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William Rayner

William Rayner, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Rayner
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 14th February, 1767
Occupation: Baker
Date of Death: 14th December, 1850
Age: 83 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize
Departure date: December, 1789
Arrival date: 26th June, 1790
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 1071 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 53 (28) Craig James Smee 'Births and Baptisms Marriages and Defacto Relationships Deaths and Burials New South Wales 1788-1830'
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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Community Contributions

D Wong on 15th March, 2015 wrote:

Old Bailey: This is a shortened version of the trial, the full version may be read at the Old Bailey online:

WILLIAM DAVIS, WILLIAM RAYNER, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 25th October 1786.

Reference Number: t17861025-10
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Death

WILLIAM DAVIS and WILLIAM RAYNER were indicted for feloniously assaulting Thomas Rutt on the King’s highway, on the 13th of October , and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will, a metal watch, with a tortoise-shell case; value 30 s. a stone seal set in metal, value 2 d. a silk watch string, value 1 d. and four halfpence, value 2 d. his property .

I leave it to my counsel.
What is your way of life? - I am an apprentice to an enameller.
How old are you? - Going on nineteen.
What is the name of that enameller? - He is here my Lord.
I live in Brook-street, Holborn; the tall prisoner was my apprentice, his name is Andrew Thompson , he has been my apprentice these three years; he has four years to serve; I believe he may be about nineteen; the lad has been perfectly honest to me, as far as ever I knew, he might have taken my gold watch which cost me twenty-five guineas; he was honest and industrious, that has been his character down to this time; I did not in the least suspect he went after any of these kind of courses.

I leave it to my counsel.
I have know Rayner’s father many years, I never heard any thing disrepectful of the family before.
I live in Shoreditch; I am a shoe-maker; have known him ever since he was born, which was at the next door to me; he was brought up in the Friendly Society School, and by them apprenticed out to a baker, where he had served part of his time; his master could not keep him on, and since that he has lived in the capacity of under journeyman in several places, and when he has been near my neighbourhood he has frequently been at my house daily for months together, and I never had any cause to suspect him; he is almost twenty; he always behaved himself sober, honest, and quiet, and free from company; I used to trust him in my house, the same as my own son; the last twelve months I do not know so much of him; Mr. Goodman is a baker, with whom this young man lived some months, and I believe with an unblemished character; Mr. Goodman is busy, and could not come.

WILLIAM DAVIS , WILLIAM RAYNER ,Guilty , Death .They were humbly recommended to mercy by the Prosecutor and Jury, on account of their youth.

William Rayner’s father was a Quaker. His mother was Mary Taylor.
William was apprenticed to a baker in Soho, Samuel SELFE, also a Quaker

August 1790 - Sent to Norfolk Island from Sydney and had a relationship with Elizabeth Goldsmith.  They had 2 children, William in 1792 and George 15/3/1794-12/10/1840 died at Hobart.

1796 – William’s relationship with Elizabeth broke down and she began living with Robert Jones who had occupied neighbouring farms on the slopes of Mount Pitt on the north side of Norfolk island.
October 1796 - Returned to Sydney. The children remained with his wife
1800 - Employed by Captain Thomas ROWLEY of the NSW Corps
23 December 1801 - Joined the NSW Corps after obtaining a Conditional Pardon

From the Muster of the N.S.W. Corps 1808: Aged 40 years and seven months; height 5’5”, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, small visage and having the trade of baker.

1809 - Married Susannah CHAPMAN in Newcastle
1810 - William was still a Private in the NSW Corps and transferred to the 73rd Regiment when the Corps was recalled to England
June 1810 - Listed as a Lance-Corporal based at Newcastle. He was rewarded with a Cedar log for help in capturing runaway convicts
1814 - William and his family moved to Hobart in Van Diemens Land. William worked as a bread baker and received a grant of 80 acres at New Norfolk.

William held various positions in Hobart, including that of District Constable for the South District, appointed on 21st August, 1819 and was a Storekeeper, Superintendent of the Government Mill and Inspector of Stock. His son William Jun. also held various positions within the same period.
William was the Master of a bakery in Murray Street whilst he was a Police Officer and was brought before the Superintendant of Police on 17th November, 1821 for the sale of underweight bread. His servant John Morris, was running the business but as the licensee, Rayner was answerable and fined the sum of £5.1s.3d., fined a further £2 for using improper weights in the bakehouse. Both William Sen. and Jnr. owned land including a house in Barrack St, one in Collins St, one in Argyle St, and 60 acres at New Norfolk in the Hobart Town District.

14/12/1850: William Rayner died in Hobart Town aged 83 and owned the house in Barrack St only on his death. His widow continued to live there until her death in March, 1865.

iain Frazier on 3rd January, 2020 wrote:

William (Raynor) arrived in Sydney on SCARBOROUGH.
William produced 3children with his wife/partner Elizabeth (Goldsmith) from LADY JULIANA, whom he married on Norfolk Island in 1791:
Lydia (Rayner) was born in 1791.
William (Rayner) was born on Norfolk Island in 1792, baptised Norfolk Island age11 in 1804.  He died in 1862 age70! at Norfolk Island or Hobart.
George (Rayner) was born on Norfolk Island in 1794or5, baptised Norfolk Island age9 in 1804.  He died in 1840 age46 at Norfolk Island or Hobart.

With his wife Susannah (Chapman) from HMS GLATTON he produced 9children (4of here):
Elizabeth (Rayner) was born in 1810.  She died in 1874 age64.
Sarah (Rayner) was born in 1814.  She died in 1900 age86.
Isabella (Rayner) was born in 1817.  She died in 1872 age54.
Robert (Rayner) was born in 1820.

Elizabeth (Goldsmith) has an entry on this Website.
Susannah (Chapman) has aN entry on this Website.

iain Frazier on 3rd January, 2020 wrote:

William (Raynor) convict from SCARBOROUGH 1790 married Elizabeth (Goldsmith) convict from LADY JULIANA 1790 at Norfolk Island when he was age24 and had 3children.
When he married Susannah (Chapman) in NSW in 1809 he was age42, indicatinng his birth date as 1867?

Another William (Raynor) arrived on WILLIAM & ANNE in 1791 and should not be confused.

Maureen Withey on 9th May, 2020 wrote:

National Archives. HO 47/9/21 1789 July 21
Letter from James Adair enclosing a list of capital respites, in Newgate on 24 June, to whom no pardon has yet been granted, and on which his recommendations are noted against each name. Adair mentions that he is at a loss as to what to suggest for James Carse, convicted of murder, but periodically insane.
List of capital convicts in Newgate, 24 June 1789.
October Sessions, 1786
2. William Davies and William Rayner, for a highway robbery on Thomas Rutt. Recommendation: transportation for life.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 15th March, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 14th February, 1767 (prev. 0000), date of death: 14th December, 1850 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

iain Frazier on 3rd January, 2020 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 53 (28) Craig James Smee 'Births and Baptisms Marriages and Defacto Relationships Deaths and Burials New South Wales 1788-1830' (prev. Australian Joint

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