Lucy Meares and Sophia Richards


As well as partners in crime (together with Sarah Hopkins), Lucy Meares and Sophia Richards had an even closer connection – they were in fact sisters. They had been born in Kegworth, Leicestershire, the last two of the numerous children of Thomas and Ann Pares. Lucy was baptised on 16 Mar 1791 and Sophia on 29 Jun 1793. So when they arrived in New South Wales in January 1818 they would have been at least 26 and 24 years of age respectively, not the 24 and 22 that were recorded in their convict documentation.

Kegworth is situated on the west bank of the River Soar, the river also serving as the boundary with Nottinghamshire. Historically the economic mainstay had been farming, and indeed most of the Pares men were employed as agricultural labourers. However by the late 1700s, Kegworth was becoming industrialised, with many of the villagers now employed in frame-work knitting (hosiery), embroidery and lace-making.

Map of Kegworth

Lucy and Sophia were tried together in Bristol by the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Deliverer on 12 April 1817. The term ‘Gaol Deliverer’ is significant because it gave the Commissioners authority to try prisoners then in gaol, and by 12 April 1817 both Sophia and Lucy had been in Bristol Newgate prison for about three months, as reported by the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of 9 January 1817.

Committed to Bristol Newgate. – John Meares, Robert Wilson, John Johnson, and William Jones, charged with stealing 1000 yards of ribbon, value 80l, the property of George Coupland and others; Lucy Meares, Sarah Hopkins, and Sophia Richards, with receiving the same, knowing them to have been stolen …

Indeed, this was not the first time the sisters had come up before the courts. At the April 1808 Nottinghamshire Quarter Sessions they were charged with larceny, but were both acquitted. And again in October of that year, and this time alone, Sophia Pares was again acquitted of larceny. Perhaps they were lucky on these occasions, but the experience did not deter them from their later criminal deeds.

I have found no records to confirm or otherwise where, when and if Lucy married John Meares or Sophia married Mr. Richards. Nothing more is known about Mr. Richards, but Lucy’s ‘husband’ certainly had form, as detailed in the Bath Chronicle’s 24 April 1817 report of their trial. Apart from having stolen the 1000 yards of ribbon, John Meares (alias Andrew Wood) was also charged with ‘returning from transportation before the lawful time’. Lucy and Sophia, together with Sarah Hopkins, were sentenced to 14 years transportation. John Meares’ fate was not determined, and I do not know what happened to him (unless he was the Andrew Wood [also elsewhere recorded as David and Daniel], tried and sentenced to Life on 12 April 1817 at Bristol, and who was on board the transport ship Ocean which left England in August 1817 and then disappears from the records).

A thousand yards of ribbon was a sizeable booty. What were the women going to do with so much ribbon? Lucy and Sophia were lacemakers by trade, so perhaps they intended to use it for making fancy goods for sale (and perhaps also for their own personal adornment), or perhaps they hoped just to on-sell it. Whatever their plans were for their ill-gotten gains, they were thwarted. These women did their time at Newgate before their departure for London and thence to New South Wales.

Having endured the voyage Lucy and Sophia finally disembarked from the Friendship, landing at Government Wharf on 30 January 1818. Neither had impressed (or perhaps they had!) Surgeon Peter Cosgreave, who described Sophia Richards as ‘A prostitute Leader of the Mutinous Spirit shown last July’ and Lucy Meares as ‘A prostitute Sister to the above of a most infamous disposition’. How accurate these descriptions are is questionable, given that the Surgeon was disparaging of just about all the women in his charge, but they do suggest that the sisters were feisty and resourceful women, characteristics that would serve them well as they made their way in the colony.

(In undertaking research into the Pares family I discovered that I am not the only person interested in this family. I would particularly like to acknowledge the generosity of Carole Walsham for sharing her extensive notes on the family).

Lucy Meares

On arrival Lucy would have been assigned, but to whom is not known, but it was as a servant that she appears as Lucy Mears in an 1819 muster of female convicts. The entry is annotated ‘husbd at Sydney D Hanshaw came in the Ocean, Sister to S Richards’. One interpretation of this cryptic annotation could be that the husband referred to was Andrew Wood who, as noted previously, had arrived on the Ocean, and who was assigned to D. Hanshaw, who may have been the Daniel Hanshaw (Hanchard) who arrived in the colony in 1790, per the Neptune, and who by 1814 was a free man. For the 1820 muster Lucy was a resident at the Government Factory at Parramatta – so perhaps there had been a problem with the assignment.

Notwithstanding any other ‘husband’, on 7 February 1823 we find the Reverend William Cowper submitting the names of John Laws, free, and Lucy Pears als Meers, Convict per Friendship, both of Sydney, ‘praying permission to have their names published in Church in order to being married’. Approval having been granted, and the banns duly read, John Laws, aged 30, a bachelor and a shipwright, married Lucy Pear alias Lucy Meers, aged 26, spinster, on 20 October 1823 at St. Philip’s Church, Sydney, the event being witnessed by J.R. Hughes and Sophia Hughes. All parties bar the bride were able to sign their names. The full name of J.R. Hughes was John Robert Hughes. Sophia Hughes was his wife, and formerly Sophia Richards.

John Laws, a ship’s carpenter by trade, had been a crewman on board the passenger ship Midas which had arrived in Port Jackson in February 1821, having sailed from England the previous August, and was subsequently deployed for a short time commuting between Port Jackson, Hobart and Macquarie Island. In December 1821 John Laws submitted the following memorial to the Governor.

That your memorialist has been Carpenter of the Midas and wishing to further his views in this Colony by the recommendation of the Captain wishing to stop most humbly solicits your Excellency for his sanction for the same and Memorialist will ever by truly thankful.

By letter of 19 February 1822, the Colonial Secretary advised John that

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to grant your request to be discharged from the ship Midas and allowed to remain in this Colony.

Within seven months of her marriage Lucy became a widow when John Laws died on 23 May 1824. The Reverend Richard Hill officiated at his burial three days later.

In November 1822 a Government Order had been issued by which the provisions for granting convict indulgences had been revised, one new provision being that those who had been sentenced to fourteen years, and who during a period of six years had faithfully served two masters, could apply for a Ticket of Leave. By 1824 Lucy had served six years’ of her sentence and thus, in August of that year, set out in the prescribed format, a case was put forward for Lucy to be granted a Ticket of Leave.

We hereby certify that Lucy Mears who came to this colony in the Ship Friendship which arrived in the year 1817 [sic], has not been convicted of any crime or misdemeanour in this Colony, but is to our certain belief an honest sober and industrious Character, having served faithfully Mrs Frances Kelly residing in the district of Sydney from the date of her arrival to this present date.

This statement was signed by the Resident Magistrate; by the Rev Richard Hill, Resident Clergyman, who noted that he knew nothing to the prejudice of Lucy Mears; and Frances Kelly, Mistress. Interestingly there was no reference to the period of time spent at the Government Factory, or to the short marriage to John Laws, and at the bottom of the page was a note : ‘Lucy ux John Mears, Bristol, 12 April 1817, Fourteen Years’. Separately, in further support of her case, the Assistant Chief of Police certified that

… on reference to the Record Books of this Office it does not appear that “Lucy Mears” by the ship Friendship has been charged with any Crime or Misdemeanour.

Even though only one ‘master’ was named [perhaps the deceased John Laws deemed another], the application was successful and, effective 4 October 1824, Lucy ux John Meares was issued with Ticket number 424/1358. She was listed here as a dressmaker and described as being 5 feet 3½, of ruddy complexion, with brown hair and dark eyes.

Not immediately apparent is a possible closer link than ‘mistress : servant’ between Frances Kelly and Lucy Meares. Noting that when Lucy married John Laws she did so under the surname Pear, when 35 year old ‘spinster’ Frances married 38 year old widower David Kelly, Butcher of Pitt Street, on 3 September 1822 she also used the surname Pear, and one of the witnesses was Lucy Mayers. Neither Frances nor Lucy were able to sign their names. But prior to assuming the surname Pear, Frances appears in the records as Frances Wood, and she had arrived free in 1803 on the convict ship Glatton as the ‘wife’ of one of the convicts, Nathaniel Miller, with whom she lived in Sydney until his death in 1819. The records for Frances suggest a birth year of 1783-84. For the record, Lucy and Sophia had an elder sister Frances, baptised at Kegworth in 1777. It is interesting to note that the following are all grouped together in the Sydney Burial Ground Re-Interment Register 1901.

Mr Nathaniel Miller, Butcher of Sydney, died 3rd October 1819 aged 40 years. Also Mr John Laws, died 24th May 1824 aged 30, leaving a widow. Also Mrs Frances Kelly, wife of Mr David Kelly, of Sydney died 25th January 1827 aged 44 years. Also John Robert Hughes, Butcher of Market St. Sydney, died 28 March 1827 aged 48 years leaving a widow. [Type and Condition of Monument: Altar – Poor- Church of England Section].

Referring back to the records – Lucy was listed in both the 1825 Muster and the 1828 Census. For the former she was listed as a widow and a housekeeper, presumably still with Frances Kelly. By the 1828 census Lucy is a householder, residing in Castlereagh Street, together with Mary Smith, 13, a servant girl. What is surprising is that the 1828 Census also includes 8 year old Eliza Laws, daughter of Lucy Mears. If the age is correct Eliza’s conception would have preceded John Laws’ arrival at Sydney. Also, the 1828 entry immediately preceding that for Lucy Mears is for M. Mears aged 2, then in the Female Orphan Institution, Parramatta. No records have been located for the births of these two girls.

So, after ten years in the colony, Lucy had been married and widowed, had apparently given birth to two daughters, had obtained her ticket of leave, and had established herself as a householder, with a servant, in Castlereagh Street. In November of the following year her status changed once more. On 26 October 1829 permission was granted for James Hamilton, aged 29, and Lucy aged 34, ux Jno Meares or Laws, to marry. While James was classified as free by servitude, Lucy was still required to make such application as she was still a ticket-of-leave holder. She could provide proof that John Laws had died, but if she had similar proof for John Meares nothing has been found to support this. But no obstacles were put in their way. Three weeks later, on 17 November, the marriage between James Hamilton, aged 29, a bachelor and clerk, and Lucy Laws aged 32 [sic] and a widow, was celebrated at St James Church. The Reverend Richard Hill officiated and again Lucy’s sister was a witness, this time under the name Sophia Beeson. The event was even mentioned on page 3 of the 18 November issue of The Australian.

MARRIED – Yesterday morning, by special licence, at St James’s Church, by the Reverend Richard Hill, Mr. James Hamilton, to Mrs. L. Lawes, both of Sydney.

On paper Lucy was four years older than her new husband. In reality the disparity was nearer ten years as the bride would have been about 38 years old.

It was the crime of fraud that brought James Hamilton to the Colony. He had been employed as a merchant’s clerk before he appeared before the Clerkenwell Quarter Session on 14 January 1820 and was sentenced to seven years’ transportation. He was one of the 160 convicts who embarked on the Earl St Vincent on 27 March 1820, 100 of whom had been held on the hulk Leviathan and 60 on the Laurel. The convict ship eventually got under way on 12 April 1820 and arrived at Port Jackson on 16 August and the convicts were landed on 29 August.

James could thank his professional training and previous employment for giving him a distinct advantage over so many of his fellow convicts – an above-average level of literacy. On arrival he was assigned to a Mr. Winder – possibly Mr. Thomas White Melville Winder, merchant, grazier, shipowner, and tallow manufacturer. The 1822 Muster finds him working as a clerk in the Superintendent’s Office in Sydney. Three years later he was listed as a Government employee [presumably in the Commissariat] on Norfolk Island which, having been abandoned by 1814, had been re-commissioned in 1825 as a penal settlement to house the worst re-offenders. James had been granted a Ticket-of-Leave on 28 October 1824 and his Certificate of Freedom on 4 June 1829. From these two records we learn that James was born in 1800 at Hampstead, he stood at 5 feet 2¼ inches, his complexion was fair/ruddy and he had light brown hair and hazel eyes. He may have been the son of William Hamilton, mariner, and Mary whose son James had been born on 29 January 1800 and baptised the following month on 21 February at St Saviour’s Church, Southwark, Surrey.

