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Dennis Sheil

Dennis Shield, one of 200 convicts transported on the Guilford [Guildford], August 1811

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Dennis Sheil
Aliases: Shiel, Sheen, Sheild, Sheilds
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: Tailor
Date of Death: 24th March, 1840
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Guildford
Departure date: August, 1811
Arrival date: 18th January, 1812
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 13 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 48
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

Alan Rogers on 14th May, 2013 wrote:

Permission to Marry 6,11 Oct 1817 Reel 6005 4/3497
Married Mary Bradbury 10 Nov 1817 Sydney Vol 7/280
Conditional Pardon 31 Jan 1818 Reel 774 4/4430
13 children
3rd child Mary Sheil born 23 Feb 1820 Campbelltown

Phil Hands on 6th August, 2017 wrote:

On the 1st November 1809, Dennis appeared at the Old Bailey charged with stealing 56 yards printed calico, valued at 5 shillings and 1 penny. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but this sentence was commuted to transportation to the colonies for life.
Left England on 3rd September 1811.
Ship:- the ‘Guildford’ sailed with 200 male convicts on board of which 1 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 18th January 1812.

Married free settler Mary Bradbury (daughter of convict William Bradbury, Guildford 1812 & his wife Elizabeth) on 10th November 1817 at Sydney, they had 13 children between 1818-1835.

On the 31st January 1818, Dennis was granted a Full Pardon, His description in the Book of Convict Pardons is as follows:-
Age - 29 years
Height - 5ft 8ins
Complexion - Fair
Hair - brown
Eyes - hazel, but blind in right eye.
Occupation - tailor.

Dennis established his tailor’s shop in Sydney at the spot where Farmers’ store now stands. He continued his business there for a few years and then moved his business to Goulburn for another few years before moving back to Campbelltown where he died on 24th March 1840.

The Australian (Sydney) Tuesday 31st March 1840 p. 3
At his Residence, Campbell Town on the 24th instant, Mr Dennis Shiel, aged 69, leaving Fix this texta wife and large family to deplore his loss, and much regretted by all who knew him.

Phil Hands on 6th August, 2017 wrote:

