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Ann Bailey

Ann Bailey, one of 110 convicts transported on the Northampton, December 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Ann Bailey
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1787
Occupation: Servant
Date of Death: 20th October, 1843
Age: 56 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Passing forged notes
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Northampton
Departure date: December, 1814
Arrival date: 18th June, 1815
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 109 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 192. bank of England Archive Reference Collection.
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Peter Bailey on 30th August, 2014 wrote:

I have collected from the net some documents relating to Ann Baileys trial and pre-embarkation to Australia.  Some of the documents have been available for many years, but the correspondence released by the Bank of England early in 2014 casts an interesting light on the conditions of Ann Bailey’s activities before she embarked.  The other letters in the Freshfields collection make fascinating reading.  Peter Bailey, Blackwood, South Australia, August 2014. 

200th Anniversary of Ann Bailey’s Transportation to New South Wales.

Ann Bailey boarded the ‘Northhampton’ in December 1814 after pleading guilty on 6 July 1814 of having in her possession a forged banknote. Prior to her embarkation she was held in Newgate prison.  Although herself a convict, she was accompanied by her two sons, Thomas (3) and John (5) who were free ‘men’.  Ann was the ancestor of one line of Baileys that radiated to the Hunter Valley.

The background to Ann Bailey’s transportation.

The Bank of England was responsible for issuing of currency and for prosecution of forgers.  In 2014 the Bank of England published correspondence relating to currency violations in the late 18th and 19th centuries.  Freshfields were the solicitors acting for the Bank and the surviving letters are catalogued at the website:  http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/documents/archivedocs/freshfields/fpc18141818.


Freshfields Prison Correspondence 1781-1840
Archive Catalogue Reference: F25/1-13

In the late 18th and 19th century, an epidemic of forged Bank of England paper notes began to emerge. The surge in counterfeit notes was a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars in the 18th century which had led to the ‘Restriction Period’, a time when the Bank was no longer able to pay out gold in exchange for Bank notes. The result was the issuing of low denomination £1 and £2 notes in 1797, with many soon being forged and circulated across the country.

?From 1697, those convicted of forging Bank of England notes had committed a capital offence. By 1725, the crime of ‘uttering’, or the known circulation of forged notes, had also been classified as a crime deemed worthy of capital punishment. However, a significant change to the way the Bank of England prosecuted those suspected of severe forgery was introduced at the start of the nineteenth century. With over 300 people being hanged for the counterfeiting of Bank of England notes during the Restriction Period, the Bank had grown to recognise that another solution to the crime of forgery needed to be found. A bill drafted by Freshfields, the Bank’s solicitors, was passed as law in May 1801 and offered those convicted the option of a ‘plea bargain’. This gave a prisoner the option of pleading guilty to being in possession of counterfeit notes; a plea that would be met with a punishment of 14 years transportation. If this plea was agreed, a capital charge would not be pursued.
Letters written by, or on behalf of, prisoners who were convicted of crimes relating to forgery of the Bank of England’s paper currency are currently held at the Bank of England Archive. They form part of the Freshfields collection, which holds many of the letters of pleas for help and charity from those convicted by the Bank’s prosecution. The letters are split into two groups; those written from the London area, and those written from outside London, described as ‘Provincial’. A significant majority of the London letters were written from Newgate Gaol, whilst the Provincial letters were written from prisons such as Bath, Horsham, Portsmouth and Warwick.
The surviving letters, transcribed by Deirdre Palk in ‘Prisoners Letters to the Bank of England 1781-1827’,  illustrate the circumstances in which a number of prisoners found themselves following their convictions. They also show the many responses by the Bank to their pleas for help. Indeed, on many occasions a level of charity was extended to prisoners, in particular mothers and their children. For example, a letter sent by Mary Kelly on 22 February 1820 describes her distress at having no friends to ask for help, her mother being extremely poor, and that she is also attending to a sick child. Further details of Kelly’s case can be found in the Bank’s Committee for Lawsuits papers, which describe Kelly as being awarded 5 shillings per week on 1 March 1820. Other letters are written prior to a convict being transported. For example, Johanna McCarthy writes on 8 April 1818 from the Maria ship at Deptford that ‘I am quite destitute of money and friends and have been confined in Newgate Bristol 13 months’. The Committee for Lawsuits records that McCarthy and two other female convicts who were ‘on the point of sailing to Botany Bay’ be paid £5 each by the Solicitor in response to their pleas for relief.
Since the introduction of fixed denomination notes by the Bank of England in the early 18th century, the security concerning Bank of England notes has evolved greatly, with much having been learnt over the last two hundred years. A further history of the Bank of England notes can be found at the Bank of England Museum.

