Answers to Questions


HILL, Offley?, Transportation, Early 19th century.

February, 2004




Helen Wooldridge (hjw123 @t of Perth, Western Australia, says: I am try to find the the names of my g.g.grandfather's parents. He was Charles Hill and was tried at the Hertford Quarter Sessions on the 17 Oct.1836. His native place was Hertfordshire and he was 23 yrs of age, protestant and single. His trade was a brickmaker and limeburner. He was sentenced to seven years for stealing pigeons and arrived in NSW in Oct 1837 on the "Charles Kerr". This information was on his Certificate of Freedom but there is no information on his parents.

Hertfordshire is a big place, and it is essential to be able to focus on a particular area if there is any chance of identifying Charles' baptism and hence parents. Fortunately there is a useful book, Transported beyond the Seas (available from the Herts Family History Society), which includes details of transportations from Hertfordshire - including Charles Hill.

It shows that Frederick Everett (21) and Charles Hill (22), both of Offley, were found guilty of stealing 200 tame pigeons, valued 5 pounds, the property of William Irons, of Lilley, Yeoman. While the trial was in 1836 the Charles Kerr did not sail until the 8th June, 1837, arriving in New South Wales on the 9th October, 1837.

The Hertfordshire County Records (Volume X) includes cases heard in the Michaelmas Session for 1836 and the calendar gives more details:

Henry Pointon, Charles Hill, and Frederick Everett, all of Offley, labourers, for stealing, and Frederick Pointon of the same, labourer, for receiving, two hundred tame pigeons, value 5, the property of William Irons junior of Lilley, yeoman. (Everett and Frederick Pointon, convicted before, transported for life; Henry Pointon and Hill transported for seven years.

A check of the IGI index on familysearch shows the best fit to be Charles Hill baptised in Hertfordshire was baptised in Kings Walden in 1814. Unfortunately a check of the 1881 census suggests that this Charles was still alive and living in England in 1881, so cannot be yours. (It is surprising how many people fail to carry out such checks and end up with the "wrong" ancestor.) However Offley borders on Bedfordshire (including the parish of Luton) and a possibly better fit is the Charles Hill baptised in Luton on 8th August 1813, the son of Thomas and Frances Hill. However the fact that he cannot be found in the 1881 census is no proof that he is your Charles Hill.

My suggestion is that you treat the Luton baptism as probably the one, and collect information on this family (for instance siblings - and his father's occupation from the parish register) and it might be worth checking whether Thomas and Frances were in Offley at the time of the 1841 census. It might also be worth checking where Frederick Everett came from - to see if he was also a Luton lad.

March, 2004

Lyn Nunn, of Australia writes: Re Helen's query about Charles Hill, convict. I wonder if she has got his death certificate. Australian certificates often have the parents' names on them if known by the informant.

Bill Kitson (seamerbill @t of Scarborough, North Yorks, writes: Ref. Helen Wooldridge's question about Charles Hill (Feb 2004) transported for pigeon theft.  I am the great-grandson of Henry Pointon, who together with his brother Frederick was transported for the same offence.  They were residents of Codicote before they were sent to VDL.  I hope this helps with her search.  I know the brothers were transported, as was their cousin William, but I'm trying to find out if the Thomas Pointon, transported on the 'Lady Raffles' in 1841 was their other brother.  Can you assist please?  If this proves to be the case it must be close to being a record for family members transported!!  Much of the information I have was kindly donated by a descendant of Frederick's in Victoria, and some of this comes from 'Diary of A Village.'

A Thomas Pointon died in Tasmania in 1873, aged 70, who might be your Thomas - who would have been about 64. Unfortunately the Australian Vital Records CD does not include a father's name, but it might be worth getting someone to check the Australian records for you. There may also be records of his trial at HALS.

Helen Wooldridge (hjw123 @t responnded: Thank you very much for your help. I read the information on your site this morning and I can't tell you how happy it made me. The information from the County Records that Charles Hill was from Offley was the link I needed . I have been researching the Charles Hill son of Thomas and Francis for about five years . His death cert. stated he was born in 1818 and that he was from Bedfordshire. His father Thomas's occupation was given as "brickmaker" .But without the information from the trial I was still unsure if he was the Charles Hill the convict. I had been concentrating my search on the Cockernhoe area and some time ago, I received some information that Cockernhoe was not listed as a separate area in 1841 but in the area for Kings Walden & Offley. On the 1841 census it  shows Thomas Hill 63 and Francis Hill 63 and their sons Joseph 30, Thomas 40, and families living in the area of Mangrove. In the 1851 census for Cockernhoe Thomas 50, occupation was listed as a brickmaker. So I think I am searching the correct line and will do the checking you have suggested on the Offley connection.

A thousand years ago the local administrative units were land-holdings called manors, headed by the Lord of the Manor. Over the centuries the manors lost their power and the local administrative units were based on the parish. Cockernhoe was a manor in the parish of Offley, and the name is first recorded in 1221. Mangrove Green is a hamlet adjacent to Cockernhoe Green, and both are immediately adjacent to the Hertfordshire Bedfordshire border, due east of Luton.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.