In this section
Rob Forsyth  July 2009
Transportation to the colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries

All of the people in the two sections of the article that follows were sentenced at the Oxford Quarterly Assizes and were either residents of the Parish of Deddington; or were non-residents who committed an offence within the parish; or were neither of these but were committed to the assizes by The Reverend Cotton Risley - Deddington's parish magistrate.           

I have contacted those residents living within the parish today whose names indicate that they might be a descendant of someone in the article. Should anyone I have missed, or anyone else reading this article, want to make contact with me for further advice or information I would be very pleased to hear from them by e mail.

People are listed in chronological order by date of trial.

 I - Transported to America

This account is by courtesy of Buffy Heywood who alerted me to a book called "Stories of Oxford Castle - From Dungeon to Dunghill” by Mark Davies of Oxford (see bibliography at end) to whom I am indebted for his agreement to draw on his book for the information in this section.


1695. Elizabeth Norton. The earliest Oxford Quarter Sessions which refers to transportation of prisoners to the Americas from the county assizes appears in the Calendar of Prisoners for 5th April 1687. The first Deddington person - who was also the very first female transportee - was Elizabeth Norton. She was tried in the 1694 Easter quarter sessions for an offence that is not stated in the record. She was condemned to death but the sentence was commuted to transportation.

1722. John Trentham and Benjamin Burrell who were both butchers in Deddington were among a group of ten people found guilty of grand larceny and who were given sentences of seven years transportation.

Transportation to the Americas continued until 1775 when the War of Independence meant that it was no longer a suitable destination. A total of some 300 people sentenced from Oxford courts had made the journey by then; the majority of whom were sent to the plantations in Maryland, Virginia and Georgia but some went to Bermuda and Canada.  

  II - Tranported to Bermuda

1827. 25th July. Zachariah GIBBS (18) and William WAITE (19) were charged with feloniously breaking open the dwelling house house of Benjamin Pritchett Jnr. of Deddington on the night of 15th March, and stealing two spice cakes value 2s. Gibbs and Waite were both single men and labourers. William worked for Benjamin Pritchett.  Both of their death sentences were commuted to transportation for 14 years. Gibbs was dispatched to the hulk York and then onwards to Bermuda. He appears to have conducted himself well as he only served 8 years and returned back to England - only to re-offend and be transported again in 1837! - see the continued article below. Waites was sent to the hulk York with Gibbs but the Assizes had decided to split them up for their final destination and, instead of Bermuda, he was sent to Hobart in Tasmania on the ship Marmion.

III - Transported to Australia and New Zealand          

The information for this next article was compiled in conjunction with Buffy Heywood and Richard Broadbent - all of us being residents of Deddington, Oxfordshire - and by Terence Talbot, resident of Deddington, Tasmania.

The story of sentencing by transportation to the colonies of thousands of people convicted of relatively small offences - most frequently theft or offences against the person - is now widely known about as a result of the large volume of research carried out by their descendants in the former colonies and professional historians. Amongst the latter, "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes was one of the first - and remains probably the best - books about transportation to Australia and New Zealand. There is a wealth of other written and online material available to researchers of which the most relevant to this article are listed in the bibliography at the end.

The DOL team was led into this subject by the slightly roundabout route of trying to establish exactly how our namesake in Tasmania - the only other Deddington in the world that we know of - became so called. We already knew from Tasmanian records that it had acquired the name by 1823 when land grants to settlers refer to it on the deeds. We had researched several routes unsuccessfully when we became aware of an exhibition at the Oxford Records Office (ORO) about transportees from Oxfordshire.

We realised that it was, of course, quite possible that a convict had settled in the area at the end of his sentence and named it after his home parish. Many former convicts decided to remain in the country to which they had been so unwillingly conveyed for three reasons; firstly, the distance and logistics of getting back to England were near insurmountable; secondly, and very importantly, many convicts were granted or purchased some land on completion of their sentence and thirdly, lots of them had "married" and had had children during their sentence. Marriage was often carried out by a process in which men walked down a line of new female convict arrivals and dropped a handkerchief in front of any woman they considered suitable for a wife. If the woman picked it up then this was enough for them to be considered married - a very early form of speed dating?