Ann Bailey’s Trial and sentence.


Reference Number: t18140706-20

580. ANN BAILEY was indicted for that she, on the 26th of March , feloniously and without lawful excuse had in her custody and possession a forged bank note, with intention to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England .

To this indictment the prisoner pleaded
Transported for Fourteen Years .
Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.
Reference Number: t18140706-21

582. ANN BAILEY was indicted for feloniously forging, on the 26th of March , a bank note for the payment of 1 l. with intention to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England .
SECOND COUNT, for disposing of, and putting away, a like forged bank note, with the same intention.
And OTHER COUNTS, for like offence, only varying the manner of charging them.
Mr. Knapp, counsel for the prosecution, declining to offer any evidence, the prisoner was
Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.

www. Bankof England.co.uk/archivedocs/freshfields/fpc18141818.pdf

Bank of England Archive (F25/3)

Ann Bailey’s Letter to:

Mr Westwood (solicitor), Bank of England (F25/3/22)

“Newgate Decbr 3, 1814

I humbly beg pardon for intruding on you beg leave to inform you I am much
? distraught?  having lost my little girl and have another child at this time (who is) very ill I hope you will not be offended if I ?solicit a little assistance I am humbly grateful for what I have already received from the generosity of the gentlemen of the Bank and should be very thankful for whatever you might be pleased to bestow.

Sir your very humble ?Sevt “

The handwriting and signature indicate an educated writer but not the copperplate writing and legalese of letters written by lawyers.  The letter appears to indicate that Ann had previously received some help from the Bank and mentions having ‘lost a little girl’.

From the above document perhaps written as a Bank memo and addressed to T.H Capperly, dated ?11 Nov 1814:

…present their ?compliments for Mr Capper and take the liberty of reminding him that Aurelia Hatfield and Ann Bailey may be sent on the ship ……. About to sail to Botany Bay the Northhampton. ? If these two convicts are ? in your custody for uttering forged bank copies embarked …suffice/suffer? here for to remain in Newgate…it would be impracticable to prevent them taking forged bank notes with them

This   memo dated ?11 November 1814 apparently from a Bank functionary to her Newgate gaolers (F25/3/22) warns them that Ann Bailey and Amelia Hatfield may be in possession of forged notes and they should be prevented from taking the notes with them before embarkation on the Northhampton. 

Martha Bromwell
An Informant within Newgate, Martha Bromwell, forwarded to the Bank a copy (perhaps bogus) of a letter dated 6 December 1814 (F25/3/13) which includes the comment ‘ I have enclosed you two pounds you may expect more next week we have 300 of the new plate ready for circulation the water mark and ?alltogethers so perfect to deceive even some of the bank inspectors.’ Since Martha Bromwell was seeking a reward from the Bank for this information, the veracity of this letter is doubtful.  However the fact that she presented this information suggests that she expected the story to be believable.  This same informant, in other letters mentions other prisoners, including Ann Bailey.

It is possible that Martha’s information caused the Bank to issue the warning to Newgate gaolers (above).

While Martha was sentenced to transportation for 14 years, her name does not appear in the transportation records, so it is possible that her informing paid off.

