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Convict ship 'Surrey'

From Ships, the Surrey Surry* (later referred to as the Surrey)
Transport: 443 tons. Square rigged ship with an overall length of 117 ft. 6 ins., a breadth above the gunwales of 29 ft. 6 ins, and a draught, when loaded, of 18ft. The vessel was copper-sheathed, and had quarter galleries, with a Minerva bust for a figurehead. She carried a crew of thirty and was armed with fourteen cannons.

When the Surry was originally built at Harwich in 1811 she had two decks with a height between decks of 5ft. 8 ins. However, about 1818, she must have received a major refit - the Shipping Registers after 1819 record the vessel as having three decks.
The Surry had one of the longest careers as a convict transport and she was the only transport to make 11 passages to Australia. She completed her last voyage on reaching Hobart on 11 August 1842.
The Surrey landed 2,177 male and female convicts in Australia and lost 51 men and one woman during her passages, 36 of the men dying during her first, and most notorious voyage, was in 1814 under the command of James Patterson, on which approximately a quarter of the people on board the ship (convicts, sailors and soldiers) died of ‘gaol fever’, and wine was added to list of medicines to be carried. It led to the appointment of surgeons-superintendent, with clear authority to require good practice in the care of prisoners, and the situation was rapidly improved and maintained.
Thomas Raine commanded her for the next three voyages (1816, 1819, 1823); he was succeeded by Charles Kemp for four voyages (1829, 1831, 1833, 1834); he was succeeded by George Sinclair as her Master on the ninth and tenth voyages (1836, 1840) and on the last voyage (1842) she was commanded by Henry Innott.

Health on ships In considering the above figures it needs to be borne in mind that, at the time, the causes of such things as dysentry, cholera and typhus were unknown, and indeed there was little knowledge at all about infection and its transmission. The means of prevention of scurvy were known, but often ignored, and few medical people accepted that consumption (tuberculosis) was contagious. So health depended much upon attention to ventilation, cleanliness, airing of bedding, food, exercise and fumigation by burning brimstone (sulphur).

Voyage of the Surrey, 1814
1. Surry was originally built at Harwich in 1811 she had two decks with a height between decks of 5ft. 8 ins.
2. Surrey departed London on 22 February 1814
3. She called at Rio on 12 April with typhus aboard. Departing Rio on 21 April with the typhus becoming more virulent, the Broxbornebury sent a volunteer to navigate the Surrey into Port Jackson, the latter's crew having been decimated by the disease.
4. By the time the Surrey reached the east coast of Australia, the death toll from ’gaol fever’or typhus was 51. The convict’s cells below deck were poorly ventilated and not properly cleaned or fumigated. Governor Macquarie ordered an inquiry into the death toll during the voyage of the Surrey.
5. Governor Macquarie would not allow the Surrey to dock in Sydney Cove carrying typhoid so she was moored in a bay somewhere near where the Quarantine Station was subsequently built. There is some dispute about the actual location in the bay.
6. The survivors were sickly, emaciated and suffering the effects of scurvy or typhus.

7. From JRSM In 1814 the General Hewit, the Three Bees and the Surrey arrived with a terrible record of illness. On the Surrey 50 people had died of preventable disease, including the captain. Redfern's report Medical Aspects of Convict Transportation, published in 1814, was a model of its kind, impressing the authorities in England, and laying the foundations of public health in Australia. He covered five main topics—fresh air, clothing, diet, cleanliness and medical health. He recommended that, instead of men chosen by the shipowner, well-trained naval surgeons should be appointed, who could also act as government agents to oversee conditions on board. With implementation of his ideas, deaths were reduced by three-quarters.

Conflicting story

Robert Cross" and John Horsley
Robert Cross was convicted of Robbery and in 1814 was sent to the colony of New South Wales aboard a ship named "Surrey". This ship became known as the "Plague Ship" because typhoid broke out amongst the passengers but also spread to the crew - killing the surgeon-general, members of the crew and even the Captain!
The "Surrey" was drifting off the coast of New South Wales with no able seamen able to bring her into the harbour when the "Roxberry" came to her rescue. There was a convict on board the Roxberry who was married to Robert Cross. Back in England she had tried to smuggle a file into the prison to help Robert escape but she was detected and imprisoned and sent out to New South Wales.

