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Mary Anne Jennings

Mary Jennings, one of 94 convicts transported on the Surprize, February 1794

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mary Anne Jennings
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 20th April, 1777
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Middlesex
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Surprize
Departure date: February, 1794
Arrival date: 17th October, 1794
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 94 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 198
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

Paddy McGoldrick on 26th January, 2017 wrote:

Married William Biggs in 1803.

Margaret Foster on 5th October, 2018 wrote:

There is a record for marriage of Mary Jennings to Nicholas Lewis in the Australian Marriage Index 1788-1950.  He was listed as living in Sydney and aged 28.
Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950
View Record

  Mary Jennings
Spouse Name
  Nicholas Lewis
Marriage Date
Marriage Place
  New South Wales
Registration Place
  Sydney New South Wales
Registration Year
Volume Number
  V B
Household Members

  Name Age Name Mary Jennings

I have not been able to trace a marriage to William Biggs, nor have I found a record of her death, although some continue to show it as 1825.Her daughter Elizabeth and son in law John Smith were present at the marriage.

Margaret Foster on 5th October, 2018 wrote:

There is no record to date of Mary Jenning/biggs/nicholas dying in Sydney.  In fact there is little to nothing following her marriage in 1826 to Nicholas Lewis.

D Wong on 5th October, 2018 wrote:

Old Bailey:
Theft: burglary.
30th October 1793
Verdict Guilty > lesser offence
Sentence Transportation

MARY JENNINGS was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Henry Joel, the said Henry and Sarah his wife being therein, between the hours of five and six in the forenoon of the 3d of July, and stealing therein, a man’s linen shirt, value 5 s. four pair of mens leather shoes, value 5 s. a woman’s black silk cloak, value 15 s. a muslin neck handkerchief, value 2 s and a check linen apron, value 1 s. the goods of the said Henry Joel.

I am a cordwainer at No. 4, East Smithfield ; my house was broke open on Tuesday morning the 3d of July, between five and six.

Q. What time did you go to bed the night before? - About half after ten o’clock.

Q. Who went to bed last in the house? - Lewis Harris. I and my wife were in bed when my house was broke; they wrenched off the lock of the back kitchen door

Q. Was this girl a servant of your’s? - I never saw her before in my life.

Q. What was the first thing that give you an alarm? - Lewis Harris came on the stair case and called me before six; he had taken Mary Jennings with the property in her lap, and I went down when he called me and I saw it, she had all the property in her lap which I have got here, but it is not half the property that I lost that morning.

Q. What past between her and you? - She said she thought it had been a shop, she came to sell them, she had bought all the things at the outside of the door for two shillings.

Q. Was any part of the house broke open? - The back kitchen on the ground floor was, the lock seemed to be wrenched off.

Q. Where does this yard lead to? is it in the street or how? - It is a thorough fare.

Q. Your wife and you had not been out in the course of that night? - We had not, we were in bed and asleep.

Q. What may be the value of the things altogether? - About thirty shillings, I took them out of the girls apron loose, Haris has had them in his possession ever since, he brought them here; I can swear to the slippers they are my own making, I left them on the window the over night before I went to bed, I know the shirt, it is my own, there is no name to it, but I had only pulled it off the same morning; I know the muslin it is a neck handkerchief, I had worn it myself.

MARY JOEL sworn.

I am the mother of the last witness; I slept in the house this night and I came down between five and six in the morning, and when I came down I went to open the kitchen door and it was locked, and I went across the road to Mr. Harris for the key; I knew that he layed there that night, and that he had gone across the road, I stopped there, it may be twenty minutes or half an hour, and when I came back again with the key in my hand, Mr. Harris was with me, I saw this girl coming out of this house very fast with a bundle, and I took hold of her arm and asked her where she had been? When I went out in the morning I left the kitchen door locked and the street door on the latch; I went out at the street door.
Q. Was the street door left open by Mr. Harris? - I cannot tell what he did, but I found the kitchen door locked and the street door on the latch, I came back with Mr. Harris with the key of the kitchen door in my hand; then I saw this girl running out of the street door of the house, she said, will you buy a bit of edging? I said let me look at it, and I saw this here apron hanging out of her lap on one side, and I said what have got here? she made no answer to that, I said you have got some of our property here, directly I took hold of her and we found the lock was taken off the kitchen door and the door was wide open; the lock was not quite off but loose.

Q. You say you went over the way for the key, as you was in the house, could you not get into the kitchen without going over to Mr. Harris? - No, I could not; how could I get in without the key?

Q. Did you go to the kitchen door before you went out that morning? - Yes, I went to get into the kitchen in the first place.

Q. Does this kitchen door look into the passage, or is it an inside door? - It is a door inside of the house.

Q. Is there any other door to the passage? - There is.

Q. How was the door to the passage locked or unlocked? - I cannot say, the door that was broke open was an inner kitchen door.

Q. When you went to this kitchen door before you went out was it light or not? - It was light.

Q. Are you sure that door was locked? - I know it was fast, but when I returned it was quite open.

Q. Do you know these articles taken from the girl? - I do; I am sure the shoes laid on the window the night before; the apron is my son’s wife’s, but I had washed it myself.

Q. Do you believe them all to belong to the prosecutor? - I am positively sure of it, the apron has aquasortis on it.


Q. When you went down that morning did you observe the kitchen door? - I did, I locked it myself, I went out about five o’clock.

Q. What was the state of the door of the passage? - They got in at the front door, the street door, which was left on the latch.

Q. How was that door which was in the passage in the back yard, how was that? - I look upon that to be locked.

Q. Did you leave the street open? - No, I pulled it to; I went out at five o’clock, and Mrs. Joel came over to me for the key, and I returned with Mrs. Joel before six o’clock.

Q. Was it day light when you locked the kitchen door at five o’clock? - O yes, it was quite day light; when I came over with Mr. Joel I found the prisoner coming out of the street door with some edging in her hand; I took all the articles from her at the door and sent for an officer and gave charge of her, and have kept the articles ever since they were before the magistrate.

Q. Did you observe the lock when you came back? - It was forced open, and from the force of the lock the window was broke; there is half a glass window to the kitchen door.

Prisoner. I was desired to sell these clothes by a woman in Rosemary-lane, and when I came into the passage this woman came and stopped me, and said I had robbed the house.

Of stealing only. (Aged 15.)

Transported for seven years.
Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

Margaret Foster on 31st December, 2019 wrote:

There does not seem to be a record of the death of Mary Jennings, however there is a record of a marriage to a Nicholas Lewis in 1826,following the death of her de facto husband William Biggs.
ALSO there is a shipping record for her which shows she is 47 at the time of embarking.  However if her birth date is 1777 and the ship (Surprize 2) is departing in 1794, she would only have been 17.  Perhaps a misread age?

Margaret Foster on 21st February, 2020 wrote:

There is no reference that I can find of the death of this woman, or of a marriage between her and William Biggs.
She married 10 months following the death of William Biggs.  Her actual husband (in 1826) was Nicholas Lewis.  Margaret Torning Foster.  Direct descendant of Mary Jennings and William Biggs.

Convict Changes History

Paddy McGoldrick on 26th January, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, firstname: Mary Anne (prev. Mary), date of death: 1825 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

Paddy McGoldrick on 26th January, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 20th April, 1777 (prev. 0000)

Margaret Foster on 31st December, 2019 made the following changes:

date of death: 0000 (prev. 1825)

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