Free Settler or Felon?

Home Convict Ships by Year     Convict Ship Index     Conditions on Convict Ships
Search Free Settler or Felon Database?
Links to Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land 1788 - 1850

Convict Ship Somersetshire 1814
Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 159 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Surry arrived 28 July 1814
Next vessel: Marquis of Wellington arrived 27 January 1815
Captain Alexander Scott

The Somersetshire was built on the Thames River in 1810. [7]


The convicts came from counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Middlesex, London, Stafford, Surrey, Suffolk, Gloucester, Norfolk, Southampton, Devon, Bristol, Dorset, Cambridge, Southampton, Nottingham, Lincoln, Berks, Lancaster, Worcester, Durham, York, Cumberland, Somerset, Chester, Warwick, Essex, Westmoreland, Salop, Wiltshire, Oxford, Cornwall, Perth, Aberdeen, Brecon, Merioneth, Carmarthen and Glamorgan. There were also several soldiers who had been court-martialed in Quebec CM, Spain CM and Portugal CM. [6]

Many were held in county gaols before being transferred to London where they worked in the hulks while awaiting transportation. Those tried in London were probably held in Newgate prison before being taken to the hulks.

Some of the men were held in the Perseus prison hulk at Portsmouth. They were sent on board the Somersetshire about the end of March 1814. These men included: Silvester Scott, John Shorrack, John Kerfoot, James Proctor, William Johnson, James Clohesy, Thomas Barnes, William Pope, Thomas Haydon, William Smith, Michael Buckley Samuel Harrison, John Rose, George Trowbridge, William White, Thomas Moan, Charles McGonagle, William Keenan, James Brocklehurst, Josiah Lunt, William Crisp, William Page, Edward McGoin and George Greaves.[1]


The Somersetshire departed Spithead on 10th May 1814, called at Madeira and arrived at Rio De Janeiro on 13th July 1814 where she remained for 10 days. One convict, James Brown (alias White) was presumed drowned in a rash attempt of escape while they were at Rio.


The Military Guard was a detachment of 30 men under command of Capt. Nairn to join the 16th regiment. On the voyage out Private Andrew Johnson died from fever before reaching Rio. The wife of Private Quinten Owen gave birth to a healthy daughter on the 30th September 1814. [3]


The Somersetshire arrived in Port Jackson on Sunday 16 October 1814. She was one of seven convict ships arriving in New South Wales in 1814, the others being the Wanstead, General Hewitt, Catherine, Three Bees, Broxbornbury and Surry.

The Somersetshire brought the news of the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte and on the 17th October, in honour of the news, a Royal Salute was fired from Dawe's Battery by command of Lieut- Governor Molle. In the evening a general illumination took place.[2]


The prisoners were still on board at the time of the Royal Salute. They were not disembarked until 26th October 1814. The men would have been mustered on board by the Colonial Secretary John Thomas Campbell. (See Muster of Male and Female prisoners) After disembarking the prisoners may have been addressed by Governor Macquarie, a duty he rarely missed.

The convict indents included information such When and Where they were convicted, Sentence, Native Place, Occupation, Age, Physical Description and occasional information about Tickets of Leave. There were watchmakers, shoemakers, horse breakers, seamen, labourers, printers, brick makers, servants, silversmiths, a dentist, coachman. [6] William George Wells was noted as being a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, although this was denied. He was convicted of theft and his case which was heard at the Old Bailey makes interesting reading. [5]

Forty two of the prisoners were under the age of 21, four being sixteen years of age. The youngest prisoner was Charles John Clifford who was a midshipman. He was convicted of theft at the Old Bailey on 14 July 1813 [4]

William Hutchinson succeeded Isaac Nichols to the position of Superintendent of Convicts in New South Wales in April 1814. On 26 October by order of William Hutchinson fifty men from the Somersetshire were disembarked from the ship and forwarded to Windsor; sixteen men were sent to Liverpool and twenty-five to Parramatta. Eight prisoners were sent for private assignment straight from the ship: John Walsh, William Wells, Peter Pierce, William Holman, Benjamin Hart, John Proctor, Samuel McCreagh and James Kinsale. (see Assignment of Convicts for more information)


Supplies brought out by merchants included about thirty pipes of fine Madeira, twenty five chests of souchong tea, Palna Carpets, China paper Ginghams, Bengal Prints, Calico, Longcloths, Lines and Twines, Bengal Soap, Mens' Hats and coloured skins.


John Bayliss, John Tagg and Mary Neale all advertised their intent to depart on the Somersetshire which sailed for Calcutta on Monday 5th December 1814.


1). Among the male prisoners who arrived on the Somersetshire was stonemason James Clohesy who later contributed to the building of Christ Church at Newcastle

2). Convict Henry Dale was employed as gaoler at Newcastle gaol until 1819

3). Captain William Nairn - 46th Regiment - Australian Dictionary of Biography

4). Return of Convicts of the Somersetshire assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832).....Joseph Furnace - Pit sawyer assigned to T.W. Cape at Sydney

5). In November while the Somersetshire lay at anchor, seaman Robert Carroll was seriously injured in a fall and afterwards conveyed to the hospital on shore. (Sydney Gazette 12 November 1814)

6). Colonial Appointments

6). Prisoners of the Somersetshire identified in the Hunter Valley region.....

Robert Anderson / Andrews
Samuel Austin / Arston
Thomas Bishop
Henry Chambers
James Clohesy
James Connor / Conner
James Cooper
William Crisp;
Richard Cumberland;
Henry Dale
James Eaton
William Farthing Joseph Furness;
John Gahagan;
Thomas Aycliffe Gee
Andrew Grane/ Gree
Richard Holmes
William Johnson
John Kendrick
Bernard Levy
William Marley
Samuel McCrea
Daniel McLeece
John Morris
Bartholomew Murray
John Norman
Joseph Phillips
Joseph Powell
Joseph Richardson
Thomas Salter
Robert Scott
Joseph Sewell
William Smith
John Levy Squires
William Thompson;
Bernard Toole
James Turner
Thomas Waite
John Walsh / Welch


[1] Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849. Microfilm, HO9, 5 rolls. The National Archives, Kew, England. UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849

[2] Sydney Gazette 19 October 1814

[3] Sydney Gazette 22 October 1814

[4] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online - Charles Clifford

[5] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online - William George Wells

[6] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4005]; Microfiche: 635

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