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James Neale

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Neale
Aliases: Neil
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1811
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: Perjury
Convicted at: Meath Ireland
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Marquis Cornwallis
Departure date: 9th August, 1795
Arrival date: 11th February, 1796
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 46 other convicts


Primary source: State Records of NSW, Convict Ship Indents, Marquis Cornwallis. Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Tuesday, July 30, 1793; Page: 2 / SR NSW Col Secretary's Correspondence, Petition of James Neale 1810
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 9th April, 2018 wrote:

James Neale was tried at Trim in County Meath, it would appear at a regular Assizes held in July 1793. His crime was perjury.  The newspaper report indicates he had made sworn statements against men involved in the political movement called the Defenders, but then retracted or contradicted that first sworn testimony once he was put in the dock.  Possibly he had been stood over by Defenders or their supporters between his sworn statement and his court-room testimony.

From the beginning of 1793 newspaper advertisements had called for evidence against the Defenders because of many outrages being committed in the county of Meath and a court was set up in May (called a ‘Special Commission’) to hear cases regarding these crimes. Possibly James Neale’s court evidence, which led to his own separate perjury charge, had been given in those May hearings.

Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Tuesday, July 30, 1793; Page: 2
The above-mentioned assizes opened on Saturday last, the 27th inst, at which the following persons were tried before that upright judge, Lord Carleton:

“Nicholas Cregan and James McNally, found guilty of cow-stealing, but being recommended by the Grand Jury, were sentenced to transportation.

“James Neale for perjury, being a witness against Defenders, in contradicting his examinations, to be transported for seven years.”


The names of the men tried at Meath in 1793 and transported on Marquis Cornwallis had been left off the Indent of the ship so that there was no official record of them. Whether the Indent was made on the ship’s arrival in NSW, or had been sent out with the men from Ireland, is unclear.

An additional note, undated, had been made on the convict indent for the Marquis Cornwallis.  It was signed by [Governor] John Hunter, who was Governor from Sept 1794 until September 1700. Presumably, the note was made between May 1800 (when several of the mens’ terms were up) and September 1800 when Hunter handed over Governorship to Philip King.

“The undermentioned persons, having declared and adduced proof that they came out in the Marquis Cornwallis and were convicted in the month and year annexed to their names and received sentence for seven years, I have granted them Tickets of Leave until the omission of these names in the foregoing List [i.e. the Indent List of convicts sent out with the ship] can be Enquired into and accounted for, as their case appears exceeding hard, besides the having no authority to detain them.”

All are bracketed together as ‘County of Meath, May 1793, seven years”
“John Laughlan
“James MacNally
“Luke Devlin
“Patrick Farrell
“Nicholas Kreigan
“James Neale”

Therefore Neale should have been free in 1800, but got a ticket of Leave initially. Eventually his freedom through expiry of term was recognised.

August 1806 Muster - James Neale - Rents 23 acres, Cornwallis Farm .  Cultivated: 17 acres wheat 6 acres maize, 8 bushels maize held, 12 male hogs 12 female hogs.

In 1807 he married Mary Fitzgerald at St John’s Parramatta. His name was recorded as “NEILL”. He and Mary were both in the parish of St John’s, however both were living at the Hawkesbury, and would have known each other this way.

James Neale signed his name, Mary made her mark.  The witnesses were John Norris and Eleanor Norris.  The bride and Eleanor Norris (originally Eleanor Fitzgerald) had been transported together on Atlas after being convicted together in April 1801 at Waterford Ireland, for involvement in the same offence (stealing articles at the Cappoquin Fair). They had remained friends in NSW, possibly they might have been related.  See Mary’s separate entry under convict ship ‘Atlas’.

Mary Fitzgerald was the name that Mary was transported under. After arrival in NSW in July 1801 on convict ship Atlas she had become partner to Peter McCann as a son Nicholas McCann was born who was baptised in 1803. Then they married at St John’s Parramatta in 1804. Their second child Catherine was baptised in 1805. Peter McCann died in 1806, being drowned as he swum across Rickersby Creek at the Hawkesbury after heavy rains and flooding.

When James Neale married Mary Fitzgerald McCann he took on her two young children Nicholas and Catherine.

He and Mary had their own child together, BRIDGET NEALE born in 1810. (NSWBDM register). He refers to supporting three children (therefore including Mary’s first two) in a petition for land in February 1810.

Baptism of Bridget:
Bridget was not baptised until she was almost six years of age. This was well after her father’s death. Perhaps James and Mary didn’t baptise her when she was born because they were likely to be Catholic, and there was no Catholic priest in NSW during those years. Bridget was eventually baptised Anglican when Mary was married again to John Hill.

Bridget Neale, daughter of James Neale, Mary; Abode: Windsor Born 17 Jan 1810 Windsor
Baptised 24 Dec 1815 by Rev Robert Cartwright, Registered at St Matthew’s Church of England Windsor.

This petition is very difficult to read because of fading ink. Macquarie had just been arrived as Governor of NSW. the gist of it is that
* he arrived in the ship ‘Cornwallis’
* he’d always supported an honest lifestyle.
* he supported a wife and three young children.
* He had made a “Supplication to Colonel Patterson for a portion of land for his Children which was granted”
* the grant had been measured.
* he is praying for the land to be actually granted to him.

An 80 acre land grant was made to James Neal at Richmond hill, Land Grants 1810-1821 (NRS 13836 [7/447] Reg 2, p.27, Reel 2561). This is likely to be him although there was also a James Knell/ Neal at Richmond and various other versions of James Neale in NSW then.

James Neale’s death is recorded in the Registers of St Phillip’s Church of England, Sydney (note this does not necessarily mean he was buried in Sydney itself).
JAMES NEALE Aged 40;  Buried 25 Feb 1811

Mary married again in 1813.
NSWBDM index Mary NEILL to John Hill

Daughter Bridget is recorded in the 1825 Muster as follows:
Bridget O’Neale, Age: 17, Arrival status: BC Occupation/Residence: Bringelly, Daughter of and employed by J Hill

Bridget may be the Bridget Neale marrying at St John’s Parramatta on 20 June 1831 to Benjamin Lawrence, although her age was stated as 26 years (implying birth in 1805 or 1806). Benj. Lawrence was said to be aged 35, arrived in 1818, convict per “General Stuart”. They had a child - grandchild of James Neale? -  named George Lawrence born in April 1833.

Robin Sharkey on 11th April, 2018 wrote:

Shortly before James Neale died in February 1811, a 4 week old baby named Mary Ann Neal was buried on 5 February 1811, recorded in the burial register of St John’s Church Parramatta. This was very likely to have been the third child of James Neale and Mary (nee Fitzgerald).

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 9th April, 2018 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: State Records of NSW, Convict Ship Indents, Marquis Cornwallis. Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Tuesday, July 30, 1793; Page: 2 / SR NSW Col Secretary's Correspondence, Petition of James Neale 1810 (prev. ), first

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