I am not sure where Lucy and James spent their early married life, but from at least 1832 they were in the hotel business, having taken over the license for “The Loggerheads” on the corner of Market and Clarence Streets. Once more we have an example of strong family ties. The previous licensee was John Beeson, Lucy’s brother-in-law! The association between John and James also extended to the cricket field when in late 1832 (albeit not with much glory) they were members of the Amateurs or Mary-Le-Bone cricket team which was taken on and beaten by the Australian Cricket Club.

The New South Wales Government Gazette records show that James Hamilton was assigned at least three convicts, one of whom was Julia Welsh [Welch], who, usefully, had been a barmaid prior to her conviction and arrival in 1829 on the Sovereign. Julia joined the Hamilton household in October 1832 but proved decidedly unsatisfactory, as reported in the press on 24 January 1833.

Julia Welch, assigned to Mr. Hamilton, was charged with repeated drunkenness. Julia “stood confessed,” and expressed herself sorry for it; but his Worship judging her sorrow to be more nearly allied to the consequence than the cause, sent her to the Parramatta nunnery for a month.

The Hamiltons maintained “The Loggerhead’s” license until October 1836, when it was transferred to one Thomas Smidmore. The following April 1838 newspaper extract shows that by 1838 the Hamiltons were living in Parramatta Road, either with or in close proximity to John and Sophia Beeson and, further, calls into question whether James Hamilton was a fit person to hold convict servants.

Alexander Scott, assigned to Mr. James Hamilton of the Parramatta Road, was charged with an assault. Mrs. Beatson [Beeson] of the Parramatta Road deposed, that on Monday last the prisoner came to her house in a state of intoxication, and demanded to know if his Mistress was within? He was told she was not; when he became very insolent, and struck deponent on the face. She called for assistance, and a servant maid went in to the room. The prisoner then seized a broom and with it struck witness again on the legs. He then left the house, but returned in a short time with a sword stick. He drew the sword, and brandishing it, threatened the life of any one who should oppose him … In defence, the prisoner entered into a rambling statement of the ill-treatment he experienced from his master, who had at one time fired a gun at him This ill-treatment, he said, had driven him to intemperance under the effects of which he had acted. Mr. Brenan enquired of the witnesses of the truth of the prisoner’s statement. They replied they had heard of the fact … [accordingly] the Bench was induced to act with some degree of lenity [and ordered that] an enquiry be instituted at the Prisoner’s Barracks into the circumstances mentioned by the prisoner.

What, if anything, was the outcome of the enquiry was probably of little concern to James Hamilton. The Ancestry Australian Death Index has an entry for James Hamilton, registered in New South Wales in 1838. The BDA confirms that a James Hamilton died on 26 November 1838, aged 42, leaving a widow. However the age at death does not tally with a birth year of 1800. The 1901 Sydney Burial Ground Re-Interment Register notes that, at the request of an F.M. Kirby of Moree, the remains of James Hamilton be transferred to Section 1S, Plot 86, La Perouse, together with those of a Mrs Mary Arkell, who died on 20 November 1825, and her daughter Mrs Ellen Kirby who died on 7 September 1838. It is only from researching the Arkell/Kirby names that I am certain that this James Hamilton was indeed Lucy’s husband.

Mary Arkell, as Mary Plowright, had arrived in the colony in 1809 on the convict ship Indispensable, having been convicted at Nottingham for stealing silk handkerchiefs and sentenced to seven years transportation. By 1812 she had obtained a free pardon, and by 1813 an illegitimate daughter, Eleanor (subsequently Ellen Kirby). In January 1821, by licence, she married Thomas Arkell. Now things start to fall into place. William Plowright was Mary’s second husband. It was as Mary Pares that she had previously married John Goddard at Kegworth, Leicestershire in 1789. So here we have another Pares relative. It was quite logical, therefore, for James Hamilton to be buried with ‘family’.

There was apparently no impediment to Mrs. Hamilton of Parramatta Road, Petersham, being assigned convicts, but the arrangements did not always prove mutually satisfactory. Sarah Howells, kitchen maid, a twenty year old Shropshire lass who had arrived per the John Renmark, was reported as having absconded from Lucy’s household on 24 June 1840. Three months later another kitchen maid, Mary Gilmore, an Irish girl from the convict ship Margaret, had absconded. While Sarah might be identified by a scar on the back of her left hand, Mary would have been more immediately recognisable from her heavily tattooed arms and hands.

Lucy’s next husband had something of a chequered history. Although later records give his birth place as St. Asaph, Edward Foulkes had been baptised in 1798 at Llanasannan, a small rural village in Flintshire, North Wales (see map below). Foulkes was a very common name in the area, but from the baptism/marriage records it is likely that his parents were Robert Foulkes and Mary Jones. Edward was just 20 when he was called up before the Mold Assizes on 27 August 1818 for

… robbing his master (Lewis Hughes, Esq.) of sums of money, at different times, to a great amount [for which he, along with two horse thieves] received sentence of death – but the Worthy Chief Justice, who presided, held out to them hopes that they would be recommended to the clemency of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent; on condition of being transported for life.

Courtesy of the Prince Regent, Edward found himself on board the convict ship Baring which departed on 27 January 1819 and arrived at Port Jackson on 26 June. His occupation on arrival was recorded as clerk and he was placed as such in the Government Musters Office.

Map of St Asaph

In late 1822 Edward petitioned the Governor for a conditional pardon, noting that he had arrived in 1819 ‘under the distressing sentence of transportation for Life’, and trusting that his conduct had been such as to merit His Excellency’s approbation and that his request would not be regarded as presumptuous. It probably was so regarded, given that he had been in the colony for such a short time, because no such pardon was granted, but by 1823 Edward had been appointed as a clerk to the Minto Magistrates Court, and another move in 1824 found Edward Foulkes as one of the convicts assigned to William Howe of Minto.

Having managed to keep out of trouble for six years, in September 1825 Edward featured in a list of prisoners tried before the Supreme Court of New South Wales accused of horse stealing. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death, subsequently commuted to transportation for life at Norfolk Island. The following month, while in Sydney Gaol, Edward sought permission to marry – his intended bride being Mary Ann Delahunt. Surprisingly, having checked on their characters, Reverend Cowper found no impediment to the marriage proceeding. However it did not take place. I have found nothing to confirm that Edward did actually go to Norfolk Island, and if so, how long he was there. Interestingly, however, is that if he did serve time there it is likely that he became acquainted with his ‘predecessor’ James Hamilton. It was not until 1 January 1839, after he had been in the colony for nearly 20 years, that confirmation of Edward’s Conditional Pardon was gazetted. Under the terms of this ‘indulgence’ be was to ‘continue and to reside within the limits of this Government for and during the space of his original Sentence or Order of Transportation’ which, given that he had received commuted life sentences would have made calculating the ‘space’ a bit tricky!

Lucy Hamilton would have been about 50 when, in June 1841, she married Edward Foulkes. He was a bachelor, aged about 43, and we know what he looked like from his conditional pardon – he was 5 feet 5¾ tall, with a florid complexion, light brown hair and hazel eyes. What he may have brought to the marriage is not known, but Lucy must have been something of a catch as she was of a lady of some modest means. As the executrix and beneficiary of James Hamilton’s estate she had realised some of his property. In May 1841, in anticipation of her marriage, Lucy Hamilton as the first party and Edward Foulkes as the second party had entered into a Marriage Settlement by Lease and Release for a block of land and cottage in Castlereagh Street, currently tenanted. Indeed it was the delay in settling the sale of property that prevented Lucy and Edward from accompanying the Beesons in March 1842 on a trip back to England. Lucy and Edward finally departed on 2 April 1843 on the barque Alfred, Edward having announced their pending departure in January.

MR. EDWARD FOULKES, intending to depart from the colony for England on an early day, requests those persons indebted to him to be prepared to settle their respective amounts by the 17th proximo, to prevent the necessity of having recourse to coercive measures for their recovery.
Castlereagh-street South, January 17.

The fact that there appeared to be no impediment to Edward making an extended visit to England, beyond the colonial jurisdiction, suggests that he had been granted an absolute pardon by 1843, but I have not found any documentation to confirm this. The Foulkes were absent for nearly two years, returning on 27 December 1844 on board the Persian, a notable voyage for being one of the quickest passages of the season – 99 days.

A matter requiring the Foulkes’ attention on return was the 1840 property deal, in process of finalisation on their departure overseas but which, due to some anomalies, had now come before the Equity Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and over which His Honour Mr. Justice A’Beckett passed judgement, his findings being reported at length in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 December 1845. His Honour opened proceedings by detailing the case between Peter Stewart, Plaintiff; and Edward Foulkes and Wife, Defendants.

This was a bill to set aside a conveyance, and mortgage, and for an injunction, under the following circumstances. In the early part of 1839, the defendant, Mrs. Foulkes, under her then name of Hamilton, was in possession of the property which is the subject of the present suit; the same having been previously occupied by her husband, then lately deceased, and as she supposed, devised to her by his will. I say, supposed, for the will it appears, was not attested in such a manner as to pass real estate; and one question in dispute between the parties is, whether Mrs. Foulkes, at the time of her contract with the plaintiff for the sale of the premises in question, was aware of this defect in the will. She employed Mr. Norton, as her proctor, to take out probate, and if his evidence is to be received, she was informed by him, in the course of his employment, on that occasion, of the existence of this defect. Probate was granted to her on the 15th April, 1839, at which time she appears to have been anxious to sell the property, in order to proceed to England with her sister and brother-in-law, a Mr. and Mrs. Beeson; the former of whom would seem to have had some idea of himself becoming the purchaser. The sale, however, was not completed, and no other purchaser being found, Mr. and Mrs. Beeson went to England, leaving Mrs. Hamilton behind, who, after negotiations with one or two other persons, agreed to sell the property to the plaintiff for the sum of £700. The money was not all to be paid at the time, but by subsequent instalments, which were to be secured by a mortgage on the purchased property. Accordingly, Mrs. Hamilton executed a conveyance of the premises to the plaintiff, by indenture of release, dated 2nd December 1840, and a mortgage of the same date, on the same premises, was executed by the plaintiff to her. There was no written agreement of the purchase, the offer for which, appears to have been made on the premises, in the presence of Mr Moffitt, who, upon the plaintiff’s remarking that he had no attorney, suggested that a Mr. Clark be employed; and it was then arranged between the parties that that gentleman should be employed, and the deeds left with him to draw the conveyance. Mrs. Hamilton accordingly sent to Mr. Clark a verbal message, requesting him to draw the conveyance, according to instructions contained in certain documents and papers accompanying the message. Of what these documents consisted, is not very clear; but Mr. Clark, speaking from recollection, says, there was among them, “a deed, and an extract, or paper, purporting to be an extract, from a will”. Both the plaintiff and Mrs. Hamilton were strangers to Mr. Clark, who, after receiving the message and papers, called upon the latter, and received her personal instructions to get the conveyances done. No abstract of title appears to have been prepared – nor were any searches or enquiries made for other particulars than what might be gleaned from the documents delivered by Mrs Hamilton; Mr. Clark seems to have taken it for granted that her title was good, and drew the conveyances accordingly. The expenses were paid by the plaintiff, who, almost immediately after took possession of the property, the deeds and other documents remaining meanwhile in the possession of Mrs. Hamilton. About June 1841, she married the defendant Foulkes, and shortly afterwards went with him to England, leaving the deeds in the custody of one Samuel Jones, who appears to have acted as a sort of agent for Mrs. Foulkes, in the collection of moneys due to her, during her absence. The plaintiff has paid various sums on account of his purchase money, but the sum of £300 is still unpaid, with interest from the 15th February, 1843. He did not discover his want of title until the beginning of 1844, and on the 8th of May that year, filed a bill against the defendants; but as they were not then within the jurisdiction, it was abandoned, and on the 22nd February 1845, the present bill was substituted.