The combined effect meant that a convict often had more to remain for at the end of his/her time than was waiting for them at "home".

We already had names and information about two transportees (the Waites - father and son) by courtesy of Terence Talbot, our local contact in "Tassie", and to whom we are extremely grateful for all the research work he has done for us.

The very interesting ORO exhibition did not have any Deddington names but clearly spelt out the story of the terrible experiences that many convicts experienced for quite small offences. On the other hand it also told some encouraging stories of survival and success. The staff very kindly provided us with a number of sources to refer to (see Bibliography at end) amongst which was a publication called Banished!

This publication contains the results of three years of research by the author, Carol Richmond, into the details of all of those Oxfordshire people who were sentenced to transportation by the Assizes between the years 1787 and 1867. It lists not only the sentencing details of the offenders, but also tracks their subsequent journeys out to their destinations and their life thereafter.

From this one publication we were able to establish a comprehensive list of any offenders that had any connection with Deddington at all. It took only one afternoon in the reading room for us to find, frustratingly, that not one fitted the time and location profile for the naming of Deddington, Tasmania; but we did come away with the names of 22 people who had connections with this parish and had been sent off to the colonies - where the majority of them remained.

The details that follow summarises our own researched information, together with transcripts of The Reverend Cotton Risley's diaries and also draws on the publication Banished! for which we are extremely grateful to Carol Richmond for giving us permission to do so. We strongly recommend that anyone who wishes to know more about each person in this article - or any other transportee from Oxfordshire for that matter - should consult this publication first, where they will often find transcripts of the trials themselves. Copies are obtainable from Deddington library under local history.

1819. 3rd March. William Carter (28) James Pritchett (44) were both charged with stealing the carcase of a lamb belonging to George Ibell of Hempton. Thomas Cripps was also involved in this offence but he turned King's Evidence and thereby avoided conviction! Carter and Pritchett were sentenced to death - a not uncommon sentence for theft or offences against the person - but this was commuted to Life Imprisonment. William Carter was subsequently transported to New South Wales. It is believed that James Pritchett was also transported in due course but no details are held.

1820. 12th July. Thomas GARDINER (17) was charged with stealing two £10 and two £1 bank notes, the property of Thomas Austin of Deddington. His sentence of Death was commuted to Transportation for life and sent to the prison hulk Justitia on the Thames, where he died on 13th October 1820. These prison hulks had originally been used to hold French prisoners of war - Waterloo was only 5 years before this - and were notorious for the foul conditions in which the prisoners were held, so it is likely that he died of a disease but malnutrition could also equally have been a cause.

1821. 7th March. George GODFREE (34) was charged with stealing 2 pairs of stockings belonging to William Nickols of Hempton. His sentence of Death was commuted to Life Imprisonment and Transportation. He was sent to Justitia hulk and sailed from Portsmouth on The Mary to New South Wales in September that year.

Update courtesy of Julie Ann Godson: On 3 April 1833, at the age of 40, he was given permission to marry fellow convict Jane Wright, 32. An Ulster dairymaid, Jane had come over on the "Palamban". The couple had two sons, George who died in 1919, and William who died in 1913.

1827. 25th July. Zachariah GIBBS (18) and William WAITE (19) were charged with feloniously breaking open the dwelling house house of Benjamin Pritchett Jnr. of Deddington on the night of 15th March, and stealing two spice cakes value 2s. Gibbs and Waite were both single men and labourers. William worked for Benjamin Pritchett. Both of their death sentences were commuted to transportation for 14 years. Gibbs was despatched to the hulk York and then onwards to Bermuda. He appears to have conducted himself well as he only served 8 years and returned back to England - only to re-offend and be transported again in 1837! Waites was sent to the hulk York with Gibbs but the Assizes had decided to split them up for their final destination and, instead of Bermuda, he was sent to Hobart in Tasmania on the ship Marmion. His father, Thomas, was on the same ship to Hobart for a separate offence (see Notes below)

1827. 25th July. Thomas WAITE (45) On the same day as Gibbs and William Waite were charged the latter's father - listed as a native of Deddington - was separately charged with stealing two sheets and one napkin, value 18 shillings, the property of John Verey of Deddington and with stealing three bushels of wheat and two bushels of beans, value 30s, the property of John Gilkes of Deddington. He was only given a sentence of 7 years transportation for what, on the face of it, seem to have been much bigger offences than his son and his friend, Zachariah Gibbs, received. Thomas was a widower with two children and was employed by Mr Churchill, a farmer who lived in Leaden Porch House. He was sent to the hulk York in Portsmouth and was transported on the Marmion to Hobart, Tasmania, with his son William.

