Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Thomas Christie Roylance R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 13 October 1807

Thomas Roylance was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Roylance. He was baptised Thomas Christian Roylance at St. Mary, Lambeth, Surrey on 5 January 1784.[1]

Naval Career

He was appointed Surgeon in the Royal Navy in 1807[2]

He was appointed Surgeon to the Regulus in 1810[8]. He was entered in the Navy List of Medical Officers in 1814 [3]

Surgeon Superintendent

Thomas Christie Roylance was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on two convict ship voyages to Australia:

1). Hadlow to NSW in 1818. He returned to England on the Shipley in April 1819. Unusually, seven other naval surgeons returned on the same vessel - Robert Espie, Andrew Smith, William Hamilton, Henry Ryan, Morgan Price, John Johnston and
John Whitmarsh . [5]

2). Lord Sidmouth to NSW in 1821


He married Eleanor Goodwin at St. Luke's Middlesex on 18th February 1818[4].

Thomas and Eleanor's son John Thomas Bell Roylance was born 29 July 1821.


Thomas Roylance was court-martialled for striking a purser in 1825

Many of our Readers may recollect Dr. Roylance, who has made more than one voyage to these Colonies, as Surgeon Superintendent. We make the following extract from Courier of Sept. 28: -

'A Court Martial was held on board the Britannia on Thursday, on Mr. Thomas Christie Roylance, surgeon of the Bittern, for striking the purser when in the execution of his duty, at Liverpool, which charge being proved, he was sentenced to be dismissed the ship


Thomas Roylance died at Jamaica in 1830 [7]


[1] London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P85/MRY1/347 Year: 1777-1812 London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials.

[2] A list of the masters, medical officers, and pursers of his majesty's fleet

[3] Navy List

[4] London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P85/MR71/483/1 London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

[5] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Copies of Letters sent within the Colony (Ancestry)

[6] Colonial Times Vol. 2.

[7] United Service Journal

[8] Naval Chronicle