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Sarah Broadfield

Sarah Broadfield, one of 110 convicts transported on the Northampton, December 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Broadfield
Aliases: Gillingham (alias), Joyce
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1777
Occupation: Dealer
Date of Death: 1850
Age: 73 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 58 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Receiving
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. Old Bailey records 14/9/1814, NSW SR - Musters f convicts, 1822; 1828 NSW Census, Various Sydney Gazettes: 6/1/1838, 'The Colonist' 5/12/1840 and 11/4/1840. NSWBDM 1850
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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Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 wrote:

Sarah Gillingham arrived as “Sarah Broadfield, ALIAS Gillingham”.  She arrived on the Provident transport ship from London in 1815.  She was English, said to be aged 38.  In NSW She was known as “Gillingham”.  The name Sarah Broadfield, was not used in NSW.

AGE -  She was said to be aged 38 but the Old Bailey proceedings [incorrectly] had recorded “48”.  This is consistent with her year of birth 1777 given in her Sept 1828 Cert of Freedom indicating also indicating she was 38 in 1815, and aged 51 in 1828.  In the 1828 Census she vainly said she was 49.  She died in 1850 said to be aged 70, she’s have been 72 or 73 based on the above.

DESCRIPTION: 4ft 10inches tall, grey eyes & dark brown hair, skin fair and a little pockpitted, and a hairy mole on her upper lip (From 1828 Certificate of Freedom)

She was tried at the Old Bailey on 14 Sept 1814 for receiving stolen goods. This was a ham she received in her shop near Holborn, London, from two young boys aged 9 and 11, who were tried for the theft. From the evidence, she had clearly put them up to stealing the ham, aiming to re-sell it in her shop.  Also, it was clear she had used these little boys for the same theft & receiving purpose in the past.  This time the whole transaction had been observed by a constable in the shop opposite. She tried to bribe him not to charge her but the constable wouldn’t be in it.

She got 14 years’ transportation. The two young boys had their judgement respited given their extreme youth.

In her criminal trial at the Old Bailey she was referred to by the young boy witnesses as “Mrs Gillingham”, but also as “Mrs Broadbent”

In NSW she set up house with Michael Joyce, an Irishman who’d arrived four years before her transported on the “Providence” for Life.  HE got a Conditional Pardon in 1818. At first he ran a bakery during the 1820’s from George Street, near Brickfield Hill where she was described in the 1822 Muster as his housekeeper, then about 1824 they moved to Castlereagh St.  Sarah Gillingham ran a small “dealing” business, buying and selling, out of the same premises, but this was probably a pawnshop even at that early stage of her business in NSW.

818. JAMES TUCKER and ANDREW WARD were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 11th of August , four pounds weight of bacon, value 4 s. the property of Robert Griffiths . And SARAH BROADFIELD , alias GILLINGHAM , for feloniously receiving, on the same day, she well knowing it to be stolen .

ROBERT GRIFFITHS . I am a chandler ; I live at the corner of Great Saffron-hill.
Q. On Friday evening, the 12th of August, do you remember some boys coming to your shop - A. It was the night before the boys came.

Q. How many in number came - A. I think as many as seven or eight came; it was just after dark; they asked for a halfpenny worth of small beer; the girl drawed it; they drank it; they handed it from one to another. I did not notice the boys going away. I can only identify them from seeing them in the watchhouse; two of the boys are here were in my shop; and Dearns. My wife missed a piece of bacon the next morning, it was laying in the shop under two sugar bags. The next morning Barnley brought the bacon to me.

JOHN DEARNS Q . Do you know these two boys, Tucker and Ward - A. Yes.
Q. Do you remember being taken up by Barnley - A. Yes.
Q. The night before you were taken up by Barnley, had you been to Mr. Griffiths’s shop - A. Yes
Q. Were these two boys Tucker, and Ward, with you - A. There were six boys altogether.
Q. For what purpose did you go there - A. To endeavour to take this piece of bacon. When I went into the shop, I asked for a halfpennyworth of small beer; the beer was given us, and while it was handed about, Tucker took this piece of bacon.
Q. Did you see him take it - A. No. I knew what he was going to do; we all knew it.
Q. After he had got the bacon, and you all had the beer, what did you do - A. We bursted out a laughing, and went out of the shop; we ran up Saffron-hill; towards Holborn; that took us towards Mrs. Gillingham’s.
Q. Had you known Mrs. Gillingham’s before - A. No; only what the boys told me. I knew they were going to Mrs. Gillingham’s.
Q. What became of the bacon - A. We sold it to her; Ward and Tucker took it to her; we waited at a place while they went in; Ward and Tucker went to her shop. When they came out they brought a shilling; we spent the shilling, some bought fruit and others bought bread with it; we divided it; we all had two-pence a piece. About four o’clock the next afternoon, we were all taken up.

