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Walter Watchurst

Walter Watchurst, one of 164 convicts transported on the Morley, July 1818

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Walter Watchurst
Aliases: Watchouse, Walters, Watches
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1795
Occupation: Plasterer and tiler
Date of Death: 30th December, 1836
Age: 41 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Forgery
Convicted at: Kent Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Morley
Departure date: July, 1818
Arrival date: 7th November, 1818
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 164 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 59 (31)
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

Debbie Wust on 23rd April, 2016 wrote:


Source:  The Times (London, England), March 26, 1818, p. 3, Issue Number 10314.  [SDY]


Kent ASSIZES, Maidstone, Tuesday, March 24.
CROWN SIDE.-Before Mr. Baron Wood.

Walter WATCHURST and George DUNK were indicated for having, at Gillingham, on the 4th of February, feloniously uttered as true, a forged Bank-note, well knowing the same to be a counterfeit, for the payment of 1L. to James REED, with intent to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England.

The first witness called on the part of the prosecution was James REED, who deposed that he kept the King of Prussia public-house in the parish of Gillingham, and on the morning of Wednesday, the 4th of February last, both the prisoners came into his house, and having taken some liquor, offered a 1L. Bank-note in payment. As soon as the prisoners were gone, he wrote the name of “WALTERS” (the name by which he had previously known Watchurst) upon the note.  He had known Walters for about five years, and knew him when he lived at Chatham.

James MILES, a pawnbroker, residing at Brompton, in the parish of Gillingham, proved that on the 4th of Feb. last both the prisoners came into his shop, and having bought some stockings, gave a 1L. Bank-note in payment.  He put the note into his pocket, into which he had previously placed a bundle of four notes, but they were not mixed together.  There were four persons in the shop at the time, one of whom was a Jew of the name of LEVY, who got his living by buying and selling clothes.  In consequence of information he received, he went after the prisoners, in company with Ayres, the constable, and a person of the name of Palmer.

John William PALMER was a public-house-keeper in Gillingham, and was, on the 4th February, in company with MILES in search of the prisoners.

Ann ASHDOWN deposed, that her husband was a cordwainer, residing on Chatham-hill, and that, on the 4th February, the prisoners called in the evening at her house.  WATCHURST, who had called about half-a-dozen times before at the house, said to her, “I want your husband to play me a tune”.  The prisoners went upstairs where her husband was, and presently they came down stairs, and the tune was played.  Upon the request of Dunk, she went for half a gallon of beer to a public-house near at hand, and for this purpose he gave her a 1L. note.  She asked, “Have you not some silver?” Dunk replied, “Go and get change.”  The beer was obtained and the change was given to Dunk.  Witness did not count it herself.

This testimony was corroborated by the evidence of the husband and publican.

Thomas AYRES, the constable, was next examined.  He deposed, that in consequence of information he had received, he went in search of the prisoners.  He went to the Dark Sun public-house at Chatham, and in about a quarter of an hour the prisoner came in.  Witness was well known at Chatham, and as soon as the prisoners came in, he heard a voice say “Ayres is here.”  Immediately the prisoner made towards the door, but they were prevented from going out by the witness.  He said,

“Young men, I must trouble you for your names; there have been reports of forged Bank-notes being about, and I suspect you.”  He then took them into the bar, and slightly searched them: while he was doing this he observed Dunk take something like a canvass bag out of his pocket; but he did not look for it at that time, having no assistance. He told the prisoners to keep their hands still.

It was proved by the landlord and landlady of the Dark Sun public-house, that about an hour after the prisoners were gone, a canvass bag, containing twenty-eight bank-notes, and 5L 8s. in silver, was found in the bar of the public-house.  This was delivered into AYRE’s hands.  The prisoner WATCHURST, the day after his apprehension, upon being told that the bag was found, said, “if the notes are yours, the silvers is ours.”

Mary Ann SPILLETT, landlady of a public-house at Rochester, proved, that on the 3d of Feb. the prisoner WATCHHURST came to her house, and had some liquor.  He tendered in payment a 1L. note;  and she said, that she did not like to take those notes, as she did not know good from bad notes.  The prisoner said, that it was very good, and change was given.

Charles CHRISTIAN, one of the inspectors of bank-notes, proved the notes tendered by the prisoners, as well as the 28 in the canvass bag, to be all forgeries in every respect.

The prisoners said, in their defence, that they did not know the notes were forged. Several witnesses gave them a good character.

The jury found a verdict - Guilty.

Sentence of death was immediately passed upon the criminals.

file:///C:/Users/Debbie/Documents/__ Kent, England Online Parish Clerks __ Newspaper Abstracts - Assizes, Police Courts, Petty Courts.html

D Wong on 3rd September, 2020 wrote:

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal Kent, England
31 Mar 1818:
Walter Watchurst, and George Dunk, for uttering counterfeit Bank of England notes, at Gillingham, Chatham, &c. with intent to defraud several persons there__Watchurst, Death—Reprieved—Dunk, DEATH.

**George Dunk was also onboard Morley.**

Walter Watchurst was listed as 23 years old on arrival.

Native Place: Kent.

Occupation: Lath renderer (Plasterer)/Herdsman.

Walter was 5’9½” tall, fair ruddy complexion, brown hair, hazel eyes.

Colonial Secretary Index:
WATCHURST, Walter. Per “Morley”, 1818

1821 Sep 8:  Employed at Pennant Hills. On list of all persons victualled from H.M. Magazines; listed as W Watches (Reel 6016; 4/5781 p.89)

1823 Nov 29:  On list of prisoners assigned; listed as Watchouse (Fiche 3291; 4/4570D p.133)

6/8/1832: COF: 

WATCHURST, Harriet. Came free per “Jupiter”, 1823

1823 Nov 29:  On list of persons receiving an assigned convict; listed as Watchouse (Fiche 3291; 4/4570D p.133)

1825 Jul 4:  Re payment of a legacy left to her by her uncle & transmitted from England six months previously; listed as Watches (Reel 6064; 4/1787 p.7)

1825 Jul 6:  Certain sums to her credit to be lodged in the Savings Bank (Reel 6014, 4/3514 p.583; Reel 6017, 4/5782 p.343)

1825 Jul 19:  Money deposited in her account with the Sydney Savings Bank to be placed at her disposal; listed as Watches (Reel 6015; 4/3515 p.42)

Seems that Walter was married to Harriet in England - they had children in NSW:
1825: George R d 1825
1826: Sarah d 1826
1826: Harriet
1829: Sarah J
1831: Walter W
1833: Daniel d 1823
There was also a Caroline died in 1834
All listed as ‘Watches’ on the NSW BDM.

6/9/1832: CP

1836: Walter ‘Watches’ died, aged, 40.

Convict Changes History

Debbie Wust on 23rd April, 2016 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1795 (prev. 0000), date of death: 30th December, 1836 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

D Wong on 3rd September, 2020 made the following changes:

alias1: Watchouse, alias2: Walters, alias3: Watches, occupation

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