The crux of the case was whether Lucy had wilfully misled Peter Stewart as to her right to sell, and if so, to what redress might the plaintiff have recourse. While Mr. Justice A’Beckett was persuaded that Lucy was not a deliberate fraudster, the 1840 sale and transfer of the house and land was in fact legally fraudulent and void, and he decreed that the conveyance be set aside and the defendants restrain from further proceedings in regards to the mortgage. But this was not the end of the matter. In November 1846 Messrs. Windeyer and Donnelly presented an appeal in the Equity Court on behalf of Lucy Foulkes against A’Beckett’s decree in respect of the conveyance and mortgage. At the end of the hearing which went over two days the Court reserved its judgement. The case dragged on into the following year. At a special Banco Sitting of the Supreme Court on Wednesday 31 March, the Chief Justice handed down his judgement on the case, reversing the decree of Mr. Justice A’Beckett.

Although entertaining the utmost respect for the learned Judge by whom the decree had been promulgated, the Court had been unable to arrive at the conclusion that there was any proof of fraud. It was not sufficient that there had not been a misrepresentation of the defendant’s title, for there ought to have been, in addition, some proof that the misrepresentation was wilful; and the deposit of papers in the hands of a mutual friend, who acted as attorney for the parties, was a step which afforded the plaintiff the means of information as to the presence of the defect in Mrs. Foulkes’ title. Under these circumstances, it was the duty of the plaintiff to make further inquiries, and having suffered from his own laches, he was not entitled to relief. The bill was consequently dismissed, and as it charged fraud which the plaintiff had failed to establish, it was dismissed with costs.

The successful appeal must have been a relief to the Foulkes, and especially Lucy who could consider herself fortunate in not having been found guilty of deception. However the Foulkes were required to meet their own legal costs. In early 1848, capitalising on the experience gained through employment with two men whose business operations included public houses, produce stores, livery stables, coaching and mail contracts, Edward announced that he was now setting up on his own account.

Edward Foulkes, many years in the employ of the late lamented and much respected Mr. John Ireland, also of Mr. I. Titterton, of Sydney, begs to apprise country settlers and others that he purposes to devote more of his time to the sale of colonial produce.
From E.F.’s long experience in, and perfect acquaintance with the Sydney Market, he flatters himself to be enabled to give full satisfaction to ALL who may be pleased to favour him with their confidence, and he pledges himself to use his best exertions in obtaining the highest price for such produce as may be confided to his care for sale. In thus announcing his intention, E.F. respectfully, but confidently, begs reference to be made to the following gentlemen, for some of whom he has transacted business and effected sales to a large amount vis.:-[Austin, Lee, Kite (Bathurst); (Dargin, Tindal, Perry (Penrith); Doyle (Berrima)].
To Mr. Austin, E.F. particularly begs to refer, for whom he has transacted business amounting to many thousands of pounds, and who had afforded him the satisfaction by acknowledging that he has at all times obtained the highest price for produce sent by that gentleman to market. Also to Mr. Tindale.
Commission, including collecting orders, &c., two-and-a-half percent.
For parties sending produce for sale, supplies will be carefully selected and loading thereof superintended, for which no charge will be made.
Until suitable stores are engaged, address at Mr. Titterton’s, George-street.

He was still based at Titterton’s in March 1849 when he advertised his additional services as a money lender.

MONEY TO LEND – The undersigned is commissioned to Lend on the security of City Property, the following sums of money, viz., £200, £500, and £700. Apply at Mr. Titterton’s, George-street. EDWARD FOULKES.

As one of the executors of the estates of Isaac Titterton, who died in September 1852, and his wife Mary Titterton who died in February the following year, Edward was responsible for organising the transfer of the licence of the “White Horse Cellar” which was effected on 1 March 1853, the new licencee being Jacob Myers. By this time Edward was using William Long’s offices in George Street as his business address.

Judging from the property portfolio built up by Edward Foulkes by 1848, his various brokerage and commission interests were doing well, and he and Lucy were able to enjoy a comfortable life-style at their residence, The Willow Cottage, in Castlereagh Street, located very close to Hyde Park, a favourite place for sport and recreation. But towards the end of her life Lucy was troubled with ill-health and within a few months of losing his close friends the Tittertons, Edward also lost his wife.

At her residence, Castlereagh-street-South, after a protracted and severe illness, Mrs. Lucy Foulkes, aged 59. Friends are respectfully invited to attend her funeral on Sunday morning, at a quarter before 8 o’clock.

The notice does not give the date of death, which was 13 May, but does re-state that Lucy, wife of a commission agent, was 59 when she died – somewhat flattering as she would have been about 62. She was buried at the Camperdown cemetery on 15 May 1853. She left no will and, as far as is known, no children other than the two daughters born in the 1820s who apparently played no part in Lucy’s life. Edward Foulkes outlived his wife by nearly two years, his death occurring in January 1855.

At his residence, Castlereagh-street, Sydney, on the 16th instant, Mr. Edward Foulkes, aged 57, much regretted by all who knew him.

A funeral notice was published two days later and Edward, Gentleman, followed his wife to the Camperdown cemetery on 20 January.

The Friends of the late Mr. Edward Foulkes are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will take place on SATURDAY AFTERNOON, at 3 o’clock precisely. The procession will move from his late residence, Willow Tree Cottage, Castlereagh-street, two doors below Bathurst-street, at the hour above mentioned. JOHN HILL, jun., and SON, undertakers, King and Riley streets. No circulars will be issued.

Edward Foulkes did leave a will and it makes for interesting reading.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Edward Foulkes of Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales, Gentleman. I revoke all Wills and Codicils made by me at any time heretofore and after payment of all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses I give devise and bequeath all the real and personal Estate of which I may die possessed unto my friend William Long of Sydney aforesaid, Wine and Spirit Merchant. To hold the same unto the said William Long, his Executors, administrators and assigns according to the nature and quality thereof respectively Upon Trust to permit and suffer Frances Margaret Redman, who is now residing with me, to use my Household furniture and utensils, plate, linen, china and consumable stores and all other effects which may be in or about my residence at the time of my decease, during her natural life. And I direct that my said Trustee shall convert and get in all my other trust property and effects and invest the produce thereof in mortgages of Freehold Estates or in Bank Stock or Government Debentures in New South Wales, and that my said Trustee shall have power to vary any such investment for any other investment of the description specified in this direction. And I direct that may said Trustee shall pay the net annual income produces by my said Trust property unto the said Margaret Frances Redman during her life for her sole and separate use and benefit independent of the debts, control or engagements of her present or any future husband, she thereout maintaining, educating and bringing up her two children hereinafter named. And I direct that, subject to the preceding directions, my said Trustee shall hold my trust property for the absolute use of Frances Phoebe and Susannah Ann, daughters of the said Frances Margaret Redman to be divided between them in equal proportions when they respectively attain the age of twenty one years or be married whichever shall first happen, but it case either of them die under the age of twenty one years without issue, then the share of the party so dying shall go and belong to the survivor of them and in case both of them die under the age of twenty one years, and without issue, Then I give, devise and bequeath the same unto my dear Brothers Robert and Cornelius Foulkes to be equally divided between them. I direct that my Trustee shall have power in his discretion, after the death of the said Frances Margaret Redman, to raise by such means as he may deem expedient out of my trust property any part not exceeding one half of the principal or value of the contingent portion of each of them, the said Frances Phoebe and Susannah Ann, and apply the same for the maintenance, education and advancement in life. I direct that purchasers and others, taking the receipt of my Trustee on the payment or transfer to all of them any money or effects, shall be thereby exonerated from all liability in respect of the application thereof and that my said Trustee may deduct all disbursements and expenses which he may in any wise be put unto or pay incident to the Execution of the Trusts of this my Will. I direct that in case my Trustee shall die or become unable or unwill to act Then I empower the said Frances Margaret Redman, or if she be dead, then the retiring Trustee, his heirs, executors or administrators, by any writing to nominate any new Trustee for the purpose of filling such vacancy and the said new Trustee shall have the same powers in all respects as the Trustee hereby appointed. And I appoint the said William Long Executor and the said Frances Margaret Redman Executrix of this my Will. In Witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand the Eighteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one Thousand eight hundred and fifty four – Edwd Foulkes.
Signed by the said Testator as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses – Parry Long, Henry Jones.
20 February 1855, This day upon Petition, Probate of the last Will and Testament of Edward Foulkes deceased was granted to Frances Margaret Redman the Executrix in the said Will named – William Long the Executor named in the Will having renounced. Testator died 16th January 1855. Goods sworn at £1,000. Probate dated the same day as granted.

It was as sole trustee and executrix, that F.M. Redman placed a notice in the press calling for all persons having claims against, or being indebted to the estate of the late Edward Foulkes, to submit or pay the same her hands.

Unless Frances Margaret Redman was part of the Foulkes household before Lucy died, we can assume that she moved in sometime between Lucy’s death and the date of Edward’s will – 18 January 1854. But it is evident that she and Edward had been acquainted for quite some time. The births of the two daughters, referred to as Mrs. Redman’s, were registered under the surname Foulkes – Frances P Foulkes (1847) and Susannah A Foulkes (1849); the parents’ names were recorded as Edward and Frances.

These two girls would have been about 8 and 6 when Edward died. I wonder if Lucy was aware of her husband’s apparent philandering.

‘Loose Ends’
Who was Mr. Redman? I have found three property conveyance documents naming John George Redman. The first, dated 11 December 1837, is for a mortgage for 100 acres of land in the Botany Bay area which had been granted by Governor Macquarie in August 1812 to one John Redman which, on his death, was passed on to his heirs and assigns. The parties to the mortgage were John George Redman, cabinet maker of Sydney, and the mortgagee, James Watkin, Wesleyan missionary. The other two documents relate to a parcel of land at Burwood, Sydney. On 18 August 1840 John George Redman, cabinet maker of Sydney, purchased from Mr. Samuel Deane, publican of Pitt Street, a parcel of land at Burwood, Sydney. The next year, on 18 March, the same parcel of land was transferred from John George Redman and Frances Margaret Redman to a William Turton.

From these property documents we know that John George Redman was a cabinet maker by trade, and that he possibly ‘married’ Frances sometime between August 1840 and March 1841, although I have not found any record to substantiate when/if they married. The first document suggests that John George’s father was John Redman, who died on 26 November 1837 – ‘a very old and respectable colonist’.

John Redman was the Chief Constable in Sydney stationed at Sydney Gaol and an early settler in Campsie. He was granted 100 acres in 1812 which was named “John Farm” and later bought 200 acres of land to the east, ultimately amassing a landholding of 500 acres. This area between the Cooks River and South Campsie was known as the “Redman estates”. Much of the clearing of trees was conducted by convict labourers employed by John Redman and the logs were delivered to Sydney Gaol for firewood and timber. Timber was a valuable resource but most of the owners, like John Redman, did not actually live on their property, and regular warnings appeared in the press about trespassing. John junior would have had a ready supply of wood for his cabinet making.

