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Thomas Birchenough, one of 280 convicts transported on the Asia, 20 July 1837
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 61 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to Life
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 90, Class and Piece Number HO11/11, Page Number 104
||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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Rob Keep on 19th March, 2019 wrote:
Prisoner name: Thomas Birchenough.
Prisoner age: 22.
Prisoner occupation: Coal delivery man.
Court and date of trial: Chester Summer Assizes August 1836.
Crime: Accessory to murder of infant, Edward Plant, administered poison, purchased from shop of Isaac Harrop, druggist, Macclesfield [Cheshire], by his mother, Louisa Plant.
Initial sentence: Death, commuted to transportation for life.
Gaoler’s report: Character bad.
Annotated (Outcome): Nil.
Petitioner(s): William, James and George Birchenough, the prisoner’s brothers, undersigned by 15 people. 107 inhabitants of Macclesfield.
Grounds for clemency (Petition Details): The evidence was perjured; the prisoner had an alibi; he contributed to upkeep of child; parents dependent on his wages.
Other papers: Copies of 24 affidavits from witnesses testifying to relationship between prisoner and Louisa Plant, his alibi and perjured evidence. Certificate from Samuel Thorp, mayor of Macclesfield, relating to swearing of affidavits. Letter from William Birchenough, Bank Top, Macclesfield, requesting authorisation for swearing of affidavits, with covering note. Two letters from John Brocklehurst junior, and J Ryle, Macclesfield, recommending mercy. Covering letter for petitions from John Prout and James Birchenough. Three letters from John Prout, Macclesfield, enquiring into progress of petition. Letter from George Blackshaw, Chester, reporting order of removal of prisoner expected soon. Report of Lord Denman, trial judge, upholding sentence.
Additional Information: Prisoner held in Chester Castle; ordered to Fortitudehulk.
Source - National Archives
D Wong on 15th June, 2019 wrote:
Western Times Devon, England
3 Sep 1836:
At the Chester Assizes, Louisa Plant, aged seventeen, and Thomas Birchenough aged twenty-two years, were tried on the charge of murdering Edward Plant, the infant child of Louisa Plant by the male prisoner. It was proved that the woman suffered great distress in consequence of the man refusing to give her anything for the support of the child. Several witnesses stated, that when the female prisoner asked the man for money, he beat her, and treated her in a cruel manner. On some of those occasions after Birchenough had left the house, the female prisoner had been observed to take up the child and sitting with it on her knee, exclaim__"I have nothing but trouble of mind ; if the Lord would take my baby, never, never, would I go in that man’s company any more. If it had only a pennyworth of arsenic it would be gone.”
After that, the witnesses said she went to bed, lamenting very much. At another time she said to Mrs. Burrowes the person with whom she lodges, that she had seen a girl who had a child which was very poorly, and who told her that if she would give her child what the girl and given to her’s she would soon get shut of it. It appeared that she gave arsenic to her baby, being herself almost distracted, and caused its death.
It was proved that Birchenough was an accessory to the murder, but not a principal ; and he was acquitted. After Louisa Plant had been found guilty, he was tried and convicted of being an accessory. The woman was most strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury, in consideration of her youth and the influence under which she acted ; and Lord Denman only directed sentence of death to be recorded against her, intimating that it would be commuted.
Birchenough was sentenced to be hanged.
No ship found for Louisa Plant.
Ancestry Convict Records state his crime as ‘Kidnapping’.
Thomas Birchenough was 23 years old on arrival.
Native Place: Cheshire.
(Possible brother, George, arrived VDL per ‘Duncan’ 1841).
Thomas could read, was protest, single, 5’2¼” tall, ruddy complexion, brown hair and eyes, small scar over left eyebrow, scar under left eye, scar back of left thumb, TB on upper right arm.
1845: TOL, Goulburn.
Convict Changes History
Rob Keep on 19th March, 2019 made the following changes:
gender: m, occupation, crime
Iris Dunne on 19th March, 2019 made the following changes:
date of birth: 1815 (prev. 0000)