200 years ago this month, my Great, Great, Great Grandfather was transported to Australia

This was originally posted on May 7, 2016 as ” Hurrah hurrah, I’ve found a convict………..”  However as it is almost 200 years to the day that it happened, I think it is due a re-post.

This one gives me almost unadulterated joy. The only similar one was finding good old JROB mistreating his niece Pauline Roche in such a textbook Victorian villain manner that it would have been rejected by a publisher. If you haven’t seen it yet use the link on her name.

Robert Miles transportation 1818Robert Miles, born about 1798, was tried at the Old Bailey on the 6th of May 1818. He was found guilty of Larceny, and sentenced to seven years transportation. He was sent to New South Wales, on board the General Stuart leaving in July 1818. He was 20 years old, and according to the notes in the court register “an old offender”, so presumably it wasn’t a first offence. He is Esther Penn’s great-grandfather. He seems to have returned as soon as the sentence was up, and married in Tottenham in July 1826, eight years after the sentence.

So basically, he is a Norf London bad boy who got in a bit of bother with some laundry. Not quite the Dandy Highwayman……….or is he??

This is the court transcript from www.oldbaileyonline.org.

Old baileyROBERT MILES was indicted for stealing, on the 23d of April , one trunk, value 2s.; 18 shirts, value 5l.; 21 cravats, value 20s.; 20 pair of stockings, value 23s.; 15 handkerchiefs, value 10s.; two night-caps, value 1s.; six shifts, value 2l.; four sheets, value 10s.; eight table-cloths, value 2l.; three pillow-cases, value 3s., and two towels, value 2s. , the goods of George Woodfall . A total of £ 12. 11s. Aproximately £15,140.00 in today’s money. 

So maybe bad boy Bobby was on to something. Anyway back to the trial.

SECOND COUNT, the same, only stating them to be the property of William Rance 

MARY BERRYMAN. I am laundress to Mr. George Woodfall , who lives at Shepperton. On the 23d of April I sent a box, containing the articles stated in the indictment, to town. I delivered it to Rance, to take to Great Dean’s-yard, Westminster.

WILLIAM RANCE. I am a carrier from Chertsey to London. I received the box from Berryman, and brought it safe to the White Horse, in Friday-street , on Thursday night, the 23d of April. I did not unload the waggon until next morning. I do not know what became of it.

CHARLES STARK . I am servant to Rance. About half-past nine o’clock at night, I got into the waggon at the White Horse, and fell over the box; it laid on the chaff that I wanted for the horses – I left it safe in the waggon.

JOHN TILLEY . I am a watchman of Whitechapel. On the 23d of April, about a quarter past ten o’clock at night, I came up with three men in French-street – each of them had a bundle; I attacked the last man, he dropped his bundle and escaped-the other two turned the corner. I sprang my rattle and pursued, calling Stop thief! I picked up another bundle at the corner of Halifax-street, the prisoner was taken in Halifax-street. He is not the man who escaped.

JOHN COKELEY. I am a watchman of Spitalfields, which joins Whitechapel. I heard the rattle sprung, went to the corner of Halifax-street, and saw the prisoner with a bundle; he laid it down on a step. I pursued, calling Stop thief! A man who stood at a door, stopped him – He did not run above ten yards, and was not out of my sight. I am sure he is the man.

JOHN WILSON . I am a carpenter. I came out, hearing the alarm, and heard some person running on the other side of the way; I crossed over, and collared the prisoner, the watchman came to my assistance. On going along Osborn-street he was rescued from us. I took him again, and am sure he is the man. I put him in the watch-house.

RICHARD PLUNKETT . I am a beadle. The prisoner and property were delivered to me at the watch-house.

Prisoner’s Defence. I was passing and the man caught me.

Robert Miles sentance 1818
Robert Miles sentence 6th May 1818

GUILTY . Aged 20.

