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Fanny Gutsell

Fanny Gutsell, one of 110 convicts transported on the Northampton, December 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Fanny Gutsell
Aliases: Nee Tomsett
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1785
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1853
Age: 68 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Theft
Convicted at: Sussex Assizes
Sentence term: 7 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 194
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

Phil Hands on 30th October, 2017 wrote:

At the age of about 16 years, Frances Tomsett married 18 year old John Gutsell on 20th November 1802 in Frant, Sussex. Marriages at such a young age were uncommon in England at the time, but not unknown. Parents’ permission was required for all those who had not yet attained the age of 21.
Frances & John Gutsell’s first 2 children were born at Frant and named after John’s parents, Richard Gutsell & Elizabeth Gould. There was Richard who was baptised on 19 Feb 1804 and Elizabeth who was baptised on 9 Mar 1806. Sometime before their daughter Sophia was born in 1811 they moved to the Brede/Westfield area where the rest of John’s family was living. Sophia was baptised at Westfield on 12 April 1811. It appears that little Richard, Elizabeth & Sophia did not survive.
Before 1814 John, and his wife Frances, had moved back to the area around Frant where they had married. In early 1814, when John was 29 years old and Francis was about 27, the couple were arrested. They were taken to Horsham and charged with breaking, entering & stealing, Frances (using her pet-name of Fanny) with 3 counts, and John with 2. The first offence for which they were both charged was that on 1 September 1813, in the parish of Mayfield (10 kilometres, 6 miles, from Frant), they had stolen goods valued at 12s 6d, the property of Samuel Saunders. The second offence for which they were both charged was that on 28 September 1813, in the same parish, they had stolen goods valued at 16s, the property of John Garner. The third and final offence, for which Frances alone was charged, was that on 1 October 1813, in the nearby parish of Rotherfield, she had stolen goods described as being a tea caddy and an ounce of tea, 3 penny weight of cheese and 1 penny weight of butter, to a total value of 9s 6d, the property of Robert Payne. John and Frances were detained in custody pending their trial, and their charges were to be held concurrently at Horsham, Sussex, on 21 March 1814. John, however, managed to escape from gaol, and Frances faced the Court alone. Frances was acquitted on the first charge, but found guilty of the other two robberies. She received a sentence of transportation for 7 years.

After Frances’ case on in Horsham, Sussex, on 21 March 1814, John Gutsell’s case was heard in his absence. A sentence of death by hanging was handed down. A warrant for his apprehension was issued to the Sherriff of Sussex. Written at the bottom of the warrant was the name Gould. This is the first documentary evidence of John Gutsell using his mother’s maiden surname as an alias.
The warrant for John Gutsell’s arrest had been issued in Sussex, but he had escaped into the next county of Kent where he was not known. While there he was arrested for a new offence. As an escaped felon he could not let it be known who he really was. Using the alias of his mother’s maiden surname, on 11 July 1814 he appeared before the Court at Canterbury, Kent, was convicted, and received a sentence of transportaion for 7 years. By assuming his mother’s maiden surname he had managed to escape the hangman’s noose. While John Gutsell sat in gaol in Kent awaiting his transportation, his wife Frances sat in gaol in Sussex awaiting hers. Frances’ ship, the ‘Northampton’, sailed from Portsmouth on 1st January 1815, while John’s ship did not depart until nearly 8 months later on 25th August 1815. The ship on which John sailed was, coincidentally, named the ‘Fanny’, the same as the pet-name for his wife.

After a 5½ month voyage the 29-year-old Frances, the convict Fanny Gutsell, arrived in Sydney on 18 June 1815 aboard the ‘Northampton’. When the ‘Northampton’ arrived in Sydney with Frances aboard, it carried a “cargo” of women convicts, 28 of whom were under the age of 21 (25% or 1 in 4) the age at which youth were legally regarded to be adults. The youngest convict, Mary Langridge, was only 12 years old. 110 convicts and their children had embarked, but there were 4 convict deaths at sea. 106 convict women, and their 21 children who “came free”, were landed at Port Jackson (Sydney). Frances had no children with her which suggests that any children she had in Sussex prior to the sailing of the ‘Northampton’ on 1st January 1815 had not survived.
Of the 110 convict women who had embarked on the Northampton, there was only Frances whose husband was to be transported at a later date. She had been convicted of the same crimes as her husband, but due to the unique circumstances of his escape from custudy & then sentencing for another offence whilst using an alias, he was not being sent to the Colony for the crimes that he had committed with his wife, but for another subsequent crime. Also on board the ‘Northampton’ were 6 convict women who already had convict husbands in the Colony, 5 of whom had been transported earlier in 1815, and 1 who had been transported in 1810. Of the 5 convict men transported in 1815 it is known that 3 were convicted in the same crime as their wives, and it is likely that the other 2 were also. The husbands were sent out as part of a male convict transport, while their wives were sent out on the ‘Northampton’, a female convict transport. One of these cases in particular is even more intersting in that convicted of the same crime were a family of farmers from Reading, Berkshire: a husband, his wife, their son, and 2 of their daughters. The wife who died at sea during the voyage, Sarah Sherwell/Shurwell/Sheerwell, about 50 years of age, and her 2 daughters were being transported on the ‘Northampton’. On the voyage with them as a passenger was another daughter who had not been involved in the crime, Mary, with her baby daughter, 11 months old in June 1815.

After Frances arrived in New South Wales she gave birth to 5 daughters: Frances on 11th January 1817, Jane in June 1818, Charlotte on 5 May 1819, Lucy in about 1820, and Mary on 17th March 1822. The reason that the exact date of birth is known for only 3 of these daughters is that birth records only exist for Frances, Charlotte & Mary. These birth records record that the girls are the daughters of John & Frances Gutsell. John Gutsell then has to have arrived in New South Wales at least 9 months before Frances was born in January 1817.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 30th October, 2017 made the following changes:

alias1: Nee Tomsett, date of birth: 1785 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1853 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

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