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William Morris, one of 154 convicts transported on the Stratheden, 31 July 1845
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 59 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
||Central Criminal Court
31st July, 1845
25th December, 1845
|Place of arrival
||Van Diemen's Land
Travelled with 154 other convicts
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 91, Class and Piece Number HO11/14, Page Number 352
||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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Tony Cocks on 20th July, 2016 wrote:
Convicted: Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)
Offence: Larceny and previous conviction of Felony
Sentence: Transportation 7 years
William Morris was born c1829 in Paddington, London the son of John Horatio and Mary Morris and brother to John, Anne, Sophy, Elizabeth and Ellen.(i)
Little else is known of his early life history until he was summoned to appear at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) on 03/04/1843 accused of “Larceny and previous conviction of Felony”, found guilty and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. Then aged 14 the Court recorded that apparently he had been employed as a Labourer (A transcript of the trial proceedings is provided in the Appendix). He was initially received at the Newgate Gaol as part of the interim standard holding arrangements, and then, on 29/06/1843, transferred to Parkhurst Prison. His Gaoler’s Report commented that he had been “Before convicted”, was single, though there was no indication whether or not he could read and write (His documentation in Van Diemen’s Land confirmed that he could both read and write and that on release from the prison his character and disposition were described as “Good”.(ii)). He was discharged from Parkhurst Prison on 25/07/1845 and sent to Millbank Prison, presumably categorised as “incorrigible”, that is, ineligible for transportation as an “Apprentice” to Western Australia, and therefore to be treated as a normal adult convict (This somewhat contradicts the character assessment referred to immediately above of “Good”).(iii)
He sailed from London aboard the “Stratheden” on 03/08/1845 disembarking at Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land, on 25/12/1845.(iv) The Surgeon during the voyage, Henry Baker, reported in William Morris’s Conduct Record that his behaviour was “Good”.(v) The document confirms that his immediate status was as a Probation Pass Holder 2nd Class and then continues describing his subsequent behaviour under colonial servitude:
10/01/1846: New Town Depot.
26/05/1846: Probation Pass Holder 3rd Class.
13/10/1846: Hobart: Misconduct in furiously riding in a public street and
endangering the life of a child: Two months imprisonment
and hard labour: Approved Broadmarsh.
01/12/1846: Ticket of Leave.
08/03/1847: Hobart: Misconduct in being present in the Government paddock while some men were gambling in the Government paddock: Two months imprisonment and hard labour.
05/06/1847: Hobart: Out after hours: Three months imprisonment and hard labour:
Approved Broadmarsh 11/06/1847.
13/12/1847: Hobart: Out after hours: Six days solitary.
25/08/1848: Hobart: Larceny under £5: Not guilty.
03/04/1850: Certificate of Freedom.
No further details for William Morris have been retrieved.
(i): See also Indent, Archives Office of Tasmania, CON14-1-33, Image Nos.40, 41,
(ii): Conduct Record, Archives Office of Tasmania, CON33-1-73, Image No.56,
(iii): Parkhurst Prison Register, The National Archives, HO24/15, p.25.
(iv): QSearch – Tasmanian Convict Records [CD-ROM]
NB: The website Convicts to Australia details the voyage
of the Convict Ship “Stratheden” at the following link:
(v): AOT, CON33-1-73.
JOHN CORDWELL, WILLIAM MORRIS, WILLIAM COLLIER, and EDWARD SHIELDS, were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of George Simpson, on the 13th of March, at the township of New Brentford, and stealing therein 40 knives, value £1.18s., the goods of George Simpson, and that Morris had been before convicted of felony.
GEORGE SIMPSON. About half-past eight in the morning of the 13th of March I left Brentford for London. I have a shop at Brentford, where I sell knives – I left my son-in-law to mind it – I came home at eight at night, and found a square of glass cut – there was a hole about one and a half inch long and three-quarters wide, and a tray that was full of knives in the morning, had only three left in it – about three dozen were gone – I have seen about a dozen of them sonvce, and one of them I can swear to – the tray was close to the window – my door was left open all morning – I will swear to this one knife – I have lost knives like these fourteen, and I believe these to be mine.
Cross-examined by MR> DOANE. Q. Where do you live? A. At Brentford. I sleep at this house – it is in the parish of Hanwell, and in the town-ship of New Brentford – the knives could have been got out quite easily by a wire, without putting the hand in – I will not swear that these knives never belonged to Mr. Baines, at Hammersmith – I believe he is here on trial – I will not swear that these do not belong to any cutler in London.
JOHN HADDON (police-constable T.46). I received information, and made enquiries – I got into an omnibus, and overtook the four prisoners about sox that evening – I got out and saw Morris throw four knives and a pot of marmalade over a garden – I picked up the four knives – I showed them to Mr. Simpson, and he identified them – I found on Collier seven knives, a pot of marmalade, this piece of wire, and some other things.
WILLIAM MARSH (police-constable T.62). I went and took Shields to the station – I found on him four knives, and one knife was given to me by a boy, which he said was flung away – I have shown them to Mr. Simpson, and he believes they are his.
RICHARD HANCOCK (police-sergeant T.10). I took Cordwell about ten minutes before nine o’clock the same evening. I went to Paddington after him – he said he had never been to Brentford, and did not know where it was – I told him I took him for robbery at Brentford, and told him what I had been told by Shields – he said he would tell the Magistrate all about it.
ROBERT NASH (police-constable S.221). I produce a certificate of Morris’s former conviction, which I got from Clerkenwell – (read) – he is the person.
(Collins and Shields received a good character)
CORDWELL - NOT GUILTY
MORRIS - GUILTY of stealing only. Aged 14 – Transported for Seven Years –
COLLIER – GUILTY. Aged 14. )
) Of stealing only – Confined nine days and whipped.
SHIELDS - GUILTY. Aged 10 )
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org 14/07/2009), April 1843, trial of John Cordwell, William Morris, William Collier, Edward Shields (t18430403-1342)