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George Richards

George Richards, one of 401 convicts transported on the Glatton, September 1802

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: George Richards
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: Soldier
Date of Death: 1st February, 1831
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Stealing a sheep
Convicted at: Essex Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Glatton
Departure date: September, 1802
Arrival date: 11th March, 1803
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 401 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 318
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

Patricia McGufficke on 26th September, 2018 wrote:

George arrived in the colony of New South Wales as a convict on 11 March 1803 per HMS “Glatton”.  He was a former soldier, 6’ 1/2” tall, with a fair to pale complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes and had been sentenced to life imprisonment at his trial in the Chelmsford Assizes, Essex on 22 July 1801 (Fiche 614-744, Convict arrivals 1788-1842 - 115-631-392) (PRO N3011 AO 4286 Ref. 4916).  Chelmsford is in the County of Essex, situated 29 miles from Greater London.  George may have been a member of the 2nd Battalion Derbyshire Regiment of Militia who had returned to England from France in March 1801.  There were disturbances by the military in Colchester at the beginning of 1801 due to lack of food and appalling conditions, and George and his accomplices, both fellow soldiers, were arrested for sheep stealing. 

The report in the London Times on 30 July 1801 of their indictment reads: 

“Richard Taylor, George Richards, and James Naylor, soldiers, were indicted for having, with others, on the 4th of March last, feloniously stolen and carried away from out of a field, six sheep, the property of Benjamin Bloomfield.
The Prosecutor stated his having lost six sheep, and having observed, in the field from which they were stolen, the traces of six men, and the heads and skins of the sheep in a ditch.
Richard Packer, an accomplice, was admitted evidence from the Crown.  He said, that himself, a soldier since dead, another soldier not in custody, and the three prisoners, went to Farmer Bloomfield’s field in the night, hunted six sheep with some difficulty into a ditch, and there slaughtered them.  They each put a sheep into a sack, and carried them off.  The prisoners, were of course found—Guilty.

The presiding judge, Lord Kenyon observed, “that the living conditions of the soldiers quartered at Colchester were really dreadful to think of.”  Colchester has been an important military garrison since the Roman era and the Garrison there played an eminent role during the Napoleonic Wars. The troops were originally billeted in local inns and houses. After petitioning from the borough council, new infantry barracks were built in 1794. By 1800 additional infantry, artillery, and cavalry barracks had been built in the area bounded by Barrack Street to the north, Wimpole Road to the west, and Port Lane to the east. In 1805 the barracks were home to 7,000 officers and men. (Wikepedia 2012).

At the conclusion of the Assizes after passing sentence, Lord Kenyon left town, having previously respited several of the capital convicts.  The paper reported “We understand, that with the exception of a very few, the soldiers were left execution”.

George was indeed lucky to have been spared. From 1800-1820, capital offences in England for which a death sentence, transportation, or imprisonment were often the result included:  murder, piracy, forgery of money or legal documents, shooting with intent to kill, burglary, robbery, returning from transportation before expiry of sentence, smuggling with violence, robbery over the value of 5 Pounds (later made 15 Pounds), private stealing in a shop to a value of 5 Pounds or in a dwelling to the value of 40 shillings, rape and forcible abduction, impersonating pensioners, blackmail through anonymous letters, picking pockets, stabbing and maiming, stealing cattle, horses or sheep, arson, framebreaking, threatening letters, riot, pulling down houses or pubs or shops, shooting at a revenue officer, destroying turnpikes or cloth in the loom, malicious maiming or killing of cattle, and cutting down trees in an avenue. 

Records show that George Richards, aged 22, and his partners in crime, Richard Taylor (31) and James Naylor (23) were among 20 prisoners from Essex received onto the Prison hulk Perseus on 27 August 1801 and was on board the hulk Captivity moored at Portsmouth on 17 Jan 1802. George was transferred to the hulk Laurel and later sent on board the Glatton on 8 September 1802 before it sailed for NSW. Richard Taylor died on 11 Oct 1801.

