Friday, November 5, 2010

FIRST FLEET CONVICT SARAH BELLAMY

Housemaid and washerwoman of Sydney, NSW. Sarah was, at the age of fifteen years, convicted at the Summer Assizes held at Dudley WOR ENG in 1785 on the indictment of "feloniously stealing money and property belonging to one, Benjamin Haden, a weaver by trade in the township of Dudley, County of Worcestershire, consisting of a linen purse, valued 2d. 15 guineas, 1 half guinea, one promissory note signed under the hand of Wm. Jackson for the Governor and Co. of the Bank of England bearing the date 11th April 1785 value 10 pounds, one promissory note signed under the hand of Thomas Hill junr for Hill Waldron & Co. promise to pay the bearer 5 guineas on demand at the parish of Dudley 29th May."
 The charge was only brought against Sarah because her employer, Haden, blamed her for his bankruptcy. He was supported in court by his wife Sarah. The bankruptcy indictment was dated 25 May, but Sarah Bellamy was not committed to trial until 9 July.
Sarah was sentenced to seven years transportation, the order of which was signed at St James Court in Dec 1786, when she was seventeen years old. On being found guilty, Sarah "publically prayed publically whipped on two successive market days", but her plea was ignored. On arrival in Sydney, she was assigned to Lt Faddy as a housemaid.
In 1789 Sarah was charged with disturbing the peace, but supported by strong witnesses, namely Matthew Everingham and John Harris, had the case dismissed. It had happened that Captain Meredith of the marines and Mr Kiltie, master of the Sirius, somewhat under the weather, departed from the governor's house at about one o'clock in the morning, made a lot of noise outside Sarah's house. She became alarmed and screamed "murder". Subsequently Captain Meredith tried to have Sarah arrested but was restrained by John Harris, the nightwatchman.
After this time, Sarah began living with James Bloodworth in South Street, now 19 O'Connell St. She had eight children by him but four did not survive infancy. After James died in 1804, Sarah lived by herself with her children in South Street.
Sarah was described as a spirited girl with an abundance of bright red hair which has been passed onto her many descendants.
Sarah settled James' insolvency, received a 20 acre grant at Petersham NSW and schooled her children. She received her certificate of emancipation on 23 Feb 1811. In 1823 she petitioned the governor for the release of her son-in-law, Robert Carver, husband of her daughter Elizabeth, who had been falsely accused of a crime he did not commit and was sent to Port Macquarie NSW.
She died in Sydney on 24 Feb 1843 and was buried in the Devonshire Street cemetery then later it is believed, was transferred to Botany Cemetery.
In May 1987, the Belbroughton Historical Society unveiled a memorial plaque to commemorate the 200 years since Sarah left her home town for Australia and to mark the occasion when her descendants visited Belbroughton.

1 comment: