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Details for the convict Joseph Richens (1833)

Convict Name:Joseph Richens
Trial Place:Wilts Assizes
Trial Date:2 March 1833
Arrival Details
Arrival Year:1833
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Researchers who have claimed this convict

There is currently one researcher who has claimed Joseph Richens

  • Researcher (12879)
Claimed convict


Joseph Richens was born in Sparsholt, Berkshire, England, in 1823, His father, John was a labourer and his mother, Sarah. Sparsholt is an area west of London in the Vale of White Horses.
It includes a number of small villages and is an agricultural area with a history of horse racing. Crops include wheat, barley, oats, peas and beans as well as general root crops. Sparsholt village itself is a strip with houses and shops along a village street. The cottages were timber or brick and timber combinations.
It was an area where most of the people were poor and eked out a subsistence existence.
He was the eldest of 4 children with Elizabeth 1824, Alice 1825, Ann 1826, his father, John died in 1829 when Joseph was 6 years old.
Life would have been very tough for a widow of 28 years with 4 children under 6. This may be the reason that John turned to crime, either to help his mother feed the family or to make money for the family.
On 2.3.1833 Joseph (aged 10) was convicted of sheep stealing at the Wiltshire Lent Assizes, and sentenced to Life in Van Diemen’s Land, being transported on the “Stakesby” along with 215 other convicts.
Joseph was immediately granted a conditional Ticket of Leave and assigned to Mr. P Dunn of Maitland in Central North West Tasmania, where he remained as a servant. In 1847 he is noted in the Convict Muster in Tasmania as 24 years, 5’4”, complexion brown, hair dark brown, eyes light hazel, working as a ploughman having been transported for life. In 1848 he was granted an Unconditional Pardon on the basis that he “had been in possession of a Ticket of Leave beyond the usual time and the records against him being few and unimportant”.
At some point Joseph left Tasmania, presumably finding work in the Hunter Valley area of NSW.
Joseph (20) married Jane Eley (21) at St Andrews Presbyterian Church Maitland NSW by William Purcell on 19.11.1849. Their witnesses were Edward Kelsey and William Cassie. Joseph is described as a bachelor and Jane a spinster. Jane notes her father as John Eley, Gentleman.
Jane and Joseph’s marriage occurred just 2 months after her arrival in the Colony. It is not known when or how they met but they must have met very soon after Jane’s arrival allowing for the 6 weeks reading of the Marriage Banns. It is not known how long they remained in the Hunter Valley.
During their marriage Joseph’s occupation changed from a household servant to a blacksmith.
It is not known where he practiced his trade or where they lived from 1854 – 1860, their son John George was born in Sofala NSW in 1860, they may have been there seeking gold or he may have been blacksmithing for the miners.
23.10.1872 Joseph Richens was arrested in Sofala NSW for stealing a calf from his neighbor. The charges were dismissed when the judge ordered the neighbours to “shake hands” and repair their relationship.
At some time before 1888 the family moved to Sydney where it appears that John and Jane lived separately in the same street. Joseph is listed living in Marrickville from 1888 -1890 initially at 15 Steel St and then 19 Steel Street, where he died on 17.5.1890 from Pneumonia and Kidney Disease, he was a blacksmith aged 59 (more likely 67) The informant was Jane Richens, wife, Ladies Nurse 19 Steel St. age 59. He had been 49 years in the Colony. 1 male, 2 females living, 3 females deceased. He was buried 2 days later in the Church of England Section at Rookwood Cemetery.

His Death Certificate states that there were 3 living children – John George 1860, Elizabeth A 1861, Sarah E 1871 and 3 deceased daughters, these babies may have been born in the period 1850 – 60 or 61-71 there are no records of their births or deaths or of where Joseph and Jane were living at that time.

Submitted by Researcher (12879) on 2 September 2020

Disclaimer: The information has not been verified by Claim a Convict. As this information is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the data to verify its accuracy.

Research notes

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  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/9, p.119

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