Between 1787-1800 one man died out of every 8.57 convicts embarked and one women out of every 28.2 female prisoners.  All convict ships were armed.  The Glatton had fought at the Battle of Copenhagen, under the command of Captain William Bligh, before becoming a convict ship.  In 1801 the then Home Secretary, Lord Pelham, proposed that naval vessels alone should be employed as convict transports, and that they would be despatched, not at the height of the inclement winter season, but regularly twice a year, at the latter end of May and at the beginning of September.  After some delay, the suggestion was adopted, and in 1802 HMS Glatton and in 1803 HMS Calcutta sailed with convicts.  Although successful, the experiment was not repeated.  The necessities of war, which prevented the detachment of warships on the long round voyage to Australia, and the natural repugnance of naval officers to being employed on such a service, compelled its abandonment.  Only nine naval ships were used to transport convicts to Australia - HMS Guardian 1789, HMS Gorgon 1791, HMS Calcutta 1803, HMS Glatton 1803, HMS Coromandel 1820, HMS Dromesdary 1820, HMS Buffalo 1833, HMS Tortoise 1842 and HMS Anson 1844.  Some went to NSW others to Van Diemen’s Land.  HMS Glatton and HMS Calcutta were the only two classified as ‘Royal Naval’ ships.

The following letter was sent by Lord Pelham to the Treasury in 1802:

“My Lords, Whitehall, 12th May, 1802
  It being judged expedient to send forthwith from this country four hundred convicts to New South Wales (viz’t, 270 male, and 130 female), I am to desire that your Lordships will be pleased to cause the necessary directions to be given to the Victualling Board for providing a sufficient and proper quantity of provisions for their subsistence during the voyage, and salted beef or pork only for nine months for them after their arrival at New South Wales.  I am also to desire that your Lordships will cause the necessary directions to be given for providing the 270 male convicts the particulars of clothing as undermentioned, to be consigned to the Governor for the use of such convicts on their arrival at that settlement, and that the said provisions and clothing may be pout on board His Majesty’s ship Glatton, which is now fitting at Sheerness for the conveyance of those convicts.  It being also intended to allow about forty persons to embark on board the said ship who are going as settlers to that colony, I am to desire that directions may be given for providing the usual quantity of provisions for such number during their voyage thither.”

The Glatton underwent repairs and fitting out for the voyage at Chatham Dockyard from April-May 1802.  Captain Nathaniel Portlock was originally appointed to command HMS Glatton on the voyage but resigned the command on 18 June 1802 due to an old injury.  Captain James Colnett accepted the commission and proceeded immediately to Chatham.

The Glatton started her voyage at Chatham on 17 July 1802, sailed down the river and along the coast to Portsmouth.  Loading of male convicts from the Hulk Stanislaus started at Woolwich the week of 11 August 1802, and George Richards went on board the Glatton in Portsmouth, on 8 September.  Only one hulk held women prisoners, the Dunkirk which moored at Plymouth.  Most of the women had to come from gaols all over England and Wales.  121 female convicts were boarded at Chatham the week of 10 August 1802.  HMS Glatton finally set sail on 23 September 1802 taking 169 days going by way of Madeira and Rio to reach Sydney.  It was a 56 gun ship armed “en flute” with only 18 guns on her upper deck. The master was Captain James Colnett, R.N. who was an experienced sailor, having sailed previously with Captain James Cook. 
  Shortly after arriving in Sydney, George began living with Grace Mansell, who had also arrived on the Glatton in 1803.  Grace had been sentenced at the Devon Assizes on 16 March 1801 to 7 years and boarded the Glatton with the other female convicts the week of 10 August 1802. 
  Their first child, Mary Ann, was born in May 1804 and christened at St Philips Church of England, Sydney in August 1804.
  George received his Ticket of Leave on August 3, 1810 which noted he was to remain in the District of Sydney.
  The 1814 Muster of the Colony shows Grace Mansell, 4 children, single, and George Richards, Ticket of Leave, labourer, “all off stores”. 
To His Excellency Governor Macquarie.
    The humble petition of GEORGE RICHARDS dutifully states -
    That petitioner came to this colony on the ship “Glatton” in 1803 under sentence of transportation for life, having been tried at Chelmsford in 1801, and during which long period of 17 yrs. residence here his conduct has never been called in question.
    That petitioner has held a Ticket of Leave for this 13 years past, being first indulged therewith by the late Governor King, and which indulgence His Excellency on assuming this government was pleased to continue.
    Your petitioner therefore humbly trusts Your Excellency will take with favourable considerations the above circumstances and be generously pleased to grant him an extention of the Royal ....
    The petitioner I believe to be an industrious, honest and sober man.
                                                (Signed)  William Cowper.  Sydney, 6th December 1819. 
The Rev. William Cowper was the first minister of St Phillip’s, Church Hill, which opened for worship in 1809.

