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Amy Staples, one of 401 convicts transported on the Glatton, September 1802
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
||26th September, 1846
life span was 61 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to Life
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 325 (162)
||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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Beth Kebblewhite on 4th August, 2019 wrote:
2 December 1801 -
Amy STAPLES was a servant at the home of widow Susannah Penfold in London & was found guilty on this day of stealing silver cutlery from the house. Amy was aged 26 & was given a death sentence.
AMY STAPLES, THEFT: SPECIFIED PLACE, 02 DEC 1801.
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t18011202-59
59. AMY STAPLES was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 12th of November, six silver table-spoons, value 3l. and a silver nutmeg-grater, value 2s. the property of Susannah Penfold, in her dwelling-house.
SUSANNAH PENFOLD sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You are a widow, and live in Howland-street? - A. I am; the prisoner had been in my service between four and five months; near five months.
Q. Who first gave you any alarm that your house had been robbed on the 12th of November? - A. The prisoner, between seven and eight in the morning she came up, and said, Ma’am, you are ruined intirely, for your desk is broke open, and all your money gone; one of the closets is broke open in which the plate was, and that the plate was gone. The plate was kept in two closets, one in the from parlour, and the other in the back parlour; she begged I would not go down, for it would frighten me very much, and desired I would let her go for my son; I told her to go to Upper Berkeley-street for him; when she was gone, I dressed myself, and went below stairs; I found the plate-cupboard open, the key of which was in my pocket.
Q. Do you know who had locked the cupboard the night before? - A. I had double-locked it the night before, and she stood by me.
Q. Did the lock appear to have been picked or forced? - A. There were no marks of violence at all.
Q. What quantity of plate did you miss from there? - A. A large quantity.
Q. Among the rest there were six silver tablespoons? - A. Yes, which I have seen since.
Q. In consequence of what you observed, did you send for Mr. Meller? - A. Yes, and by his advice I sent for Crocker, an officer, from Bow-street.
Q. Did Crocker come before the prisoner came back? - A. Yes; when she came home, she looked about, and said, every thing is gone; she went down to shew Crocker the place where she thought the thieves had got in; after they had been gone down a little while, Crocker called out that he could not hold her, and I must come and assist him; I went down, and found the prisoner on the floor, and Crocker had hold of her; Mr. Meller then came down; they took off her pockets; and opened them in my presence; a silver nulmeggrater and half a dozen silver table-spoons were found upon her, with my name upon them, H. S. P. my late husband’s name was Hugh; they had been usually kept in the closet in the parlour, which had been broke open; I had seen them a day or two before.
JAMES MELLER sworn - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. I believe you are the King’s Bench officer of Customs? - A. I am, and live in Howland-street.
Q. What was the first thing you observed when you went to Mrs. Penford’s? - A. I found Crocker laying upon the prisoner on the floor; he asked me for God’s sake to lay hold of her arm; I did, and desired she might be searched; she said, she had nothing at all about her; I pulled her up by the arm, and said, if you have nothing about you, you need not be afraid of being searched; Crocker by that time had got at her pockets, and took out of her pocket six silver table-spoons.
Q. When they were found, did she say any thing? - A. Not a word.
Q. Do you know the value of those spoons? - A. I should suppose they cost about five pounds.
Court. Q. Are they worth three pounds? - A. Yes, they certainly are.
HENRY CROCKER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You are an officer belonging to Bow-street? - A. I am one of the conductors of the patrole: On Thursday, the 12th of November, I was sent for to Mrs. Penfold’s house; the prisoner told me she had been robbed, and likewise her mistress; she said, she had been robbed of a two-pound note and her cloak. I looked at the premises, and observing something suspicious, I asked her where she had lost her cloak from; she shewed a drawer; I then asked her where she had lost the note from; she shewed me a place in the kitchen drawer; she said, she had lost it out of a letter; I then suspected her, and said, my girl, perhaps in your sturry, you have put the two-pound note in your pocket; she said, no, she had not; I desired her to be sure, and search; she put her hand in her pocket, and was unwilling to pull any thing out, which strengthened my suspicion very much, and I said, stop a minute, and let your mistress search you; there were two other maidservants by; I went to lay hold of her, and she immediately resisted; in the struggle, she and I fell together, I sent one of the servants to fetch some gentleman to my assistance, and I kept her hands fast, that she should not throw any thing away; Mr. Moller then came, and held her hands; I got at her pocket, and took six silver table-spoons out, which I have had ever since. (Produces them.)
Q. (To Mrs. Penfold.) Look at those spoons? - A. Those are the spoons I lost from my cupboard:
Q. (To Crocker.) Did the prisoner say any thing? - A. Yes, she said she had picked them up on the stairs, and had put them in her pocket.
Q. Did it appear to you that the house had been broke into from the outside? - A. People might have got in the way she shewed me, but it was the most unaccountable robbery that ever was committed if they did; there was a ladder in the yard, and there were such very small marks of violence, I suspected very much some person in the house.
