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Mary Weston

Mary Weston, one of 113 convicts transported on the Sydney Cove, January 1807

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mary Weston
Aliases: Poll Weston, Hollis
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1784
Occupation: Book folder
Date of Death: 19th September, 1815
Age: 31 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Sydney Cove
Departure date: January, 1807
Arrival date: 18th June, 1807
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 114 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 386. http://members.iinet.net.au; http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, trial of Mary Weston 16 April 1806. St Matthews Parish Register, Burials, 22 Sept 1815
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

Carol Axton-Thompson on 10th November, 2014 wrote:

Mary Weston, together with Elizabeth Clarke, was convicted at the Old Bailey, Middlesex, London on 16/04/1806 for stealing a quantity of silver, watches, handkerchiefs and a shawl - the property of Mrs. Johanna Witts. 7yr transportation sentence ea.
Mrs. Witts, a widower, rented a back room and stairs at the property of Mr. Field in Drury Lance. The two women, Mary and Elizabeth, lived there with her.

Mary was said to have been married but her husband was at sea. Mary stated that she had lived with Mrs. Witts since she was 12yrs old. Her defence was that she had been asked by Mrs. Witts to pledge the silver teapot. Mary was known to her friends as Poll.

Mary and Elizabeth were both transported to New South Wales, Australia on the ship ‘Sydney Cove’ arriving 18 June 1807.

Robin Sharkey on 26th August, 2021 wrote:

_________________
On 16 April 1806, Mary Weston, aged 22, was tried at the Old Bailey (Middlesex Gaol Delivery) for stealing a range of goods from a chest owned by her landlady, Mrs Johanna Witts. Mary was charged together with Elizabeth Clark, aged 24, who also lodged with Mrs Witts. They stole a range of silver goods (2 watches, 2 teapots, various spoons), a gold watch, 8 handkerchiefs and a shawl, from Mrs Witts. Both were found guilty and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation, arriving in NSW on “Sydney Cove” in June 1807.
Mary was called “Poll” by witnesses at her trial, and was apparently married. She told Mrs Witts she was a bookbinder, but her husband was away at sea. Mary said in evidence in her own defence that she had lived with Mrs Witts since the age of twelve.

Together with a third girl named Susannah Blake, they all lodged in a single room with the widowed Johanna Witts, in Water Lane, Fleet Street, and had done for about two weeks before the theft. Mrs Witts knew that all of them were “unfortunate girls”  - this meaning that they were prostitutes. She knew that Clark was a “girl of the town” and also that Susannah ”used to see company”.

Elizabeth Clark had arrived on the first night Mrs Witts was at Water Lane, having already known Mrs Witts for some months. Mary Weston arrived the second night bringing Susannah with her also. Mrs Witts described herself as keeping a lodging house, but she herself only rented the one room in the dwelling house herself.

On 18th March 1806, Mrs Witts was drunk on gin and lay down on the bed in the middle of the day. While she slept, Mary Weston removed the keys to Mrs Witts’ trunk from out of her pocket. Weston and Clark later took the goods from the trunk, and Weston returned the keys to Mrs Witts’ pocket. Susannah Blake later went out with Mrs Witts and on their return Susannah saw the girls on the stairs with the goods. Susannah later turned crown witness.  On the 19th March, she went out with the girls in a hired coach while Poll and Betsy pawned various items in different places, Susannah waiting for them in the coach together with another woman called “Mrs Mary Wilts” who seemed to give them advice.

First, Betsy Clark pawned two watches for a guinea & a half. They then, all four women, went in the coach to Holborn and each bought a black beaver hat, or bonnet with the proceeds. Then Betsy & Poll went together to pawn one of the teapots for 2 pounds. Betsy pawned the handkerchief with a different broker on 20th March.

Johanna Witts’s son gave information to the Bow Street Office and on 21 March, Betsy Clark was taken from the lodgings to that Office and charged, admitting to a black beaver bonnet she was wearing being bought with proceeds from pawning the watches. Both pawnbrokers or their clerks gave evidence.

The man who worked where the teapot was pawned said he had known Mary Weston for two years. He did suspect her but said her story was believable, she “was better dressed” and “looked a respectable person” and she “seemed to know the worth of [the teapot]”. He said it was an error of judgement on his part to accept the teapot, and the Court interjected and said it was “an error of the heart”!
The other woman involved, Mary Wilts, was wily – she was not found with any stolen goods on her, and never pawned anything. She was charged with feloniously receiving, harbouring, and counselling Elizabeth Clark and Mary Weston knowing them to be committing a felony, but she was found not guilty. Elizabeth Clark and Mary Weston were found guilty, sentenced to 7 years transportation and transported on the convict ship “Sydney Cove” arriving in NSW in June 1807.

Robin Sharkey on 26th August, 2021 wrote:

By the time of the October 1814 Muster, Mary Weston (sometimes written as “Western” in NSW convict records) was living with John Hollis at Windsor. She was off the stores, and was described as his wife. (official marriage record not found).
John Hollis had arrived per “Fortune” in 1806, sentenced to seven years in January 1805. In October 1814 he was described as a “landholder” at Windsor – this probably only meant he was renting the land.

Mary died in 1815, on 19th September. The burial register referred to her as having drowned.  She was buried on 22 September, out of St Matthews Anglican Church, Windsor. Her death was registered as Mary Hollis, aged 32. This age is consistent with her being aged 22 at her trial.

Convict Changes History

Carol Axton-Thompson on 10th November, 2014 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 386. http://members.iinet.net.au; http://www.oldbaileyonline.org (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO

Robin Sharkey on 26th August, 2021 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 386. http://members.iinet.net.au; http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, trial of Mary Weston 16 April 1806. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfi

Robin Sharkey on 26th August, 2021 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 386. http://members.iinet.net.au; http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, trial of Mary Weston 16 April 1806. St Matthews Parish Register, Burials, 22 Sept 18

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