Hi Guest!
Contribute to this record

Thomas Radley

Thomas Radley, one of 94 convicts transported on the Surprize, February 1794

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Radley
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1766
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1803
Age: 37 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: Life
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 197 (99)
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.

Did you find the person you were looking for?

If Thomas Radley was the person you were looking for, you may be able to discover more about them by looking at our resources page.

If you have more hunting to do, try a new search or browse the convict records.

Know more about Thomas Radley?

Contribute to this record

Community Contributions

Phil Hands on 6th July, 2017 wrote:

Thomas, was born in Ireland in 1766, early in 1791 he went to London where he lived in the Drury Lane area for at least 9 months with Mary Ann Fowles, also from Ireland (possibly he came to London with Mary), he was described as a hackney writer and hairdresser, from Ireland, moved to London, probably looking for work, in about 1791.A hackney writer was a slang term for one who writes or copies documents for attorneys or booksellers. If that is so, it would appear that Thomas was educated and maybe fell on hard times after moving to London. In September 1792, he held up a coach on the King’s highway between Totteridge and Hertfordshire wearing a crape over his face and holding a pistol. From the female occupant he stole a gold watch, with a diamond on the pendant, and a red leather purse containing one guinea and two shillings.

At his trial at the Old Bailey on 31st October 1792, the victim described the incident: “I gave him a red leather purse which had a guinea and 2 shillings in it; seeing him stop after that, I asked him what he wanted; he said give me your watch; he desired me not to be frightened, and put the pistol in his pocket when I desired him; I was very much alarmed, but he certainly behaved well.”
He was apprehended in Drury Lane on the 18th, and found to possess the crape, powder and ball. The coachman had recognized him from a previous meeting in a bar where Radley had worn a distinctive coat with a mended tear. This coat was produced as evidence at his trial. His mistress, Mary Ann Fowles, was found in possession of the purse and had tried to pawn the diamond. At Radley’s trial, she claimed she found the diamond and denied knowing Radley, however a witness claimed she had been living with Radley for 9 months.
Mary Ann Fowles was charged with ‘wilful and corrupt perjury’ and at a later trial on December 12th, witnesses claimed when she had been asked how she had come in possession of a leather purse, she had pointed out Radley. She denied the claim and said she had been confused when questioned. However, she was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation
Thomas Radley was found guilty and sentenced to death, although on 26th December 1792, the sentence was commuted to transportation for the term of his natural life, on 1st January 1793. He was sent to the ‘Prudentia’ hulk moored at Woolwich to wait for a passage to NSW, and was assigned to the ‘Surprise’ for the voyage to NSW with Mary Ann Fowles.
Left England on 2nd May 1794.
Ship:- the ‘Surprise’ sailed with 23 male and 60 female convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage, Mary Ann Fowles was also a convict on board.
Arrived on 25th October 1794.

Mary Ann and her ‘husband’ were involved in the establishment of a convict theatre in 1796 by John Sidaway. Radley had shares in the theatre and Fowles was listed, as ‘Mrs Radley’, as one of the actresses on several Playbills that still exist, between 1796 and 1800, although there is evidence the theatre continued until about 1804.
Mary appeared to have had a temper and was indicted in at least two court cases for violence against other persons.

Radley and Mary Ann Fowles, described as his wife, appeared in the Sydney Magistrates Court on 18th November 1799. George Hughes appeared and stated that he had been grossly assaulted and ill-treated by Thomas Radley and Anne, otherwise Mary Ann Fowles (his wife)- whereupon the accused parties were committed for Trial- but afterwards produced Bail for their appearance at the next Criminal Court.
Anne Radley otherwise Mary Ann Fowles was also charged with “threatening and otherwise putting the Complainant, Mary Barnes, in fear.”
Bail was produced for Mary Ann Radley to keep the peace towards Barnes and all His Majesty’s Liege Subjects. The following month the Complainant George Hughes dropped the charges.

In the 1802 Muster Thomas Radley and Mary Ann Fowles were listed together. She had served her time. Thomas received a Conditional Pardon on 4th June 1800.

Thomas Radley died in 1803 aged only 37 years.

Phil Hands on 6th July, 2017 wrote:

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17921031-34

480. THOMAS RADLEY was indicted for feloniously assaulting, on the king’s highway, Mary Ann, the wife of George Thellusson , Esq. and putting her in fear, and feloniously taking from her person, and against her will, a gold enamelled watch, with a diamond on the pendant, value 30 l. a leather purse, value one penny, and one guinea and two shillings, the property of George Thellusson , Esq .
(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)
I was going from my own house at Totteridge , into Hertfordshire; I did not see the highwayman till he came close to the carriage; he had a crape over his face, and a pistol in his hand; I desired him to take away his pistol, he did so; he asked for my money, I told him I had very little; I said I had a watch; he said I do not want that; I gave him a red leather purse which had a guinea and two shillings in it; seeing him stop after that, I asked him what he wanted; he said give me your watch; he desired me not to be frightened, and put the pistol in his pocket when I desired him; I was very much alarmed, but he certainly behaved very well.
I am coachman to Mr. Thellusson; I was driving the carriage; I had met the man at the bar about ten minutes before he stopt the carriage, then he came up and called to me to stop; I thought he wanted to pass me; I knew him to be the man I had seen before; I observed him very particularly when he came up; he put a crape over his face; I had observed his face and person; he had a light-coloured great coat on; there was a tear in his great coat, which had been mended.
I am an officer of Bow-street; I apprehended the prisoner on the 18th of September, in Drury Lane; I found this crape on him; his hair was loose; Mr. Hughes, took some duplicates, and powder and ball from him.
I took this purse from Mary Ann Fowles .
I am a pawnbroker; on Monday the 17th of September, Mary Ann Fowles brought me a brilliant to sell; I asked her where she got it, she said she found it in Broad St. Giles’s; I went to Bow-street, and an officer came and secured her.
I offered a brilliant to sale to Mr. Heather; I found that diamond in Broad St. Giles’s; I received a red leather pocket book from a gentleman in Ireland; I left Ireland about a year and a half ago. (The pocket book produced). I know nothing of this; it is not mine; I had not that purse of the prisoner at the bar; I never said at the office that I had the diamond of the prisoner at the bar. (The prisoner’s great coat produced).
Mrs. Thelluson. This purse I verily believe to be mine; I bought it in the city.
Prisoner. I leave it to my counsel.
Radley lodged in my house nine months; I understood him to be a hackney writer ; during that time Fowles lived with him.
I am a taylor; the prisoner lodged upwards of five months with me, and behaved exceedingly honest.
I always thought him a good character.
Two other witnesses gave him a good character.
GUILTY, Death .
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Lord KENYON.
Recommended to mercy by Mr. Thellusson .
I was present when Mary Ann Fowles was examined; and she said she had the purse from that fellow, and the magistrate told her to point him out, and she touched him.
Mary Ann Fowles was indicted to take her trial for perjury.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 6th July, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, date of birth: 1766 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1803 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

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