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George Pell

George Pell, one of 298 convicts transported on the Hilsborough [Hillsborough], October 1798

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: George Pell
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1773
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 18th July, 1815
Age: 42 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: House breaking
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Hilsborough
Departure date: October, 1798
Arrival date: 26th July, 1799
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 298 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 250
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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D Wong on 22nd August, 2019 wrote:

Old Bailey:
Theft: burglary, Theft: housebreaking.
12th July 1797
Reference Number t17970712-31
Verdicts Guilty > lesser offence; Guilty
Sentences Death
GEORGE PELL was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Meredith, about the hour of ten in the night of the 2d of June, and burglariously stealing therein, two men’s coats, value 2s. a cotton gown, value 5s. six linen frocks, value 2s. a linen cap, value 6d. a linen apron, value 6d. two linen handkerchiefs, value 1s. a silk bonnet, value 6d. a silk cloak value 1s. a hat, value 6d. a mahogany tea-chest, value 6d. a brass pistol, value 1s. an iron pistol, value 6d. three flannel petticoats, value 6d. two calimanco petticoats, value 3d. a silk handkerchief, value 6d. the property of the said Thomas; three cotton gowns, value 5s. and a linen petticoat, value 1s. the property of Harriot Hil.

THOMAS MEREDITH sworn. - I live at No. 15. Wilmot-square , Bethnal-green-road ; On the 2d of June, I went to bed about nine o’clock, I left my wife up; at about ten o’clock, the patrol knocked at the door, and said, the door was open, a lodger went down and fastened the door, and came to bed again, and the patrol, coming again the half hour, found the shutters down; we then all got up, and came down, and found the house was robbed, the lodger’s name was Harris; I missed two coats of mine, they were lying on the chair before the fire in the parlour, two hats, only one of them mine, several children’s frocks, and petticoats, a tea-chest that was taken from the table in the parlour, a pistol that was hanging over the mantlepiece in the parlour.

Q. Did you ever see any of these things afterwards? - A. Yes; I saw the coat at the office in Worship-street.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. A man of the name of Harris lodged with you, do you pay the rent yourself, or does he pay it jointly with you to the landlord? - A. Jointly with me.

Court. Q. Did Harris live in the house at this time? - A. Yes.

Mrs. MEREDITH sworn. - I went to bed about eleven o’clock, I shut the door about half past eight, the shutters had not been down in the course of the whole day, for I had been washing; when I got up, upon being alarmed, I missed two coats of my husband’s, the next thing was a cotton gown of mine, a black silk cloak, a bonnet, six children’s frocks, five children’s petticoats, a white apron, a laced cap, two men’s half neck handkerchiefs, two men’s hats, two pistols, and one silk handkerchief, my husband’s coat was wet, and I had hung it before the fire to dry, the other coat I was to have mended, but could not, because I was washing.

Q. Did you ever see any thing of your things again? - A. Yes; the tea-chest.

JOHN ARMSTRONG sworn. - On Thursday the 15th of June, I went, in company with Blackiter, to a room where the prisoner was in bed.

Court. (To the Prosecutor.) Q. Did you examine your shutters and windows when you got up? - A. Yes; but I could see no violence.

Armstrong. I searched the room, and in a coat under the bed on the floor, were these two pistols, loaded and primed; I had the charge drawn. (Produces them).

Court. Q. Did he lodge by himself there? - A. There was a woman very heavy with child, drinking tea, he was in bed; on a chair by the side of the bed, I found these picklock keys, two crows, some files, a vice, and these cartidges, (produces them); I have had them ever since; he dressed himself readily, and behaved very well.
Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. These are not the sort of pistols that men commit robberies with, they are generally smaller? - A. I have taken them with both sorts.

Q. Do not you know that the room belonged to that woman, that he was only a lodger there? - A. I heard him say, that she was his servant.

Court. (To Meredith.) Q. Look at these pistols? - A. They are neither of them mine.