Notes on Gibbs and Waite This must have been a busy night at the bottom end of New Street! Benjamin Pritchett Jr lived in The Stile House - where I live! - which lies at the entrance to what is now called The Stile Lane but was formerly called "Gilkes Style" - presumably because the Gilkes family lived in it.
We originally thought that the Waites were our best candidates for having named Deddington as local records referred to Thomas Waites having been transported but without the detail. We were very disappointed to find that father and son arrived 2 years after the name was already being used on land deeds. Our own research indicated that Thomas was murdered by one John Johnson at Ross, Tasmania, on 15th December 1860 and that William was found drowned in the River Jordan, in southern Tasmania on 13th November 1860.
We then were introduced to the publication Banished! whose research was in complete agreement with us right up to the point of arrival in Tasmania - including the Waites' family background as natives of Deddington and that Thomas was one of William's three children. This confirmed we were at least talking about the same father and son. However, there is then a big divergence of opinion as to what exactly might have been their subsequent fates.
Banished! says that there is a 'possible death record for Thomas Waite aged 70 registered on 5th September 1844 - but this would only make him 62 according to his age on conviction. The publication provides far more detail about his son William - on arrival in Hobart on the Marmion in March 1828 he was assigned to W Perryman. The gaol report that came with him said he came from a bad family and connections but had behaved well on the hulk and the transport ship. on 1st march 1838 he was granted Ticket of Leave; this meant he was no longer a prisoner and was indentured for the rest of his sentence. He then committed an act of larceny (details/date unknown) and was sentenced to 12 months hard labour in chains working with the Sandy Bay road party. He was given another ticket of leave on 12th March 1840 and married Maria Placey ex Westmoreland in October. It was possible under the rules that a wife could be the person to whom a ticket of leave man was indentured so she may have been/become his employer. They subsequently had 9 children of which only John (b 1846) Alfred (b1848) and Alice Louisa (b 1857) survived infancy. The last record is of William as a steerage passenger on City of Melbourne 29 April 1852 between Launceston and Melbourne by which time he was a free man by 'servitude' and aged 70.
We have not revisited our own research to clarify these differences and would welcome any other information that might help do so.

1835. 5th March.  Robert COWLEY (22), Henry COWLEY and John WHEELER (25) were charged with killing eight sheep belonging to Henry Dean the elder of Deddington and also killing another sheep belonging to Henry Dean the younger and stealing its carcase. (Comment: a Henry Dean was a tenant farmer at Earls Farm). Henry and John Cowley were all involved in some way but escaped the charges. Banished! gives a full transcript of the discovery of the evidence by the village Constable, including finding a leg of mutton hidden under clothes and the clockmaker Fardon was an expert witness on measuring bloody footprints -  and more! It is well worth reading. Robert Cowley was transported to Hobart in the Aurora where he arrived in October 1835 and was pardoned in 1846. John Wheeler was shipped out on The Mary Anne to Sydney where he arrived in October 1835. We know nothing further about him after this.

At about this time The Reverend Cotton Risley moved into Deddington House as Vicar and Magistrate. He remained a magistrate until his death in 1869. He kept diaries from 1835 onwards and these contain many references to his activities as a JP so extracts from the diaries are included here where they apply. The original diaries are in the Bodleian library but fortunately for us have been regularly transcribed in the Deddington News by Buffy Heywood (present occupant of his house) on a month by month basis 150 years on and are also contained in a Banbury Historical Society publication by Geoffrey Smedley - Stevenson. For more details see the bibliography at the end. 

1836. 4th January. William LEWIS (31) was charged with stealing several thimbles, the property of Thomas Fardon of Deddington who was a Quaker clockmaker in the village. Lewis was transported to Sydney on the Moffatt arriving August 1836. He was probably not of a Deddington family having been born in Lancaster.

