Henry Pollard
Convict from Somerset, England to New South Wales

Only a Teenager

Henry Pollard was only 15 or 16, and a convict, when he arrived in Australia on 16 October 1814. He must have been a very frightened boy during his court case when he was initially sentenced to death.

Newspaper Article

The following story, from the Taunton Courier of 26 August 1813, covered the court case.

Henry Pollard, aged 15 years, of Bath Somerset was commited by Charles Crook on 22nd April, 1813 and charged together with William Holman (aged 19 yrs) and Stephen Rawlins (aged 17 years) for breaking and entering the house of Reverend John Methuen Rogers of Bath, and stealing two silver teaspoons, a quantity of brass, and other articles. Also with burgling the house of W. Basnett and stealing sundry articles. (Breaking and entering is carried out during daylight hours, burglaring is undertaken at night).

Henry Pollard was also charged with harbouring W. Holman and himself knowing they had commited the crimes.

All three were tried at Bridgewater Assizes on 21 August, 1813 before Sir Robert Graham where S. Rawlins gave evidence for the Crown and was discharged by proclamation.

Holman and Pollard were both convicted and sentenced to death. Their relief, when they were reprieved and ordered to be transported for life, must have been enormous.

The were both delivered on board His Majesty's captivity hulk in Portsmouth Harbour on 29th October, 1813.

Sentenced to Death

Both Henry Pollard, and my convict ancestor, Olivia Gascoigne, were sentenced to death, and both had very lucky reprieves. Imagine the anguish fifteen year old Henry must have gone through when he heard his sentence. I wonder how long he lived with that hanging over him before the sentence was reduced?

Henry was delivered to a convict hulk and in March 1814 he left England forever on board the 450 ton convict transport Somersetshire. He was one of 200 male convicts on board the vessel who would have been delighted, after a voyage lasting 159 days, to arrive at Port Jackson. Altogether seven convict ships made the journey in 1814 which transported a total of 338 female and 919 male convicts. The other ships were the Wanstead, General Hewitt, Catherine, Three Bees, Broxbornebury and the Surrey. Males and females were carried on separate ships.

Henry not only travelled on the Somersetshire, he was also born in that county, in Bath, in 1798. On his arrival in the new colony, he was assigned to Robert Lowe of Bringelly and eleven years later, aged 27, he received a Ticket of Leave. In 1819 he petitioned for mitigation of his sentence.

Marriage to Martha

He was 31 when he married fellow convict, Martha Scott (nee Brooks), on 8 June 1829 at Scots Church. Reverend James Dunmore Lang married the couple, both of whom signed the register with an X.

Following their marriage, Henry and Martha lived in Sydney where Henry had a sawyers business at the corner of Kent and Market Streets, Sydney. In the 1828 Census their address was Market Street, Sydney. After the birth of their first three children, they moved, in the 1840's, to the South Colah district where they continued with the sawyer work and also became orchardists. Here they had four more children. All the children were born between 1830 and 1846.

Henry died, aged 85, at Hornsby in New South Wales on 20 July 1883. Martha, who was two years older than Henry, and who was a widow when they married, pre-deceased him by 20 years. They were both buried at All Saints Cemetery at North Parramatta, however although a headstone exists for Martha Pollard, Henry Pollard's grave site is unknown.

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 8 January 2024