Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Countess of Harcourt (1) - 1821

Embarked: 172 men
Voyage 99 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: no
Captain George Bunn
Surgeon Superintendent Morgan Price

The Countess of Harcourt was built in India in 1811. Convicts were transported on the Countess of Harcourt to Van Diemen's Land in 1821 and to New South Wales in 1822, 1824, 1827 and 1828. [1]

The Convicts

The prisoners came from counties in England and Scotland - Middlesex, Derby, Warwick, Stafford, London, Kent, Nottingham, Salop, Chester, Oxford, Lancaster, Lincoln, Surrey, Somerset, Leicester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries. There was also one prisoner who was court-martialled at Chatham.

Newgate Prisoners

Some of the prisoners had been tried at the Old Bailey. In February 1821 while on their way from Newgate prison to the hulk at Sheerness to await transportation, the caravan that was conveying them was attacked by rescuers......

On Monday the 5th, at about nine o'clock in the evening, a number of convicts from Newgate were put into a caravan for the purpose of being conveyed to Sheerness. Amongst the number, were the three robbers belonging to the rescue gang. The convicts at starting were perfectly decorous in their behaviour, and the caravan proceeded over Blackfriars bridge, guarded by the turnkeys, and followed by Mr. Browne, the keeper of Newgate, in a post chaise. As the caravan was going over the bridge, it was observed that there were several men following them with torches in their hands.

On descending the Surrey side of the bridge, one of the wheels of the caravan was chained; and on its arrival at the bottom of the bridge the party were met by a gang, consisting of from one to two hundred thieves, the comrades of the convicts, who surrounded the caravan, as if to take leave of them. The caravan was obliged to be stopped for a moment or two, whilst the wheel was unchained. At this moment, a corporal's guard of lancers fortunately came up to guard the caravan; but the robbers, who surrounded it, were by no means daunted at their appearance, and let fly a volley of stones at the persons who had the charge of the convicts; one large stone dashed to pieces the window of Mr. Browne's chaise, and just missed his head; the other windows were also shattered to pieces. A ruffian hurled a large stone at the lancers, which hit one of them a tremendous blow on the breast, and had nearly unhorsed him; the lancer recovering himself couched his lance at the fellow, and spurred his horse; but at the moment some stones hit the animal, which started aside, and the lance missed its aim, or the robber would have paid his life for his temerity.

Mr. Browne now, very prudently ordered the party to drive on, which they did at a brisk rate. All this took place in a few minutes; and had not the guard of lancers come up so very opportunely, no doubt the consequences would have been dreadful. The convicts behaved themselves well, and did not countenance the attack; but those who belonged to the rescue gang acknowledged, that it had been made by their old associates, and expressed their regret at its occurrence. Many of the fellows attempted to keep up with the caravan, which, however drove too fast for them. Several women amongst the attacking party fainted, when they saw all hope of effecting a rescue was lost; the rest set up a dismal scream, and the men poured forth imprecations on the prosecutors of their comrades. After some time the whole dispersed, without attempting any further mischief...
.The Annual Register

Bellerophon Hulk

Those men who were transferred from Newgate prison and admitted to the Bellerophon hulk moored at Sheerness on the 6th February 1821 included the following men:

Samuel Jones
John Head
William Lawrence
Robert Parker
Matthew Cooper
James Hunt
Edmund Burke
John Male
Samuel Chandler
George Allen
Thomas Munday
William Fulham
Joseph Colvin
James Farquahar. [2]


The Countess of Harcourt departed Portsmouth bound for Van Diemen's Land on 19th April 1821.


They arrived at Hobart on 27 July 1821

Convicts Disembarked

The men were landed in August and inspected by the Lieutenant Governor before being assigned. They were said to be in a clean and healthy state.

Hobart to Sydney

The Countess of Harcourt having on board Dr. Morgan Price, Ensign Drew of the 46th regiment and the Guard departed Hobart bound for Sydney 14th August 1821.

Notes and Links

1). Morgan Price was employed as surgeon on the following convict ships:

Martha to NSW in 1818

Countess of Harcourt to VDL in 1821

Brampton to NSW in 1823

Almorah to NSW in 1824

Clyde to VDL in 1830

Neva to NSW in 1833

Hector to VDL in 1835


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.356-357, 383

[2] Ancestry. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 7.