On 17 February 1821, George received a license to sell “Beer, Ale and Porter only”, his address being George Street, Sydney (Pubs & Publicans in the County of Cumberland, NSW, to 1850).

The 1822 Census shows George Richards, Conditional Pardon, Glatton, Master’s Name: Collins, Life, and Grace Mansell, Free by Servitude, 7 years, his wife, living in George Street, Sydney with sons George and Thomas.  George Jr was apprenticed to Arthur Collins who arrived per the Marquis of Cornwallis, shown in the 1822 Census as employed by Mr Edward Redman in Sydney as a servant.  Collins arrived in 1796 and was working for himself as a stock keeper in 1811.  He received his Ticket of Leave in 1817 and was still working for Redman in 1825.
  George may have run a public house.  He and his eldest son, William, also sold hops from a shop in George Street at Brickfield Hill.  An advertisement in the Sydney Gazette 1 April 1824 read:  “To be Sold, a quantity of excellent Hops between 13 or 14 hundred weight, of this year’s produce, the growth of Australia.  They are of a superior quality, and allowed to be so by the best judges of that article.  Will be sold, for the accommodation of purchasers, in one or more bags, or pockets.  Particulars may be known, on application to George Richards, Sign of the Black Horse, Brickfields, Sydney; where a Sample will be produced”.

The General Muster List of NSW, 1823, 24 and 25, lists George Richards, Conditional Pardon, Housekeeper, living at Brickfields.  Living with him were sons, George, William (18) and Thomas (16).  Grace Mansell was listed as a Housekeeper, living in Sydney.

  George married Grace Mansfield, mother of his four children, in St Philip’s Church of England, Church Hill, on 30 October 1826.  Both had been married in England prior to their transportation, and this may have been the reason they did not marry sooner.  All four children were born in Sydney, not at Botany Bay as another researcher has suggested.
  Entry # 50 in St Philip’s Register reads:  George Richards of this parish, Dealer, a widower, and Grace Mansfield of this Parish, a widow, were married in this Church by banns this Thirtieth day of October in the year 1826. (Signed) By me William Cowper, Chaplain. 
This Marriage was solemnized between us George Richards (his x mark) and Grace Mansfield (her x mark)  In the Presence of John Knocke of Sydney and Margaret Knocke of Sydney (her x mark).
  Fourteen days later, 55 years old Grace was buried by William Cowper (on 13 November 1826). 
  The 1828 Census lists George as a shopkeeper in George Street, Sydney living with sons George Jr and William.  With them were a female servant, Mary Perry, aged 31 who was free by servitude, and Charlotte Lamb aged 20, who had arrived free in 1814.  Youngest son, Thomas, was not living with them.
  When he applied for permission to marry Catherine Magee in 1828, George gave his age as 48.  He was actually 58 years old and Catherine was 31 years old, and still under bond.  She had arrived on the “Brothers” in 1827.  The application was later withdrawn.  In 1828, Catherine, age given as 30, was employed by Joseph Clayton in Sydney.

George started disposing of his land in February 1828.  In January 1829, the house and premises together with all that parcel of land thereto belonging situate in and being the corner of Pitt Street and Goulburn Street in the Town of Sydney (North East), the Goulburn Street line being 97’, the Pitt Street line being 65’ adjoining Michael Napthaly’s, the side line of which is 89’ and on back part of premises being eastward and bounded by Dickens’s premises 55’ and known by the mark or number.  Two hundred and ten pounds sterling in hand paid by Thomas Weedon and finalised on 2 February 1831, the day after George’s death.
  George was living at Botany Bay when he died aged 61 years and was buried 1 February 1831 by Rev. Richard Hill, minister of the Parish of St James in the County of Cumberland.  George’s profession was shown as labourer on his burial records. 
  Just 2 months after his death, his sons, Thomas, George and William Richards, sold the balance of George’s land.  The transaction is dated 22nd and 23rd April 1831 and is recorded as a Lease and Release between Thomas Richards, George Richards and William Richards to Thomas Waters (No. 412, Book D, Memorial).

Convict Changes History

Patricia McGufficke on 26th September, 2018 made the following changes:

date of death: 1st February, 1831 (prev. 0000), occupation, crime

Iris Dunne on 26th September, 2018 made the following changes:

gender: m

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