On the premise that John Redman was the father of John George Redman, his mother was Mary George, and his parents were married on 16 September 1812 at St Philips Church, Sydney. The 1828 census lists John, 65, (free by servitude), a publican of George Street and also landholder of 400 acres, and Mary, 35, (absolute pardon), and their 7 children all born in the colony. John, 16, was the eldest, followed by Martha, 14, Joseph, 12, Edward, 10, Rosamund, 9, William, 5, and Robert ¼. Confirmation of John George Redman’s parentage is provided by the will of his mother Mary, who died on 23 February 1859. She appointed her two sons John George Redman and Joseph Sudbury Redman as her executors.

When John George Redman drew up his will in March 1888, leaving an estate valued at £26,316, he made provision for his various nephews and nieces, and for his housekeeper Mrs. Baker who, with her husband Mr. Baker, had looked after John for many years, and arranged for generous bequests to be made to various charitable institutions. No mention was made of any wife or children. John died on 25 April 1888. Finally, a summary of his life was included in the 1888 Aldine Centennial History.

JOHN REDMAN was born in Sydney, N.S.W., in 1812, and educated there, at Newcastle, and at Castlereagh. He is the eldest son of the late John Redman, who was for twenty-five years chief constable of Sydney, and afterwards for seven years governor of the gaol. He was taught the trade of cabinetmaking, but fifty years ago kept the Garrick Inn in Pitt-street. Seventeen years later he went to Dee why, and purchased 100 acres of land in that district, where he lived for twenty-seven years. In 1884 he removed to Bayview, Pittwater, and purchased forty acres overlooking the bay, which is his present residence. Mr. Redman had four brothers and three sisters, but is the only one of the family now living.

As John George Redman only held the “Garrick’s Head” licence for one year (1841), from the above resumé we can estimate that he relocated to Dee why around the mid-1850s. He was listed as living at Manly Beach for the 1856 Electoral Roll.

Who was Frances Margaret Redman? The first reference I located for this woman was as a party to the 1841 land transaction and thereafter the only references were via Edward Foulkes’ will. Apart from her role as executrix of his estate I have not established what happened to her immediately after Edward’s death, when she would have been a single mother with two young daughters. She may have stayed on at Willow Tree Cottage for a short time, but the contents of this residence – Household Furniture, Pianoforte, China, Glassware, Grain, Walnuts, etc. – were up for auction in December 1856, and in July 1857 the cottage was up for let, enquiries to be directed to Mr. Long, solicitor, George Street. What is known, however, is that she died within a few years of Edward Foulkes, although it was some twenty years later that letters of administration were issued in respect of her estate.

30th July 1880. This day by Petition Administration of the Estate and effects of Frances Margaret Redman, late of Wodonga Colony Victoria widow deceased was granted to Frances Phoebe Bowring daughter of the said deceased. Intestate died 13th October 1860. Goods sworn under £20. Letters of Administration dated 30th June 1880.

But no death record has been found for Frances Margaret Redman. And there is a good reason for this, because it was as Frances Margaret Lee that her death was registered at Belvoir [now Wodonga], Victoria. The death record confirms her date of death as 13 October 1860, at which time she was 42 years old and employed as a housekeeper. The causes of death were dropsy and disease of the heart, from which she had been suffering for two months. The informant was Henry Lee, hotel keeper of Belvoir and also the purported husband. Frances was buried at the Belvoir cemetery on 15 October. Further, the register entry immediately following is for a 5-month old Henry George Lee, who died on 16 October from consumption. He had been born in Sydney and his parents were Henry and Frances Margaret Lee. So within two days Henry was back at the cemetery where his son was buried on 18th October. What subsequently happened to Henry Lee is still a mystery.

What happened to Frances Phoebe Foulkes and Susannah Ann Foulkes? They would have been respectively aged about 13 and 11 when their mother died.

I have not found anything further for Susannah Ann Foulkes. In 1864 Frances Phoebe Foulkes married James Bowring. The marriage was registered at Albury. The couple had three children, all born at Stanley, Victoria (9 kilometres from Beechworth) – Charles Bowring (1866) Frances Foulkes Bowring (1868), and daughter Sarah Bowring (1868).

Frances married for a second time to George Wright. The 1890 marriage was registered in Victoria. George Wright, late of St Peters, Sydney, died on 24 July 1910, aged 76. Frances subsequently married John James Boyt in August 1914.

BOYT-WRIGHT. At Manse, Croydon Park, August 25 by Rev S.J. Gibson, Frances Phoebe, relict of late Geo. Wright of St. Peters, to John James Boyt, of Peakhurst, NSW, formerly of Marrickville, New South Wales.

Frances Boyt died on 25 July 1934 at Hurstville, Sydney. The death registration records her parents as Edward and Frances M.

Sophia Richards

Apart from the report of the Friendship’s surgeon, and the initial convict indent listing, we find Sophia Richards included in three listings of settlers and convicts which cover her first years in the colony. These records provide details of date of arrival, name and master of ship, trial details and sentence. Under the column ‘How disposed of’ the 1818 record lists her as a servant; the annotation for the 1819 record seems to read ‘Modest Woman Sydney’; and for 1820 record she is recorded as a single woman of Sydney. Sophia is also accounted for in the 1822 Muster, but this time as ‘Hughes als Richards Soph, Convict, Friendship, 14, Wife of J Hughes, Sydney’.

In August 1822 the names of John Robt Hughes, Convict, per Ld Sidmouth, and Sophia Richards als Pear, Convict, per Friendship were included in a list of persons seeking permission to marry. Approval having been given, they married at St Philips’ Church, Sydney, on 3 September 1822. The groom was described as a 30 year old widower and a butcher by trade. Sophia declared herself to be 26 and a widow, and both her surnames Richards and Pear appear in the record. John was able to sign his name but Sophia ‘signed’ with ‘X’. One of the witnesses was David Kelly, husband of Sophia’s sister Frances. Apparently no query was raised as to Sophia’s pre-marital status (or, for that matter, John’s) and as to the supposed death of the mysterious (mythical?) Mr. Richards.

At the age of 39, John Robert Hughes, a butcher and tallow candle maker of Ludlow in Shropshire, had been convicted of larceny at the Surrey Summer Assizes on 6 August 1818. Sentenced to seven years transportation, he had left England in September 1818, one of the 158 convicts on board the Lord Sidmouth which arrived at Port Jackson on 11 March 1818 just two months after the Friendship. Having been mustered on the 15th and landed and inspected by Governor Macquarie on the 18th, the convicts proceeded to Parramatta on the 19th for assignment. Coincidentally, by 1820 John Robert Hughes was assigned to William Cordeaux, Deputy Assistant Commissary General, who had been a passenger on the Friendship and who was also called upon to act as a witness in the investigation of misconduct on that ship. A few months before his marriage John had successfully petitioned the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, for a Ticket of Leave.

The Petition of John Hughes
Most humbly Showeth
That your Petitioner came a Prisoner into the Colony in the ship Lord Sidmouth now upwards of three years since.
That your Petitioner is by Trade a Butcher and Candle Maker was a considerable time as Butcher in the Commissariat Stores, afterwards Government Servant to Mr. Bacon the late Storekeeper and transferred to Mr. Robert Cooper, to kill and salt meat and to make Candles, and having leisure time after his Masters Business was done he took a Shop in Market Street and carried on the Trade of a Butcher but it being contrary to General Orders, he had to appear before the Worshipful the Bench of Magistrates this Day, their Worships in Consideration of his unblemished character since he has been in this Colony were induced to give your Petitioner Leave until Wednesday next in order to petition your Excellency to grant your Petitioner a Ticket of Leave in order to carry on his Trade for his Support.
Your Petitioner is therefore induced to hope that your Excellency in consideration of the good character your Petitioner has maintained since he has been in this Colony Testimonials of which are annexed will be pleased to grant the Prayer of this Petition and by his Continuance of good conduct merit your Excys further indulgence.
And your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray – John Hughes
19th April 1822

John was particularly fortunate that the two employers cited in his petition, and the persons who supported his application, were among the leading citizens and businessmen of the day.

Ever since the petitioner has been in my employ I have found him to be a sober and Industrious Man and worthy of recommendation to your Excellency – Robert Cooper

The Petitioner has been for two years as a butcher in the Commissariat Stores under my Inspection during which time he conducted himself well, he was afterwards assigned to me as Government Servant. The whole of the time he conducted himself soberly and Honestly and as an Industrious character. I beg leave to recommend him to His Excellency’s favourable consideration – Mathw Bacon

John was still trading in late 1824 when he placed the following advertisement in the Sydney Gazette.

JOHN HUGHES, Butcher, Market-street, Sydney, hereby begs Leave to inform the Inhabitants of Sydney, and its Vicinity, that he has lowered the Price of MUTTON, BEEF, PORK and LAMB, to Seven-pence per lb. each of which he has always a plentiful Supply of the Best Quality.

On 11 August 1825 John, at the stated age of 41, was issued with Certificate of Freedom 59/4163, and it is from this that we get some idea of what he looked like. He was quite tall for the time, standing at 5 feet 9 inches, and had a fair to ruddy complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. In the same year Sophia was granted a conditional pardon. One of Sir Thomas Brisbane’s last acts as Governor was to approve a bulk list of convict indulgences. During July/August 1825 district officials were required to compile character reports on the individuals who had applied for emancipation and to provide, for favourable consideration, a list of those whose names which did not ‘feature’ in the police records books. The list of successful applicants was published in the Sydney Gazette on 28 November, and included Sophia Hughes. An editorial of the same issue extolled the Governor’s magnanimous gesture, which was considered to be so typical of his nature.

His Administration commenced with MERCY – continued one of MERCY – and most conclusively terminates in MERCY – the distinguished attribute of DEITY … and His Excellency, now giving scope to the impulse of Royal beneficence, liberates the “lorn exile” from that bondage, of which he has proved himself no longer worthy – A MONARCH CAN DO NO MORE!

No doubt, but probably not in such reverential and flowery terms, Sophia and all the other lucky convicts echoed these sentiments.

In his own way John Hughes demonstrated some mercy towards one William Williams, a free man and formerly a constable who, in May 1826, had pilfered a quantity of suet ‘the pride of the meat’ from the butcher’s shop.

The complainant had no other wish to gratify than by giving the fellow a night’s lodgings in the watch-house; and, conceiving this punishment sufficient, declined prosecuting. He, however, averred, that had the man not done so petty a thing, he would at once have forgiven him.

Six months short of her fifth wedding anniversary Sophia Hughes was a widow. John Hughes, aged 48 died on 28 March 1827 and was buried two days later. Shortly after Sophia placed the following notice in the press.

All persons having claims against the Estate of the late John Hughes, of Market-street, Sydney, are requested to forthwith present the same; and all persons indebted to the said Estate are required to make payments, without further delay, to Mrs. Hughes, Market-street, Sydney, otherwise the same will be transmitted into the hands of her Solicitor.

It is likely that John’s estate included at least two properties which had been advertised for let during their married life. The first may have been Sophia’s residence prior to her marriage to John.

TO LET, a genteel Brick COTTAGE, containing four rooms, with an extensive garden, and an excellent well of water, situate in Elizabeth-street, corner of Park-street. Immediate possession may be had. Enquire of Mr. Hughes, Market-street, Sydney.

The second property was a more substantial building.

TO LET, the HOUSE in Market-street, just vacated by the New South Wales Bible Society, consisting of five rooms and a kitchen, garden ground, and abundance of excellent water. The House and Situation are well adopted either for Business of a genteel private Family. Application to be made to Mr. Hughes, the adjoining House; or, at No. 2 York-street.