Part of a letter from Martha Bramwell, a Newgate prisoner convicted of stealing, which mentions ‘Bailey and Hatfield’ in association with a supply of forged notes within Newgate.  A number of Martha’s letters appear in the Freshfield’s correspondence, all implicating other prisoners (‘Bailey’ appears in three separate letters) in a forgery ring in Newgate. 

Amelia Hatfield

The name Amelia Hatfield is mentioned with that of Ann Bailey in a number of Martha Bramwell’s letters from Newgate.  Both Ann and Amelia were sentenced for ‘coining offences’ in the same court (Ann on 6 July 1814 and Amelia on 25 May 1814).  Both were accompanied by children (Ann with 5yo John and Thomas (3 yo)  while Amelia had three children (6 yo, 4 yo and 9 months).
The letters of both women appear to be in a similar hand and similar style.

Robin Sharkey on 22nd October, 2016 wrote:

Ann Bailey’s guilty pleas and 14 year sentence indicates she did a plea bargain with the prosecuting representatives of the Bank of England, agreeing to take 14 years for possessing forged notes instead of potential death sentence (usually commuted to life) for uttering forged notes.

Ann Bailey’s letters to the Bank of England were written for her by Martha Bramwell, who wrote these letters for other “bank forger” petitioners in Newgate - hence the same handwriting appears for a number of women’s letters.

The Bank paid her 7s. 6d. a week from July 1814 – Dec. 1814 in response to her petition. She was given a further £5 lump sum on departure on “Northampton” Jan 1815.

This letter was written by the bank’s solicitors, Messrs Kaye, Freshfields, & Kaye, to Mr Capper of the Home Office, warning that Ann Bailey really should be removed from Newgate Gail and sent on board the Northampton to NSW per her sentence. It was written before Ann Bailey’s own letter of 3 December seeking a further payment.

Attached to her 3/12/1814 letter: earlier copy note, 24 Nov. 1814, from Bank solicitors to J. H. Capper, home office: “Messrs KF & K ]Kaye, Freshfields & Kaye, solicitors]  present their Complts to Mr Capper and take the liberty of reminding him that Amelia Hatfield & Ann Bailey may be sent in the Ship now about to sail to Botany Bay, the Husbands of these two Convicts are now in Custody for uttering forged Bank Notes & the Husband of Hatfield has been committed to Newgate for Trial & if these Convicts are suffered to remain in Newgate it will be impracticable to prevent their Selling forged Bank Notes there”

Robin Sharkey on 22nd October, 2016 wrote:


Recorded on ship as aged 27 Years. [so birth year 1787]

Was married.  The solicitors for the Bank of England wrote in their letter dated 24 November 1814 to Mr Capper of the Home Office that her husband was now in custody for uttering forged bank notes. [ not yet found what was the outcome of this trial - he was not hanged however have not found anyone likely to be him yet in NSW].

* Daughter died in Newgate jail, according to Anne’s petition of December 1814
* Northampton conivct List - With TWO children on board.
* Son: John Bailey Bcirca 1810, aged 5 yrs on arrival with his mother in NSW. John employed at Wilberforce in 1825 with Robert Smith, then aged 15 yrs.

1815, June - disembarked from the “Northampton” to be employed at the Factory at Parramatta;

1823, July - on list of prisoners assigned
1825 - Governmetn Servant to Mary Irwine
Sentence expiry: July 1828.

1823 - permission to marry at Sydney

1828 - Free by Servitude.  Housekeeper; Householder: John Smith; Residence: Kent St

1843 - DEATH
Died 20 Oct 1843 .  Aged: 53 9so means born 1790) ; Buried 22 Oct 1843 at Windsor.  Registered at St Matthews Church of England Windsor

Convict Changes History

Peter Bailey on 30th August, 2014 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1787 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1845 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

Robin Sharkey on 22nd October, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 192. bank of England Archive Reference Collection. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Numb

Robin Sharkey on 22nd October, 2016 made the following changes:

date of death: 20th October, 1843 (prev. 1845)

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au