deptford on the 21st June and the first case occurred on the 26th following, when the ship was 30 miles west of Scilly, and this induced the captain to bear up. Five of the crew and one soldier died before her arrival, and up to last evening (1st) eight cases remained, two of which appeared serious, whilst the remaining six were considered convalescent.' 'An officer with whom we conversed stated, that the disease was confined to men who were intemperate, and careless and loose in their habits, and that they had every expectation on board of checking the progress of the malady. The Havering was a new ship of 700 tons burden and no doubt very efficiently fitted out for the contemplated voyage, and is in no wise crowded, so that the best hopes of checking the evil may be fairly entertained, and her departure for Dublin expedited. '

The Havering departed Dublin on 4 August 1849 and arrived in Port Jackson on 8 November 1849 with 334 male prisoners.

Later Naval Career

In November 1854 he joined H. M. flag ship Britannia, vice-admiral Dundas commanding the fleet in the Black sea, and was sent by the admiral to take charge of the sick at the naval hospital of Therapia on the Bosphorus, as one of the chief hospital surgeons, and left for England in March 1855, in charge of invalids. Whilst serving in the West Indies he had two attacks of yellow fever, and might have retired from further service, but he preferred returning to duty. He received high testimonials from his commanding officers in his various posts of duty; and died in June 1857, and was buried in the churchyard of Poynton, Cheshire.

Thomas Bellot devoted much of his leisure time to the prosecution of the classical studies begun at Manchester school; and, in addition to Latin and Greek, had some acquaintance with the Hebrew and Oriental languages. He published a translation of the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, and of Galen on the Hand; and also a work entitled Bellot's Sanscrit Derivation of English Words. He was an honorary member of the Geological and Natural History societies, and corresponding member of the Botanical society of Manchester; honorary member of the Philosophic society of Sydney; and was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal college of surgeons, London, whilst serving in China. He arranged according to each dynasty two collections of Chinese coins, one of which he presented to the Natural History society of Manchester; and collected also many ancient Chinese bronzes, some from the island of Pooto, and a library of Chinese works. [3]

Medical Directory

Thomas Bellot was listed in the Medical Directory of 1853.....

Stockport, Cheshire - F.R.C.S. (Nom) 1844;
M.R.C.S.E. 1828;
L.S.A. 1826;
Hon. Mem. of Natural History Soc., Geological Soc., and Botanical Soc. Manchester;
Surg. Royal Navy. Translator of the 'Aphorisms of Hippocrates and Galen on the Hand'.


Thomas Bellot died at Manchester 25 June 1857.


Death of Thomas Bellot, F.R.C.S.E., Surgeon Royal Navy, late of H.M. flag ship 'Britannia';, Black Sea, and of the Naval Hospital Therapia, having previously served in the East and West Indies, South Africa, China, and in command as Surgeon-Superintendent to Australia. - Gentleman's Magazine [2]

Notes and Links

1) Thomas Bellot - National Portrait Gallery


[1] Royal College of Surgeons

[2] Ulula: The Manchster Grammar School Magazine

[3] Manchester School Register. Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with Lancaster and Cheshire. 1874, p.118