The 1828 census reveals that Sophia did not remain a widow for long as she is listed as Sophia Beeson, 30, wife of John Beeson, 40, householder, of Market Street. In June an application was made for banns to be published at St. Philips Church, Sydney, on behalf of John Beeson and Sophia Hughes. The prospective groom was a 35 year old widower, a free man, and, according to one B. Dicken, ‘Sober and Industrious’. Sophia was described as being a 30 year old widow who had arrived on the Friendship to serve out 14 years, but who by 1828 was a bonded woman, ‘on her own hands since her late husband’s decease’. G[eorge]. Bunn Esq, J.P., vouched for her as being ‘Honest & Discreet’. A notation on the form referred to the fact that Sophia Hughes had arrived in the colony as Sophia Richards, but any difficulties this might have caused were apparently dismissed. Permission to marry having been granted on 5 July, the couple married at St. Philips Church on 18 September 1828, witnessed by Thomas Weedon, sometime partner of John Beeson, and Lucy Laws, Sophia’s sister.

Who was this man, who was described as a ‘Dealer’ in the St Philip’s marriage register? He is said to have arrived in Sydney in 1814 on the transport ship Surry under a sentence of 7 years. However, I have not found anyone named John Beeson included in the Surry’s manifest. The voyage was notable for being stricken with a typhus epidemic, resulting in the death of 36 convicts and a number of the crew, including the Surgeon. Immediately on arrival on 27 July the surviving passengers were placed in a quarantine camp where further deaths occurred, including that of the Master. Those convicts who survived were finally released from the camp on 18th August and taken to Sydney for distribution as assigned servants. Where and to whom John Beeson was assigned is not known and the first ‘convict’ record I have located for him is the 1822 General Muster, by which time, having ‘done his time’, he was classified as free by servitude, a house-keeper living in Sydney, and a married man. His wife was Catharine McKenzie, who had been born at Parramatta on 9 October 1799 to Thomas McKenzie and his wife Mary (née Sweeny), and who brought to the marriage a son, George [Colquhoun McKenzie] listed with John and Catharine as 6 year old George Beeson. The Beesons were again listed in 1824 as living at Windsor. Catharine Beeson died, aged only 25, on 30 January 1827, by which time the Beesons were residing at Pitt Street.

At this stage I have found nothing to establish when John Beeson was born. The records of his ascribed birth year and even his age at death are very ‘fluid’. Nor do I know where he was born, what crime had led to his transportation, and what he did for a living prior to being convicted. Taking his age at the 1822 Muster as the reference point, he was probably born in the late 1780s, which would mean that he was in his mid-20s when he landed at Port Jackson. As he seems to have slipped under the authorities’ radar, or did nothing to draw particular attention to himself, he apparently kept out of trouble and focused on establishing a new life in the colony.

John Beeson was yet another colonist who recognised the financial potential of holding a liquor licence. The steady income from a strategically positioned and well-managed public house would not only support a family but also provide the first step on the ladder of further wealth, success and social standing. Possibly earlier, but definitely by 1826 John Beeson was the landlord of “The Loggerheads” on the corner of Pitt and Clarence Streets. He held the licence until 1832 when it was transferred to his sister-in-law’s husband, James Hamilton.

A couple of newspaper snippets give some insight into John Beeson’s social and civic standing. By 1825 he was one of the sporting and betting fraternity, and a man ready to accept a challenge as illustrated by an item under “Sporting Intelligence”.

A race will take place this day a distance of one mile on the South Head-road, between Mr. Cuthbert’s black horse Naboclish, and a bay mare of Mr. Beeson’s (formerly belonging to Turner). The match is for £60 a side, and betting is understood to be about even.

On a more solemn note, John Beeson was considered suitable to be chosen to serve on the Pettit Jury. And, in common with the litigious Pares clan with which he was soon to be connected, John was not reluctant to invoke the justice of the courts. In October 1826 he was pressing his case (mistakenly as it turned out) against one Thomas Lovell whom he charged with defrauding him, a charge that was hotly contested by Mr. Lovell in the columns of the local press – and in terms that suggest that Mr. Beeson was a well-educated man. The facts of the case, as put by the aggrieved Mr. Lovell of Wilberforce, were –

Mr. L. purchases a silk handkerchief of Mr. B., tenders a 5l note, and receives his change. A few minutes having elapsed, Mr. L. and his friend are overtaken by Beeson, who gives them in charge of a constable, hurries them without the least ceremony before F. Rossi, Esq., J.P. at the Police Office, and swears positively to have given in change two 5l notes, instead of two ones’s; one 5l on the Bank of New South Wales, and one 5l note on the Bank of Cooper and Levey. Mr. Lovell was remanded upon bail till the following morning, when it appeared that Messrs. Cooper and Levey have never issued any 5l notes, and the case being clearly proved as to the innocence of Mr. L. he was discharged. Now if this highly respectable landlord, having received such a liberal college education, and a man of such an extensive practice, cannot tell one pound notes from five’s, he had better employ an artist to place another Loggerhead on his sign with the following inscription:

We three, loggerheads be;
Which do you suppose to be
The greatest of these three?
The answer is, why Mr. B.

The Sydney of the 1820s was a close-knit community, particularly so for Sophia with various family connections living within the central business district. So inevitably Sophia and John Beeson would have been acquainted before they married. Both would have had an opportunity to ‘size each other up’ and to decide that they were very well matched. Confident and ambitious, they had both established themselves within the Sydney society. Sophia no doubt recognised in John Beeson a man who would be a good provider, and who would allow her to live in a style far removed from the horrors of Bristol. In Sophia, John gained a woman prepared to stand by him and support him in his business ventures. As a partnership they flourished, the foundation of their prosperity being butchers shops, public houses, and real estate dealings.

One of John’s early property ventures was the building in 1831 of a new and spacious inn at the corner of Pitt and Bathurst-streets which ‘bids fair to prove one of the best establishments of the sort in town’. This was in fact “The Edinburgh Castle”, which John leased out to various publicans, and for which Sophia Beeson held the licence briefly in 1846. In 1834 John Beeson was listed as the licencee of “The Cheshire Cheese” public house on the Parramatta Road. He had in fact purchased the inn and the 24 acres of land on which it stood in 1831 and subsequently John Beeson arranged for the property and licence to be transferred to one John Brown. Over time John acquired and sold or leased real estate at Parramatta, Sydney town, and also at Petersham, some four miles west of the city. Also over time the elevation of his status is charted in the various legal property documents. In 1831 he was described as ‘publican and victualler’, in the mid-1830s he was a ‘landowner’ and by 1839 he was a ‘gentleman’.

As an aside, travelling along the rough and dusty Parramatta Road was a challenge, and as one commentator observed, this was evidently a very thirsty road. Public houses, conveniently or disastrously, frequent, were the special features of the way, two of which were “The Cheshire Cheese” and “The Cherry Gardens”, bidding for custom on opposite sides of the road, their genteel tea gardens and occasional family entertainment perhaps setting them apart from the standard inn offerings. Incidentally, “The Cherry Gardens” was licenced to John Beeson’s business partner, Thomas Weedon.

Judging by a land sale notice, by 1837 the Beesons could be said to ‘have arrived’. Twenty-six village allotments at Petersham were put up for sale. Not only were these adjacent to the beautiful Estate of Elswick, the residence of James Norton Esq., who incidentally was Sophia’s lawyer, but also ‘adjoining the handsome residence of Mr. John Beeson, immediately opposite to the Cherry Gardens.’ Furthermore,

The respectability and increase of the surrounding neighbourhood and the rapid improvements which are daily growing up in the village of Petersham, render the above Allotments well worth the attention of the Public.

In October 1839, John Beeson was himself advertising property for let.

On the Parramatta Road, a Large HOUSE, with Coach-house, Stabling, sheds, Barns and several Out-houses, also well fenced Paddocks and an excellent stream of Water, which during the late long drought yielded an abundance of pure Water.
For particulars and cards to view, apply to
MR BEESON, Parramatta Road, Opposite the Cherry Gardens. September 25, 1839.

Many who arrived in the colony, whether as free passengers or convicts, held out a hope of sometime perhaps returning to their homeland, either permanently or at least for a visit. Equally, many did not have the wherewithal to realise this ambition, but the Beesons certainly did. Whether motivated by the opportunity of catching up with family and old friends, or impressing them with their affluence and respectability, or perhaps both, Sophia and John Beeson sailed from Sydney on 24 March 1842 on board the barque Catherine Jamison bound for London on what was planned to be an extended visit. Prior to embarking some of the ‘special’ passengers had enjoyed a tour of the harbour – a much happier experience, and in very different circumstances than when Sophia and John originally landed at Port Jackson!

Our townsman, Mr. John Beeson, who is a passenger per Catherine Jamison, also accompanied Mr. Moffit’s friends in the Rapid, and on his health being proposed returned thanks as well as his warm feelings would allow him.
The attention and kindness of Capt. Alderson of the Rapid is also the theme of praise from all parties, and nothing could exceed his solicitude to please and make all present comfortable, particularly the ladies, who were on board on the occasion.
After spending a delightful day, such as our unequalled climate can only show, and visiting all parts of the harbour, the mournful hour of parting arrived, and it was as painful to say “Farewell,” as the former part of the day had been delightful.

What his circle of friends could not foresee was that this was to be their final farewell to John Beeson. Towards the end of their time in England the Beesons had taken up residence in the then stylish Lambeth-Brixton district on the outskirts of London. They would have been very comfortable in their rented accommodation at 12 Bowhill Terrace, one of the handsome terraced rows of houses on the Brixton Road.

Bowhill Terrace

Bowhill Terrace

It was there, on 25 June 1845, that John Beeson died, and from where his funeral party departed for his burial at the Norwood Cemetery on 2 July. According to the burial record he was aged 56 when he died. Newspaper mentions of his passing differ considerably. The Nottingham Review and General Advertiser record his death at 57 years; the Sydney Morning Herald, belatedly, advised its readers that

On the 25th June last, at No. 12 Bouhill [sic] Terrace, Brixton Road, London, aged 62 years, Mr. John Beeson, long an inhabitant of this colony, and much regretted by a large circle of friends, who were in daily expectation of his return to Sydney.

Prudently, John Beeson drew up his will on 12 March 1842, just prior to his departure for England. Referring to himself as ‘John Beeson of Petersham near Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales yeoman’, and having made allowance for his funeral and testamentary expenses, he bequeathed to his sole Executrix and ‘dear wife Sophia Beeson’, her heirs, executors and administrators, ‘absolutely and for ever’

… all and singular my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or quality soever the same may which I shall be seized or possessed of and entitled unto at the time of my decease.

The will was proved at London on 12 August 1845 before the Worshipful John Hanbury, Doctor of laws and surrogate. Just over two months later, on 20 October 1845, Sophia embarked on the General Hewitt,which arrived at Sydney on 21 January 1846. Her return did not go unnoticed – even though she was listed in the shipping arrivals as Mrs. Beetson. The following notice, guaranteed to catch the eye of the local society (and a potential gem for future genealogists), was published on Thursday 12 February 1846.

The Life and Adventures of Mrs SOPHIA BEESON, relict of that late old colonist Mr. John Beeson, who has recently “come” back to this colony, per General Hewitt, with a portrait frontispiece; it is intended by the author faithfully to depict the amiable qualities of the above Lady. Sydney, February 11.

But the general public (and genealogists) were to be disappointed. Two days later, the Herald carried the following item.

SLANDER – In our paper of Thursday there appeared an advertisement, purporting to be an intimation of an intention of publishing the life of a private party, and in terms evidently intended to insult and annoy the person referred to. We need hardly say, that we extremely regret that our columns should have been made the vehicle for publishing an advertisement of such a nature; but in the multiplicity of advertisements its character escaped notice. We have handed the manuscript to the solicitor of the party referred to, and if it is in law a libel, the writer may find he has pursued an expensive course.

The advertisement had not escaped the notice of Sophia, or one of her friends, but with the surrender of the manuscript the matter seems not to have been pursued. Perhaps Sophia felt it wiser not to have her private affairs exposed and, in any case, on her return she was kept busy sorting out John’s estate and her own business affairs.