JOHN BARNLEY. I am an officer. On the evening of Friday, the 12th of August, I was in a shop directly opposite Mrs. Broadfield’s; I was in Mrs. Cook’s shop. While I was there, I observed the boy, Tucker, go in with something under his jacket, and hand it over the counter; I then saw Mrs. Broadfield take it into the back room.
Q. What was it - A. I could not exactly see what it was then; she took it into the back room; she either put it on a shelf or hung it to the ceiling; she reached up high with it; she then came back into the shop, opened the drawer, took out some money, and gave it to the boy Tucker; Ward was with him.
Q. Did Ward go in with him - A. I think he did; if he did not, he went to the door with him. I got a search warrant, and searched Mrs. Broadfield’s house the next day; I searched that place where I saw her reach her hand up; my brother officer would search the place and found that piece of bacon; it was hung up to the ceiling, just at the place where I had seen her reach her hand up. I had learned of the boys where they had taken it from. I sent for Mr. Griffiths; he claimed it. This is the piece of bacon. Mrs. Broadfield told me if I could get the bill thrown out, she would give me forty pounds; I told her it must go on in its regular course.

Mr. Griffiths. This is my piece of bacon; I cut it myself. The moment I saw it, I knew it.

Tucker’s Defence. She told me to get more bacon, she would give me more money for it, and Mrs. Broadfield told me to cut gentlemen’s seals off, and afterwards Mrs. Gillingham said, not to bring bacon, to bring better things.

Ward’s Defence. She told me not to bring bacon, but to bring better things.

Broadfield said nothing in her defence.

TUCKER, GUILTY, aged 11 }  Judgment
WARD, GUILTY, aged 9 }  respited

Transported for Fourteen Years .


- Ticket of Leave No 1133 [unknown date]
- Certificate of Freedom was no 28/0826 dated 22 September 1828,  SRNSW 4/4294; Reel 983

30 May 1828 - the Australian
Michael Joyce and Sarah Gillman [sic] were indicted for being knowingly the receivers of certain articles of property stolen some months ago out of the dwelling house of Mrs. Mary Reynolds.  From what evidence was adduced, the following may be concluded as the most striking features of this case :         
After the foul murder of Mr. Henry Marr’s old servant, Davis, in the early part of the past month, and the partial plunder of his house which succeeded it, many suspicious houses in the neighbourhood, it may he recollected, underwent a strict search in order, if possibles to gain some clue to the murderer, as well as to the stolen goods. Among others, the house in Castlereagh-street, occupied by the prisoner Joyce and the woman Gillman, who went under the character of his housekeeper, was entered and searched by the constabulary. Some articles of jewellery, and several boxes containing wearing apparel and other matters, to certain portions of which the male prisoner laid claim, and to others the female prisoner, were opened, and the contents examined. Mr Marr was unable to swear positively as to any of the articles having been stolen from his possession, but as
suspicions against the prisoners were not by this means any way lightened, the constables took possession of such matters as might happen to be deemed of any value, which were transported forthwith to the Police Office, where a list of the articles was made up, and
rendered public, in order that all persons having a fair claim to any of the articles, might have an opportunity of identifying them, and of substantiating such claim. The prosecutrix had had some jewellery stolen from her possession a short time before, and hearing of jewellery laying at the Police Office for claimants, the prosecutrix went to the Police Office
to discover if any of the jewellery bore a resemblance to that she had lost, but on taking a full view of what lay there, the prosecutrix could discover nothing to which she could claim, excepting a few towels and a pocket handkerchief, bearing her initials which she could distinctly swear to have been, and of right to be hers. The female, Gillman, pleaded that she was in the habit of selling goods for other articles, which she retained, if necessary, until redeemed, and that this trade was carried on quite apart from Joyce’s business as baker. Witness, on behalf of the prisoners, were called, who spoke very favourably as to
their character. This had a due influence upon the Jury, which acquitted both prisoners -and they were with, the consent of the Attorney General, who desired to forego any further proceeding in their case, discharged by proclamation. 

Late 1820’s and early 1930’s - Michael Joyce had financial difficlties, a property sold by eth Sgeriff and they no logger lvdd in Castlereagh St bakery premises.

Sydney Monitor, 26 March 1831 - Sarah Gillingham petitioned as creditor against Michael Joyce for insolvency. Presumably this went nowhere …

Sydney Gazette 5 June 1832
Mary Ryan brought charge against Michael Joyce and Sarah Gillman for “assaulting her window shutter” but the case was dismissed - it appearing that no assault had been committed on Mary Ryan herself.

In 1834 they lied at 54 Clarence Street, which was Referred to as Sarah Gillingham’s house and Joyce lived there, implying it was in her name, not his.

