Blencowe Families’ Association Newsletter Vol. 22 No. 4 November 2007

Thomas Blencowe: the convict who returned to England.

John Blencowe was born at Kings Sutton in 1732 to Thomas Blencowe and Sarah Brickhill. The earlier family is believed to have come from the Banbury area. John married Sarah Basely in Kings Sutton in 1754. They had four children including a daughter Mary born in about 1762.

Mary Blencowe never married and at the age of 41 gave birth to a son Thomas Blencowe in January 1803. Thomas was baptised in 1805 at Kings Sutton. Thomas became a blacksmith and in 1824 married Mary Ann Morgan at Bishop Itchington, Warwickshire. Their children were Elizabeth, Mary Anne, Thomas and Zilpha.

Thomas served 6 months gaol for theft so when convicted of stealing a pair of pattens; Thomas was sentenced to seven years transportation at the Warwick Quarter Session on 5 January 1835. Thomas left England from Portsmouth on 21 April 1835 on board the Mangles captained by William Carr with 309 other male convicts. They arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on 1 August 1835.

His wife, Mary Ann later moved in with Joseph Compton and gave birth to his children Esther and John who were both baptised “Blencowe”.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Thomas bigamously married Mary Tims on 3 June 1844 in Launceston, Tasmania. Mary, who was born in 1799 in England, was also a convict. She was transported on the Garland Grove leaving Woolwich on 2nd October 1842 and arriving in Launceston, Tasmania on 20 January 1843 .As Thomas had served his seven years by then, only Mary had to apply for permission to marry which was granted in May and on which Thomas's station is listed as “free”.

On 25/12/1853 both Mary and Thomas left Launceston, Tasmania travelling steerage on board the Potentate bound for London with the comment “free by servitude”. Interestingly, Mary travelled under her former name, Tims.

Mary and Thomas had no children in Tasmania. There has been a suggestion that she had children by a previous marriage however, they would probably have remained in England. Certainly no children accompanied them back to England.

One wonders if he caught up with his other family on his return to England!


updated: 24 February 2008