1836. William PAYNTON sentenced to transportation for 7 years for stealing 2 trusses of hay from John Stilgoe of Deddington. Reported in Jackson's Oxford Journal, March 5th 1836. 

1836. February 26th Herman MERRY (26) was transported for life for stealing a horse. Details of his conviction appear in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, March 5th 1836.

Oxford Assizes

Herman Merry indicted for stealing a gelding, of the value of 15l. the property of Robert Maunder.

Robt. Maunder – I am a boot-maker residing at Banbury.  I had a horse safe on the 25th  of January in a field in the Parish of Adderbury.  I missed it on the 29th. On the 16th of February, I saw it at Mr. Towerton’s, at Little Milton.  I was in partnership with a man of the name of Lovell.  I purchased Lovell’s share of the horse on the 11th of November last.

Thomas Lovell, jun. – I saw the prisoner on the 9th or 10th of December, at the Pheasant, at Oxford.  We had some conversation about the horse in which I was in partnership with Mr. Maunder.  He asked me if it was mine ?  I said I had nothing to do with it then. He asked me if it was for sale? I said I dare say it was.

Cross-examined – I did not say that I still had a claim upon the horse.  I did not say “take the horse and sell him, and let me have the money when I see you.” I made an assignment for the benefit of creditors.  I was unable to pay my creditors before I had a settlement with Maunder.

William Towerton – I live at Little Milton and keep a public-house.  I have known the prisoner from a boy.  I saw him on the 27th or 28th of January last at my house. The next morning I saw a horse ; Merry asked me if I knew any one that would buy it. I exchanged a dark grey poney for it, and gave him 15s. I gave 8l. for the poney. The horse was claimed by Maunder.  He told me he had the horse to sell for a Bankrupt at Oxford. 

John Lechmere, Esq. put in a statement made by the prisoner that he had a horse to sell for Lovell.

Several respectable witnesses gave the prisoner a good character. Verdict – Guilty. Transported for life.   

The National Archives at Kew presents further information, ref: HO 17/65/142

2 individual petitions (William Merry, of Adderbury, yeoman and the prisoner's father; Robert Mander, the prosecutor, of Banbury) and 1 collective petition (47 inhabitants of Deddington ) on behalf of Herman Merry (aged 26) convicted at Oxford Lent Assizes 1836 of horse stealing from Robert Mander. There is also a note from H R Cartwright enclosing the petition and a memorandum from Mr Baron Alderson casting doubt on the jury's verdict. Gaoler's report: character not known, married one child. Grounds for clemency: father cannot believe he would steal, suspects son had authority from Thomas Lovell to take the horse, son openly offered horse for sale and sold it to someone he knew. Initial sentence: transportation for life. Annotated: onboard Leviathan; there is not yet case enough at present for a reference by the judge. 

(Note: Herman Merry arrived on the prison hulk Leviathan, in Portsmouth harbour, on 14th of March 1836, where he was held awaiting transportation to Australia. )

It appeared, at first, that the petitions might have been effective, that Herman had not been transported, as the Deddington Parish Register shows a baptism on January 27th 1837, ten and one-half months after Herman's conviction:  

MERRY  Herman William son of Herman & Mary, butcher.  

But then, another baptism on September 19th 1841:

MERRY  John Alfred son of Mary.  “Her husband was deported some years ago.” 

1837. 27th February. Zachariah GIBBS (28). 10 years on from his first offence and tranportation - and none the wiser it seems - Zachariah is charged with breaking into the house of Mary Butler of Stoke Lyne on "15th December last, and stolen 10 loaves of bread, 30 lbs. of bacon, 12 lbs. of cheese and two silver spoons, the property of Elizabeth Butler". Zachariah's eloquent defence is a masterpiece "My Lord, I got to say this I'm innocent of the crime. Well, my Lord, Nancy Butler and William Butler told me as if I wouldn't give 'em four pounds, they'd send me where their father and brother went to. Now, my Lord, I went to Nancy Butler's house and I slept with her. That's true and her picked my pocket of nineteen shillings and a pocket handkerchief and I found the pocket handkerchief in her drawer and her swore me out and out it wasn't the same. And her wanted me to pay for it and so accordingly I didn't and then she asked me 'will you lend me two pounds?' and I says no, for I think you've had quite enough off me, and her knows that's true. That's all I've got to say, my Lord". Nancy Butler was called to give evidence, but she denied the whole of the prisoner's statement! This time he was transported to Hobart where he remained and died an old man in 1881.

c.1837. Unknown BISHOP, possibly Stephen Bishop (30) who was recorded as being tried for Larceny at the Oxford Assizes in 1837 and transported for 7 years. The only evidence we currently have comes from the Deddington Parish Register which shows the baptism of Joseph Bishop on the 11th November 1842. It notes that he was the son of Patty, a married woman, and "The husband of the above was transported 4 or 5 years since." 

