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Thomas Herbert

Thomas Herbert, one of 404 convicts transported on the Pitt, June 1791

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Herbert
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 8th January, 1770
Occupation: Postillion
Date of Death: 17th October, 1846
Age: 76 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Pitt
Departure date: June, 1791
Arrival date: 14th February, 1792
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 402 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 164
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

Pat maclaren-smith on 12th November, 2011 wrote:

Worked with horses (postillion) for the Duke of Chandos.

1806 was employed as resident overseer by John MacArthur at Camden.
1815 married Catharine Campbell at St Johns Church Parramatta by Rev.Samuel Marsden…two daughters were christened on the same day.
Thomas is buried in St.Johns Anglican Church at Camden,no headstone marks his grave but a note in the Burial register says..
Servant to Messrs.MacArthur for very many years.

Denis Pember on 7th December, 2015 wrote:

Thomas was a postilion and lived in the household of the Duke of Chandos in London until the duke’s death in 1789. At the Old Bailey (Transcript t17900112-30) in 1790 he was sentenced to death for stealing candlesticks valued at 12/6d from an ironmonger’s shop in Oxford Street. The sentence was commuted to transportation for life. He was transported aboard the ship Pitt arriving 14 Feb 1792 and became an overseer on the Macarthur estate at Camden.

Denis Pember on 7th December, 2015 wrote:

Catherine and Thomas had 7 children between 1809 and 1826.

1825 Muster of New South Wales:-
Herbert, Thomas, absolute pardon, Pitt, landholder, Liverpool.
Herbert, Mrs, free by servitude, Sidney Cove, wife of T. Herbert.
Herbert, Thomas, 13 born in the colony, child of above.
Herbert, Sarah 11 born in the colony, child of above.
Herbert, Elizabeth 6 born in the colony, child of above.
Herbert, Catherine 3 born in the colony, child of above.

Denis Pember on 7th December, 2015 wrote:

1828 Census of New South Wales:
[Ref H1515] Herbert, Thomas 57, absolute pardon, Wm Pitt, 1792 life, Protestant, overseer to John Macarthur, Camden.
And also…
[Ref H1505] Herbert, Catherine 37, free by servitude, Sydney Cove, 1807, 7 years. Protestant, landholder, Upper Minto, 100 acres, 60 acres cleared and cultivated, 1 horse, 13 horned cattle.
[Ref H1506] Herbert, Thomas 19 born in the colony.
[Ref H1507] Herbert, Sarah 17 born in the colony.
[Ref H1508] Herbert, Elizabeth 12 born in the colony.
[Ref H1509] Herbert, Catherine 9 born in the colony.
[Ref H1510] Herbert. Emaline, 11 born in the colony
[Ref H1511] Herbert, William 2 born in the colony.

Phil Hands on 21st April, 2018 wrote:

Thomas was a Postilion (rider of carriage horse) and lived in the household of the Duke of Chandos in London until the duke’s death in 1789.
On 12th January 1791 he was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey for breaking and entering a shop / dwelling-house in Oxford Street and stealing 6 candlesticks, he was sentenced to death, this was later commuted to transportation for life.
Left England on 17th July 1791.
Ship:- the ‘Pitt’ sailed with 352 male and 58 female convicts on board of which 20 males and 9 females died during the voyage, 5 males were also reported to have escaped.
Arrived on 14th February 1792.

From 1806 he worked for the Macarthur’s on their estate at Camden becomming the overseer there.
John Macarthur was absent from New South Wales from 1801 1805. Macarthur was always an argumentative character and had a disagreement with Colonel Paterson his commanding officer, fought a duel, and Paterson was wounded. Governor King had Macarthur arrested and sent for trial in England in 1801.
In John’s absence the family’s pastoral interests were managed by his wife, Elizabeth, from her home at Elizabeth Farm at Parramatta. She called Stock Farm her Seven Hills Farm and was ably assisted by her farm manager, or overseer, initially with Richard Fitzgerald, followed by William Joyce, John Hindle and Thomas Herbert, Thomas was valued so much that Elizabeth Macarthur successfully requested the Governor grant land to him in 1811.

Thomas married convict Catherine (Mary) Campbell (‘Sydney Cove’ 1807)  at Parramatta on 22nd May 1815 they had 7 children between 1809 and 1826.

Thomas died on 17th October 1846 at Narellan, Southern Tablelands, NSW age 74 and was buried in St.Johns Anglican Church at Camden.
Catherine died on 21st February 1871 at Upper Picton, Southern Tablelands, NSW age 86.

Phil Hands on 21st April, 2018 wrote:

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number t17910112-30

84. THOMAS HERBERT was indicted for feloniously and burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Macgauran and Dennis Doland , between the hours of twelve and two, at night, on the 17th of September , and feloniously stealing therein one brass candlestick, value 2 s. and five other candlesticks made of Prince’s-metal, value 10 s. their property.

