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William Trenwith

William Trenwith, one of 160 convicts transported on the Earl St Vincent, 20 April 1826

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Trenwith
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1804
Occupation: Bootmaker
Date of Death: 11th February, 1883
Age: 79 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 Life

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Cornwall Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Earl St Vincent
Departure date: 20th April, 1826
Arrival date: 13th August, 1826
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 164 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 7 (5) http:/search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON31-1-42,190,118,L,80
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

Brenda Schneider Coall on 20th February, 2016 wrote:

William Trenwith was initially sentenced to death,this was reprieved to life and sent to VDL.He was convicted alongside Thomas Jones(the younger)the son of the owners of the break and entering home.William was 5’5” aged 21 &dark hair &dark brown whiskers.Even in custody he couldn’t stay out of trouble,eventually he got his ticket of leave approved in 1845. Married to Beatrice Davidson/MacBarrett who was also a convict.

D Wong on 30th May, 2020 wrote:

Compiled by Trish Symonds

AGE: 21
BORN: About 1805, Penzance-Cornwall
DIED: 11 February 1883
TRIED: 21 March 1825, Launceston, Cornwall Assizes
SENTENCE: Sentence of Death recorded; Reprieved; Transportation for Life
CRIME: Breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Jones the elder
TRIED WITH: Thomas Jones (the younger), who was transported to NSW in 1825 for Life aboard
CRIMINAL REGISTER: William Trenwith, tried Cornwall Lent Assizes 1825, Death, Reprieved
HULK REGISTER: William Trenwith, 21, born about 1804, convicted 21 March 1825 at Launceston
for Burglary, sent from Bodmin, received onboard prison hulk “York” moored at Portsmouth on 17
May 1825, sentenced to Transportation for Life, transported to VDL 13 April 1826
SHIP: Earl St Vincent (fourth voyage) – departed Portsmouth 25 April 1826, arrived Hobart 13
August 1826, a voyage of 110 days, carrying 160 male convicts (160 landed). Master Josiah
Middleton, Surgeon James McKerrow
DESCRIPTION – Description List available at Tasmanian Archives –
Police No: 343T
Trade: Ladies and Gentlemens Shoe Maker
Height: 5’ 5”
Age: 21
Hair: Dark brown
Whiskers: Dark brown
Eyes: Dark hazel
Native Place: Penzance-Cornwall
Remarks: Scar under left eye; small scar under chin; dimple in cheeks; (tattoos) moon, star, heart
inside arm under E. Cullen H.S.I. inside left arm (followed by a few more words that I couldn’t make
out – see link below to Founders and Survivors for more information)
Offences and Sentences:
26 July 1827 – E. Abbott Junr – Stealing a pan of stockings – 6 months in chains New Norfolk
2 Oct 1827 – Public Works – Taking off his irons – 25 lashes
24 Oct 1827 – Public Works – Absent from Barracks – Admonished
13 Dec 1827 – Chain Gang, New Norfolk – Disobedience of orders – One month in addition to his former
19 Dec 1827 – Public Works - Absconded from Chain Gang at New Norfolk – 50 lashes and three months in
double irons
21 Feb 1828 – Public Works – Absconded from the Chain Gang at New Norfolk (2nd Offence) – Transported
to a penal settlement for 3 years
2 Mar 1829 – No 2 Chain Gang – Absconded from his Gang while working on the New Town Road on
Saturday last and remained absent until last night when he was approached by Constable Clarke in Hobart
Town – 50 lashes, and Chain Gang 6 months in addition to his former sentence
31 Oct 1831 – Maria Island – Absconding from the service of Government at the Penal Settlement of Maria
Island on Tuesday the 25th instant and remaining absent until approached on the night of the same day – One
month solitary confinement
1 Feb 1832 – Public Works – Maria Island – Absconding from Maria Island on the 4th ult, and remaining
illegally at large until he surrendered at the Bream Creek the same day – 100 lashes and returned to Maria
27 May 1833 – Privately working out of the Shoemaker’s Shop this morning contrary to the Regulations of
the Settlement – 36 lashes
7 June 1833 – Having in his possession a pair of Sheep Skin upper leathers contrary to orders – 50 lashes
24 June 1833 – Having in his possession away from the Shop 2 shoemaker’s irons – 3 weeks in irons
13 Aug 1833 – Absconding – One hundred lashes
13 Aug 1833 (Same date) – Breaking out of the Prisoners Barracks and forcibly entering the Turners
Workshop at Night – Chain Gang for 12 months – Port Arthur
14 July 1835 – Desailly – Ill using and assaulting his fellow-servant Thomas Johnson – Recommended to be
removed to Port Arthur for 12 months
23 May 1837 – Lawson – Drunk – 36 lashes
30 Nov 1837 – Stephenson – Absconding – 12 months hard labour in chains – Kings Meadows Chain Gang
and returned to his service, vide Lieut-Governor’s Decision 9 Dec 1837
23 Sept 1839 – John Masters – Drunkenness and insolence – One month hard labour on the tread wheel
2 July 1840 – Ticket of Leave
3 Nov 1840 – Ticket-of-Leave holder – Absconding – 12 months hard labour out of chains and Ticket-ofLeave suspended during that period – Clarence Road Party, ticket-of-leave suspended, Conduct Reported,
vide Lieut-Governor’s Decision 6 Nov 1840
22 Oct 1841 - Ticket-of-Leave returned at the expiration of his sentence vide memo of PS 22 Oct 1841
5 April 1843 – Special Constable – Misconduct – Reprimanded
Ticket of Leave:
2 July 1840
Conditional Pardon:
25 July 1844 – Recommended
July 1845 - Approved
1826 Ships’ Muster – Earl St Vincent:
William Trenwith, Cornwall Assizes, 21 March 1825, Life (HO 11/6)
1832 Convict Muster:
No 343 – William Trenwith, Earl St Vincent, Transported to Port Arthur (HO 10/48)
1833 Convict Muster:
No 343 – William Trenwith, Earl St Vincent, Public Works (HO 10/49)
1835 Convict Muster:
