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Elizabeth Hinchcliff

Elizabeth Hinchcliff, one of 327 convicts transported on the Indefatigable and Minstrel, 09 May 1812

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Elizabeth Hinchcliff
Aliases: Eliza, Greenhill
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1796
Occupation: Servant
Date of Death: 1846
Age: 50 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Attempted murder
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Indefatigable and Minstrel
Departure date: 9th May, 1812
Arrival date: 19th October, 1812
Place of arrival New South Wales [Minstrel] and Van Diemen's Land [Indefatigable]
Passenger manifest Travelled with 329 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 63 (33); Proceedings of the Old Bailey, online; NSW State Records - Colinial Secretary's Correspondence (marriage approval); 1814 Census, musters of 1822, 1825; 1828 Census; Sydney Gazettes of 22 August 1828 page 3: 4 Sept 1848 page 3;
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

Robin Sharkey on 1st May, 2016 wrote:

Elizabeth Hinchcliff was transported for life on the “Minstrel” in 1812 for attempting to murder her mistress in August 1810 at her him win Covent Garden by poisoning her with arsenic.

At the time of her trial in September 1810 she was only14 years old and was sentenced to death.  She was reprieved, probably in February 1811. She still did not sail for over another year, departing in May 1812 and arriving in October 1812 when she was then 16 years old.

She was given a ticket of leave in the year following her arrival - 1813.  It recorded that her age was 17; Trade or Calling: Country work; Native Place: Essex

In the 1814 Census she was a Needlewoman. Mustered at Sydney, off stores.
By 1822, she was the “wife of J White"mustered at Wondsor.

however by January 184 she had sought permission to marry George Greenhill per “Hadlow” in 1818. George was aged 19 when transported for burglary and was a native of Warwickshire, having been tried at Warwick.  He was 5 ft 8inches, fair haired and blue eyed.
Eliza and George were married at St Luke’s Campbelltown in 1824.

In 1825 she wrongly recorded her details as being sentenced for only 14 years, and Fby S.  Not true, she w as a Tkt of Leave, LIFE.

1828 Census - Elizabeth Greenhill, aged 31, Protestant. Householder George Greehnhill Airds.
  George Greenhill, age 28, Protestant per “Hadlow’ 1818, Life. Ticket of Leave.
George was aged 19 on transportation, with Life, and in 1822 was appointed a constable at Liverpool.  He farmed near Campbelltown because in 1829 he was on all its of Campbelltown residents thanking the governor for providing them with assistance to harvest their crops.

However George and Eliza’s marriage was not happy.
No children recorded in 1828 Census.  no birth registrations.

In 1828 they were both reported as being outrageously drunk to the extent of being unable to stand up on the ground outside of the house of one of the Rixons outside Campbelltown.  Police had tried to detain George to take him to the watch house, and although he was profoundly drink, one of the constables unlawfully shot him in the thigh.  The policeman was charged under Lord Ellenborough’s act.

See Sydney Gazette 22 August 1828 page 3:
It was also reported that George had struck his wife, had knocked her down, and that the police were wanting to take him into custody for that. Benjamin Rixon stated that his brother told him the two were just quarrelling, Benjamin Rixon was unable to get either of them up from the ground due to the state of their intoxication.

Elizabeth Greenhill died in 1846.
NSWBDM   741/1846   V1846741 31B GREENHILl ELIZABETH “AGE 48”
In fact she would have been 50 based on trial age in 1810.

That year George married again, to Catherine Akers, formerly Mrs William Bradbury of Campbelltown. By 1848 he had put a notice in the newspaper not to to give his wife credit because she had left him without cause.
He signed off as being of “Deer hill Park” near Campbelltown.
George Greenhill died in mid 1865 (per Freemans Journal).


Taken from the reports of proceedings of the Old Bailey. 19th September 1810

For well over twelve months, Elizabeth had been the servant of Ann Parker who lived at 14, Tavistock-row, Covent Garden in London. Miss Parker, unmarried, ran a shop and a school, and also had two boarders named Christopher Stanley and Samuel Smith.  She said she never had to correct Elizabeth (who she referred to as “Eliza”) for misbehaviour, only for dirt and filth.  three days before the poisoning incident, she had corrected her for wearing dirty linen,

On Parker’s evidence, Elizabeth had told her over two months that the lower part of the house was overrun with rats, and for a fortnight before kept asking her to send for poison, which Miss Parker finally did.  The day that Eliza bought the rat poison from a druggist that Miss Parker wrote a note to, she placed the arsenic packet in a desk on Miss Parker’s instructions.  Miss P later placed it in the back locker of the writing desk but did not lock that section. When Miss P looked at the packet later it was all tied up still with string.

Eliza was sent out again by Miss P to get mortar to fill up the rat holes once the poison was laid.  Before she went she was asked to make the tea.  Miss Parker placed the tea in the two pots herself and sent Eliza to settle the parlour, take the two teapots downstairs, put the water in, and bring them back up.

Eliza went out and Miss Parker poured her tea and tea for the children.  She thought the tea tasted as though it had pepper in it and had great heat in her throat.  She said in evidence that the tea was “ searching me to the lower part of my stomach. It soon searched round me, and met me at my back bone … It then shot into my thighs”. She checked the arsenic packet and satisfied that it had never been opened.  Then one of the children threw up their tea everywhere, and did so again a second time.

Eliza returned and denied to Miss Parker that she had put anything else in the tea.  She suggested that Miss Parker look at the parcel, and she would it is as the gentleman [druggist] gave it to her, tied up, she dare said, in half a dozen knots. Miss Parker however decided to race to the druggists both to get some medicine for the children and to check how he had actually tied the parcel up.  She did not inspect the the teapots.  On the way to the druggists, she threw up in the street three different times.  The druggist came back to the house with her.

The druggist said in evidence about the way he had tied the packet that the knot was twisted when it was returned by Mrs. Parker; yet it had been tied by him in his “usual way” -  a double knot, not twisted.  He also said that when he arrived the child Stanley was very sick. He tasted the tea and it had a strong metallic taste, but the appearance of the tea is not altered by the infusion of arsenic.

Poor Eliza’s only defence was that her mistress ill used her.  Whether she meant that as a reason for poisoning the tea, or as a statement about the evidence against her was not clear.

She was pronounced GUILTY and sentenced to DEATH

She was recommended to mercy on account of her age, and her parents being honest people; and the jury recommended her on account of her age.

Jackson’s oxford Journal, Saturday October 6 1810
On thursday the sessions of the Old Bailey ended when the following persons received sentence of death:
… Elizabeth Hinchcliff for administering poison with intent to murder Ann Parker, Christian john Stanley and Samuel Smith; …”


The Regent’s Court proceedings were reported in “The Morning Chronicle” on Friday 15 February 1811. 
On Thursday 19th February 1811, the Prince Regent had received the Address of the Corporation of the City of London upon his being appointed Regent of the City of London, and for holding a Privy Council.  Much of the pomp and ceremony of the day was reported, including that surrounding the holding go fthe Privy Council.
It was reported that:
“His Royal Highness then held a Council to receive the Recorder of London’s Report of the convicts under sentence of death convicted at the July and September Sessions, when his Royal Highness was pleased to order George Towers … and William Cane … for execution on Wednesday next.  The case of a girl named Hinchcliff, for attempting to poison her mistress, was not reported.”

Eliza Hinchcliff was pardoned to transportation for life, instead of death, presumably by the prince Regent in February 1811.

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 1st May, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 63 (33); Proceedings of the Old Bailey, online; NSW State Records - Colinial Secretary's Correspondence (marriage approval); 1814 Census, musters of 18

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