Tasmanian Family History Society Hobart header

Hannah Burton - A Notorious Convict in Van Diemens Land

By Christina Callinan

TFHS Inc. Member No. 4020

Godmanchester, GOD-man-ches-tar, is a town and civil parish in the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, England.

Floral emblem of Cambridgeshire - Pasqueflower, Pulsatilla vulgaris

 Abbot Burton and Hannah Doughty were Hannah’s parents living in Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire, England. They were married at Huntingdon, St. Mary & St. Benedict’s Church in 1806.

Hannah was born on 1st February 1808 and baptised on the 21st February 1808.  It appears the Burton family moved to Burslem, Staffordshire 114 miles from Godmanchester in search of work.

Staffordshire Epiphany Sessions, 15th January, 1823.

Calendar of the Prisoners,

For Felony And Misdemeanors

In The Goal For The Said County.

Phones Hussey, Esq. Sheriff

Quarter Sessions record states that “Hannah Burton late of the parish of Godmanchester aforesaid in the County aforesaid …..said felony was committed in form aforesaid to wit on the said fourth day of December in the year aforesaid with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid did feloniously and maliciously incite ….procure aid and abet the said James Carter to do and commit ……felony…..”

She also was tried on suspicion of stealing tammy, a good quality woosted/woollen material the property of Jonathan Adams at Burslem.

A statement by Jonathan Adams, Shopkeeper stated that on the 22nd day of November 1822 14 yards of Black and Brown Tammy were stolen from the counter in his shop and found at a shop owned by Thomas Hill of Hanley a Pawnbroker. He said the Tammy was Pledged there on the 16th November. The value of the Tammy was £4 15s.

Thomas Hill’s statement says that on the 15th of November Hannah Burton of Hanley came to his shop and pledged 6 yards of light coloured Tammy for 2 shillings. Hannah stated that she had cut 2 yards off the cloth to make a frock.

Hannah Burton aged 18 was sentenced “To be severally transported for seven years.” The convict ship Mary (111) departed London on 10th June 1823 arriving in Hobart Town on 18th October 1823 taking 130 days to complete its voyage via Sydney with 127 convicts on board. The Master was J.F. Steel and the Surgeon was Harman Cochrane.

Phillip Tardif’s bookNotorious Strumpets And Dangerous Girls - Convict Women in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1829 records


Police Number 70   Convicted At Stafford Quarter Session

Conviction Date and Sentence  15 January 1823. 7 years.

Session. Transported For Stealing (?)  from a shop.

Gaol report Very desperate character and connected with a daring gang of (indicted ?) thieves, several of whom have been sometime transported, two who were concerned with them were sent to the hulks at Wollwich on the 4th instant for transportation.


Literacy Cannot write.

Colonial Experiences


18 December Mr. W. Rayner, Hobart Town.  Insolence and disobedience of orders. Factory.


26 April W. Rayner Jnr. Absconding from her Master’s service on Friday last and remaining absent till this morning. Factory, Crime Class.


30 October Home. Absconding from her Master’s service on 3rd August and remaining absent till yesterday when she surrendered. 3 months Crime Class, Factory and iron collar 1 month.


10 October W. Cowley. Absent all Saturday night from her Master’s lodgings without leave. Factory, Crime Class, bread and water 7 days.


10 April Boyd. Absconding from the service of her Master about a fortnight ago and remaining absent till apprehended by Constable Birch on Friday last. Factory Crime Class.

 10 June Riotous and disorderly conduct in the Factory on 2nd June and following days. Locked up in the Lower Bed Room and fed on bread and water 14 days.

Comment:     19 other women were involved from 2 - 10 June.  Some women were sent to George Town Female Factory. From “Riots, Disturbances & Insubordination”  Female Factory Research Group - 14.6.2008


16 August Charles Glover. Absconding from her Master’s service on the 16th July and remaining absent until the 8th inst. when apprehended by Constable Dutton, also insolent to her Mistress. To be confined in a cell 14 days and Crime Class 2 months.


7 January Married to Henry Mills at Hobart Town.


2 January Mills. Found on Wednesday last in a disorderly house in the brickfields kept by William Cowley. Reprimanded.


3 July Free Certificate issued.


31 January FS. Breach of the peace. Ordered to fine sureties of the peace.


Hannah met and married Henry Mills, Convict at St. David’s Church on 7th January 1828. Henry and Hannah’s children were -

The following list is the extract from the Baptism Register, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Hobart. This lists the following 5 children of Henry and Hannah that were all baptised at St. Joseph’s on 26th March 148. MARY THERESA born 27th April 1838, baptised 26th March 1848, Parents: Henry Mills and Hannah (nee Burton). Godparents: Edward and Elizabeth O’Brien who were also Godparents to the next two daughters Hannah and Maria.

  1. HANNAH born 13th September 1840, baptised the same day as her sisters, Mary and Maria and her two brothers Charles and Frederick.
  2. MARIA LOUISA born 27th January 1842 baptisted with her sisters Mary and Hannah and brothers Charles and Frederick. The officiating Priest was Father W. Hall.
  3. CHARLES EDWARD born 1st May 1844, baptised with his brother Frederick and his three sisters Mary, Hannah and Maria. Godparents: Peter and Winifred White.
  4. FREDERIC JOSEPH born 27th July 1845, baptised with his brother Charles and his three sisters Mary, Hannah and Maria. He had the same Godparents as his brother. (Jenny Watson’s great grandfather).
  5. GEORGE born 3rd April 1847, baptised 13th October 1847. His Godparent was Peter White and the Priest was Father W. Hall. George died 5 days later on 18th October 1847.

Jenny Watson made contact a few years ago with one of Hannah’s relatives in England. He was surprised to learn of Hannah’s existence. The family had never spoken about Hannah as soon as she left England for Australia.

One of Jenny’s to do’s in Mills’ Family History is to find her notes and try and make contact again with Hannah relatives in 2021.

Hannah Burton
Hanna Burton c. 1865

Related family names:

Mills Burton

For more information:

The Mills' Family of Long Melford, Suffolk, England The Journey to Hobart Town, Tasmania, Australia - by Christina Callinan February 2021
You can use this contact form to send an email message to Christina Callinan

Your first name*:   Your last name*: 

Your email:*        Phone number: 

Your message*:

©TFHS Inc. All rights reserved
Site last updated October 2023