1838. 9th July. Thomas DEELEY (18), William FLINT (18)  and  John SPICER(21). The Rev Cotton Risley's diary records that he attended the Assizes at Oxford where he "…had 8 prisoners for trial, 5 were convicted and 3 acquitted; 4 of them were transported for 15 years, 3 for highway robbery on the person of Mr. Merry of Deddington Mill and stealing from him in notes, gold and silver upwards of £200. They were young men from 18-21 years of age, all of Adderbury East.". They were Thomas Deeley, William Flint and John Spicer. All three were charged with assaulting William Merry and taking £220 - a huge amount of money in those days - Deeley and Flint were sent to Hobart for 15 years where both seem to have been trouble makers. Deeley's fate is not known. Flint died in 1845 (cause unknown) still serving his sentence. Risley's diary tells us that the other (4th) prisoner was convicted of sheep stealing but we don't know his name or punishment. Further extracts relating to these events are:

12th July "a charge of embezzlement against D.C. Newton, our policeman, who had appropriated to his own use £40 belonging to Mrs. Merry of Deddington Mill being part of the money stolen. He was discharged." 
14th July "Man from Adderbury came with petition for mitigation of sentence of 15 years transportation on his son - was obliged from a painful sense of duty to withhold my signature, the petition not having embodied in it a true statement of facts" We do not know whose son this was from those sentenced on the 9th.

16th July "…attended a meeting at the Town Hall to appoint a new policeman"!
 Note: The 1841 census records one James Hastings from Adderbury as the policman but by 1851 he was a porter at an Oxford College.

1839 Richard GARDINER of Somerton married Mary Ell of Deddington in 1826. He was sentenced at Oxford Assizes to be transported for 7 years and shipped to New South Wales on the Woodbridge. The offence is not stated in either existing Assizes records or the prisoner records on the ship. However, Jackson's Oxfordshire Journals refer to a Richard Gardiner whose reported offence was of committing 'wilful and corrupt perjury' i.e. accusing someone falsely. This is probably the same person. He was sentenced to be transported for 7 years because the accusation was a particulalry malicious one.

As far as is known he is not directly related to the brothers Robert and Joseph Gardner who were transported in 1841 & '45 respectively.

1840. 9th January John VINCENT (30) from London  and William DAVIS (30) from Faringdon broke and entered into Deddington Parish Church and stole various items. The Rev Cotton Risley's diary contains nine separate entries (see below) relating to this sacrilegious offence and the events thereafter. As the first entry shows, he immediately went into a whirlwind of activity but, nonetheless, still had time to write up his diary extensively at the end of what was obviously a very busy day.

9th January - About 8 o'clock I was informed that the Church had been broken into and robbed by two men who presented pistols at the Sexton's head on his going to the Vestry Room previous to ringing the curfew a few minutes before 8 o'clock, they were secreted and had succeeded in breaking open the Parish Chest and ransacking it of the pulpit hangings, communion cloth and cushions. They broke the lock of the [unreadable] Register Chest but could not open it. They took away from the Vestry 13/-d. in silver belonging to me as fees taken by the Sexton for divers offices performed by me as Vicar. They cut one of the Altar cushions to pieces, but being disturbed left all things in confusion, together with 4 keys, one a skeleton, a screw driver, a cobbler's or plumber's and glazier's knife much worn and an old silk handkerchief. The Sexton was knocked down and stunned by a blow from the butt end of a pistol as he says and on recovering himself was compelled by their threats to let them escape by opening the Church Door for them. They had effected an entry by cutting away and breaking a portion of one of the Chancel windows, having forced out one of the iron bars which was found in the Vestry Room in the morning. I immediately drew up a Handbill offering a reward of £30 to be paid by the Parish and myself on conviction of parties, stating the facts of the case as well as I could collect them. I despatched the policeman in the direction they were supposed to have taken towards Oxford, and sent him afterwards to Bicester to inform the police there of the problem. I also sent Edmund my servant to Brackley on a similar errand. Two men, one short. one tall, were seen running away from the Churchyard gate about 5 minutes after 8 o'clock dressed in dark clothes; they had been seen between Adderbury and Deddington in the morning by a lad named Callow who was breaking stones on the road between the hours of 10 and 12 o'clock and particularly observed them. Another lad named Sessions saw them near the Barber's shop opposite the Churchyard wall and running fast from the direction of the Churchyard gate.

