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Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend, one of 94 convicts transported on the Surprize, February 1794

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Townsend
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1773
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Surprize
Departure date: February, 1794
Arrival date: 17th October, 1794
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 94 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 197 (99)
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

Denis Pember on 16th February, 2016 wrote:

Old Bailey transcript: 9 Jan 1793: t17930109-1; part thereof:
SOPHIA LANGFORD and SARAH TOWNSEND were indicted for feloniously making an assault, on the King’s highway, on Mary Price, spinster, on the 2d of January, and putting her in fear and feloniously taking from her person and against her will, a wooden box containing some powder called medicine powder, value 1 s. the goods of John Price, and one shilling in money, the money of the said Mary Price.
)# The record then goes into great detail about the assault and robbery. It was quite violent and comprises several pages of record.)

Sarah Townsend and Sophia Langford were sentenced to death by the Recorder of London on 9 Jan 1793 at the Middlesex Old Bailey sessions for highway robbery. After their arrest on 3 Jan they were held in the New Prison Clerkenwell, whence they were transferred to Newgate Gaol on the 4th (see Langford’s record for a full account of the trial). Townsend was described as aged 19, single, born on the Isle of Wight, 5’ tall, with dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. Langford was described as aged 20, single, London-born, 5’2” tall, with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. Both were reprieved to transportation for life at the April sessions and remained in Newgate until 10 Feb 1794, when they were discharged for emabarkation aboard the ship ‘Surprize’.

Denis Pember on 16th February, 2016 wrote:

In the colony, Sarah had a long term relationship with William Neale (Convict, Surprize, 1794). This relationship may have even commenced on board ship.
By 1796 William Neale was living with Sarah Townsend. In May 1800 their house at Parramatta was burgled by Barnabus Sands, who was charged with stealing two shirts in the break-in and was sentenced to death.

In 1801 the couple were recorded living in the Sydney district.

In 1806 they were living at Parramatta, with four children (3 male, 1 female, all designated illegitimate by Marsden).

Neale was described in 1808 as a baker by trade, aged 45 years 6 months, with 27 years 90 days army service, born Billesdon, Leicestershire, 5’9” tall with grey eyes, dark brown hair, and a long dark-complexioned visage. In 1809 he was stationed at the Hawkesbury, but moved to Sydney in July of that year.

The couple were belatedly married at St Philips Sydney on 19 Mar 1810; he signed his name to the register and she made her X mark. Thomas and Mary Day witnessed the ceremony.

Denis Pember on 16th February, 2016 wrote:

With the withdrawal of the NSW Corps to England, Neale obtained a discharge from the army in April 1810 in order to remain in the colony. He was ordered an 80 acre land grant in the Airds district in Mar 1811 and was mustered as a landholder there in 1814, living with Sarah Townsend and three children.

Denis Pember on 16th February, 2016 wrote:

Sainty & Johnson; 1828 Census of New South Wales:
Page 283…
[Ref N0103] Neale, William, 64, FS, Surprise, 1794, P, Tenant, Illawarra. 10 acres 8 cultivated.
[Ref N0104] Neale, Sarah, 51, Fs, Surprise, 1794, P.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 16th February, 2016 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1773 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

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