FF JAMES WALBOURNE Convict‘Scarborough’( 1765-unknown)

And SOPHIA LEWIS Convict‘Lady Penrhyn’(c1758-1816)

James Walbourne (aka Walburn, Waldbourn) was born c1765 Philadelphia, North America. He was tried at Old Bailey, London on 10 September 1783 was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 21st day of August last, one linen handkerchief, value 12 d. the property of Thomas Speed .



I lost a linen handkerchief the 21st of August, value one shilling, just on this side Temple Bar , I was coming through the Bar a little after six, and I thought I felt something at my pocket, I immediately put my hand into my pocket and found I had lost my handkerchief, I turned round and saw the prisoner go across the way, and I stopped some little time doubting whether he had it or not, for I did not see it in his possession then, and a gentleman who followed me, and saw him do it, immediately stopped him: The prisoner dropped the handkerchief, and I went immediately and picked it up, there was a coach passing at the time, which prevented me taking it up directly.


- MARTIN sworn.

I was going through Temple Bar, and Mr. Speed was coming towards Fleet-street, and I saw the prisoner with his right hand take Mr. Speed's handkerchief out of his pocket, and he crossed from the pavement, and I caught hold of his coat, and a coach was going past, and he almost got under the wheel: I brought him back, and he dropped the handkerchief immediately, Mr. Speed took up the handkerchief, which the prisoner dropped, for he had no pocket: The prisoner was taken into a shop.

Prisoner. I have nothing to say.


GUILTY: Transported for seven years .Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Justice Ashurst.

On 4th October 1783 James Walbourne was sent to the Censor hulk, aged 18, then 4 years later ordered to Portsmouth by wagon on 24th February 1787, embarking on the Scarborough on 27th February 1787. Upon sailing on 13th May 1787 he was aged 22 but no occupation recorded. He arrived in Sydney Cove on 26/1/1788  where, two months later on 24 March 1788 he married Sophia Lewis (Convict Lady Penrhyn).

Sophia LEWIS, born c1758, was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 22d of October, one cambric handkerchief, value 1 s. one linen ditto, value 1 s. a coat, value 40 s. a pen-knife, value 6 d. a green silk purse, value 6 d. two guineas, value 2 l. 2 s. and ten shillings and sixpence, and four shillings in monies numbered, the property of Thomas John Burrell, in the dwelling house of John Dell.

And WILLIAM COX was indicted for feloniously receiving, on the said 22nd of October , the said coat, knowing it to be stolen .

(The case opened by Mr. Peatt.)


THOMAS JOHN BURRELL sworn. On the 22d of October, at two in the morning; it was Sunday; I was coming up Wych-street; I was accosted by the prisoner to go and drink a glass of wine; I went home with her about ten minutes after two; when I went to her apartments, I gave her two shillings in silver, and went to bed; I then had two guineas and a half in gold, and four shillings in silver, in a green silk purse; I pulled out my purse in the room before I went to bed to give her the two shillings; the money was in the purse; we went to bed; I put my brown cloth coat and waistcoat on the table; I then pulled off my shoes and buckles, and put the buckles and neckcloth on the table, and then went to bed; I had not been in bed long but I found every thing was not so agreeable as I could wish.


Where did you put your breeches? - I laid in my breeches and stockings; a little time after I had been in bed, I did not like my companion; the consequence of which was, she said, she was not well, she must get up, and have something to drink; she got up in a quarter of an hour, and left the candle in the chimney piece; I saw her looking at my buckles and shoes; I asked her, what she was doing with them? she said, I never come nigh a man so curious as you are; says I, put them down; she put them down, and at the same time blowed out the candle; she went out immediately and locked the door; I was doubtful of the place I was in; and I remained there till Cox the prisoner came; I missed my purse after she went, and before Cox came in, which was about half after five; I lost the purse about three; how Cox came in I do not know; he said, you bloody b - g - r, what do you do here? I asked him, what that was to him; I had paid for being there, and would stay till I saw the woman that brought me there; he said he had no woman at all belonging to him, and that I should get up immediately; I told him, I would not; in consequence of which he said, I shall return very shortly, and if you are not gone before that time, I will do for you; he did return in a very in a very short time, and says again, what you bloody b - g - r, you are not gone; he then says, get up; says I, do not go to treat me ill; I am a better man than yourself; upon which he took off the bed clothes, and then with a knife he cut me twice. (Shews his hands to the Jury.) One a deep cut; in consequence of which, I jumped up immediately, and said repeatedly to him, do not use me ill, I am a better man than yourself; then I missed a blue cloth coat, which I had on, and my neckcloth, and my pocket handkerchief; when he came the second time it was day light.


Court. What may be the value of this coat? - It cost me three guineas.

What do you think it is worth? - I do not know; it has been worn by me only three weeks; I leave the value entirely out of the case.

Do you think it is worth forty shillings? - I should be very happy to get such a coat for forty shillings; I then quitted the apartment, and stood on the landing place, and said, I am now out of your apartment, but I will not quit the place till such time I have my property; I value my cambrick handkerchief at one shilling, and my pocket handkerchief at one shilling; and he flung my head against the door, and the door flew open, and there lay two as notorious villains as himself; they cried out immediately, ham him, and murder him; upon which he came to lay hold of me to throw me over the bannisters of the stairs; I avoided that; I came to go down stairs, and he and the other two came and smashed me down stairs; I fell stupid; they then kicked me, trod upon me, and threw me out of the door; I went into a public house; the man's name is John Bray ; the sign is the Golden Hart, in Parker's-lane; I begged for assistance; I shewed him the bloody condition I was in, cut in that manner, and I told him what I had lost; the publican said, he thought I might think myself very happy as I was; for it was very frequent that real gentlemen, in his opinion were stripped stark naked, without shirt, shoe, or anything else; I asked Bray if I could get anybody to lend me a coat; I sent for a person who lent me a coat; and I went away; when I returned again, Mr. Bray inform a me he had the coat; upon which my friend, Mr. Kershaw, went and fetched an officer; then when I got in, Cox was there; Bray said in his presence, he had let Cox have upon the coat five shillings in silver, and gin and bread to the amount of two shillings and nine-pence halfpenny; Bray offered him five shillings for the coat; another man came with him; neither one nor the other would take five shillings; the other man's name is Jordon; I was taken into the back parlour almost immediately.