John Horsley - The large Thames-built Broxbornebury departed London on 22 February 1814 in the company of the Surrey, which was to attract great public and official attention. The Broxbornebury embarked 120 female convicts (of whom two died in transit) plus passengers and merchandise; her master was Thomas Pitcher Jr. and her surgeon Colin McLachlan.
The Surrey, which had sailed with 200 male prisoners, separated from the Broxbornebury early in the voyage, calling at Rio on 12 April with typhus aboard. Departing Rio on 21 April with the typhus becoming more virulent, the Surrey was off Shoalhaven in late July when the Broxbornebury rejoined her. The Broxbornebury sent a volunteer to navigate the Surrey into Port Jackson, the latter's crew having been decimated by the disease. Arriving in Sydney on 27 July 1814, after a voyage of 156 days, the Broxbornebury's passengers were disembarked on the 28th, and proceedings completed by 1 August .

Aboard the Broxbornebury as free settlers came Jane Cross and her children William, Ralph and Jane Cross; her husband Robert Cross was a convict aboard the Surrey. Also aboard the Broxbornebury was John Horsley, with whom Jane Cross (Robert's wife) started a life-long dalliance which produced eight children; she is buried next to him at Liverpool as Jane Horsley. Horsley, who came to NSW to be Coroner at Liverpool, had left his wife in England: she later remarried.

John Ashcroft

Johnny Ashcroft has produced a CD. Introduction notes, my ancestor 'John Ashcroft’s imprisonment aboard the infamous convict hell-ship, Surrey.' Track 2 The Night Before I Die (with the ABC Orchestra) Written by Joe Halford and Johnny Ashcroft and recorded with two musical arrangers, Milton Saunders (rhythm section) and Joe Washington (strings, voices and brass sections). The storyline is set in convict John Ashcroft’s (and Joe Halford’s) hometown of Liverpool, England. It portrays the feelings of a convict the night before his transportation to Botany Bay.

From on Sat, 08 Dec 2007

John George Ashworth. He was the grandson of the convict John Ashcroft who came to Australia via 'The Surrey" in 1814.

John George Ashworth/Ashcroft was born 1849 in N.S.W. possibly Berrima, not registered, but is listed on other siblings birth certificates. Died 18th August, 1900 at Inglewood Hospital. Married Maria Howarth on 5th August, 1874. She was born 3/8/1855 Castlemaine, Victoria and died 1/12/1933 at Inglewood. John George was born at either Berrima or Campbelltown, as his birth does not appear to be registered. However, he is listed on his siblings birth certificates. A number of births at this time were not registered because of the scarcity of clergymen to record them. John and Frances Ashcroft appear to have been travelling between Berrima and Campbelltown at this time in their lives, so perhaps this is the reason.

Also at this time Elizabeth Ashcroft, John George's grandmother had just passed away and there is talk about the property settlement of John Ashcroft and Elizabeth. Perhaps because the estate seems to have gone to William Chapman, Elizabeth's oldest living son by her first marriage, John George's father John Ashcroft Jnr. left Campbelltown and travelled to Berrima to start a new life with his family. Needless to say there appears to have been a split in the family on several occasions. John George himself, split with his father John Jnr. just before his marriage to Maria and in approx. 1872, moved to Victoria. He was married in 1874, under the name Ashcroft,but at some time after that changed his name to Ashworth. On his marriage certificate he lists himself as a farmer aged 24, his usual place of residence as Bridgewater and his parents as John Ashcroft and Frances Taber. He gives his fathers occupation as Storekeeper. Maria was listed as a domestic servant aged 17 from Serpentine. They were married at the residence of Mrs. Butler by the rights of the Congregational Church, and Maria's parents gave their consent as she was not of age.

John George was buried by a Church of England Minister. He is buried under the name Ashworth and a number of his descendants still call themselves by that name. He died at the Inglewood Hospital on 18th August, 1900 aged 52 years of a strangulated hernia and is buried in the Inglewood Cemetery. His son was the informant, and appears not to know the correct family details. He says that he was born at Tottenham Court Rd, England, which is clearly not correct, and that he had been in Victoria for 28 years which is correct.

There was evidently no contact between John Ashcroft Jnr. and his wife Frances with their son John George as on Frances's death certificate he is listed as still living and on his father John's death certificate in 1909, John George is still listed as living and aged 58. One can only speculate at this time on the reasons for the estrangement.

From on Sun, 9 Dec 2007

Hi Elizabeth The legal spelling is Ashcroft. John's parents were John Ashcroft convict, from Lancashire, and Frances Taber. They lived in NSW. You have missed some children. John James 1876, my grandfather, Mary Ellen 1888, Amy 1891, Virginia Sarah 1895. I was unaware Maria was a Howell. On her death certificate it says her parents were John and Marianne Howarth.
Regards Vickie


Generation 1.

