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John Frederick Mortlock
John Frederick Mortlock, one of 199 convicts transported on the Maitland, 26 August 1843
Name, Aliases & Gender
||John Frederick Mortlock
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
||8th August, 1809
|Date of Death:
||6th June, 1882
life span was 60 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 21 years
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 91, Class and Piece Number HO11/13, Page Number 396
||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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Elaine Blackwell on 24th April, 2014 wrote:
Author of “A Convict’s Experiences in New South Wales, Transported for 21 Years”.
His father and grandfather had both been Mayors of Cambridge, his grandfather for a short time Member of Parliment.
D Wong on 25th April, 2014 wrote:
“The founder of what could be regarded as the Mortlock dynasty was John Mortlock. He was born in Cambridge in 1756, the son of a fairly well to do draper. The family also owned flocks of sheep which grazed in Pampisford, whose wool was turned into clothes as part of the family business. It seems that John was very much an entrepreneur and in his twenties was lending money and issuing promissory notes to merchants travelling to Cambridge by coach, thus reducing the need to carry large amounts of cash which could be stolen by highwayman. This led to him founding a banking business which soon became the most prominent in Cambridge. His bank flourished at the Bene’t Street site until 1896 when it was bought by Barclays. The blue wall plaque for John Mortlock has an intriguing quotation: “That which you call corruption I call influence”. This would seem to indicate that he was less than scrupulous in his business dealings. This was probably how he managed to become elected as an MP for Cambridge while also holding the job “Collector of Land Taxes for Cambridge”. He was later forced to resign as MP, but this did not seem to prevent him from having been an MP no less than 13 times.
Perhaps because of his questionable business ethics he apparently was not the most popular man in Cambridge during his early banking career and invested some of his cash by “buying to let” Abington Hall in 1780, which he rented out to wealthy tenants.
He married Elizabeth Harrison, who was the daughter of a wealthy Cambridge grocer and together they had 9 children, the seven eldest being sons, two of whom also became MPs after John’s death in 1816.
After his death most of the family business and properties was administered by Charles, the 3rd son who bought the 4th son, Frederick Cheetham’s share. One of the other prominent sons was Edmund, who was a clergyman and a Cambridge academic. The son who appeared to do most to continue the line however was Frederick Cheetham. He married another local girl, Sarah Finch, and they had seven children. The eldest of the sons, John Frederick, born 1809, after his father’s death in 1838 had a vendetta against his 2 uncles, Charles and Edmund, who he felt had cheated him of his share of the estate left by Frederick. He initially picketed the Bene’t Street bank using an apple stall to block the pavement and giving out pamphlets. By all accounts this became quite a spectacle.
This vendetta culminated in an apparent arson attack on Rectory Farm in Pampisford, owned by the Mortlocks, and later another fire at Thomas Mortlock’s house in Great Abington (Abington Lodge) in 1837. John was tried for this on the basis of reports of him being seen in the vicinity at the time, but he was acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. He obviously was able to afford a good lawyer! His final act of retribution, in November 1842, was to assault Edmund while he was in his Christ College rooms. A shot was fired, injuring Edmund. So John was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 25 years deportation to Australia. By all accounts his adventures did not end there and he continued to have various misadventures for many years”.
John Frederick Mortlock was a highly educated man.
He was about 35 years old when he arrived at Norfolk Island and was engaged as a tutor to the young son of Mr Gilbert Robertson, the Agricultural Superintendent and Deputy Commandant.
4/3/1846: John arrived in VDL.
John then was 5’7” tall, 36 years old, fair complexion, light brown hair and whiskers, blue eyes, inclined to be bald on top of head, protestant, could read and write.
1/4/1844: Married Mary Smith(Royal Admiral) and they had 2 daughters, born Longford and 1 son born Launceston.
15/1/1851: TOL revoked.
6/6/1882: John died at 8 Northumberland Street, Strand, London.
D Wong on 25th April, 2014 wrote:
John was then transported to Western Australia on the ‘Sultana’ 1859.
In 1857 John Frederick, quite illegally - he refused to recognise the limitations of his licence - returned to England in the Swiftsure, Captain Pryce. It is a sad reflection on his saintly and forgiving uncle Alderman William Mortlock that it was news of a small legacy from William that triggered this return and hence its consequences. Apprised that this £46 was due to him, John Frederick counted up his various savings, which came to £240 and took ship as above; however the £46 did not reach Tasmania until well after John Frederick was back in England. Landing at Dartmouth, John Frederick made his way to London via sightseeing - ever the tourist - in Exeter, Bath and Oxford. In London he lodged at his customary headquarters, the Craven Hotel near Northumberland House. Trafalgar Square was new to him, as was the Crystal Palace.
In March 1858 John Frederick was sentenced to a year in gaol at home to be followed by re-transportation, this time to Western Australia, to serve the five-year remainder of his original sentence. An uncovenanted benefit for us is the police description of John Frederick published at the time of his illegal return, which shows him as 5’9” tall, of square, thickset and powerful build, with light hair but a darker moustache. At the end of his time John Frederick came back to London where he lived in relative obscurity and poverty, in a boarding house in Craven Street (which runs off the Strand next to Charing Cross Station), kept by one Todd, an ex-servant of his mother’s, until his death in 1882.
Listed on the Sultana as 50 years old, a clerk, single with no children. Don’t know what happened to Mary Smith and the 3 children.
Convict Changes History
Elaine Blackwell on 24th April, 2014 made the following changes:
date of birth: 8th August, 1809 (prev. 0000), date of death: 21st July, 1899 (prev. 0000), gender: m
D Wong on 25th April, 2014 made the following changes:
date of death: 6th June, 1882 (prev. 21st July, 1899), crime