In 1846, Sophia listed in May as the licencee of “The Edinburgh Castle” (corner Pitt and Bathurst Streets), transferred the licence in July to Henry Doran. The actual property was put up for let in March, Samuel Jones, of “The Governor Bourke” hotel, acting on behalf of Sophia.

TO LET, that commodious and old established Inn, situate corner of Pitt and Bathurst streets, known as the Edinburgh Castle, containing fourteen good rooms, kitchen, cellarage, stabling, &c.
The above Inn is worthy the attention of an industrious party, as there is every facility for carrying on an extensive business.

Prior to her marriage to John Hughes Sophia had purchased a block of land on the corner of Bathurst and Elizabeth Streets, being Town Grant, Lot 6, Section 16, Parish of St. Lawrence. By some administrative error a deed for this property had subsequently been issued to Thomas (rather than John) Beeson. Now Sophia, through her attorney James Norton, sought to rectify this through the Court of Claims, stating that she had purchased the property from Edward Whitehouse in December 1820, and further, that the land not being a leasehold, John Beeson had never had title to it.

An unfortunate diversion from business affairs was an inquest held in July 1846 at “The Old Cheshire Cheese”, now operated by one John Brown. The subject of the inquest was James Henley, ‘then lying dead in the house of Mrs. Beeson’, whom Sophia had only days before employed as a gardener. He was found lying head-first in the kitchen hearth and his clothes had caught alight. On the evidence of two witnesses the Jury found a verdict of death by apoplexy. Interestingly one of the witnesses was Henry Plowright, son of Mary Arkell, who was living with her at the time.

Back to business. In 1848 interested parties could make application to Mrs. Beeson, Kegworth Villa, Parramatta Road, in respect of the following property for sale.

TO BE SOLD, all that capital Messuage and Premises, with the three several Cottages attached thereto, situated in Pitt and Market streets, Sydney, now occupied by Mr. James Melville and his under tenants, under a lease for seven years from 1 September, 1847, at the yearly rent of £370 payable monthly.

No reason was stated, but in early 1849 Sophia’s residence, Kegworth Villa, was advertised for let. The description of the property is testament to the standard of living she to which she had now become accustomed.

TO BE LET, for a term of years, KEGWORTH VILLA, PETERSHAM, situated on the main road to Parramatta, Windsor, and the Western Districts. The above commodious residence consists of Drawing, Dining, Breakfast, Dressing, and Bed Rooms; also Nursery, Larder, Wine Cellar, &c., &c., the Out-offices are detached, Kitchen, Coach-house, Stables and Sheds. In the front of the building there is an ornamental lawn, with carriage drive in the rear, a good Kitchen Garden with excellent well of water, behind which are spacious paddocks. The whole comprehending an establishment for a family of the first respectability, and being an easy drive of four miles from Sydney, where stages pass to and from the city several times a day. Terms Moderate.

Fittingly, and no doubt with a sense of pride, she named her house after her birth place. And it was at home at Kegworth Villa that she died on 14 October 1850 ‘after a long and painful illness, borne with Christian fortitude’, aged 49 years’. Friends of the late Sophia Beeson were respectfully invited to attend her funeral, to proceed from Kegworth Villa, opposite Mr. Weedon’s, at 10.15am on Friday 18 October.

Sophia Beeson had drawn up her will on 22 August 1845, when she was in England, just ten days after she had been granted probate on her late husband’s estate.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Sophia Beeson at present residing at Bowhill Terrace Brixton Road in the County of Surry in England Widow but about to proceed to Sydney in New South Wales. I give devise and bequeath all the Estates monies property and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever which I may be seized possessed of or entitled unto at the time of my decease with Samuel Jones of Sydney aforesaid Hotel Keeper and James Elliott of the same place Hotel Keeper their heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the tenure and nature thereof respectively Upon trust as to such parts thereof as may consist of personal Estate and not invested on any Securities at Interest to receive get in and realize the same and to lay out and invest the money so to be received and got in good and proper securities at Interest and to stand possessed of the same securities and all other securities which I may die possessed of and all my houses and land and the interest income and rents and profits thereof Upon trust to pay one moiety or equal half part of such Interest income rents and profits unto such person or persons only and for such intents and purposes only as my sister Lucy Foulks [sic] the wife of Edward Foulks of Sydney aforesaid notwithstanding her present or future Coverture and as if she was sole and unmarried shall from time to time by any writing under her own hand direct or appoint but not so as to enable her to anticipate the same and in default of and until such direction or appointment into the proper hands of the said Lucy Foulks for her sole and separate use and benefit exclusively of her said present or any future husband and without being in any manner subject to his debts control interference or engagements and so that the receipt or receipts of the said Lucy Foulks or of such person or persons as she shall from time to time direct or appoint to receive the said moiety or half part of the said Interest income rents and profits or any part thereof and no other receipt or receipts shall notwithstanding her said present or any future coverture be an effectual discharge of effectual discharges for the money therein mentioned and acknowledged to be received. And upon trust to pay the remaining moiety or equal half part of the said Interest Income rents and profits for the separate use of my niece Sarah Barrett the wife of William Barrett both now about to proceed to Sydney aforesaid independently of her said present or any future husband during her life in like manner in every respect as I have given the other moiety of the said Interest income rents and profits for the benefit of my said Sister Lucy Foulks and immediately after the death of either of them the said Lucy Foulks and Sarah Barrett then as to one moiety or equal half part of my said Estates monies property and effects and the rents income and interest thereof and after the death of both of them the said Lucy Foulks and Sarah Barrett then as to the whole of my said Estates monies property and effects and the rents income and interest thereof I give devise and bequeath the same and every part thereof to my niece Sophia Tabett [sic] the wife of John Tabett of Kegworth in the County of Leicester in England and to her Son John Tabett as to so much and such parts of my said Estates as are of the nature of realty their heirs and assigns forever as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants and as to so much and such parts of my said Estate monies property and effects as are of the nature of personalty their Executors administrators and assigns absolutely in equal shares and proportions and I appoint the said Samuel Jones and James Elliot Executors of this my Will and I declare that the receipt or receipts in writing of my said Executors shall be an effectual discharge or discharges for all monies payable to them under this my will and that the person or persons paying the same shall not be answerable or accountable for the loss misapplication or nonapplication of the money in such receipt or receipts mentioned or acknowledged to have been received and if either of my said first or future Trustees shall die or desire to be discharged or declare or become incapable to act I authorise and empower the surviving or continuing Trustee for the time being from time to time to appoint another in his stead and to convey assign and assure the said real and personal Estates so as effectually to vest the same in the surviving or continuing Trustee and such new Trustee upon the trusts and for the purposes aforesaid and hereby revoking all former Wills Codicils and Testamentary dispositions by me at any time heretofore made I declare this to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the twenty second day of August One thousand eight hundred and forty five – Sophia BeesonSigned by the said Sophia Beeson the Testatrix as and for her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who both being present at the same time at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses – Thos. Denby Frederick Place London, Solc, Thos Ross, his Clerk.

It was not until 12 January 1852 that probate on the last Will and Testament of Sophia Beeson was granted to Samuel Jones and James Ezekiel Elliot, the executors of her estate with ‘Goods sworn under £5000’. The cause of the delay was due to the will having been registered in England. However the executors lost no time in calling for claims and debts against the estate, the following notice being published on 15 January.

THE undersigned being the Executors, under the will of the late Mrs. Beeson, request that all claims against the said Estate be forthwith sent (in duplicate) to Office of J.E. ELLIOTT, No. 93, Bathurst-street, for liquidation; and all debts due to the same are to be paid to the undersigned.

Who were these two executors? In 1838 Samuel Jones had acquired the licence for “The Governor Bourke” hotel, located at the corner of Sussex and Market Streets, and he held this licence until September 1852. This was not the only time Sophia (and her sister Lucy) placed their trust in Samuel Jones. When Sophia was seeking to let “The Edinburgh Castle” in 1846, Samuel was the contact person for interested parties. When Lucy Foulkes sailed off to England in 1843 she left the deeds of a property, then in the process of being sold, in the custody of Samuel Jones.

In April 1841 James Ezekiel Elliott, previously employed as a butcher (another butcher!), announced to friends and potential patrons that he had taken over “The Edinburgh Castle”, which he had fitted up and which was now ready with every comfort for their reception. It was his insolvency in early 1846 that caused Sophia to find another lessee, but she retained James Elliott as an executor despite his financial set back. In fact James obtained a certificate of discharge in June 1846 and within a year had obtained the license for “The Saracen’s Head”, situated on the corner of Sussex and King Streets, which he held until it was transferred to Thomas McCormick in March 1850. Like Samuel Jones, James Ezekiel Elliott also offered his services as a commission agent.

Samuel Jones died on 13 October 1856 and James Elliott on 24 December 1864. In his will, James Elliott, as the surviving Trustee of the last Will and Testament of Sophia Beeson, appointed Robert Stewart to succeed him as Trustee, and directed that immediately on his decease ‘the Trust estates and premises of the said Sophia Beeson shall be vested in the said Robert Stewart, his heirs executors and assigns.

Four people were to directly benefit from Sophia Beeson’s will. On her death, and in the first instance, Lucy Foulkes and Sarah Barrett were each to receive one half of all the estate, moneys, property, and effects, and the rents, interest and income thereof. On the death of either of these two beneficiaries, their individual half, and on the death of the other, the whole of the income and profits derived from security investments, leases and property rentals was to be bequeathed to Sophia Tebbutt and her son John Tebbutt, that being of the nature of realty as tenants in common, and that being of personalty in equal shares.

Lucy Foulkes was, as we know, Sophia’s older sister, and would only have benefitted briefly from her bequest because, as noted above, she died in 1853.

Sarah Barrett (actually Sophia Beeson’s great-niece) had been baptised Sarah Hutchinson at Kegworth on 25 August 1819, a daughter of James Hutchinson and his wife Sarah (née Pares, a daughter of Thomas Pares and Sophia Beeson’s niece), who had been baptised also at Kegworth on 11 February 1796. Sarah Hutchinson became Sarah Barrett when, on 27 June 1844 at St. Mary’s Church, Lambeth, she married John William Barrett, a trunk-maker by trade and son of John Barrett, carpenter. The marriage record shows the couple as being of full age and resident of Brixton and it is quite possible that Sophia and John Beeson were in attendance. When Sophia Beeson arrived back in Sydney on the General Hewitt in February 1846 she was accompanied by Sarah and (John) William Barrett. Within a short time John W. Barrett had established his business – a Fancy Repository – in one of Sophia Beeson’s properties on the corner of Park and Elizabeth Streets, Hyde Park, selling a high-end range of mainly imported carved and inlaid luxury merchandise. He rented the two storey premises, which also served as their residence, from Sophia Beeson. The couple had four daughters, Sophia Ann (1847), Lucy (1849), Sarah Charlotte (1850-1851), and Harriet Jane (1852). John William Barrett was only 35 when he died at his residence on 21 April 1855. Sarah Barrett outlived him by nearly thirteen years. She died on 2 July 1868 at Parkham Lodge, Bourke Street, Surry Hills (the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. Arthur Hardwick, husband of Sophia Ann Barrett, and erstwhile residence of Samuel Jones). By her will she entrusted the management of all her estate, property, and effects to her friends John Stewart, MLC, and Alfred Bradford (her son-in-law, husband of Lucy) for the benefit of her three surviving daughters. No reference was made to her Beeson inheritance.

