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James Becket

James Becket, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Becket
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1759
Occupation: Brickmaker
Date of Death: 1808
Age: 49 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Salop Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize
Departure date: December, 1789
Arrival date: 26th June, 1790
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 1072 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 61 (32) Sydney Gazette, 16 nov 1806 p 1 Derby Mercury - Thursday 31 July 1788 p 4
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

Denis Pember on 3rd June, 2015 wrote:

Married Ann Calcut [Cocutt] (Convict; Neptune, 1790). 30 January 1791, Rose Hill, Sydney, NSW. 5 children.

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 wrote:

JAMES BECKET transported on ‘SURPRIZE’ for LIFE. Initially received Death Sentence at trial in July 1788 at Salop Assizes in Shrewsbury for highway robbery; reprieved to life transportation.

Hereford Journal - Thursday 07 August 1788 p 3
“At the assizes at Shrewsbury, seven prisoners received sentence of death, viz, James Becket, for assaulting Joseph Tipton on the highway ..”

Born 1751 in Radnor, Shropshire, England, son of James Beckett and Elizabeth Evans

Departed on ‘Surprize’ 18 months later in mid January 1790. Arrived mid June 1790.

MARRIED ANN CALCUT on 30th January 1791 at St Johns Church of England, parramatta. James made his mark.

(Ann was convicted at Stafford, in 1789, of theft of a silver table spoon, a fan, a bonnet, an apron, a handkerchief and a pair of shoe buckles. She arrived in Australian in June 1790 on the Neptune’)

In 1792, he was witness at marriage of John Carver and Isabella Smith at St John’s Parramatta.

FAMILY
First child born nine months after marriage:
Samuel Beckett, son of James Beckett, Convict & Ann Beckett, Convict, Baptised 2 Oct 1791, Registered at St John’s Church of England Parramatta.
Samuel died aged 2 in 1793.

(2) James born 15 July 1793 and baptised 11 August at St John’s Parramatta.  Elder Samuelmay have died after this.

(3) Samuel (second one)  Born 18 Jul 1795, Baptised 9 Sep 1795, at St John’s Parramatta.

(4) Ester - Born 2 Apr 1798, Baptised 29 Apr 1798

(5) Mary - Born 31 Jul 1800, Baptised 6 Apr 1801,

At the 1806 Muster, Ann Calcut Becket was listed as having 2 legitimate sons and 3 legitimte daughters - bt only 2 daughters above.

WORKING LIFE
In 1802 James Becket is listed as having 30 acres at Concord, with 7 acres cleared & cultivated, and 4 chidlren and his wife off the stores.

1806 Muster - “JAMES BECKET, 1806 Aug 5 Granted 30 acres in the district of Toongabbie. Rent: 1 shilling per year commencing after 5 years. This is the cancelled farm of Edward Kelly which was cancelled for the reasons stated in folio 389, Register 2nd. P.G.K”

1806 -Occupation/Residence &c: Settler, 30 acres, . Arrived per “Neptune”
Land - Cultivated, 19 acres pasture, 10 bushels maize held, 5 female goats 4 male hogs 5 female hogs; On/off stores: 1 Proprietor off, 1 woman off, 1 children off

1808 DEATH

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 wrote:

BRICKMAKING

David Becket was working at Rose Hill by November 1790 and indicated to Watkin Tench when Tench visited Rose Hill ion 16th November, that he had been a brick maker in Birmingham.  He was referred to by Watkin Tench of his book “A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson” on page 57 of the University of Sydney edition (http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/p00044.pdf)

Becket had been in the colony only Five months when Watkin Tench visited rose Hill and had a conversation with him. He was employed as the only master Brickmaker at Rose Hill over 52 Brickmakers (from Tench’s diary with a “return of the number of persons employed at rose Hill, Nov 16th 1790”).

Tench wrote:

““Brick kilns are now erected here and bricks manufactured by a convict by the name of Becket, who came out on the last fleet, and has fifty-two people to work under him. He says they are very good, and would sell at Birmingham, where he worked about 18 months ago, at more than thirty shillings per thousand.”

FARMING

The 30 acres at Toongabbie was re-granted to James Beckett after being taken away from Edward Kelly.  Th re-grant from Governor King did not happen until 1806 yet Becket was probably already in possession of it in 1803. - shown on a map drawn around 1803 showed eighty-four allotments at Toongabbie, including a holding for Beckett - referred to by Doris A Sargeant in ‘The Toongabble Story’. The delay in the re-grant was possibly because becket had taken possession of it against government policy.

there was an advertisement on 16 November 1806 in Sydney Gazette listing a lot of people who had not collected their land grant documents, and that if they hadn’t been”taken up” by the next Saturday 22nd November they would be cancelled and the lad revert to the Crown. No doubt that got James Becket into the Secretary’s Office quick smart.  The land remained with him and his wife farmed it when widowed, (1814 Muster return) and her son and daughter-in-law farmed it after their1820 marriage.  it was only sold in 1843 when the other son, James and his wife Mary sold it.

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 wrote:

ENGLISH CRIME IN DETAIL

On 17 June 1788 James Becket was arrested and charged with the highway robbery of Joseph Tipton in the parish of Holy Cross and St Giles,  Shrewsbury. (this is in county of Shropshire, also called Salop).

The stolen items were:
a hempen bag,
a linsey waistcoat,
two handkerchiefs (one cotton, one silk)
nine shillings of money.

*At 26 July 1788 Salop Assizes (held in Shrewsbury) found guilty, sentenced to death.
*October 1788 - reprieved to life transportation.
*Remained over one year in Shrewsbury gaol
* early November 1789 sent to “Stanislaus” hulk on the Thames with three others. Age said to be 30
* 20 November embarked on “Surprize” transport ship.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 3rd June, 2015 made the following changes:

date of death: 1808 (prev. 0000), gender: m

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 61 (32) Derby Mercury - Thursday 31 July 1788 p 4 (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Numbe

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 61 (32) Sydney Gazette, 16 nov 1806 p 1 Derby Mercury - Thursday 31 July 1788 p 4 (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and

Robin Sharkey on 9th December, 2016 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1759 (prev. 1751)

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