WILLIAM BLACKITER sworn. - I was with Armstrong when the prisoner was apprehended; I found this coat rolled up, under the bed, with the pistols in it, (produces it); and we found these two crows, and the other things, and a tea-chest, (produces it); I have had the crows and the tea-chest ever since.

Prosecutor. This is my coat, it is a coat I left my wife to mend.

Mrs. Meredith. This is the tea-chest I lost, I have the key in my pocket.

ROWLAND CHARTRES sworn. - I am a patrol of Wilmot-square; going half past ten, I found Mr. Meredith’s door open; I alarmed them, and the young man came down, and fastened it; when I came back again, I found the window open, I alarmed them, and they found the place stripped, that is all I know about it.

The prisoner left his defence to his Counsel.

GUILTY Of stealing the goods, but not of the burglary .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

440. GEORGE PELL was again indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Philip Gibbons , no person being therein, about the hour of seven in the afternoon of the 10th of June , and stealing therein, a cotton counterpane, value 30s. a pair of linen sheets, value 6s. five cotton gowns, value 3l. a cotton petticoat, value 2s. a cotton bed-gown, value 3s. a calimanco petticoat, value 6s. six tea-spoons, value 10s. a diaper table-cloth, value 1s. a cloth coat, value 20s. two cloth waist coats, value 14s. a nankeen waistcoat, value 3s. three muslin caps, value 6s. five linen cloth caps, value 5s. two muslin handkerchiefs, value 3s. a silk handkerchief, value 3s. a silver breast-buckle set with stones, value 1s. a linen shirt, value 2s. a linen shirt, value 1s. a linen shirt, value 2s. a linen shirt, value 1s. a cotton check apron, value 1s. two muslin aprons, value 5s. two muslin neckcloths, value 2s. two linen cloth aprons, value 3s. a black silk cloak, value 3s. a pair of dimity pockets, value 1s. three pair of worsted stockings, value 3s. three pair of cotton stockings, value 5s. three dollars, value 14s. 3d. and 4s. in money , the property of the said Philip.

PHILIP GIBBONS sworn. - I live in the Dog-row, Bethnal-green : On the 10th of June, the street door lock was picked; I went out soon after six o’clock in the evening, and left nobody in the house; I locked the door, and carried the key in my pocket, when I came back I found the door as I left it; I went in, and missed my things, my wife knows most about them.

Mrs. GIBBONS sworn. - (Repeats the articles in the indictment); I was at work at Bethnal-green; I should not have been home that night, if I had not lost the property, my husband came and fetched me; I never sleep at home of a Saturday night.

Prosecutor. I went and fetched my wife, and she went about amongst the pawnbrokers to see for the things.

Q. Why did you suppose he went in by picking the lock? - A. There was no other way that he could get in.

Q. (To Mrs. Gibbons.) When was it you found any of your things? - A. On the Saturday night, the 10th of June, we were robbed, and on the Thursday after, I was informed somebody was taken, and I went down to the office in Worship-street, and there I saw a neckcloth that had been cut in pieces, belonging to my husband, a cloth cap, one muslin cap, a very old handkerchief, I have got the fellow to it in my pocket, and one pair of stockings, that is all that I have found.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. All you have discovered is a neckcloth, and cloth cap, not worth above two or three shillings altogether? - A. They are worth very little, only a new pair of stockings.

Q. All put together are not worth four shillings? - A. No.

WILLIAM BLACKITER sworn. - Mrs. Gibbons went with me to search the prisoner’s lodgings; I had searched his lodgings before, but Mrs. Gibbons saying she had lost some caps, I went back with her to search again, and this handkerchief she said was her’s that the gown and coat were tied up in; I found a muslin cap and a pair of stockings, she challenged them directly, and said they were her’s, I have had them ever since.

Mrs. Gibbons. This handkerchief I know to he mine, this new pair of stockings, there is no mark, but I know them by the shape of my husband’s leg, I gave three shillings and three-pence for them, and he wore them but about three hours, the caps had my own mark upon them.

JOHN ARMSTRONG sworn. - I tried this pick-lock-key with the prosecutor’s door, and it locked, and unlocked the door.

