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Thomas Holden

Thomas Holden, one of 200 convicts transported on the Fortune, November 1812

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Holden
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1792
Occupation: Weaver
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Rioting/unlawful oaths
Convicted at: Lancaster Sessions of Pleas
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Fortune
Departure date: November, 1812
Arrival date: 11th June, 1813
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 84
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

D Wong on 17th January, 2015 wrote:

Thomas Holden was sentenced to 7 years transportation for ‘Administering An Illegal Oath’ to Isaac Crompton in Bolton.

Holden, who was a weaver, was tried at the Special Assize held in Lancaster Castle (May 1812) which was convened to try people who had been involved primarily with riots at Westhoughton and Manchester.

Thomas was 20 years old, married and had 1 son.  His parents were John and Ellen Holden at Hag End near Bolton.

The initial unrest had come about due to the desperation of handloom weavers, who were being forced out of their trade by the growth of the factory system, and the consequent hardship inflicted upon their families due to lost earnings. During this whole period sporadic attempts were made by gangs of weavers to destroy the machines that were taking the food from their mouths.

Holden was one of a number of men accused of administering an illegal oath.
It is possible that Holden was a Luddite. There was certainly an accusation of this during his trial. This would have made Holden doubly dangerous in the eyes of the court, and explains why he was convicted on such flimsy evidence, and why he received so harsh a sentence.

At the end of the Assize eight people were executed, one a boy of sixteen who had been involved with the riot at Westhoughton, another a woman of fifty-four, who had stolen bread and potatoes in Manchester. Many more were imprisoned, or like Holden sentenced to Transportation to Australia…virtual exile on the other side of the world.

After he had been sentenced Thomas Holden wrote this letter to his wife:
“Its with sorrow that I acquaint you that I this day receiv’d my Tryal and has receiv’d the hard sentence of Seven Years Transportation beyond the seas…If it was for any Time in prison I would try and content myself but to be sent from my Native Country perhaps never to see it again distresses me beyond comprehension and will Terminate with my life…To part with my dear Wife and Child, Parents and Friends, to be no more, cut off in the Bloom of my Youth without doing the least wrong to any person on earth. Oh my hard fate, may God have mercy on me…Your affec. Husband until Death.”

Mary Holden
to be Left at the
Golden Lion Church
Gate Bolton Lee
Moars Lancshire

25/2/1817: Absolute Pardon.

Thomas Holden, went home with Macquarie’s permission when his eloquent letters could not persuade his wife to follow him.

Stuart Rodgers on 20th July, 2015 wrote:

Link to short biography of Thomas Holden by Lancaster museums at Lancaster castle. UK.


Maureen Withey on 21st November, 2019 wrote:

The following convicts have been removed from our Castle, this week, to be severally transported, agreeably to their sentences, viz Charles Sefton, James Robinson, John Fisher, James Knowles, Thomas Holden, Samuel Crossley, John Hope, John Hurst, Christopher Medcalf, James Brierley, Henry Thwait, Joseph Greenhalgh, Thos. Pickup, and John Burney. 
Lancaster Gazette, 20 June 1812.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 17th January, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1792 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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