No 343 – William Trenwith, Earl St Vincent, Transported to Port Arthur (HO 10/50)
1841 Convict Muster:
No 343 – William Trenwith, Earl St Vincent, Ticket-of-Leave (HO 10/51)
1846 Convict Muster:
William Trenwith, Launceston 1825, Life, Earl St Vincent 1826, Conditional Pardon (HO 10/39)
1849 Convict Muster:
No 343 – William Trenwith, Earl St Vincent 1826, Launceston, Life, Conditional Pardon
1848 – Marriage between William Trenwith (b.1807) and Beatrice Davidson or MacBarrett) (b.1812) in
Launceston on 4 December 1848
Beatrice McBarrett was the wife of Francis Davidson who was transported to VDL on the “Emma Eugenia”
in 1841 for wilful fire-raising at Abercrombie Place in Edinburgh, victim James Greig (owner of premises,
her husband was tenant) – Beatrice apparently took the blame when her husband’s wine and spirits shop was
burnt down when he was “financially embarrassed”. On the 1841 census she is shown as a
prisoner/dressmaker at gaol and Bridewell Greenside Edinburgh Midlothian, aged 30, born outside the
county. She was tried at Edinburgh on 27 July 1841, found guilty, and sentenced to Life (trial papers
JC26/1841/476). She left behind 3 young children, Elspeth, Robert and Mary Helen. She married William
Trenwith in VDL and had three children before her death in 1859 aged 52 years.
Three children born to this couple –
No. 1 – Not found
No. 2 - 1847 – William Arthur Trenwith (known as ‘Billy’), born 15 July 1847; married (1) Susannah Page
in Launceston in 1868 and had four children; married (2) Helen Florence Sinclair and had three children; he
is buried in the cemetery in Brighton-Victoria – William Arthur Trenwith (known as Billy) (1836-1825), a
bootmaker, trade unionist and politician (but note his mother’s name is shown as Beatrice McBarrett) -
‘Billy’ became one of Australia’s first union leaders and also one of our first Federal senators, influential in
the planning of Federation.(Australian Dictionary of Biography)
No. 3 - 1850 – Edward Trenwith
1859 - Beatrice Trenwith died Launceston 1859.
1883 – William Trenwith died 11 February 1883
Judges proceeded to their respective Courts, Mr Justice Park at the Crown Bar, and Mr Justice Burrough at
Nisi Prius.
William Trenwith and Thomas Jones the younger, indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of
Thomas Jones the elder, the father of the prisoner Jones. The case for the prosecution was conducted by Mr
Jane Jones – I am the mother of prisoner Jones, her husband is John Jones, he lives at Penzance, in the parish
of Madron, in this County. Our house was broken open in December last. I remember going to bed about
ten o’clock, when the doors and windows were all fastened securely. I and my husband were the last up, no
person lives in the house besides myself, my husband, and two daughters, the one 19 and the other 5 years of
age. They went to bed before myself and my husband, their bed-room is on the top of the stairs. A box in
which we kept our money was taken away that night. I saw it after it was found in a field near our house.
There were four one-pound notes and two pounds in silver in it. There was nothing taken away besides the
box, but there were also in the box, five gold rings, a child’s pelisse, and two seals. The box was locked
when I left it in the house, it was broken open when I saw it in the field. Her son Jones did not live with her.
Henry Nankervis, an accomplice, stated that he is 19 years old; he knows the prisoners, Jones and Trenwith.
He remembers the night Mr Jones’s house was broken open, he was drinking with the prisoners in the
evening at the house of Mr Rogers, a public-house at Penzance; when they left Mr Roger’s house, they
walked about the town, and afterwards went to sleep in a waggon. They got up about one or two o’clock;
they then went to Thos Jones’s father’s house, they removed a box that was put to stop a hole in the wall of
the back part of the dwelling-house. When the box was removed, he went in and unbarred the door, the
prisoners then came in, it was a bright moon-light night. Thomas Jones and witness went up the stairs; they
went into a room, and Jones poisted out a box, witness took it up, and Jones helped to carry it down the
stairs. They carried it three fields off from the house; before they went up stairs, Jones had described the
place where the box was kept, and said that there was a great deal of money in it. When they got into the
fields, Thos Jones broke open the lid of the box with his knee; they found in it four one-pound notes, two
pounds in silver, and two seals; there were other things in the box, he does not recollect what they were.
They divided the money, and left the box in the field; they then proceeded towards Truro; Trenwith only
went as far as Camborne, and there he ran away; Jones and witness proceeded to Truro, where they
remained two or three days; Trenwith had thirty shillings, and Jones and witness divided the remainder
between them; witness admitted he was charged with stealing a watch from a Mr Dawe at Devonport, and
sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the theft – The witness was also san approver in eight other cases
of felony, at the present Assizes.
Nankervis was re-called and examined by the Court – Jones and witness went up the stairs; Trenwith staid
down stairs in the back house.
John Thomas accompanied Mr Beckerleg in pursuit of Trenwith; he confirmed the evidence already stated,
as to the confession of the prisoner. The Jury found the prisoners Guilty. Sentence of Death recorded.

Convict Changes History

Brenda Schneider Coall on 20th February, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/6, Page Number 7 (5) http:/search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON31-1-42,190,118,L,80 (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88,

D Wong on 30th May, 2020 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1804 (prev. 0000)

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