10th January - The two men supposed to have been the parties concerned in the Church  affair last night were apprehended late this afternoon, a woman with them, on their road to Oxford, by my order and brought to the cage by the policeman and Farndon the constable. I fixed to examine them in the morning. The woman had 15 Pawnbrokers tickets in her possession.

11th January - Examined the two men taken up yesterday on suspicion of having broken into and robbed the Church, who gave their names as Mr Davis, Plumber  and  Glazier, and John Vincent, Tailor. After an investigation and examination of two hours and a half, by which a chain of strong suspicious circumstantial evidence was obtained against the men, I fully committed them to take their trial for the sacrilege at the ensuing Assizes.

12th January - A hymn book and prayer book were found by John Parish in the Castle Ground, being a part of the property stolen from Banbury Church.

13th January - Thompson, the Banbury policeman, came to say he had succeeded in recovering the Communion Cloth stolen from Warmington Church near Banbury at a Pawnbroker's shop thereat; and that it was pawned at Saul's shop by the shortest of the two men I committed to Oxford on Saturday - for breaking into our Church.

15th January - The policeman came 3 or 4 times to see me with fresh intelligence relative to the men committed for robbing our Church.

(Note: 27th February Davis and Vincent were charged at Oxford Assizes  with…feloniously breaking and entering the parish church of Deddington on the 9th day of January inst. and stealing therein a pulpit cloth and cushion, two altar cushions and cloth, thirteen shillings and other articles, the property of the parishioners of the said parish. Sacriledge.)

28th February - Attended the Courts in Oxford Town Hall, dined with the High Sheriff and Grand Jury at The Star, 35 magistrates being present.

1st March - Our Deddington Church breakers, Davis  and  Vincent, were tried for breaking into Warmington Church and stealing the communion cloth, the pulpit cushion, etc. a night or two before they effected their entrance into ours - they were found guilty before Mr. Baron Gurney and told that they would be tried on two other indictments for sacrilege on the morrow - for breaking into Banbury Church and ours at Deddington on Thursday evening, the 9th January.

3rd March - Davis  and  Vincent again tried by Mr.Gurney for the Banbury Church robbery and found guilty. He did not deem it necessary to try them for breaking and robbing ours - but at once sentenced them to transportation for life.

Vincent arrived in Hobart in 1841 but does not seem to have settled down to earn his pardon because Banished! lists a series of offences over the next 21 years. Davis also went to Hobart but in a separate transport. Davis was quickly into trouble with the authorities and 2 years after his arrival was sentenced to hard labour in chains at Port Arthur. Port Arthur was a punishment station for the worst offenders and hence had a fearsome reputation for the lash. He escaped by trying to swim across the bay but was never seen again and was presumed to have drowned.

1841 Robert GARDNER (34) of Barford St John, married Mary Ann Fletcher (b.1810 in Chipping Norton) of Deddington in 1830. February 1841 he was convicted of Larceny at Westminster Quarter Sessions and sentenced to be transported for 7 years (with previous convictions in Oxford Assizes) and sent to the prison hulk Euryalus before being shipped out to Van Diemans land in the Lord Goderich.