Before Bray took you into the room, did he tell you for what purpose he took you there? - He told me he had stopped Cox the prisoner with my coat; and he told me what money he had let him have upon it; my friend let me have the money; Mr. Jordon and Mr. Kirshaw were subpoened; they neither of them were before the Grand Jury; and another publican whom Cox took the coat to, before he took it to Bray; he kept the Cheshire Cheese in the same lane, he was subpoened.

Court. What is your business? - I am clerk to Mr. Newby, an attorney; I believe the house belonged to John Dell , from what I heard.



I took charge of the prisoner; he was very much in liquor, in the house of John Dell ; I found nothing on the prisoner; he behaved very quiet; I saw some blood on the prosecutor's ruffle; I did not take much notice; he said he was cut, before the Magistrate.



I went with the man; he desired me to take the coat and pawn it, for he had no money; I pawned it for two shillings.



On Sunday was a week, between seven and eight, the landlady of the house where this woman lodged asked me to treat her, and in a very few minutes that gentleman came with a constable, and took me.

SOPHIA LEWIS , GUILTY, of stealing, 39 s .Transported for seven years .

WILLIAM COX , GUILTY ,Transported for fourteen years .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Rose


Sophia LEWIS was born c1758. She was tried at Old Bailey, London on 25 October 1786 for stealing handkerchiefs, coat and cash with a value of 39 shillings. Actual value of stolen goods was 99 shillings. As outlined above in the court transcripts, her victim had gone to bed with her before being robbed. She was convicted of theft and sentenced to transportation for 7 years and left England on the Lady Penrhyn aged about 29 at that time (May 1787). She arrived in Sydney Cove on 26/1/1788 Her occupation was listed as servant


James Walbourne married Sophia LEWIS on 24 March 1788 at Sydney Cove and they had 2 sons: William was baptised 8th August1790 in Sydney. Then all three went to Norfolk Island in October 1791 on the Atlantic A second son James was born on 4th October 1794 on Norfolk Island Walbourne was settled on 12 acres at Mount Pitt Path Queensborough, but was not very successful as by May 1794 he was doing jobbing work for settlers


In February 1800, back in Port Jackson, James was sworn in as a constable for Nepean, however on 13/1/1800 James was charged with assaulting Sophia and they were ordered to divide the property and, taking one child each, to live apart. (William with James Snr and James Jnr with Sophia)


James joined the NSW Corps at Sydney on 8th December 1800, together with his son William, aged 10 years, who was a drummer boy. The other boy, James  Jnr, who stayed with his mother worked as a sailor and carpenter in the Colony.


In 1804 and 1810 James Snr transferred property in Pitt’s Row for £9 and £22 respectively In September 1808 James had served seven years and 268 days , so his sentence was completed. He was described as aged 41 years nine months, with thin face, fair complexion, light brown hair, hazel eyes, and 5ft 8ins tall.


James Snr and William transferred to 73rd regiment in 1814 and left the colony in 1814 with 73rd Regiment for Ceylon. There is no further record of James Snr or of his death.


Sophia was living in Sydney in 1816 with her son James and a convict woman. On 3rd November 1816 at the age of 58, Sophia threw herself into Cockle Bay near Dawes Point and drowned. An inquest returned a verdict of death by suicide. Her son James said she had been ‘of late much in the habit of drinking’, and that she had attempted suicide in a similar manner several months earlier.


WilliamWalbourne returned to Sydney from his service in Ceylon and lived with Sarah Pick (Convict Glatton1803). Sarah was born in 1773, in Gloucester England. They had 3 children with only one, James, surviving.

William died Thursday 18th September 1834 aged 46 years. He was buried in Devonshire (The Sandhills) Street Cemetery. His death was reported in The Australian on Friday 19th September 1834:Died. On Thursday last, Mr. William Walbourne, aged 45 years and 9 months. Mr.W. was one of the eldest Australians ; at an early age, he entered the army, and was present at the capture of Ceylon, he also served under Sir Edward Codrington, at the battle of Navarino ; he-was followed to his earthly home, by a numerous body of his: fellow countrymen, by whom he was universally respected.


JamesWalbourne, aged 29, married Hannah Bullen in 1823, daughter of Thomas Mansfield (Convict Matilda) and Ann Bullen (Convict Unknown). Hannah was born in Sydney in 1803.The 1828 Census records:

Wallburn, James, 34, born in the colony, Protestant, carpenter, Castlereagh Street Sydney; Wallburn, Hannah, 24, born in the colony. James and Hannah had 7 children between 1818 and 1843- 4 boys and 3 girls. James died in 1845 aged 54 years in Sydney and Hannah died in 1880 at Parramatta


Complied by John Boyd 2020



-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen p368, 369

- Sydney Cove 1788 to 1800in 5 Volumes by John Cobley

-The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts by John Cobley


-www convictrecords.com.au/convicts/walbourn/james/65995



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