The prisoner did not say any thing in her defence.
GUILTY, Death, aged 26.
First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Grose.
(Source: Old Bailey on-line)
1801 to 1802 -
Criminal Registers: Newgate
December Sessions 1801
When committed: Nov. 26th 1801
No. of Committment: 78
Name: STAPLES, Amy
Description: 26; 5’4”; fair complexion; brown hair; grey eyes; Swanden, Kent
To what place committed: Newgate
Before whom: Ford
Crime: Stealing silver plate in the house of Mrs Penfold to whom she was servant
When & where tried: Dec. 3rd
Before whom: Grose
Sentence: Death (Judgement respited being pregnant)
How disposed of: Pardoned 25th Feb. 1802 to be transported for life. Delivered (with her child born in Newgate) on board the Glatton 6th Sept. 1802
(Source: PRO Reel 2732; HO26/8; Criminal Registers Middlesex) [Note: the child was Sarah Eliza Wilnden, father unknown]
11 March 1803 -
Amy STAPLES arrived in Sydney as a convict on the ship “Glatton”, with a life sentence.
(Source: Convicts to NSW 1788-1812, CD-ROM by SAG)
31 October 1803 -
Amy STAPLES was wed to Thomas LEES at St John’s Church Parramatta by Rev. Samuel Marsden. Both signed their names. Witnesses were Susannah Smith & Edward Miles.
(Source: NSW Church Records V1803-557 3A & V1803-253 147A)
1805 to 1806 -
Emma (sic) STAPLES, prisoner, TOL, per “Glatton”, with Thomas Lee, 2 female (?) children (A4190, C1147)
(Source: 1805-1806 Muster) [Note: Children would have been - Sarah Eliza born c1799 & Elizabeth Lees born c1804]
3 October 1817 -
The funeral was held this day for Thomas LEES, husband of Amy, at St Phillips in Sydney. He had died on the 30th September 1817.
(Source: NSW Church Parish Register V1817-631-7)
11 August 1818 -
An application was made for her son James LEES, aged 9 years, to be placed in the Male Orphan School. It was stated his “father dead, mother in Sydney but very poor”.
(Source: SRNSW Col Sec Papers - Reel 6047; 4/1740; p5258)
1823 to 1825 -
Ann (sic) STAPLES, FS, “Glatton” 1803, 7 (?) years, Householder, Sydney (41566)
2nd entry -
Emma (sic) LEES, Free by servitude, ship Glatton 1803, 7 years, mother in law to G. (?) Morris, Sydney (29397). [This should be W. for William Morris]
Her children listed -
Thomas LEES, aged 10, BC, child of Emma Lees, Orphan School Sydney (29398)
Hannah LEES, aged 18, BC, child of Emma Lees, Sydney (29399)
(Source: 1823-25 Muster of NSW)
Amy (as Lees) was recorded as a servant, living at the home of her daughter (Sarah Eliza) & son-in-law (William Morris) in Sydney.
LEES, Amy, aged 56, Free by servitude (?), per ship Glatton 1803, servant to William Morris, King St., Sydney
(Source: 1828 Census of NSW)
Emma LEE, born 1772, arr per ship Glatton 1806 (?), slight build, 5’1” tall, fresh complexion, light coloured hair & grey hair entered the Sydney Gaol in 1838. Crime not stated.
(Source: New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930, State Archives NSW; Roll: 856)
13 November 1838 –
Emma LEE, arr “bond” (convict), now ‘free”, arr per ship Glatton 1802 (?), birthplace Kent, Protestant, Washerwoman, Fined 10 shillings or confined, admitted to Sydney Gaol on 13/11/1838. Free on 04/03/1839. Also same sentence was ex-convict Thomas Sullivan, per ship Recovery 2.
(Source: New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930, State Archives NSW; Roll: 853)
Amey (sic) LEES, aged 74, widow, died on the 26th September at Elizabeth St. Sydney. She was buried on the 28th from the St Lawrence Church.
(Source: NSW Church Parish Register V1846-240-31B. Listed in index as Ainery LEES) [Note: #225 in BDM index]
“Mrs Amie LEES, died 26th September 1846, aged 41, also Hannah LEES, also Elizabeth LEES, also George LEES aged ..months and ..days, also Charles….children of James and Elizabeth LEES and grandchildren of the above Amie LEES.”
(Source: “Sydney Burial Ground 1819-1901” by Johnson & Sainty, published 2001. Memorial Inscription #520, p340) [Note: Amy was buried originally in the Devonshire Street Cemetery in Sydney but the headstone was removed to Botany about 1901. In 1969 it was said to be an upright headstone in poor condition. It had disappeared by 2007]
Amy and her husband Thomas Lees had 7 children born between 1803-1817, all born in Sydney.
Convict Changes History
Beth Kebblewhite on 4th August, 2019 made the following changes:
alias1: Emma Staples, date of birth: 1775 (prev. 0000), date of death: 26th September, 1846 (prev. 0000), gender: f, occupation, crime