Old Bailey Trial Transcript.
Reference Number: t18091101-34

343. DENNIS SHIELD was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 29th of September , 56 yards of printed callico, value 5 l. the property of George Bateman and Francis Todd ; in the dwelling-house of Francis Todd .
FRANCIS TODD . I am partner to George Bateman , No. 4, Bread-street .
Q. Is the ware-house part of the dwelling-house. - A. Yes. The dwelling-house is above the ware-house; I live in the house only; we occupy the ware-house for our business, and the upper part for my dwelling-house.
Q. For some time back has the prisoner been your porter . - A. For a couple of months.
Q. On the 29th of September, had you directed the prisoner to take any goods out of the ware-house to serve customers. - A. Yes.
Q. Are these the three invoices that you gave him. - A. These are the three invoices that were given to me by the boy who made them out. I gave them to him and read them over to him; I gave the sheet and he laid the sheet. I gave him the goods myself corresponding to that invoice, previous to my giving him the goods. I told him to lay the wrapper or sheet.
Q. Did you and he call over the goods together to see that they corresponded to that invoice. - A. I counted over the goods. I gave him the invoice, he looked them over, and said, it was quite right; after he said, the goods were quite right; he looked over the invoice again, he observed, that one part of the goods were for Miss Abraham’s, in Holborn; he said, Miss Abraham’s did not like to receive her invoice unless it was sealed up. The boy took and sealed it and gave it to the prisoner; upon that the prisoner turned up the ends of the wrapper. And I mentioned to the boy that I should go up stairs. I left him in the act of folding up the wrapper; I then went up stairs to my lunch, leaving this boy, whom I had received a fortnight before from Christ’s Hospital, and the prisoner together. I came down I should suppose in two minutes, I usually come down in ten minutes, but, I then came down in two minutes, and when I came down I saw the prisoner confused; from his manner alone, I was convinced that he was in the act of doing something he ought not. I went backwards into the accounting-house, I watched him through a square of glass from that place. Previous to that he had changed the wrapper, and these two pieces he had placed upon a hole in the wrapper. I observed that as I passed to the accompting-house, with respect to the wrapper I observed a hole in the wrapper; I observed it the moment I came down stairs, and I observed goods in the wrapper that ought not to be; that I did not place in the wrapper.
Q. You looked through the pane of glass in the accompting-house. - A. Yes, I observed the man looked confused; I let him tie up the wrapper with the two pieces that ought not to be in; when he had tied it up I went forward and stopped him. I pointed to the hole and said, that he must be going to rob me, and that he must have turned round from the counter to take them down; this was another wrapper to what he had when I went up stairs. I opened it I found two pieces of printed callico in the wrapper, these are the two pieces: they are stamped fifty-six, they are paid for stamp duty fifty-six, and they are of the value of twenty-two-pence a yard; they would be worth 5 l. altogether.
Q. Are these the patterns of the goods in the wrapper that you sent to your customers. - A. These are the precise style of the things that he was to take out; that is the pattern of the furniture; these prints were of scarlet ground; and the others were two pieces the colour of brown holland.
Q. You say you charged him then, and said he was robbing of you. - A. I did, I took these two pieces out.
Q. I believe you did not immediately apprehend him. - A. I was hurt at the time because I had no reason to suspect him till that morning. I took these two pieces out. I went into the accompting-house and reflected upon it. He went out of doors, and again he came back I provided an officer and apprehended him.
JAMES JOLLY . Q. Are you in the service of Messrs. Todd and Bateman. - A. I am.
Q. Do you remember being present with Mr. Todd and making out this invoice which he has spoken to. - A. Yes I do.
Q. Were you in the ware-house with the prisoner at the time Mr. Todd went up stairs. - A. Yes.
Q. Did you remain in the ware-house with the prisoner after Mr. Todd had gone up. - A. No, I was not after Mr. Todd had gone up stairs. I said, I must go up. The prisoner said, he would wait for me. I went up leaving the prisoner alone; I came down the minute after Mr. Todd.
MR. WILLIS. I am a constable. These things were given to me by Mr. Todd, they have been in my care ever since.
Mr. Gurney. Q. To Prosecutor. After you had taken the things from the prisoner in the parcel did you deliver them to the constable. - A. I did.
Mr. Knapp. Q. To Prosecutors. I ask you whether he had taken it up before you stopped him. - A. I will not swear whether he had or not; I waited till he was in the net of taking it up.
Mr. Gurney. How far were these things from him, supposing he was at the counter. - A. He must have turned round and taken them from a pile of goods.
Prisoner’s Defence. I was not three feet from the place; nor neither had I the wrapper tied up; nor he never went into his accompting-house from the time he came down until I went out of the place.
Court. That is not the charge. The charge is, you having taken these pieces of goods from the pile and putting them in the wrapper, in order to take them away.

The prisoner called seven witnesses who gave him a good character.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 29, later commuted to transportation for life.

Maureen Withey on 9th September, 2021 wrote:

I828 Census index.
Dennis Shiels, age 51, C.P. Guildford 1812, catholic. Settler, East Bargo. Has 50 acres of land, 38 are cleared, 30 cultivated. Has 34 cattle.
Mary Shiels, age 31, C.F. Northampton 1812.
Children, all born in colony:
Alice, 11, William, 10, Mary, 9, Dennis, 8, James, 7, John, 6, Catherine, 5, Elizabeth, 2, and Thomas, 4 months.

Convict Changes History

Alan Rogers on 14th May, 2013 made the following changes:

voyage, surname Sheil (prev. Shield), alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, gender, occupation, crime

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

convicted at, date of death: 24th March, 1840 (prev. 0000)

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