I live in Oxford-street ; I am an ironmonger there; my partner’s name is John Macgauran ; we live in the same house: on the 18th of December, about one in the morning, I was disturbed out of my sleep by knocking and ringing; I saw a parcel of people in the street from the window, and understood my shop was broke open.
In what manner? - I found a pane of glass broke, one shutter down, two hanging, and five or six candlesticks gone off the window.
How was it broke, by wrenching the shutters down of the shop? - One quite down, two more hanging.
It must require a degree of force to do this? - It must be force.
Have you a locking-bar that goes across? - Yes, there is a bar that goes across, and these shutters had no bearing upon that bar, so they slipt it down, and broke the glass, and stripped the shelf as far on each side as they could reach.
Was there more than one pane broke? - No more than one.
What was taken out? - About seven pair of candlesticks; I cannot exactly say; there may be five or six pair of brass candlesticks, and a Prince’s-metal candlestick, which is brass and copper with the metal; I inquired if they had taken any body; they said Mr. Hill, the constable, had taken one.
Had you seen the shutters that night? - I did not go outside, but I had seen that it was safe.
Was a pane of glass broke? - No; the pane of glass was whole.
What hour was it you saw it last? - About ten o’clock.
The window was not broke at ten o’clock, and the shutters to all appearance were up clear and right? - Yes.
Then the shutters could not fall by accident? - They could not.
You did not observe whether there was any mark of a crow, or any thing that had wrenched it? - I did not observe.
Mr. Knowlys, Prisoner’s Counsel. I understand your partner’s name is Macgauran, hath no one got any share in the business besides? - None.
You live in the house? - There are two houses, one lease; the one I live in, and he lives in the other.
Are your houses so circumstanced, that only one house has an opening into the shop? - Both have it; there is a party-wall between both houses, but there is an entrance from each house into the shop.
Do you pay your rent separately? - No, we do not.
Where was Mr. Macgauran at that time? - He sometimes sleeps at a lodging he has in the country; he has not good health.
Who arranged the goods in the window that day? - I do not know that any were put in that day; but they are cleaned once a week, and when there is a pair sold, they are replaced.
Will you take upon yourself to say, that there were candlesticks in the reach of this pane of glass? - There certainly were.
Court. Mr. Macgauran’s servants sleep in that part of the house? - Yes, they do.
He sometimes sleeps in the country, and sometimes in town there? - Yes, he does.

I am porter to Messrs. Doland and Macgauran; I shut up the shutters, and left them all safe, about nine o’clock in the evening.
The windows were all safe, and the glass was not broke? - No, none.
How were they next day? - The shutters were all safe put up again when I came; I do not sleep in the house; my master put them up.

JOHN HILL sworn.
I live just by Mr. Doland, in the same street: as I was at the watch-house, and being fine, I walked down the street, a little below Mr. Doland’s house, to my own house, and came back again: when I walked down first, every thing was safe; I returned again in about a quarter of an hour; the first time I came out about half past twelve; in returning back, just before I came to Mr. Doland’s shop, I met a man; I had a suspicion of him, that he was a thief, and thought he had got something more than he should; I looked him hard in the face, and let him pass; when I came up to Mr. Doland’s house, there was a man stood at the shutters, facing the window; I saw one of the shutters taken out, and set on the ground; the bar goes about the bottom of the shutters, and by one shutter being taken out, two others were bent back; I was just going to say to myself, what was the matter, when I saw the man put his hand into the window, and pull out the candlestick; the man is the prisoner at the bar; as he pulled it out, I took hold of his collar, and he dropped the candlestick; and I took him into custody, and called the watch; when the watchman came, I picked up the candlestick, and knocked at the door.
Did you observe whether the shutters were forced by a crow or chissel? - I did not examine the shutters after I had got him.
Mr. Knowlys. Did you search this lad? - Yes, at the watch-house.
You found no crow, or any thing of that sort? - No.
You said you saw the shutter taken out, and put on the ground; you did not see this man do it? - I did not.
There was some person gone by that excited your suspicion? - There was.
You did not see the window broke? - I did not.
This man was taking the opportunity of that circumstance, of the window being down, and the glass being broke? - He was, certainly.
You did not find any instrument about him that would enable him to do this? - I did not.
(The candlestick produced, and deposed to.)
Court to Prosecutor. Was that candlestick in your shop the preceding day? - I cannot say that.
(The prisoner called William Parker , who lived in Brewer-street, Golden-square, with whom the prisoner and his father had lodged a year and a half, who gave both a very good character: the prisoner is a postillion, and lived with the Duke of Chandos till his death: he never knew him to be out a night in his life.)

I live in James-street, Grosvenor-square; I am a cordwainer; I have known the prisoner three or four years; he always bore a very good character for honesty; he got his living working among the horses.

I live in James-street, Grosvenor-square, No. 28; I have known the prisoner four years; he always bore a very good character; I never heard any fault since the time I knew him.

GUILTY , Death . (Aged 18.)
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. COMMON SERJEANT.

Convict Changes History

Pat maclaren-smith on 12th November, 2011 made the following changes:

date of birth 1770-00-00, gender m

Denis Pember on 7th December, 2015 made the following changes:

date of death: 17th October, 1846 (prev. 0000)

Phil Hands on 21st April, 2018 made the following changes:

convicted at, date of birth: 1772 (prev. 1770), crime

Lyn Hudson-Williamson on 6th November, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 8th January, 1770 (prev. 1772)

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