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Francis Blades

Francis Blades, one of 254 convicts transported on the Sarah, 29 November 1836

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Francis Blades
Aliases: none
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1816
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1892
Age: 76 years

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Poaching & violence
Convicted at: Northampton Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Sarah
Departure date: 29th November, 1836
Arrival date: 29th March, 1837
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 253 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 90, Class and Piece Number HO11/10, Page Number 409 (207)
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

Bill Middleton on 12th October, 2016 wrote:

Francis Blades 1816 - 1892
Brief history about Francis –Living in Stamford and having grown up to the age of 21, to a height of, 5ft 5 inches tall, freckle complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes, single and worked as a Labourer and with three prior convictions for poaching. He was given sentences of 3, 2 and 5 months in goal. Francis along with two brothers John and Abel were all caught Poaching, assault and wounding Lord Exeter’s Gamekeeper and resisting apprehension. They were sent for Trial at the Northampton Assizes on the 29 Feb 1836 they were originally sentenced to Death but it was commuted to Life and transportation. They were transported on the convict ship Sarah on the 22 Dec 1836. On arriving in Tasmania Francis was sent out to work on the land under the direction of a land owner. But Francis was in troubled with the authorities on many occasions, which saw him goaled and for further crimes sent to Port Arthur and chain gangs before obtaining his Ticket of leave in 1845. A Newspaper report on the 12th of Nov 1847 states he is recommended for a conditional pardon on the 3rd of Nov 1847. Received a conditional Feb 1849.He married a Sarah North in 1850.They had one child Mary Ann before moving to Victoria where they had three more children, Rebecca Blades and Thomas Blades both born in Warrnambool, Vic and Rebecca Christine Blades was born in Landsborough, Vic. The first Rebecca died at the age of 4yrs.
Sometime between 1862 and 1865 they moved to Great Western a small town north west of Ballarat. In 1865 they had another child Susan Sarah Blades born at Great Western. At this point in time Sarah the mother started using her father’s surname (Dunn) on all birth records. They had four more children, Frederick Albert Born 1866, Great Western (D 1868), George Born 1869, Pleasant Creek, William Born 1871, Great Western, and Henrietta Born 1877 Great Western.
Francis died on the 16th June 1892 at Staffordshire Reef, Vic, and was buried there on the 18th June 1892. The entry in the burial book was N0 114 and a Mr. J Willis paid 1 Pound for the plot.
On his Death certificate it states the following;  he was a Vigneron (grape grower); he died of a type of cancer; Fathers occupation; Police Constable, time in Victoria 50yrs; married in Launceston; wife Sarah Dunn; and the children;  Francis Dec, Thomas 34, Rebecca 30, Susan 25, Frederick Dec, George 23, William 20. No mention of Mary Ann, the 1st Rebecca or Henrietta.

Sometime after Francis died Sarah moved to Stawell Vic, this is where she died in 1905.

Subject* Francis Blades (597)
Father* Abel Lowe Blades (592) (b. 1787, d. 6 Jan 1872)
Mother* Christiana Sharp (593) (b. 1792, d. 20 May 1875)
Birth* __ ___ 1816
Criminal: circa __ ___ 1834 Prior convictions for poaching (3) 3 mths 2 mths and 5 mths,
Criminal* before __ ___ 1835 Newspaper reports tell of many incidents involving John, Able and Francis including a number of times for trespass, assault on a constable, and goaled for poaching,
Witness: circa __ ___ 1835 History; The Sun Public House. The low social status of the Stamford area encouraged a proliferation of pubs. In Church Street in the late eighteenth century stood the Cross Keys, and next door, on the corner of Wothorpe Road, the Sun ( opened c.1826) which was renamed the Sun and Railway after the Midland Peterborough to Syston line was opened. This pub formed the west end of a long row of small vernacular houses, probably of seventeenth century date. Most of this range was demolished in the late nineteenth century and replaced by stone terrace, but the pub survived until 1958 when it was pulled down to make way for an industrial unit, then the site became Coulson’s coal depot). Today there are three townhouses built on the site.
After a supper of beef steaks and a ale at the Sun Inn, the Blades brothers and their friends headed south along Wothorpe Road to the township of Easton on the Hill intending to shoot a pheasant or two for the dinner table at Easton Grove Pits ... an action that irreversibly change the destiny of John, Abel and Francis,
Criminal: __ ___ 1835 Francis, aged 19, was arrested along with his brothers John and Able for “wounding persons with intent to resist apprehension”. The persons were Lord Exeter’s gamekeepers and the Blades brothers, along with two friends, were caught in the act of poaching, attached the keepers and managed to escape. On arrest the following day, a copy of a petition to the King - signed by 140 persons for mitigation of sentence of himself and his brothers - was found in John’s possession,

