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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 58 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.

Maureen Withey on 5th October, 2020 wrote:

1828 census Index..
John Gould, age 45, F.S., Fanny 1817, 7 years, Labourer, protestant, King Street, Sydney.
Frances, alias, Gutsil, Age 43, F.S. Northampton, 1816, 7 years, protestant,
Francis Jun. Age 12, born in Colony.
Charlotte, age 8, B.C.
Mary, age 6, B.C.

John Gould was a constable in Sydney in 1829.

The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848)  Fri 22 May 1829 Page 3
SUPREME COURT.—(Criminal side.)
John Early was indicted for burglariously entering the dwelling house of John Gould, a constable in the Sydney Police, residing in King-street, on the night of the 6th April last, and taking therefrom 23 yards cotton print, 3 shirts, 3 shifts, 1 waistcoat, 1 waistcoat piece, 1 pair trowsers, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 towel, and 1 yard of print. Frances, prosecutor’s wife, deposed that about twelve o’clock on the night of the 6th April last, her husband went out on duty, while she remained sitting up with her three children, who were very ill, and between three and four o’clock laid down to sleep, and awaking between five and six, she opened the shutters, and discovered somebody had been in the room, as the articles already enumerated had departed from it. Gould coming home about seven, ascertaining the disaster, and obtaining information which led him to suspect the prisoner, who had lived at the back of Goold’s dwelling, hastened away Goold with his wife, and a constable named Mullins, to the prisoner’s apartment, where he was in bed asleep, and the stolen articles concealed in a bundle under his head, upon which the lad was secured. Prisoner had been in the habit of practising as a grasscutter, and has two sons, but no wife, and, generally speaking, bore a fair character.  The case for the prosecution here closed, and prisoner being called for his defence denied all knowledge of the things, intimating it was all a conspiracy. He was an old man, and put some shrewd questions to the witnesses at various times. He appeared to be considerably agitated during the whole trial — he trembled throughout, and cried a good deal at the conclusion. The Learned Judge directed the Jury at all events to clear the prisoner of the capital charge “burglary,” but if they considered from the property being found with him that he was the thief, they would then find him guilty of the minor offence of larceny. The Jury retired, and shortly afterwards returned their Verdict—Guilty of Larceny.
He was to be transported for 7 years.

Maureen Withey on 5th October, 2020 wrote:

Frances Gutsell died on 11 April 1853 at the home that she shared with her husband in (Old) South Head Road, Sydney. John Gutsell died just less than 6 months later in September 1853. Many years before this he had left his convict past far behind, and had ceased using the alias of Gould.
John Gutsell died on 20 September 1853 at his daughter’s home in (Old) South Head Road, Sydney. His death was recorded under the name of “James” and the age shown was 68 years. Reports in the newspaper of his death recorded his age as 69 years, and in the November 1828 census of New South Wales his age is recorded by the census taker as 45 years. The estimate of his year of birth is about 1784. This agrees with the baptism at Frant, Sussex for the son of Richard Gutsell & Elizabeth Gould.

Sydney Morning Herald of Wednesday 28th September 1853
The friends of the late Mr. JOHN GUTSELL are respectfully invited to attend his funeral. The procession will move from his late residence, South Head Road, Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, at 9 o’clock.

John Gutsell died as the result of a road-accident between the gig upon which he was sitting, and a horse and dray. An inquest was held into his death, with reports in the newspapers.

Empire Thursday 29th September 1853 (with details added from Sydney Morning Herald of same date):
An inquest was held on the same day (yesterday) (before the Coroner), at the “Diggers’ Arms”, South Head Road, on view of the body of John Gutsell. The Rev. W(illiam) Schofield deposed that deceased, who was partially (employed) in his service, accompanied him in a gig to the shop of W. Aland, boot and shoe maker, Market-street, on Tuesday week (20th September) (leaving deceased in the gig); witness (Rev. W. Schofield) went into the shop, and shortly after, (hearing an outcry,) on looking out, saw the gig upset, and deceased on the ground (lying under it) a short distance off; on asking deceased if he were injured, he complained of a pain in his chest; witness (Rev. W. Schofield) observed a horse in a truck (dray) some distance off (at the corner of the street), and understood that the horse was being tried; saw Mr. Martyn, of Pitt-street, who said (told him) that he had had the horse for sale, and that the owner said he (the horse) had been broken into harness. Deceased, who was 69 years of age, was immediately (removed to the Infirmary, and thence) removed to his daughter’s residence, on the South Head Road, where he expired. (Jacob Leader stated that he saw the accident which caused the death of deceased. A horse was running away with a dray, and the gig in which the deceased was sitting was upset by the concussion.) The inquest was adjourned (by the Coroner) till Friday (next, to-morrow).

Empire and Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 1st October 1853:
Yesterday, the inquest on the body of John Gutsell, adjourned from Wednesday, was brought to a conclusion at the “Diggers’ Arms”, South Head Road. The deceased came to his death by the upsetting of a gig, in which he was sitting in Market-street, caused by a collision with a horse and dray. The witnesses examined yesterday were Mr. Martyn, of Pitt-street, and a man in his employ, who was leading the horse, at the time of the occurrence. It appeared that the horse in the dray had been left with Mr. Martyn for sale, the owner telling that gentleman that the animal was broken to harness. The horse was being tried at the time of the accident, and had become unmanageable, although he did not run away, bringing the dray into contact with the gig, and injuring the man who was leading as well as the deceased. Verdict - died from injuries accidentally received. The jury appended a rider to their verdict, requesting the coroner to apply at the proper quarter for the enactment of a law against breaking or trying horses on the public streets.

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