Convict John Ashcroft wed Elizabeth, widow of ? with eldest son William Chapman who inherits her estate.
He appears to be William Chapman born 1811 son of Elizabeth and Robert Chapman, brother of John born 1809 and Elizabeth born 1814. Robert Chapman died 1815 aged 36
Elizabeth Chapman wed 1818 to John Ashcroft
1. John Ashcroft 1817
2. Thomas Ashcroft 1820
3. John Ashcroft c1822
4. Henry Ashcroft 1827
5. Edward Ashcroft 1828
6. Ellen Ashcroft 1832
7. George Ashcroft 1834

Generation 2.

John Ashcroft born c1822 left Campbelltown went to Berrima NSW and wed 1845 to Frances R Tabar
1. Anne Ashcroft 1846
2. John George Ashcroft 1848
3. George T Ashcroft 1851
4. Emma F Ashcroft 1853
5. Virginia S Ashcroft 1855

Henry Ashcroft 1827-1896, wed 1847 to Rebecca Frances Taber 1830-1902, dau of Charlotte McAllister and James EB Taber
Edward Ashcroft wed 1855 to Elizabeth Taber

Generation 3.

John George Ashcroft 1848 (birth not registered) leaves NSW and makes a new start in Victoria, marries Maria Haworth. Changes surname to Ashworth (blend of both surnames, very romantic choice).

Hanson Howarth

Hanson Howarth also known as John was Christened 20 Aug 1815 son of Maria and John Howarth at Cathedral, Manchester, Lancashire, (this is an extracted entry) and was a convict transported to NSW on John II in 1837, left Sheerness 30 Sept 1836 arrived NSW 7 Feb 1837.
After he obtained his Ticket of Leave he went to Victoria where in 1853 he married Mary Ann D'arcy who was born in 1834 Galway, Ireland. John and Mary Anne had 7 children (registered under variants such as Howard, Howorth, Haworth, Howitt etc). Their daughter Maria born 1855 wed John George Ashcroft (aka Ashworth) in Inglewood, Vic in 1874. John was the son of John Ashcroft and Frances nee Taber of NSW.

Hanson Howarth c1815 wed 1853 #1657 to Mary Darcy born in 1834 Galway, Ireland
It is possible they were married at the same church as Eliza was Christened at, in 1853, which appears to be later named Castlemaine.
8 children   1. Eliza Howarth B Hanson and Mary at Bend 1853 #7423 Roman Catholic Mt Alexander & Bendigo 131
2. John Haworth B Hansom and Mary Darcy at Forest Crk 1853 #1361 - 1854 #6117 lived 1 year
3. Maria Howerth B Hanson and Mary Darcy at Castlemain 1855 #11415
4. Mary Jane Howit B Hanson and Mary Dorsay at Maldon 1858 #7832
5. William Howitt B John and Mary Darcy at Sand 1860 #21658
6. Child born 1863 not registered, died?
7. Sarah Ann Howert D John Hanson and Mary Unknown 2 at Brid 1866 - 1868 #4069 lived 2 years
8. Hanson Hawert B John Hanson and Mary Darcy at Iwood 1868 #9752


John George Ashcroft (later spelled Ashworth) 1848 - 1900 (son of Frances Taber and John Ashcroft) wed 1874 #3411 to Maria Howard, whose surname is also written as Howell and Howarth.
Maria Howerth born at Castlemaine 1855 #11415 dau of Mary Darcy and Hanson Howerth
Maria Howard born in Castlemain wed 1874 #3411 to John George Ashcroft.
Children's Father called George, or John George
10 children   1. Francis Ashwood 1875 #3070 (named after John George's mother?)
2. William Henry Ashworth 13 Aug 1877 #16479
3. Stella Ashworth 6 Jan 1878
4. Maria Ashworth 6 Oct 1882
5. Emma Ashworth 17 Dec 1884 - 25 May 1909
6. George Ashworth 1 Jan 1887 #4117
7. Mary Ellen Ashworth 15 Nov 1888
8. Amy Ashworth 30 Jun 1891
9. Annie Ashworth 30 Jan 1893 born at Inglewood
10. Virginia Sarah Ashworth 12 Jan 1895

5. Emma Ashworth 1884 - 25 May 1909 aged 25 wed 4 Aug 1908 to Henry Wilson 3 Jun 1864 - 18 Sep 1951. Emma died when she was in childbirth, with the son being stillborn, and hence his death is not registered.

Elizabeth Janson's web contributions
began 1st Nov, 1998.
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