Embarked: 120 women; 1 male
Voyage: 223 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
604 Guns: 20 Crew: 49
15 February 1806
Fortune arrived 12 July
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
One male and one hundred and twenty female prisoners
collected from all parts of the Kingdom, some of them
considered to be of the most nefarious characters the
country ever produced, were embarked on the William
Pitt in July 1805.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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)
One female prisoners was discharged from the ship prior
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)
Pitt departed Falmouth 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
South African Military History Association.
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. They called at Madeira on 1st October and
stopped at San Salvadore for three weeks before reaching
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
about the Battle of Blaauwberg.
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).
The William Pitt
was the next convict ship to arrive in New South Wales
with female convicts after the arrival of the
Tellicherry in February 1806. Although both ships
departed Cork at the same time the William Pitt
was nearly two months longer on her voyage. The 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. Three children also died, one of
small pox. The Sydney Gazette recorded the
arrival of the William Pitt on 11 April 1806:
The William Pitt brought 117 female prisoners,
three having died on the passage; as did also three
children, one of whom died of the small pox; that
infection having prevailed with much malignity for the
considerable space of two months.
embarking on the William Pitt in England
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)
Blaxland later complained to the Transport Board of the
'exceedingly bad treatment' he had received at the hand
of Captain Boyce whom he also accused of bribery. Select
here to see an image of a statue of Gregory Blaxland
from the book Early Australian Portraits at the State
Library of NSW
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.
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.(SG)
Notes and Links:
records of the
Old Sydney Burial Ground
- John Muirhead
who had been Mate on the William Pitt died on 9th June
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
the National Archives UK 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 11½in, hold 13ft 3in, wing
transom 23ft 7in, port cell 27ft 5in, waist 1ft 2in,
between decks 5ft 4in & 5ft 10in, roundhouse 6ft 6¼in,
ports 10 middle & 9 upper, 572 tons. Principal Managing
Owner: James Loughnan. Voyages: (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.
Convicts and passengers
arriving on the William Pitt in 1806
7). Convict Ships
to New South Wales in 1806 -
Tellicherry, William Pitt,
8). Hunter Valley Convicts
arriving on the William Pitt:
|Mary Adams/ Kinsella/ Tristram
|Hannah Clothier / Scott
|Ann Epton / Ham/ Edwards
(1) Bury and Norwich Post 13 February 1805.
Lancaster Gazette 12 January 1805
(3) HR NSW Vol. 5, p. 643