Sydney Gazette, 21 November 1835:
Sarah Gillingham -I live at No. 54, Clarence-street ; two men came to my house on a Saturday night with some shoes they wanted to sell ; I think Scott and Smith are the men, but I cannot be certain; to the best of my opinion they are the men ; they offered me a pair of shoes, and I said, ” They are not your own ;” 1 said so because they were a fine pair of gentlemen’s shoes, and the men appeared poor men ; ono of tho men said, ” You need not be afraid for he has been a gentleman’s servant, and having left his place he wants to get a thick pair of shoes lo go up the country with, and will come again and repurchase the thin ones;” I gave them a pair of shoes in exchange for them, and 1 saw those shoes afterwards at the Police Office.
Cross-examined by Scott-To the best of my knowledge you are the man who put the shoes on ; you were in the house, standing at the counter.
Cross-examined By Smith   You know I keep a shop; you know, very well, that I sell things.

SARAH GILLINGHAM was not highly regarded. Her low moral approach to life was described variously in the newspapers:

Sydney Gazette 6 January 1838
Sarah Gillingham prosecutrix against John Griffin who she accused of stealing what out of her shop. Newspaper referred to the shameful prevarication of all the witnesses; the chairman told the jury that little reliance could be placed upon the testimony of the witnesses and he was acquitted without leaving the box.
21/11/1835, 5/6/1832, “The Colonist’5

* keeping “a a low pawnbroking establishment, in Clarence Street” (16/1/1838, The Australian)

*  “a regular pest to society and ready to receive any thing which may be carried to her by assigned servants, who can at any time ” raise the wind” by applying to her.” (16/1/1838 Syd Gazette)

* a “well-known pawnbroker”  (22/2/1839 Syd Gazette)

* Mrs Joyce alias Sarah Gillingham a “notorious pawnbroker”; (Syd Monitor, 6/4/1840)

* that in giving evidence to court “ there cannot be the slightest doubt that this old wretch swore most falsely,” (the Colonist, 11/4/1840)

The Colonist 11 April 1840
PREVARICATION. - In our last we noticed the examination at the Police Office of the old woman Gillingham, alias Joyce, on a charge of perjury. On being brought up to the Quarter Sessions, to which she was remanded to be dealt with, she   was ordered to be imprisoned for three calendar months. Now there cannot be the slightest doubt that this old wretch swore most falsely, and that wilfully, we cannot, therefore, make the distinction which Captain Innes did, but, on the other hand, we think it is very probable that had she been committed to take her trial for perjury, she would not have been convicted by a Jury, and would therefore have escaped punishment altogether. Perjury and rape appear to be considered of little consequence in the low class of people of this colony. As for perjury, any one may hear the grossest falsehoods most solemnly attested in the streets every day, and these people care nothing about a book, of the contents of which they are totally ignorant, or wilfully careless. We do not think any punishment too severe for perjury, and could almost wish the statutes of old were in force with regard to this offence.  We rarely ever, see, or hear, the oath properly administered. This is another great fault. If the swearer were impressed so far as he was capable of being so, with the solemnity of the obligation he was about to impose upon himself, he would have more dread of violating truth, whether he actually cared for the Gospel or not.

The Colonist 5 December 1840
A confederate of the notorious woman Gillingham alias Joyce was yesterday fined 10s for purchasing a pair of shoes from a man belonging to one of the government gangs.  It may be well for these people and their like to know, that under the same clause, under which Joyce was fined, they may on a second conviction, be publicly whipped, once or more, at the discretion of the convicting magistrate.

30 May 1845 - Gillingham or Joyce were called on in a notice to redeem a watch they’d left with W Beazley in Clarence Street more than twelve months before - i.e. they’d pawned it themselves (SMH 30/5/1845)

2 May 1846
Mary Nowlan stole two pairs of trousers from Michael Joyce’s shop, dealer of Clarence Street and Sarah “Mrs Joyce” missed them immediately. Michael went chasing, even in his old age,  All the accused would say to the court was that Michael Joyce was “a horrid old rogue”

Sarah Gillingham died in 1850 “age 70” as Sarah Joyce (NSW BDM)
Michael Joyce had pre-deceased her, in 1847.

Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 wrote:

Correction: Arrived on “NORTHUMBERLAND” transport ship, 1815.  Her common law husband in NSW, Michael Joyce, Arrived on the “Providence”, 1811.

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 192. Old Bailey records 14/9/1814, NSW SR - Musters f convicts, 1822; 1828 NSW Census, Various Sydney Gazettes: 6/1/1838, 'The Colonist' 5/12/1840 and

Robin Sharkey on 31st January, 2015 made the following changes:

date of death: 1850 (prev. 1750)

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