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John Shales

John Shales, one of 190 convicts transported on the Guildford, 22 March 1827

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Shales
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1793
Occupation: Carpenter
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 51 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Returning from transportation
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Guildford
Departure date: 22nd March, 1827
Arrival date: 25th July, 1827
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 192 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 115 (59)
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

Penny-Lyn Beale on 23rd December, 2020 wrote:

New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842
Guildford - 1827
Name; John Shales. Age; 34.
No; 82.
Read or write. Married - no children
Native County; North Yamouth ??
Trade; Carpenter
Offence; Returning
Height; 5 ft.
Complexion; Ruddy
Hair; Brown
Eyes; Hazel
Date of Certificate; 36/186. CP No; 48/1469
Additional Remarks; CAME formally in the Surry 1 escaped in the Harvey

Maureen Withey on 11th January, 2021 wrote:

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 11 January 2021), September 1826, trial of JOHN SHALES (t18260914-17).
JOHN SHALES, Miscellaneous > returning from transportation, 14th September 1826.

Second London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

1328. JOHN SHALES was indicted for that he, at the General Session of the Delivery of the Gaol of the County of Norfolk, holden at the Castle of Norwich, on the 17th of August, in the 53d year of his late Majesty’s reign, was in due form of law, tried and convicted of a burglary in the dwelling-house of Anthony Ayres , and stealing his property, and was thereupon ordered and adjudged to be hanged, and was afterwards pardoned upon condition of being transported beyond the seas for the term of his natural life, and afterwards, (to wit), on the 3d of July , in the 7th year of his present Majesty’s reign, feloniously was at large, without lawful cause, within his Majesty’s dominious, (to wit) at St. Andrew, Holborn , before the expiration of the term for which he had been so ordered to be transported , against the stature.

SECOND COUNT, the same, only not setting out the indictment of which he had been convicted.

MR. ADOLPHUS conducted the prosecution

Mr. JOHN STAFFORD . I produce a certified copy of an abstract of the record of the conviction of John Shales, at Norwich; I received it from Mr. H. Edgell, clerk of Assize on the Norfolk circuit - I have compared it with the original (read).

JEREMIAH HERBERT . I am an officer of the City. On the 3d of July I apprehended the prisoner at the White Hart public-house, Fetter-lane.

JOHN JOHNSON . I am keeper of the gaol at Norwich, for the county of Norfolk, and was so in 1813. I remember the prisoner there - he came into my custody on the 26th of March, 1813. I have referred to the journal of the gaol for the date - it is kept by myself - I have not got it here - I referred to it on the 14th of July, on receiving a letter from Mr. Stafford - I have no recollection of the date except from reference to that book.

Q. Do you remember the prisoner going into Court to be tried? A. Yes; I took him into Court at the Lammas Assize, 1813 - he had been in my custody about four months, and rather better than a month afterwards. I took him to Portsmouth, in consequence of the sentence of the Court - he was in my custody full five months - I saw him daily, except duty called me away - it was my duty to notice his person; I saw him tried - he is the same person who was tried - I afterwards accompanied him to Portsmouth - we were two nights and a day on the journey. I am certain, beyond doubt, of his being the person.

Cross-examined by Mr. ALLEY. Q. Have you many prisoners in your gaol? A. From two to three hundred in the course of a year; there might be fifty while he was there; I was in Court when he received sentence; I only had one servant at that time, in that department - he is at Norwich now - I do not recollect the name of the prisoner’s prosecutor, nor any of the witnesses - he was committed by the Rev. Mr. Salmon, who is not living; I took five or six more to Portsmouth with him - our prisoners at that time wore a gaol dress as soon as they came in. I know him by his features - I have little doubt but I should recollect the features of the whole fifty I had in custody - I speak positively to the prisoner.

Mr. ADOLPHUS. Q. Is it your particular duty to know the features of every prisoner? A. Yes; I take their measure and description - he wore his own clothes at his trial; I sat in Court all the while, and when he went to Portsmouth he wore his own clothes - I am certain he is the man.

JOHN CROWLY . I first saw the prisoner at New South Wales - at Sidney; I was steward of the ship “Army;” he was employed on board the ship, when we got there, as a carpenter - as an emancipated convict; after we sailed from the colony he was discovered concealed in the ship - I knew he was on board when we sailed; he was concealed in the after-hold; he was on board from November till we got to Monte Video - nearly two months - he is the same man.

Cross-examined by MR. BRODRICK. Q. Were you displaced for misconduct? A. I was displaced, but was not told what for - I do not know now fully; Mr. Leach was the Captain; the prisoner took my place. There was a placard stuck on our mizen before we sailed, about John Shales; the prisoner was not examined in consequence of that placard - he could not be found.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. What was the placard about? A. A convict having absconded, and offering a reward; the Captain’s apprentice acted as steward after we got to Monte Video - it is a merchant’s ship.

Prisoner’s Defence. I have only to say my name is not Shales, but King.* I have spent most of my time abroad, and was never in Norfolk. I acknowledge concealing myself in the Army.

* The prisoner had pleaded a misnomer, upon which issue was joined, and a verdict found for the Crown.

DANIEL LEACH . I was Captain of the Army, on which Crowly was on board; I certainly would not believe him on his oath - I dismissed him shortly after I left England, for making away with my property - he was succeeded by a person; and about six months afterwards he fell on his knees, and begged I would restore him to his situation, on account of his wife and children - he knew the cause of his dismissal; he was despised by every body in the ship. There was a placard on our mizen - it is worn out; the prisoner conducted himself very well indeed on board our vessel; I trusted him with all my stores, and so did all the passengers.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Have you traded long to New South Wales? A. I have been three voyages; I did not know the prisoner was on board till we left; I did not have him from the convict establishment; I did not know what he was: he was found three days after we got to sea, and I have no doubt Crowly secreted him there, for he was not mustered with the crew; he was to have no wages. I found four persons on board before I started, and delivered them up. I was three hundred miles at sea when I found the prisoner; he went ashore at Monte Video, and never returned; I reported him there to Mr. Hood, as being on board unexpectedly; he was called by the name of James.

Q. Did you ever write from the ship about him? A. Yes, to the consul, Mr. Hood; I suspected he was Shales by the placard; I knew such a man had escaped: I did not believe him to be the man; some people on board called him James Miller.

JURY to JOHN JOHNSON. Q. Do you take a description of the prisoners when they come in? A. Yes; I have not got it here; he was about twenty years old when convicted.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 34.


James Shields who escaped from this Colony, by the Harvey, and who was subsequently apprehended in England, and received sentence of death at the Old Bailey, for returning from transportation, is come out in the Guilford, a prisoner for life, to Norfolk Island.
Sydney Gazette, 3 Fri 1827.

Convict Changes History

Penny-Lyn Beale on 23rd December, 2020 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1793 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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