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John Rose

John Rose, one of 200 convicts transported on the Somersetshire, March 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Rose
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1791
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1st April, 1855
Age: 64 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 7 years

Crime: Stealing calico
Convicted at: Wilts. Assizes
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Somersetshire
Departure date: March, 1814
Arrival date: 16th October, 1814
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 200 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 161 (82)
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

Robyn Blackwood on 30th October, 2015 wrote:

John married Harriet Hobbs (born colony). Harriet was daughter of Robert Hobbs convict “Active”/1791 and Bridget Heslin convict “Sugarcane”/1793. Google “Hobbs Millions” for lots of sources. John and Harriet’s daughter Ann Rose married another convict John Monaghan “Roslyn Castle”/1833… John and Harriet lived in the Pitt Town District and John is buried in Saint James Church of England Cemetery, Pitt Town.

Phil Hands on 20th July, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 27th October 1790 for the theft of 760 yards of Calico, sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
Left England on 27th March 1791.
Ship:- the ‘Active’ sailed with 175 male convicts on board of which 21 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 26th September 1791.

Nothing much is known of Robert’s early life other than his mother’s name was Mary and his father was Joseph Hobbs, who may possibly have also been a weaver and that his father’s (and Robert’s grandfather’s) name was also Joseph Hobbs from Tottenham, Middlesex, England.
He was baptized on the 17th July 1763 at St. Batolph’s Bishopgate, Middlesex, England.
There is no other record until the following entry (from information given by Marie Tattam): “Court minutes of the Weavers’ Company (Guildhall Library MS 4655/17 pt 2, to 296). 1 June 1778 “Robert Hobbs son of Joseph Hobbs of Petticoat Lane, Whitechapel Cordwainer is bound Apprentice for 7 years to Thomas Christmas, Citizen ; Weaver of London living in New Nichol Street Bethnal Green. No Cons (i.e. no premium was paid)”. Robert would have been 15 years old when or if he finished his apprenticeship, however no record of freedom could be found in the minutes 1785-6.
His first criminal record is found in November 1788, he was indicted along with Solomon Bocherah at the Old Bailey, London for “burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of J. Pinkinton about the hour of seven in the night on the x No vember last, and burglariously stealing one piece of velvet containing 39 yards, value 81.4s his property”. The evidence of Robert having taken part in the robbery was too vague and he was found “not guilty”, however he was detained as following the robbery, when the prisoner Bocherah was being taken away by constables along the Houndsditch area, in a rescue attempt, an attack was made on the coach with sticks and stones and finally the track was cut so that it was impossible for the coach to proceed. Bocherah nevertheless was still held in custody, and although one witness claimed Hobbs was part of the rescue team, the evidence must have again been too flimsy as there is no further record of punishment. Solomon Bocherah was not so fortunate as he was found “guilty” of the robbery and sentenced to death.
On the 8th July 1789 Robert Hobbs was in trouble again when he was indicted on a misdemeanor charge at the Old Bailey again, for having obtained three kits of salmon by false pretences. This time he was found “guilty” and imprisoned for one month and sentenced also to be whipped. There is no actual transcription of this trial in the Old Bailey records so who brought the charges and who the witnesses were are not known.
He is before the jury at the Old Bailey for “stealing on the 20th September 1790 thirty eight pieces of calico, containing 760 yards, value ¹60 the property of Thomas Martin”. This trial changed Robert’s life forever resulting in his transportation to Australia.

There is no record of what condition Robert Hobbs was in after the journey, however just three & a half months after his arrival on the 9th January 1792, he was tried for stealing a pair of shoes and a hat belonging to Edward Conroy and Thomas Regan. Having admitted that he was guilty, he begged for mercy but received 150 lashes. He must have been desperate for shoes as it is well documented that there was a shortage of shoes in the colony and the known temperature in January meant that he was desperate for a hat.

Sometime in 1793 he joined the NSW Corps 102nd Regiment and served ten years, more than likely in the Hawkesbury region. He would have received a pardon by serving in the military and was allowed to choose land to farm on the Hawkesbury where he is found renting property in 1800 and farming (as well as carrying out his military duties that would have mainly been to keep law and order in the community). He then received his official grant of 60 acres on leaving the Corp in 1803.

The Muster of 1802 shows Robert Hobbs of the “Active”, free , and was shown as having 25 acres, 20 cleared, 6.5 acres under wheat & maize, 1 hog and one person “off: the Government Stores The first formal grant to Robert, and the site of the subsequent home for he and Bridget and their growing family was “Grant No. 1139 of the 20th August 1803” granted by Governor Phillip King - a grant of sixty acres in the district of Mulgrave Place. Rent 2 shillings per year commencing after 5 years. It was somewhere near the Hawkesbury Lagoon and (according to the book “Early Days of Windsor” by James Steele) when Governor Macquarie laid out five towns in the Hawkesbury area in 1810, he had to resume portion of Robert’s grant for the Town of Pitt Town. Robert must have had a lean year in 1804, as a notice in the Sydney Gazette of 20th January, 1805 advises that the Provost Marshall will sell by Public Auction the effects of various persons unless the Claims due from them are settled promptly. There were 36 settlers listed from Parramatta and along the Hawkesbury, and Robert Hobbs was one of them.

The 1806 Muster shows Robert Hobbs, settler, at the Lagoon on 60 acres . In this same year Robert Hobbs was among 244 settlers of the Hawkesbury who sent an address to Governor Bligh. In January 1807 his signature appears on correspondence to the Rev. Samuel Marsden. Amongst the crosses of so many other settlers it is noted that Robert can sign his name in a manner of someone who is used to writing.In June 1809 it is recorded that Robert obtained his wheat seed from HM Stores. The region suffered a major flood that same year in August where the river rose 48 feet and 8 lives were lost, so Robert probably lost his crop. Note: The Muster of 1811 lists Robert Hobbs with Bridget Eslin with Bridget receiving her Certificate of Freedom in September that same year. In the Muster of 1814 the family is recorded as Robert Hobbs (invalid on Government Stores), Bridget Eslin (wife), Robert Jnr, Elizabeth Hobbs (single) and five other children independent of Government Stores. There is also a John Randall, convict to Robert Hobbs living with them.
The couple did not marry until 1815 and as Bridget was a Catholic it is believed that she preferred to wait until someone of the Catholic faith was available to perform the service although strangely enough the couple were married in St. Matthews Church of England Windsor. Other theories for the marriage occurring when it did are that Governor Macquarie disapproved of couples co-habiting and as Robert was after a government position as district constable of Pitt Town, would need to be married OR was it brother John Will and his term begotten heirs that made up their mind. Mary had been christened in the Church of England but all the other children waited until the Roman Catholic Rev. J. Therry arrived in 1820 after which the other children were baptised Catholic. This fact certainly divided the family and it is evident in Robert’s will where he refers to his Roman Catholic children and his Protestant children.

In 1816 Robert Hobbs was District Constable , Pound Keeper and farmer at Pitt Town, NSW and in that same year 600 acres was granted by (prior to survey) to Robert Hobbs and later conveyed to his son Robert, being Portion 18 in the Parish of MacDonald County of Cumberland. Robert Hobbs Snr also donated £1.0.0 to support the of the noble sufferers under the gallant Duke of Wellington following the Battle of Waterloo - this money was to be transported to England per Emu
In 1818 Robert Snr & Jnr are listed, as landholders in the district and were entitled to run their stock on the common. In 1820 Robert was recorded as holding 30 acres and of leasing 9 acres to J. Rose (his son in law) and in that same year he was called to attend the Commission of Inquiry held at Government House, Windsor on the 4th December 1820. In 1821 Robert Snr was listed as a householder with a right to the Common and owning 10 acres of forestland, 20 acres of low land, 75 cows, 2 horses, 13 pigs, 130 sheep and 5 children. In 1824 Robert petitioned Governor Brisbane for an additional grant of land . The Magistrates at Windsor forwarded his application on to the Governor with the following notation:- “Petitioner is an old inhabitant, has reared his family to industry, is well known to the Windsor Bench, pays due attention to his farm, and we beg leave to recommend him to the favourable consideration of the Governor”.
In the 1825 Muster Robert and Bridget Esling are listed but no other information. At the time of the 1828 Census he farmed seven acres, cleared & cultivated at Pitt Town and owned 1 horse and 45 cattle. Two children were still living with him, Edward (24) and Sarah (13). His son Robert and his family are listed as farming 4 acres and living in Pitt Town with John (18) labourer for John McDonald and James a sawyer with John Grono. Note: Robert’s original 60 acre grant lies on the Pitt Town Road at Pitt Town and may be seen in a similar state as it presumably was almost 200 years ago. It is situated approximately between the end of Schofield Road and Horton’s Bridge. Part of the original grant was sold off to George Hall (now portion 54) and part to John McDonald (now portion 55). The historic house still standing was built by John McDonald c.1820 on the land adjoining the original grant to Robert Hobbs, and may be easily seen from Pitt Town Road. On the 12th July 1830 Robert sold land to Mr. David Browne for £20.5.0.

