Archive for October, 2010

Colony # For some time I’ve puzzled over Clara Inskip (nee Heathorn) from Guildford , who,  in every census from 1841 – 1881,  is listed as a sole name: to whom was she wed?  Now, thanks to a story by Lisa Truttman of the Avondale Historical Society in New Zealand,  light has been shed on poor Clara’s story.

Gardener’s daughter Clara married widower William Inskip between 1835 and 1837: she was in her late 20’s, he was a few years older.  William , a baker and pastry chef, had originally hailed from Hitchen, Hertfordshire,  the son of John Inskip, a wheelwright ,and Jane Mason.  He had been sent to Guildford in1817 as an apprentice to baker and confectioner John Drewett.    His first wife, Ann Green, whom he’d married in Lambeth in 1824, had sadly died in 1835, and he’d been left with two boys to care for –  9 year old John William, and 6 year old Thomas: third son, William Green Inskip having died as a baby in 1828.

Then,  in early 1837, tragedy knocked for the second time:  William stole a keg of butter from a Mr Austen.  Apprehended for this misdeed, he was sentenced at Guilford in 3rd April 1837 to 7 years transportation in Australia.  One can hardly imagine how newly married Clara felt.

Two weeks later, William found himself in London on the prison hulk Justitia,  moored in the Thames at Woolwich.  These stinking, ex warships,  were unpleasant, unhygienic  places, where shaven headed prisoners were stripped of their individuality and frequently chained.  One wonders if Clara ever managed to visit William before he was loaded on to the convict ship Neptune and taken to Tasmania in October 1837.   (more…)


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