1845 Joseph GARDNER (34) Brother of Robert above. He was convicted at Oxford Assizes of Larceny and sentenced to 12 years Transportation. He had a prior conviction of 1 month for Highway Robbery. He was transported on 6 September 1845 on the Pestonjee Bomanjee to Van Dieman's Land arriving 30 December 1845. He died 4 April 1883

 Further information on Robert, his brother Joseph and their families can be found HERE

 Rev'd Cotton Risley' diary entry for 14 July records that he had an accomplice Richard Perrin who received a lesser sentence of 10 years for stealing a lamb at the same time. He was transported on the Joseph Somes which sailed for Van Diemens Land on 4 June 1847.

1855. 12th July. Charles CHANCE (25)  and  William Henry SMITH (22) were both committed by three magistrates (Rev Frands of Broughton, Rev Lloyd of Drayton and Rev Cotton Risley) on 31st May for offences committed on 1st May of breaking and entering farmer John Tim's house in Barford and stealing £10, three watches and "other" articles. Risley's involvement was almost certainly because Barford was within his jurisdiction rather than that the offenders were locals.

Thomas HIRONS (33)  and  Alfred SMITH (22) were charged with the same offences as Chance and William Smith but their committal did not involve Risley - probably because their warrant was not signed until the day of the trial by another JP - i.e. very late arrests. Hirons had lodged at Tim's Farm previously and was probably the "inside" man and also would have had Deddington connections. His story is particularly interesting involving further offences, numerous brushes with the law, several escapes - on horse back and down drains! - until the law finally caught up with him. He boasted that no gaol in England could hold him

The report of their trial is interesting because it was quite a violent assault which involved John Tims and his wife being told to be quiet or they would "blow their brains out". There is a large amount of witness evidence and detail.

William Smith got 15 years transportation to Western Australia where the only subsequent mention of him is that his "remains" were found in 1888. He would have been 55 years old.

Chance also got 15 years and also went to Western Australia - but, as observed before, on a different transport to his accomplices. So far as we know he married and lived happily ever after.

Hirons received a sentence of transportation for life and was sent to Western Australia where he received a pardon in due course.

Alfred Smith was sent to Western Australia (a different transport again to the rest) where he was pardoned in due course.

1861. 3rd December. Reuben WHEELER (26) alias Scrivener, alias Stevens! was a Private in the Royal Artillery. He was committed by the Rev Cotton Risley on 24th August 1861 and was subsequently charged with breaking and entering the house of his grandfather, William Wheeler, in Deddington and stealing 19 sovereigns, 2 half sovereigns and some other articles. He was sent to Western Australia where he was freed in 1871.

1863. 28th November. George NICHOLS0N (21) The committing magistrate is not named but as the committal was in Deddington on 3rd October then it probably was done by the Rev Cotton Risley. Nicholson was charged with setting fire to a stack of barley, the property of William Clothier at Steeple Aston, and received a sentence of 7 years transportation. He also was sent to Western Australia. He drowned in 1867 by being washed overboard. He had relations in Sligo so probably was not from a Deddington family.


Banished! by Carol Richmond is a record of sentences of transportation, listed alphabetically by surnames, of all those sentenced at Oxford Assizes between 1787 and 1867. It is obtainable from the Oxfordshire Family History Society bookstall or from the Oxford Records Office bookstall in St Lukes, Temple Road, Cowley, Oxford.

Transcriptions of Rev Cotton Risley diary entries by Mrs Buffy Heywood. Extracts have been published monthly in The Deddington News under the heading  "Deddington 150 Years ago". These can be found by searching online archive editions of the DN or from the hard bound copies in Deddington library.

Early Victorian Squarson: The Diaries of William Cotton Risley is a Banbury Historical Society publication by Geoffrey Smedley-Stevenson. It is available from the bookshop in the Banbury Museum in the Castle Centre shopping precinct.

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. ISBN 0099448548

Stories of Oxford Castle - From Dungeon to Dunghill by  Mark Davies. Mark has lived in Oxford since 1989. He has written and published several local interest books, and is also a guide and speaker specialising in non-University Oxford. Mark's websiteprovides more details about his tours, his books, and how to order them   



The Oxford Records Office - for pointing us in the right direction for sources to consult.

Mr Terence Talbot - resident of Deddington, Tasmania, for research in Hobart, Tasmania and a wealth of local information and help.

Useful links - there are literally hundreds of sites to do with this subject! The two I have found most useful are:

(1) Genealogy links to Australia and New Zealand

(2) The Tasmanian Government's database: