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Thomas Filer, one of 152 convicts transported on the Marquess of Hastings, 19 August 1825
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 60 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 14 years
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 302
||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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Maureen Withey on 20th December, 2019 wrote:
Suffolk Lent Assizes.
John Battley, Thos. Battley, Thos. Filer, James Butcher, and Wm. Hogg, stood indicted for burglariously entering the dwelling-house of Mr. Robt. Buck of Nowton, in the night of the 25th March, and stealing therefrom divers articles of bread meat, and wine.- Mr. Robinson stated that the prosecutor was a gentleman known to many present, occupying Nowton Hall, near Bury. The five prisoners were indicted for an offence so recently committed as to be since the arrival of his Lordship: he had therefore found it necessary to detain the Grand Jury, in order that that prompt justice should be dispensed, which was so efficacious to the administration of the law. The Learned Gentleman found it necessary to state the evidence most minutely because it was circumstantial. He had also to allow witness, who, though not an accomplice, was not altogether blameless inasmuch as she was privy to the robbery. The evidence of such a per son, where confirmed, was essentially necessary to promote the ends of justice, and were it excluded, Society would be in a bad state. The following witnesses were then called:
- Mr. Robert Buck: I reside at Nowton Hall; I was at home on the night of the twenty-fifth. I hear’d a noise in the parlour below where I sleep. I got up and rang the bell. I went to the window, and heard men running away from the house in the direction of the orchard. I went down stairs and found the door open. I found a pane of glass had been taken out and the window opened. I found a pair of shoes under the window. There is a gravel pit about 2 miles from my house. I went there between 7 and 8. I found the 5 prisoners there -four were known to me. Filer had been working for me; he was employed with other carpenters about my house. I knew the two Battleys and Butcher- they had been working near my house within a mouth. I found some bread at the house of a person named Deborah Pearsons: it was a hoar frost on the morning of the 26th, and I found the trace of a foot without a shoe-it was only a stocking. I fired off a gun about an hour after the men left.
Ann Thomas.-I am housekeeper to Mr. Buck. I recollect the night of the 25th March. I make Mr Buck’s bread. Same beef was shewn to me; it was from Mr Buck’s beef; I had it under my care. Mr Buck had wine in in his pantry - gooseberry, raisin, and some mixed.
John Fent. - I keep the Rushbrook Arms, at Sicklesmere about a mile from Nowton Hall. On Friday, the 25th, the 5 prisoners were at my house; they left five minutes after ten; they had been there between twelve and one.
Thomas Lark.-I was at Hawstead on Friday the 25th. About it mile and a half from Mr. Buck’s, as I was coming towards Siklesmere, I met five men at a quarter before 12, between Nowton and Sicklesmere; they were walking towards Hawstead.
Deboras Pearson -I live at Sicklesmere. I was at home on Friday last. About 10 minutes after 10 the 5 prisoners came to my house; they brought beer; they stayed till 11 o’clock. Butcher borrowed a sack; he said he knew of a few potatoes, and he would go and get them. Filer attempted to take a flint and steel out of my tinder-box. I objected to it and took it from him. The men were not perfectly sober; they left a child behind sleeping with my two boys; at day-break they returned Butcher came in first; John Battley followed; my sack was brought later; some one took some bread out of it; there was also a piece of meat; I took it up stairs; one of the prisoners took some bottles; they had sweet wine in them. John Battley came in without shoes. I said, D-n you, you have lost my shoes. After that they all came in, Hogg and Filer went back after the shoes - they were gone 3 quarters of an hour. When they returned, they did not bring the shoes. They said, they heard the report of a gun, and thought it was Mr. Buck.- They hid themselves in a ditch, and they got away as quick as as they could. While Filer and Hogg were gone, I asked Butcher in the Battley’s presence where they had been. He said first of all they went to Miss Metcalf’s; there they found nothing either to eat or drink. From thence they went to Nowton Hall- they heard Mr. Buck ring the bell- Butcher left me part of a loaf of bread - I gave it to Mr. Davers or Mr. Buck.- (Bread produced and Mr. Buck being recalled, said he gave it to Dan. Garwood.) -It was between 4 and 5 o’clock when they left my house-I gave the meat to Mary Lofts, and also a bottle which was left behind. Bv the Judge-Why did you lend Butcherthe sack ?-I did not positively know he meant to steal the potatoes. By prisoner Butcher.- Did I know the sack ? You did - so help me God.
Mary Lofts.—I know Deborah Pearsons; she gave me a piece of beef. I carried it into Mr Wood’s field and threw it into a privy.
JamesT’hrower.- I took a piece of beef out of Mr. Wood’s privy, and showed it to Mr. Buck’s housekeeper.
Daniel Garwood.-Mr. Buck gave me this bread to take care of- (bread produced and identified .) Ann Thomas being recalled said, I know the bread by the quality and the mark, and I am quite sure It was made by me.
Sarah Knock.-I knew the 5 prisoners; I saw Hogg, Filer and Thomas Battley about 6 o’clock on Saturday morning at Little Whelnetham; Battley had a glass bottle in his hand ; he said it was not beer, but something very good.
Charles Driver-I saw Filer, Higg, and Thomas Battley on Saturday drew a bottle from his pocket, and gave me something to drink- it was something particularly sweet.
Wiliam Cawston - I know a gravel-pit in Mr. Salepe’s field at Great Whelnetham-I saw the 5 prisoners there about 8 o’clock on Saturday morning. J. Battley asked me to drink -it was wine; after they had emptied it, they gave me the bottle-it is since broken.
Reuben Warren- I was at the gravel-pit about 9 o o’clock Prisoners were there- I found a piece of a bottle near there on Sunday.
The constable produced Filer’s confession, made without promise or threat, acknowledging the fact. The Learned Judge, in summing up to the Jury, described the offence of burglary, and said there was no question here to that Point, it was clearly in the night. The only question was, are the prisoners or any of them guilty. Much depends upon the evidence of Deborah Pearsons, who, though not actually an accomplice, was of very bad character- therefore they were to see whether there was such a confirmation of her testimony, as to make it worthy of belief. Mr. Buck had confirmed her tale by telling you, that he did call the servant- that he did ring the bell-that he did find the shoes-and that he traced footsteps of stockings- and, also, that he did fire off a gun an hour after the robbery. Hie also pointed out the other parts of confirmatory evidence. The Jury found all the prisoners Guilty and the Judge ordered sentence of Death to be recorded.
Ipswich Journal, 2 Apr 1825
The following prisoners were removed from our Gaol to the Leviathan hulk at Ports mouth, in order to be transported for 14 years: — John Batley, Thomas Batley, James Butcher, Thomas Filer, and Wm. Hogger, convicted of burglary at the last Assizes, at Mr. Buck’s, of Nowton .
4 May 1825, Bury Post.
Convict Changes History
Maureen Withey on 20th December, 2019 made the following changes: