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Convict Ship
 Somersetshire 1814

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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.

Some of the prisoners of the Somersetshire 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 was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Surry. The Somersetshire departed Spithead on 10th May 1814, called at Madeira and arrived at Rio 13th July where she remained 10 days, and 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 His honour Lieut- Governor Molle; and in the evening a general illumination took place.(2)

The prisoners were still on board at this time and 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 & 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. Their occupations included watchmakers, shoemakers, horse breakers, seamen, labourers, printers, brick makers, servants, silversmiths, a dentist, coachman. 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)

Arriving on the Somersetshire as 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 and one convict, James Brown (alias White) was presumed drowned in a rash attempt of escape at Rio. The wife of Private Quinten Owen gave birth to a healthy daughter on the 30th September 1814. (3)

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.

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. 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.

Notes & Links

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). Hunter Valley convicts/passengers arriving on the Somersetshire in 1814

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

5). Number of prisoners, date and place of Conviction and sentences - Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command, Volume 16 By Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons - Somersetshire......  


8).  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

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

Name Convicted at Location NSW
Robert Anderson / Andrews Surrey 1813 Newcastle 1817
Samuel Austin / Arston Suffolk 1813 Newcastle 1816-17
Thomas Bishop Middlesex 1813 Maitland 1832
Henry Chambers London 1813 Newcastle 1821
James Clohesy Southampton 1813 Newcastle 1816-21
James Connor / Conner Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1817
James Cooper Middlesex 1813 Patterson's Plains 1828
William Crisp Lincoln 1813 Newcastle 1817
Richard Cumberland London 1813 Newcastle 1821
Henry Dale Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1815-19
James Eaton Worcester 1813 Wallis Plains 1828-30
William Farthing Middlesex 1813 Merton/Cassilis 1837-41
John Fawcett York 1813 Newcastle 1820
Joseph Furness York 1813 Newcastle/Brisbane Water
John Gahagan Quebec 1813 Newcastle 1817
Thomas Aycliffe Gee Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1815
Andrew Grane/ Green Middlesex 1813 Raymond Terrace 1837-38
Richard Holmes Bristol 1813 Newcastle 1815
William Johnson Southampton 1813 Newcastle 1825 - 32
John Kendrick Warwick 1813 Wollombi 1828
Bernard Levy Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1820
William Marley Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1816
Samuel McCrea Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1821
Daniel McLeece Lancaster 1812 Newcastle 1818
John Morris Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1821
Bartholomew Murray Northumberland 1813 Newcastle 1817
John Norman Northumberland 1813 Newcastle 1820
Joseph Phillips Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1815
Joseph Powell Salop 1812 Newcastle 1821
Joseph Richardson Middlesex 1813 Newcastle/ Port Stephens
Thomas Salter Gloucester 1813 Newcastle 1816-18
Robert Scott York 1813 Newcastle 1817
Joseph Sewell Westmoreland 1813 Newcastle 1817
William Smith Warwick 1813 Newcastle/ Patterson's Plains
John Levy Squires Cambridge 1813 Newcastle 1821-22
William Thompson Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1816-1829
Bernard Toole Cumberland 1813 Newcastle 1825
James Turner Middlesex 1813 Newcastle 1815
Thomas Waite Middlesex 1812 Newcastle 1825
John Walsh / Welch Middlesex 1813 Hunter 1833-35



(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



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