Transportation 4
The prison hulks on the river


A new destination for convicts
The extract shown below from the Breconshire Quarter Sessions of 1785 includes an interesting reference to the prison ships which were used for many years to confine convicted offendors before they were transported.
There are many references in earlier records to orders to be transported to the British colonies in America, but this destination was no longer available after the American War of Independence, which ended in 1783.

The first prison ship to set sail for New South Wales in Australia, chosen as the next location for unwanted criminals, left Portsmouth in 1787. In the intervening years, much use was made of prison ships known as 'hulks', moored on the River Thames, to house the excess criminal population. Conditions on board these vessels were very harsh and primitive, disease was quick to spread in the crowded rat-infested communities on board, and many did not survive to see the new penal colonies.

Quarter Sessions
Easter 1785

County Archives

 Quarter Sessions extract

 The extract from the Breconshire Quarter Sessions Order Book reproduced above reads as follows:
"Ordered that the County Gaolor do forthwith Convey the Bodies of Robert Letton John Parker alias Henry Edward and William David, three convicts under sentence of Transportation to the Ceres Hulk on the River Thames into the charge of Mr Duncan Campbell overseer of the convicts in the said River."

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