Transported for Seven Years .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

Reference Number: t18180506-87

Luke Howard 1772 – 1864 – The Namer of Clouds

If you are driving from Enfield towards Stoke Newington down the A10, a little to the south of White Hart Lane, you find yourself on Bruce Grove. It’s all fairly run-down now, but on the right-hand side there is a small terrace of late Georgian houses which includes No. 7. which  was one half of a pair of symmetrical villas, built in the late 18th or early 19th century and part of a consecutive group (1-16). It became the Tottenham Trades Hall in 1919.  Currently it is derelict. On the front wall facing the street is Tottenham’s only blue plaque. The house also has a great view south, and east, across the Lee river valley, and the City, and East End. It must have been a great place to watch clouds, although Luke Howard was only there for the last twelve years of his life.luke_howard-plaque

This is almost my most favourite English Heritage plaque in London; it is certainly one of the most thought-provoking, and probably one of the coolest, possibly only rivalled by this pair in Brook Street. georg-frideric-handel-plaque jimi-henrix-plaque






It’s a staggering thought that one man classified all the main cloud types in 1803, and more to the point what did people use before – fluffy? straight? round? 

Luke Howard 1772-1864

Luke Howard was born in London on 28 November 1772, the eldest son of Robert Howard and his wife Elizabeth, Robert Howard was a lamp manufacturer. Luke was a Quaker, later converting to the Plymouth Brethren. He was educated at a Quaker school at Burford, in Oxfordshire and was then apprenticed to a retail chemist in Stockport, just outside Manchester. He set up his own pharmacy in Fleet Street in 1793. In approximately 1797, he went into partnership with William Allen to form the pharmaceutical company of Allen and Howard in London. A factory was opened on the marshes at Plaistow, to the east of London. The partnership was dissolved in 1807 and the company became Howards and Sons in 1856. He spent the years 1824 to 1852 in Ackworth, Yorkshire, and died in Tottenham in 1864.

He made a number of significant contributions to the subject of meteorology besides his cloud classification, and published “The Climate of London” (first edition 1818, second edition 1830), “Seven lectures on meteorology” (1837), “A cycle of eighteen years in the seasons of Britain” (1842) and “Barometrographia” (1847). But the most important was “On the modification of clouds”  in December 1802.

The success of Howard’s system was his application of Linnean principles of natural history classification [i.e. using Latin, and that species were grouped into genera (singular: genus), genera were grouped into orders (higher level groupings), and orders into classes. Classes in turn were parts of “kingdoms”, of which he, along with his contemporaries and predecessors, recognised three: mineral, plant, and animal. Species bore a double (or “binomial” name) — the first term of which gave their genus, and the second their species.] and his emphasis on the mutability of clouds. 

But he named clouds, and I’d be really, really proud if I’d done that.

“On the modification of clouds” 1802  introduced three basic cloud types:

  • Cirrus (Latin for a curl of hair), which he described as “parallel, flexuous, or diverging fibres, extensible in any or all directions”.
  • Cumulus (meaning heap), which he described as “convex or conical heaps, increasing upward from a horizontal base”.
  • Stratus (meaning something spread), which he described as “a widely extended, continuous, horizontal sheet, increasing from below”. 

He combined these names to form four more cloud types:

  • Cirro-cumulus, which he described as “small, well-defined roundish masses, in close horizontal arrangement”.
  • Cirro-stratus, which he described as “horizontal or slightly inclined masses, attenuated towards a part or the whole of their circumference, bent downward, or undulated, separate, or in groups consisting of small clouds having these characters”.
  • Cumulostratus, which he described as “the cirrostratus blended with the cumulus, and either appearing intermixed with the heaps of the latter, or super-adding a widespread structure to its base”.
  • Cumulo-cirro-stratus or Nimbus, which he called the rain cloud, “a cloud or system of clouds from which rain is falling”. He described it as “a horizontal sheet, above which the cirrus spreads, while the cumulus enters it laterally and from beneath”.

Luke Howard is almost family as well; his son-in-law, John Hodgkin junior (1800-1875) is a first cousin, five times removed.