In 1818, when Sophia Beeson (then Richards) arrived at Port Jackson, her namesake niece Sophia was about four years old, the youngest child of her brother Thomas Pares and his wife Elizabeth (née Smith), who had been baptised at Kegworth on 23 February 1814. When the 1841 census was conducted Sophia was living at home, on the London Road, Kegworth, with her elderly mother Elizabeth, older sister Charlotte Pares, and an 11 month old boy named John Pares. On the same census page are a number of Hutchinsons, including Sarah, aged 20, who was to become Mrs. Barrett. Another family of interest on the same page is the Tebbutts of the Hall Orchard. Seventy year old John Tebbutt, a farmer of some means, headed up a household which included his wife Priscilla, his 40 year old son John Tebbutt, and four servants. Moving forward in time we find that by the 1851 census Sophia Pares has become Sophia Tebbutt. In fact, as recorded in the Leicester Chronicle, she and John Tebbutt, farmer, both of Kegworth, had married on 15 November 1841. John Tebbutt the elder had died in April 1850, so John the younger was now head of the household which also comprised his wife Sophia, his widowed mother Priscilla, a house servant and two farm servants. More significantly the household also included a ten-year old son, John Tebbutt. This was the John Pares of the previous census, who had been born to Sophia out of wedlock. Within six months of the 1851 census Sophia and John had lost their only child in tragic circumstances.

BOY DROWNED AT KEGWORTH – An inquest was held on Saturday [9 August], at Kegworth, upon John Tebbutt, a boy of eleven years of age, who had been drowned in the Soar, on the previous Thursday evening. He was son to Mr. John Tebbutt, farmer, and had been fishing in the river, at the foot of his father’s orchard, all afternoon until he was called in for tea .After tea he was sent on a message to the Rev. Mr. Frazer’s and returned with an answer to his father at Mr. Hutchinson’s. Between six and seven o’clock he got Mr. Hutchinson, who was at work on his father’s premises, to smoothen him a willow stick, which he wanted for a little oar, and then he appeared to have gone to a boat, which was lying in the river, and to have missed his footing and fallen into the water, which was there three yards deep. When he was wanted for supper he was not to be found, and at length Mrs. Tebbutt going down to the back premises, saw the willow-stick on the bank, and partly in the water, which directed her suspicion there, and drags were made use of, with which he was got out, but quite dead. Verdict accidental death.

With the death of Lucy Foulkes in 1853 arrangements were made for her half share of the estate to be transferred to Sophia Tebbutt and her son John. It was only around this time that John’s death and illegitimacy were ‘discovered’. As a result, Sophia Tebbutt was to receive only half of her share of the property, and the portion that would have gone to her son was escheated to the Crown. Had Sophia Beeson been aware, or understood the implications of the illegitimacy, or if she had lived long enough to learn of John Tebbutt’s accidental death, she may have amended her last Will and Testament and thus saved her executors considerable distress. To further complicate matters, protracted legal proceedings effectively quarantined the estate funds for a considerable period. In 1857 Sophia Tebbutt applied for leave to obtain the escheated property. The Crown granted her request and instructions were sent to Mr. D.B. Hutchinson, Prothonotary, in Sydney, to collect the personalty, and enable the Crown to convey John’s share to his mother, and, as administrator, to continue to act on behalf of John Tebbutt’s deceased estate and to remit monies due to his mother. What might have been kept a private family matter became very public with a February 1858 front-page notice announcing Mr. Hutchinson’s appointment.

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. In the goods of JOHN TEBBUTT, late of Kegworth, in the county of Leicester, in England, a bachelor, a bastard, and intestate deceased.
NOTICE is hereby given that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof, application will be made to this honorable court, in its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, that administration of all and singular the goods, chattels, credits, and effects of the above-named deceased, for the use of her Majesty, may be granted to DAVID BRUCE HUTCHINSON, Esq., chief clerk of the honorable court, and the duly authorised attorney of Henry Revell Reynolds, Esq., the solicitor for the affairs of her Majesty’s Treasury, and as such the nominee appointed under her Majesty’s Royal sign manual, dated 30th day of March 1857.
Dated this eighteenth day of February, A.D., 1858.
JOHN ERNEST ROBBERDS, proctor for the said D.B. Hutchinson, 39, Elizabeth-street, Sydney.

In August 1864, shortly after the death of the executor James Elliott and the appointment of his successor Robert Stewart, proceedings were instituted – Attorney General v. Elliott and others – into suspected irregularities in the administration of the Beeson estate. It was not until December 1867 that the case came before the Equity Court, by which time both the original executors – Samuel Jones and James Elliot – had died, leaving only Robert Stewart to represent ‘Elliott and others’. But this was not the end of the matter. Judgement was deferred to February 1868, but at that hearing the case was extended for a further twelve months pending further investigations. Robert Stewart was not only a trustee of the Beeson estate and a friend of Sarah Barrett, but was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly and he used that forum to vent his frustration. Addressing the House in February 1869 –

Why [he asked] was it necessary for three years and six months to be taken up in order to come to the decision there was no case for the Court to interpose … All persons interested were desirous of bringing the case to a conclusion; yet three years and a half after the case was commenced, it was referred back for further inquiry. The only person entitled to the estate was Mrs Tebbutt in England, who had been debarred of income since the 1st September, 1867 … Mrs Barrett died in July last; and then the whole of the property should have been handed over to Mrs. Tebbutt in England. It seemed hard that she should be deprived of it.

In 1867 and again in 1869 Robert Stewart moved [unsuccessfully] that an address be presented to the Governor for the following documents to be laid upon the table of the House.

(1) The date of commencement and all particulars of proceedings in the suit in equity – the Attorney General v. Elliott and others; also, all particulars of subsequent proceedings before a Jury, Master in Equity, or other officer; also plaintiff’s costs as near as can be ascertained, up to date of return; also the amount and particulars of the money received by the Master in Equity. (2) Copies of all evidence taken in the case; (3) Copies of all directions by the Master in Equity or other authorised officer. (4) Copy of any judgement or directions by the Primary Judge, having reference to the above suit.

These documents, he claimed, would show an unnecessary delay; and he wanted to know why six and a half years had been allowed to elapse. The persons interested were helpless to get justice and, further, Stewart asserted that his friend, the late Mrs. Barrett, had been driven to desperation and her end was hastened by the injustice of this case. Indeed, there was some question as to whether such documents even existed, but with nothing tabled, nor any disclosure of documents by other means, how the case concluded is unknown, but it was certainly resolved by 1879 because in that year Sophia Tebbutt, the last surviving beneficiary of Sophia Beeson’s will, forwarded instructions to Thomas Salter, Esq, Solicitor, of Hunter Street, Sydney to arrange for the sale of the substantial inventory of Beeson real estate.

Unlike Sarah Barrett who, having been widowed in her mid-30s and left with the responsibility of raising a young family, would have been very much dependent on the income from the Beeson estate, Sophia Tebbutt had enjoyed the financial security that came with being married to a successful miller and farmer. By 1871 she and John, now retired, had moved to Hathern, three miles south of Kegworth. John Tebbutt died on 2 March 1872, and his widow was the sole executrix of his estate, valued under £450. So even after his death Sophia was reasonably comfortably off, which may explain why it was some time before she decided to sell the Sydney property – and thus bring Sophia Beeson’s story to a close.

An advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald on 9 January 1879 alerted readers to the intended auction of the Kegworth Estate – a Magnificent Block of Land containing an Area of about Twenty-Eight Acres, on the Parramatta Road, Petersham. A follow up notice advised that the sale was set down for early February, and was to be conducted by Messrs. Hardie and Gorman, on instructions from William Barker, Esq, attorney for Mrs. Sophia Tebbutt of England. However, on account of the sudden death of William Barker, the February 1879 auction sale was postponed. The Estate was back on the market in October 1879, with the auction sale scheduled for 13 December.

The advertisement affords a full appreciation of the extent of the “Magnificent Property” which stood as testament to Sophia Beeson’s achievement over the three decades from her arrival in Sydney in 1818, as the convict lace-maker from Kegworth, to her death in 1850.

Kegworth Estate-advertisement

And during that time she never forgot her ties to Leicestershire roots as the names of the streets encompassed by the Estate bear witness.

Kegworth Estate - Street Map

Not all the lots were snapped up in the December 1879 sale. Some more were purchased during the following year but, in accordance with Sophia Tebbutt’s wishes, in November Hardie and Gorman announced that an ‘Absolute Clearance Sale of The Kegworth Estate’ was to be held on 13 December 1880, exactly twelve months after the first auction sale. The clearance sale had been very successful judging from the Property Circular published the following month.

This would have been welcome news to Sophia, and perhaps she now anticipated a speedy conclusion to settling Sophia Beeson’s estate. But she did not live long enough to enjoy the full measure of her inheritance. The Nottingham Guardian carried news of her death in July 1881.

On the 25th inst., at her residence, Hill House, Hathern, Sophia Tebbutt, widow of the late John Tebbutt, of Kegworth.

Three months earlier, when the 1881 census was held, 66 year old Sophia was the head of the Hill House household which also included her 20 year old ‘niece’ Emily Hutchinson, servant Rebecca Empson aged 25, and domestic coachman James Hutchinson. These three people were mentioned in Sophia’s will which had been signed just one day before she died.

This is the last Will and Testament of Sophia Tebbutt widow of Hathern in the County of Leicester. I direct all my just debts and funeral expenses to be first paid. I leave to my nephew James Hutchinson an annuity of Two pounds sterling a week for the term of his natural life. I leave my servant Rebecca Empson fifty pounds. I leave my dear friends the Reverend Joseph Clark Rector of Kegworth twenty pounds for a memorial ring. Also twenty pounds to Mrs. Clark for a memorial ring. I also request Mr. Clark to put up a memorial window in Kegworth Church to my memory and I direct my Executors to defray the expense thereof. I leave my nephew John Hutchinson the interest of one thousand pounds for the term of his natural life and after his death I leave the capital sum of one thousand pounds to be divided equally amongst my nephews and nieces namely Sarah Sophia Kirk, Flora Louisa Hutchinson, Flowers Hutchinson, Leonard Hutchinson, Robina Hutchinson, Harold Hector Hutchinson, and Eunice Robina Hutchinson children of the aforesaid John Hutchinson and all the rest of my property real and personal, books, plate, furniture, wine, carriages, horses and all other effects whatsoever of which I die possessed I leave to my dear niece and adopted daughter Emily Hutchinson.
Witness of my hand this twenty fourth day of July 1881.
I appoint George Woolley Esq Solicitor and my Niece Emily Hutchinson Joint Executors of this my will.
Signed by the above named Sophia Tebbutt – Sophia Tebbutt
in the presence of us being both present at the same time and in the presence of each other.
E Smithies Rector of Hathern
James A Wood Surgeon of Sheepshed 21st July 1882

Probate on Sophia’s assets in England, valued at £1235 6s 5d was granted on 29 November 1881. It was not until 21 July 1882 that the New South Wales Supreme Court granted Letters of Administration for the Australian assets, sworn at £22,000, to Thomas Salter, Attorney of Executrix (Emily Hutchinson). Given the history of difficulties and delays connected with the execution of Sophia Beeson’s will, it is not surprising that there was a further interval of two and half years before the following notice was placed in the Sydney papers.

NOTICE UNDER THE TRUSTEE ACT. In the ESTATE of the late SOPHIA TEBBUTT, formerly of Hathern, near Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, deceased. All CLAIMS, if any, are to be sent in on or before the fourteenth day of December, as the estate is about to be finally wound up and closed.
SALTER and BARKER, Solicitors, Longueville-chambers, Young-street.

It was therefore Emily Hutchinson who was the eventual major beneficiary of Sophia Beeson’s estate. Referred to as niece in the 1881 census, she was actually a great niece to Sophia Tebbutt and, as noted in the latter’s will, her adopted daughter. Emily had been born in 1860, the third daughter and one of nine children of John Hutchinson and his wife Eliza (née Flowers). John and Eliza ran the Kegworth Post Office until their deaths respectively in 1900 and 1902, after which their son Harold took over the role. Emily was at home for the 1871 census but by 1881, as noted above, she was living with Sophia Tebbutt and Hill House and this was still her home when she married in June 1882.

