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John Close

John Close, one of 170 convicts transported on the Malabar, 14 June 1819

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Close
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1802
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Theft
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Malabar
Departure date: 14th June, 1819
Arrival date: 30th October, 1819
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 171 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 182
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

Penny-Lyn Beale on 25th August, 2020 wrote:

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0,

trial of JOHN CLOSE ROBERT HINES (t18190217-14).
JOHN CLOSE, ROBERT HINES, Theft > theft from a specified place, 17th February 1819.
328. JOHN CLOSE and ROBERT HINES was indicted for stealing, on the 5th of February , at St. Luke, Chelsea , one silver mustard-pot, value 2 l.; twelve silver spoons, value 3 l.; one pair of sugar-tongs, value 10 s; one silver cream-jug, value 5 l., and one silver sugar-dish, value 2 l. 10 s., the goods of Charles Poulet Rushworth , in his dwelling-house .

MARGARET AXSON . I was servant to Mr. Charles Poulet Rushworth , who lives in Lower Cadogan-place, Chelsea . On the 4th of February I went out to get a chimney-sweeper - I was going to Mr. Morris - I met the two prisoners in the street, and asked who they swept for? they said, for Mr. Morris. I asked again, and they said for Matthew Morris . I then desired them to tell Morris to send two men next morning to sweep our chimnies, and told them to come at six o’clock - they came at six o’clock, and the footman, John Field , let them in. I heard them come. I met Field on the stairs, and he said he had let them in. I went down, and met Hines standing in the passage, I asked him if he was the only one - he said the other was down stairs. I went down, found Close there, and they both went into the kitchen with me. I stood there while they swept the kitchen chimney, and observed that their cloth was very bad, and would not do for the drawing-room chimney; they said they would fetch another before they swept that, but their master was very busy when they came out, and the cloths were in use. Close came down the chimney - I found afterwards that he could not have been up, as they never took off the fan of the jack, and he could not go up without taking it off. He came down much sooner than I expected, and I told him he had not been to the top - he said he had; Hines also said Close had been to the top. I took them into the butler’s pantry to sweep it, it has a cupboard in it where the plate is kept. I stood there while they swept that chimney also. I went out with the housemaid to shake a green cloth, and left them in the pantry. I was not absent three minutes. I returned into the pantry, and met Hines coming out; he said he was going for a better cloth. I told him to make haste. He said he would return in five minutes. He went out, left Close there, and never returned. I sent Close after him in about five minutes - he seemed anxious to go to fetch him; he proposed going himself before I proposed sending him. They never returned. The plate that was lost weighed above 1 lb., and was worth more than 5 l.

Q. When you went to shake the cloth, where was Close - A. In the chimney. When I came back he was come down, and in the pantry - they had gathered up the soot and ashes while I was away. I am certain I was not absent above three minutes. The footman came down a very few minutes after they were gone.

JOHN FIELD . I was footman to Mr. Rushworth. On the 5th of February I had the care of the plate, and kept it in a cupboard in the pantry. I let the two boys into the house on the morning of the robbery - I do not know that they were the prisoners, they were about the size of the prisoners. I went up stairs, and did not return till after they left. I went into the pantry soon after, opened the cupboard door, and immediately missed the plate - I had left the key in the door the night before; I found it in the door, and the lock was locked. I missed the articles stated in the indictment - I dare say they weighed a pound together. I observed black finger-marks inside the cupboard-door, they appeared sooty. I had seen the plate safe, and counted it the night before. I went to Morris’s to look after the boys.

MARGARET AXSON re-examined. I went into the pantry when the plate was missed, and observed the prints of black feet round the cupboard. The floor of the pantry was whitened with pipe-clay. I opened the cupboard-door, and saw the prints of two black fingers inside the door, which is painted white. The plate was taken off the shelf. I could see the footmarks were of a person with his face towards the door - the toe was towards the cupboard - they appeared to be the marks of only one person.

MATTHEW MORRIS. I am a chimney-sweeper, and live at Chelsea. The prisoners are not in my employ, nor never were - I never knew them. The prosecutor’s house is in the parish of St. Luke, Chelsea - I live in the same parish.

RICHARD MAYBANK . I am a constable. I received information of the prisoners. I examined the prosecutor’s house about seven o’clock that morning, and saw the marks of feet going from the fire-place to the cupboard - the floor being white. The cook described the prisoners to me; I could not find them till last Saturday, when I found them in Cadogan-place, sweeping chimnies in another gentleman’s house. I apprehended them, and took them to Axson - she said they were the boys.

HINES’S Defence. I know nothing about it.

CLOSE - GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 17.

HINES - GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 19.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Richardson.

Convict Changes History

Penny-Lyn Beale on 25th August, 2020 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1802 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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