See originalClick to see original
Mr. Alley. Q. This is the woman’s apparel? - A. Yes.
Q. The woman that this room belonged to has absconded? - A. No; she was before the Magistrate, and discharged.

SARAH JACKSON sworn. - I saw two men about my window, the prisoner was one; I live next door to the prosecutor; I was going to chastise my child, almost eleven years old, and the prisoner begged me not to be too harsh, this was on the 10th of June; I particularly looked at this man, I thought he seemed busy at my window; I work for a childbed linen warehouse, there were some caps laying about, and I put them in my pocket.

Q. You did not see him take any thing? - A. No.

MARY JACKSON sworn. - I saw two men walking about the door a considerable time.

Q. Did you see them go up to Gibbon’s house? - A. I saw one man go into the house in a blue coat, that was not the prisoner, the prisoner was left standing by the posts, they had been talking to my mother under the window.

Q. Were the two men talking to your mother first? - A. Yes.

Q. One of the men that went into the house, was one of the two that was talking with your mother at the same time that the prisoner was? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you see that man come out again? - A. No.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You do not mean to say, that the other man spoke to your mother? - A. No.

Court. Q. You said, they were both speaking to your mother? - A. No; they were talking together, and the prisoner spoke to my mother, not the other man.

ELIZABETH LAMBERT sworn. - I saw three men come out of Gibbon’s house on the 10th of June, about eight o’clock at night, as near as I can guess; I was standing at my own door, I really believe this gentleman is one of them, they had each a silk handkerchief tied up in bundles.

Q. Look at him again? - A. I really believe he is the man, but he has changed his dress, the shortest man of the three shut the door after him.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You do not mean to swear he was one of the men? - A. No.

The prisoner left his defence to his Counsel.

GUILTY Death. (Aged 24.)

The following is from the Paterson River History website:
http://www.patersonriver.com.au/people/pellg.htm —slightly edited..

George Pell was one of the first settlers at Patersons Plains. In July 1797 at the age of 24 he was convicted in the Old Bailey, London, on two counts of breaking, entering and burglary. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to transportation for life and he arrived in New South Wales on the Hillsborough in 1799.

In June 1804 Pell was again in trouble with the law. He was brought before the Bench of Magistrates in Sydney, charged on suspicion of aiding and abetting someone who had been capitally convicted (ie sentenced to death). Pell was sent to work in the gaol gang.  It is not known if this incident or other circumstances at a later date led to his banishment to the penal settlement at Newcastle.

In 1812 Pell joined a team of timber cutters sent from Newcastle to procure a special order of Hunter Valley cedar logs. As reward for a job well done, Governor Macquarie permitted five of these men to establish small farms of their own in the lower Hunter Valley. They were George Pell, Benjamin Davis (convict), John Reynolds (convict), John Swan (convict), and John Tucker jnr (free). John Tucker jnr initially settled on land allowed to his father.

Pell’s land was located on the west bank of the Paterson River immediately to the north of Davis’ block (see map).[6] The southern portion of Pell’s block became part of William Evan’s grant (Bellevue) in the 1820s. A government cottage was constructed on the northern end of Pell’s block as part of the government station at Old Banks.

Pell’s farm on the west bank of Paterson River at Patersons Plains.

Unfortunately Pell drowned in the river at Newcastle in 1815 along with three other people including John Tucker jnr’s new bride, Catherine Flynn.

Apparently George Pell had a daughter named Sarah who was orphaned by his drowning in 1815 and was then cared for by George Phillips in Sydney. No details about Sarah’s mother are known at this stage but evidently her mother had died before her father drowned.

**Sarah Pell was born in 1806 and died in 1879. 

17/8/1824: Sarah married Henry Hancy at St. Philips, Sydney.
They had 4 children:
1825-1840: Hannah Hancy
1827-1827: Henry Hancy
1830-1874: Sarah Hancy
1833-????: Henry George Hancy.

Convict Changes History

Lonzo on 22nd August, 2019 made the following changes:


D Wong on 22nd August, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1773 (prev. 0000), date of death: 18th July, 1815 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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