On the 27th inst., at St Margaret’s Church, Whalley Range, Manchester, by Rev. E. Smythes [sic], rector of Hathern, assisted by Rev. S. B. Ainley, Benjamin Braybrook Barrow, of Holly Bank Mayfield-road, Manchester, to Emily Hutchinson, of Hill House, Hathern, Leicestershire.

Benjamin’s forebears hailed from Kegworth but by the time he was born in 1860 his family had moved to Chorlton, Manchester where his father was a stuff merchant, and where Emily and Benjamin started their married life before moving to Loughborough where, by 1891, Benjamin had established a drapers shop at 10 High Street. This census listed two children – Constance E.T. (Emily Tebbutt) Barrow aged 5 and Bernard Braybrooke Barrow, 2 months. Also included in the household were Rebecca Empson, Sophia Tebbutt’s servant, and a ‘trained lady’s nurse’, Henrietta Law. It would seem that Emily was seriously ill, because she died within two weeks of the census.

BARROW – On the 22nd inst., at Loughborough, Emily, the wife of Benjamin Braybrooke Barrow, aged 30.

Benjamin Barrow was the sole Executor of Emily’s will which was proved at Leicester on 17 July 1891, the personal estate valued at £199 7s.

To tidy up the ‘loose ends’ of the Beeson/Tebbutt estate –

James Hutchinson received his £2 per week for only a short time. He died at Hill House on 22 August 1882, leaving his personal estate of £72 to his brother John.

The faithful Rebecca Empson, now 53, was still employed by Benjamin Barrow in 1911. She died on 26 September 1920 at The Rectory, Loughborough, which was then the residence of Rector George Wallace Briggs and his wife Constance, son-in-law and daughter of Benjamin Barrow. Probate on her estate of £352 4s was granted to Benjamin. Benjamin Braybrooke Barrow never remarried. The 1911 census records him as a retired Gentlemen’s Outfitter living at “Mancunian”, Ashby Road, Loughborough. He died on 10 December 1941, a much respected man who for over half a century had devoted his energies to public work at Loughborough. He left an estate valued at £13,826 9s 5d.

ophia had no children of her own, but was evidently very fond of a select group of female relatives to whom she bequeathed her estate. Through her marriage to John Beeson she acquired a step-son – George Mackenzie Colquhoun Beeson – of whom no mention is made in the wills of his father or step-mother. However George, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1842, did rather well for himself as a ship builder and property owner at Coromandel on the North Island of New Zealand.

I was not sure if Sophia Tebbutt’s request for a memorial window in the Kegworth Church had been fulfilled. I am very grateful to Bill Watson, Church Warden, for taking the interest and time to send me some photographs of the impressive window in the Lady Chapel which not only serves as a memorial to Sophia Tebbutt, but also to her aunt Sophia.

Memorial Window-Kegworth

Memorial window-inscription


From his experience as surgeon-superintendent over the period 1819-1828, during which time he served on five convict ships, and time spent in the colony in between voyages, Peter Cunningham, Surgeon R.N., was well placed to comment on the management of those transported to the far side of the world. Reflecting on earlier years, when the convict system in the colony was somewhat less rigorous than in the 1820s, he asserted that

… transportation could scarcely be considered a punishment, and indeed, in half of the cases at least, proved a reward … There cannot be a better proof of what Botany Bay has been than that nearly all the English convicts sent thither for many years back have been volunteers, delighted beyond measure with the thoughts of getting there …

Further, he observed that

Transportation was formerly no punishment to those who had friends here, or money to procure them; such individuals being soon applied for by their gratuitous or purchased acquaintances, who, though nominally their masters, left them in a manner at liberty to do as they liked.

We cannot know whether Lucy Meares and Sophia Richards deliberately set out to get themselves transported or, in Cunningham’s parlance, to ‘volunteer’ themselves to the squalor and deprivation of imprisonment, and then the discomfort and uncertainty of the long sea voyage (although by all accounts they seemed to have enjoyed themselves on board). It seems a rather extreme measure. Nor do we know if the girls came with any money, perhaps earned from their ill-gotten gains. But, from the above account, we do know that they were well acquainted with at least two people who had preceded them to Sydney – their elder sister Frances who had arrived in the colony in 1803 and first cousin Mary who followed her in 1809. Indeed, rather than banishment from family and loved ones the arrival of Lucy and Sophia was something of a family reunion. And there may possibly have been two more Pares relatives had they not died prior to arrival in the colony.

The Derby Mercury reported on 7 January 1796 that

Last week was committed to Leicester gaol Thomas Pare [sic], charged on oath with stealing a flitch of bacon out of Mr. Clarke’s stage waggon, in the lordship of Kegworth.

And on 24 March that

At Leicester assizes, last week, the following prisoners took their trials … Thomas Pares for stealing a flitch of bacon, transported seven years.

Following his conviction Thomas did time in prison before being removed to the convict hulks moored at Portsmouth to await his transportation. In his 50s, Thomas was one of the oldest convicts scheduled to depart on the Coromandel which, having been fitted out for the voyage at Deptford, arrived at Portsmouth on 12 January 1802. By the end of the month all convicts had been taken aboard and, after delays caused by atrocious weather, the Coromandel finally departed from Spithead on 12 February. However Thomas did not make the journey. Against his name in the register book is the annotation ‘died 3 Feby 1802’.

There was a heavy case load at the 13 July 1813 Knutsford Sessions. Among the forty-nine offenders was one John Pares, aged 23, a hosier from Kegworth, and of these offenders was the only one sentenced to be transported. The report of the proceedings omits to mention what he was actually found guilty of but he got seven years. However, the Criminal Register for the county of Chester informs us that his crime had been ‘Larceny from a Person’ which translates as pickpocketing. After ten days in the county gaol John Pares was one of the ‘transports’ who were conveyed ‘in pursuance of their sentences’ to Woolwich where on Monday 28 July he was ‘immediately delivered to the proper officer on board the Retribution hulk’. John Pares was one of the two hundred convicts who departed England on 22 February 1814 on board the convict ship Surrey, and one of the thirty-six who died from the epidemic of typhus that ran rampant on board during the voyage to Port Jackson.

Interestingly, John’s surname had changed from Pares to Pears by the time he embarked on the Surrey, and it was under this name that he was listed in a Government Public Notice, issued on 10 September 1814.

The Contagious and Malignant Disease which prevailed on board the Male Convict Ship Surry, on her late passage thither from England, having been fatal to Thirty six of the Convicts destined for this Place, His Excellency the Governor deems it expedient that the Names of the unfortunate Sufferers shall be published, in order that their Friends shall be officially apprised of their Decease.
List of Thirty six Convicts, who died at Sea, on board the Ship Surry, on her Voyage from England to New South Wales, with the Names of the Hulks from whence they had been embarked and the Dates at which they died …
13. John Pears, Retribution, 19th July 1814

I cannot be certain, but it is likely that Thomas Pares was the father of Lucy, Sophia and Frances Pares. On firmer ground, there is a baptism record for a John Pares, son of Thomas and Ann Pares, for 6 February 1789 at Kegworth. Given that John Pares, pickpocket, was 23 when convicted, he may well have been the Pares girls’ brother.


Genealogy Websites
1828 New South Wales, Australia Census
Australia, Birth Index, 1788-1922
Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950
Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868
Australian Death Index
Certificates of Freedom, 1810-1814, 1827-67
England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
English Census returns 1841-1911
London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980
London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921
New South Wales, Australia Historical Electoral Rolls, 1842-1864
New South Wales, Australia, Butts of Marriage Licences, 1813-1835, 1894
New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1856
New South Wales, Australia, Convict Applications for the Publication of Banns, 1828-1830, 1838-1839
New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842
New South Wales, Australia, Government Gazettes, 1853-1899
New South Wales, Australia, Land Grants, 1788-1963
New South Wales, Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters
New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry, 1826-1851
New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834
New South Wales, Australia, Tickets of Leave, 1824-1867
New South Wales, Census and Population Books, 1811-1825, 1824
New South Wales, Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons, 1788-1870
UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849

England Births and Christenings 1538-1975

Australia, Marriages, 1788-1935
Flint Baptism Transcriptions
Flint Marriages Transcriptions
New South Wales Will Books 1800-1952

Other Websites
City of Sydney Archives, Assessment Books 1845-1948,
Dictionary of Sydney, Bark huts and country estates,
Biographical Database of Australia,
British History Online, http://www.british–
Convict Records,
D. Morgan, “Cordeaux, William (1792-1839”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National Library,
Elizabeth Guilford, “Winder, Thomas White Melville (1789-1853)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography,
Mariners and ships in Australian Waters,
NSW Government Gazettes: 1836-1839,
NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages,
New South Wales State Records, Indexes Online, Publicans Licenses,
New South Wales State Records, Index to the Unassisted Arrivals NSW 1842-1855,
National Archives (Public Record Office),
RootsWeb: AUS-CONVICTS-L-Archives, Coromandel and Perseus, 22 Oct 2005,
Ryerson Index,
Ships List, Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Archive,
The Ships List,
Victorian Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages,
Wikipedia, Surry (1811 ship),

Online Newspapers
The British Newspaper Archive
Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette
Chester Chronicle
Derby Mercury
Leicester Chronicle
Leicester Journal
Nottingham Evening Post
Nottinghamshire Guardian
Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties

Morning Chronicle
Sydney Chronicle
Sydney Mail
The Australian
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser
The Sydney Monitor
The Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Cunningham (David Macmillan, ed), Two Years in New South Wales, Angus & Robertson Ltd, Sydney, in association with the Royal Australian Historical Society, 1966 (first published 1827)
W Frederick Morrison, (ed), The Aldine Centennial History of New South Wales, Vol 1, Aldine Publishing Co, Sydney, 1888.

 © Leonie Fretwell, 2017

2 comments on “Lucy Meares and Sophia Richards

  1. Robyn Pike says:

    A very good read. I’m interested in John Lawse and Lucy’s ‘daughter’ Eliza.
    I have and Elizabeth Law/s maturing Thomas Toy/e at St Matthews Windsor. She is a bit of a scoundrel herself but with little information on her I had wondered if she is the Eliza found with Lucy?


    • Robyn, so glad you found the account of interest. Your query is very timely because I am currently reviewing the ‘Bristol Girls’ for any additions, corrections etc , including any further information that might have come to light about the elusive Eliza Laws. I have spent the morning following up on your query on the Elizabeth Law/s who married Thomas Toy/e at Windsor and have put together some note for reference. However, I do not think ‘your’ Elizabeth is the same person as Lucy Law’s daughter.

      Looking at the Windsor marriage details shows that the couple married on 15 Mar 1842 ‘with consent of Governor and her father’. This would indicate that the bride was under age in 1842. The father is not named, but it might just be that her parents were William and Jane Lawes, and that they and their family of 4 children (James, Elizabeth, Ellen and George) arrived as free emigrants on the James, on 17 Nov 1834. As a convict, Thomas needed to apply for permission to marry. Permission was granted on 24 Feb 1842 for the banns to be read for Thomas Toy (Convict age 25 serving 7 years and who arrived on the convict transport Waterloo) and Elizabeth Lawson [sic] (age 19 and who arrived free).

      Having also looked as some of the ‘questionable’ Ancestry family trees, it is possible that at some stage Thomas and Elizabeth went their separate ways and she took up with a man named James Seelie. It has been suggested that she was the Elizabeth Seelie who died on 21 December 1901 and was buried at the Old Dubbo Cemetery.

      So, for me, it is back to the drawing board for Lucy’s Eliza!


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