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Details for the convict Thomas Radley (1794)

Convict Name:Thomas Radley
Trial Place:Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Trial Date:9 January 1793
Arrival Details
Ship:Surprize (2)
Arrival Year:1794
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THOMAS RADLEY, variously described as a hackney writer and hairdresser, from Ireland, moved to London, probably looking for work, in about 1791. At his trial of the Old Bailey in 1792, he was described as 25 years of age (b.c.1767), 5 ft 11 in., dark hair, grey eyes.
(A hackney writer was a slang term for one who writes or copies documents for attorneys or booksellers- definition taken from “The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue”, originally by Francis Grose. If that is so, it would appear that Radley was educated and maybe fell on hard times after moving to London.)

In September 1792, Radley held up a coach on the King's highway between Totteridge and Hertfordshire wearing a crape over his face and holding a pistol. From the female occupant he stole a gold watch, with a diamond on the pendant, and a red leather purse containing one guinea and two shillings.
At the trial, the victim described the incident: “I gave him a red leather purse which had a guinea and 2 shillings in it; seeing him stop after that, I asked him what he wanted; he said give me your watch; he desired me not to be frightened, and put the pistol in his pocket when I desired him; I was very much alarmed, but he certainly behaved well.”
He was apprehended in Drury Lane on the 18th, and found to possess the crape, powder and ball. The coachman had recognized him from a previous meeting in a bar where Radley had worn a distinctive coat with a mended tear. This coat was produced as evidence at his trial. His mistress, Mary Ann Fowles, was found in possession of the purse and had tried to pawn the diamond. At Radley's trial, she claimed she found the diamond and denied knowing Radley, however a witness claimed she had been living with Radley for 9 months.
Fowles was charged with ‘wilful and corrupt perjury’ and at a later trial on December 12th, witnesses claimed when she had been asked how she had come in possession of a leather purse, she had pointed out Radley. She denied the claim and said she had been confused when questioned. However, she was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation

Radley was found guilty and sentenced to death, although this was changed on the day of his hanging to transportation for life.

Radley and Fowles were both transported on the same ship, the ‘Surprise 2’, leaving England on May 2nd 1794 and arriving on October 25th 1794. The ‘Surprize’ took 176 days and had 23 males and 60 females on board.
In the 1800-1802 Muster and Lists NSW and Norfolk Island, Radley and Mary Ann Fowles were listed together, Radley described as emancipated. He received a Conditional Emancipation from Gov. Hunter before 1800, and, in the Lists in 1801, was described under “employment” as a “Settler Port Jackson”.
Radley died January/February 1803 and was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground.
In the 1806 Female Muster by Rev. Marsden, Mary Ann Fowles was listed as a "concubine" living with Irish convict Laurence Butler. (see Claim a Convict- Mary Ann Fowler)

Submitted by Researcher (406) on 11 May 2014

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  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/1, p.197

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