Robert died 23 February 1839 and was buried on the 25th in the C/E Cemetery at Pitt Town with Bridget although the well-preserved headstone only records Robert’s death. His Headstone reads “My folly’s past. Pray God forgive Thy pardon and Thy grace I do implore Pity me a sinner Lord who knocks at Mercy door”. A letter dated December 22 1845 to Mr. Chambers, solicitor of East Maitland authorises Elizabeth Turner (Hobbs) to employ Mr. Chambers to compel William Jones, Blacksmiths & Executor of Robert’s Will to present the Will to the Judges of the Supreme Court and signed by Robert Hobbs Jnr., Joseph Hobbs Sarah Hobbs (her mark) and Mary Hobbs (her mark). Witnessed by Frederick Williams, District Constable of Pitt Town NSW.

Phil Hands on 20th July, 2017 wrote:

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17901027-49

737. ROBERT HOBBS was indicted for stealing, on the 20th of September , thirty-eight pieces of callico, containing 760 yards, value 60 l. the property of Thomas Martin .
I am porter to Mr. Martin; he is a wholesale linen-draper ; on the 20th of September, between six and seven in the evening, at the back of the Royal Exchange , at the pitching-block, I had pitched my load, and was taking it up again, and a man came behind me, and pulled it off, and ran away; I went to run after him, and another catched me hold by the arm, and enquired the way for the Swan with Two Necks; I thought of my load; I turned round, and saw it turning into Sweeting’s-alley; a ticket porter followed him, and I ran through the Change to meet him; I got sight of him in Cornhill, and as he went into Cooper’s-court, he dropt it; I ran into the court, and caught hold of the prisoner; I did not see him drop it; the ticket porter stood by the load, and I brought the prisoner to the Compter; the load was carried into Mr. Bates’s, the stationer’s, while I held the prisoner; I took it to Guildhall; my master has had the load ever since it was at Guildhall; there were thirty-eight pieces of callico in the bundle; I put them in myself; while I had hold of the prisoner, two men tried to get him away.
Mr. Knapp, Prisoner’s Counsel. Was it perfectly light when you got to the pitching-block? - Yes.
You know nothing of the man who pulled the load off? - I should know him if I saw him again.
What did the man say, who asked the way to the Swan with Two Necks? - He stuttered a great deal; I gave him no answer, for I was up to it, and I ran after my load.
From the time you saw him at Sweeting’s-alley, how long was it till you saw him in Cornhill? - Not more than half a minute.
You did not see the load drop? - I never saw his face till I took him.
I am a ticket-porter; I was standing by the Change; at the bottom of Sweeting’s-alley; I saw a man with a load passing by me, he rather ran; I thought it was a robbery; I saw Mr. Martin’s porter; he said, he had lost his bundle; I said, follow; I desired him to turn to the right; I ran into Cornhill; the prisoner was just turning into Cooper’s-court; I called to the porter, and he came up; he dropped the load at my feet: it was immediately taken to Mr. Bates’s, the stationer’s: the prisoner was committed: I lost sight of him for a little time: I am sure he is the man: I saw his face as he passed by me.
I am the street-keeper of Cornhill; I took custody of the prisoner; the bundle was left at Mr. Bates’s, from the Monday till the Wednesday.
(The bundle produced and deposed to.)
I saw the bundle at Guildhall; it was sealed.
Mr. Knapp. You have many pieces of the same quality? - Yes.
Have not you a great many with the same mark? - None, Sir.
You never saw them after you sold them, till you saw them at Guildhall? - No, I did not.
Prisoner. I leave it to my counsel.
Transported for seven years .

Denis Pember on 12th October, 2017 wrote:





Convict Changes History

Robyn Blackwood on 30th October, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1791 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1st April, 1855 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

Phil Hands on 20th July, 2017 made the following changes:


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