Criminal: 29 Feb 1836 Francis and his brothers were tried at Northhampton Assizes (an adjoining county to Lincolnshire). Following an initial investigation held at THE GOERGE Inn and a further examination at the House of Correction in Oundle before being committed to trial. John, Abel and Francis were sentenced to ’ life and transportation’. The records show that the Francis and his brothers were incarcerated on the 15th of May 1836 aboard a hulk the Leviathan for ten months in England before being transported.
The 1836 Northhampton Mercury newspaper report gives a graphic account of the incident and trial which led to Francis and his brothers being transported. This is the only document sighted that records a Death penalty. The sentence was obviously later commuted to ‘life and transportation,’

Transportation* 22 Dec 1836 Francis and his brothers John and Able were transported aboard the convict ship Sarah which left the port at Spithead (near Portsmouth) for a 13,000 mile voyage over tempestuous and largely unchartered seas to Hobart.
Mutiny* after __ Jan 1837 Mutiny on board the Sarah, Francis only played a minor role in the Mutiny, they believed his older brothers pressured him into it.
John and Abel were among the ringleaders in the mutiny on board the Sarah when on the voyage out from England.
Employment* circa __ Mar 1837 On arrival Francis was sent to work on the land to a Mr. Sharland,
Criminal: 5 Aug 1837 Charged with disobedience of orders whilst working for Sharland.
Sentenced to - Admonished,
Criminal: 22 Nov 1838 Charged with being connected in the robbery at a Mr. Goring’s and being a suspicious character. Whilst still working for Sharland.
Sentenced - Return to Government and recommended that he be worked on probation, before he is again assigned and not return to this district.
Sandy Bay for 3 months on probation, then Penitentiary Hobart for assignment
Criminal: 20 Jun 1839 Stanley Tasmania - Charged with Felony
Sentenced - Fully committed for trial. Quarter Sessions 13 July 1839. Punishment - 3 years hard labour in chains. Port Arthur chain gang,
Criminal: 1 Nov 1841 Port Arthur - charged with Idleness.
Sentenced - 5 days solitary
Criminal: 25 Nov 1842 Charged with Rape at a Mrs. Clarke residence.
Sentenced - Discharged, by his own confession that he made an appointment with Jane Bennett for an improper purpose.
Recommendation - That he be sent to a road party on probation for 3 months.
Criminal: 26 Dec 1842 New Town Bay - Charged - Insubordination.
Sentenced - 12 months hard labour in chains. Sent to the Ross Bridge Chain Gang,
Criminal: 24 Oct 1843 Ross Bridge Chain Gang - Misconduct.
Sentenced - Reprimand,
Event-Misc* 9 Dec 1845 Granted Ticket of Leave,
Pardon                     3 Nov 1847   Recommended for Conditional Pardon
Pardon                       Feb 1849   Granted Conditional Pardon
Marriage* 30 Jan 1850 Sarah North (732) (b. 1830, d. 1905)
Daughter: circa __ Feb 1850 Mary Ann Blades (733); Only Childs birth recorded in Tasmania

Residence* circa __ Mar 1850 Moved to Victoria, Landed in Warrnambool,
Daughter: __ ___ 1854 Rebecca Blades (734); Warrnambool, Vic
Son: __ ___ 1856 Thomas Blades (735); Warrnambool, Vic
Daughter: __ ___ 1862 Rebecca Christine Blades (736); Landsborough, Vic

Misc* circa __ ___ 1865 Change of Surname; The Children born from 1865 onwards Sarah resorted to her Fathers surname (Dunn) on their records (Fed/Index Vic 1889-1901.)
Daughter: __ ___ 1865 Susan Blades (752); Great Western, Vic
Son: __ ___ 1866 Frederick Albert Blades (754); Great Western, Vic
Son: __ ___ 1869 George Blades (755); Pleasant Creek, Vic
Son: __ ___ 1871 William Blades (756); Great Western, Vic
Daughter: __ ___ 1877 Henrietta Blades (757); Great Western
Death* __ ___ 1892 Staffordshire Reef, Vic
Burial                       18 Jun 1892 Staffordshire Reef cemetery; entry N0 114, a Mr. Willis paid 1 Pound for the plot    

Convict Changes History

Bill Middleton on 12th October, 2016 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1816 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1892 (prev. 0000), crime

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