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Convict Ship Hadlow 1818

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Embarked 150 men
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Earl St. Vincent arrived 16 December 1818
Next vessel: Martha arrived 24 December 1818
Captain John Craigie
Surgeon Superintendent Thomas Christie Roylance

The Hadlow was built in Quebec in 1813. This was her first voyage transporting convicts to New South Wales, the next voyage being in 1820.

The prisoners of the convict ship Hadlow came from districts throughout England - Derby, York, London, Oxford, Chester. Gloucester etc.

Two of the prisoners Henry Dunn and James Gittens had been tried in Bristol in March and found guilty of highway robbery. They were probably then incarcerated in Bristol Gaol.

In March 1818 a visitor described the Bristol Gaol:

We first entered the yard appropriated for criminals: it is an irregular space, about 20 feet long and 12 wide, and was literally so crowded with its 63 inhabitants, as to occasion some difficulty in passing through it. In this yard is to be seen vice in all its stages; boys intermingle with men; the accused with the convicts; the venial offender with the veteran and atrocious criminal. Amongst a multitude of persons whom the gaoler described as having no other avocation or mode of livelihood but thieving, I counted 11 children - children hardly old enough to be released from a nursery - hardly competent to understand the first principles of moral obligation - here receiving an education which, as it must unfit them for anything useful, so it must eminently qualify them for that career which they are doomed to run. All charged or convicted of felony, with out distinction of age, were in heavy irons; almost all were in rags; almost all were filthy in the extreme; almost all exhibited the appearance of ill health. The state of the prison the desperation of the prisoners, broadly hinted in their conversation and plainly expressed in their conduct the uproar of oaths, complaints, and obscenity the indescribable stench, presented together a concentration of the utmost misery with the utmost guilt; a scene of infernal passions and distresses which few have imagination sufficient to picture and of which fewer still would believe that the original is to be found in this enlightened and happy country. After seeing this yard, and another of larger dimensions, the adjacent day room and sleeping cells, the conclusion of my own mind was, that nothing could be more offensive or melancholy. This opinion, however, was speedily refuted when a door was unlocked, we were furnished with candles, and we descended 18 long steps into a vault at the bottom was a circular space - a narrow passage, 18 inches wide, runs through this and the sides are furnished with barrack bedsteads. The floor, which is considered to be on the same lever with the river, was very damp. The smell at this hour (one o'clock) was nothing more than can be expressed by the term disgusting. (Lancaster Gazette 13 June 1818)

On 9th July 1818 after three months in Bristol gaol, Henry Dunn and James Gittens were sent to the Hulk Justitia. They were transferred to the Hadlow with 48 other men on 1st August 1818.

Surgeon of the Hadlow Thomas Roylance kept a Medical Journal from the 10th July to 4th January 1819.

He joined the vessel as it was lying at Deptford and shipwrights from the Dockyard were already her fitting up ready for the reception of convicts. Provisions were loaded and preparations made for sea. On Friday 17 July a detachment of troops embarked as guard under command of Lieut. Robert Robinson of 24th regiment. Thirty two soldiers accompanied by six women and four children formed the guard.

The Hadlow dropped down to Woolwich on 30 July and on 1st August fifty male prisoners from the Justitia Hulk were received on board.  At 3pm on 2nd August the Hadlow weighed anchor and made for Sheerness where, on 4th August 58 male convicts from the Retribution hulk and 40 from the Bellopheron hulk were received on board. One of the prisoners, William Newell aged 14 from Leicester was returned to the Retribution Hulk.

The surgeon set up a set of Rules and Regulations which he expected the Officer of the Guard to assist in enforcing:

1. No convict shall be allowed to go over the ship's side or to climb the rigging.

2. No convict shall be allowed to wash his clothes by towing them overboard.

3. At the hour of six in the morning when the weather permits, every convict shall come up with his bed and shall wash himself and return below, with the exception of the last third of their number, and two boatswains mates of the Convicts superintending in the prison; one at each hatchway and two Corporals of the Guard on deck one at each hatchway until the whole of the convicts have brought up their beds washed themselves and two thirds of their number returned below - in the evening at sunset each convict to come up for his bed under the same regulation as to superintendence of the Corporals of the Guard assisted by the Convicts Boatswains Mates.

The Hadlow departed England on 22nd August 1818 and called at the Cape where prisoner Sarah Hallowell was embarked. Sarah Hallowell was already heavily pregnant when she boarded the ship. In Sydney, while still on board, her baby was still born and Sarah died a short time later.

The Hadlow moored at Sydney Cove on Thursday 24 December 1818 when the surgeon allowed the irons to be removed. They remained moored there for the next ten days.

On 4th January at sunrise the convicts cleaned themselves and prepared to land. They were landed at 8am at King's Wharf Sydney in charge of William Hutchinson, Principal Superintendent of Convicts. Surgeon Thomas Roylance attended the inspection of the prisoners by his Excellency Governor Macquarie at the Gaol Yard later that morning.

Select here to find out more about disembarkation of Convicts

The convict indents reveal such information as name, age, when and where convicted, native place, sentence, occupation, physical description and occasional information regarding tickets of leave or pardons. There is no information as to where the convicts were assigned on arrival.

Notes & Links:

1). Thomas Roylance returned to England on the Shipley. He was also employed as surgeon on the convict ship Lord Sidmouth in 1821.

2). The Hadlow returned to New South Wales with convicts in 1820  

3). Select HERE to find out more about prisoners/ passengers of the Hadlow who have been identified in the Hunter Valley region.

4). Robert Maggs arrived as a convict on the Hadlow. In March 1821 his name was placed on the wanted lists with the following description: Late servant to Captain Brabyn; escaped from Windsor Gaol; about 5ft 11in; light brown hair, hazel eyes, florid complexion; trade a nursery man. Had lately returned to Windsor from Newcastle penal settlement. Maggs was captured by chief constable of Liverpool Mr. Ikin at the Devil's back in July 1821....This well known offender who stands charged with having perpetrated depredation upon depredation, and who has been at large many months was apprehended in a temporary hut with no less than four pistols and a cutlass in his possession. He was executed in September 1821.

5). Isaac Perrott later became a police constable

6).  Return of Convicts of the Hadlow assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832).....

Samuel Sims. Labourer and weaver assigned to William Lithgow at Sydney.


1).  Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 382



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