forest of deanweb Joseph & Henry Bint

 

 

 

 


 

   Bint Family History

Henry and Joseph Bint - convicts
 
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Parramatta, New South Wales in 1819

James and Elizabeth Bint had at least seven surviving children, John (1780), Hannah (1787), James (1782), William (1789), Henry (1793), Charles (1796) and Joseph (1798). Of these, Joseph and Henry were transported to Australia, Charles moved away to Uxbridge on the outskirts of West London, and as far as we know, only Thomas Bint, who married Lydia Bailey in 1807, remained at Winnersh.

Their youngest son, Joseph Bint, who was baptised at Hurst in 1798, and lived at King Street, Winnersh, does not seem to have been the brightest member of the Berkshire Bint Family.

He had already been in trouble earlier that year (1818), when he appeared at Reading Assizes charged with stealing, and on that occasion was acquitted.

 

James Bint (1754), the son of John Bint and Mary Critcher was a labourer, who worked for neighbouring farmers and tended his own small plot to support a growing family. He had married Elizabeth Taylor at Hurst near Wokingham in 1780.

James and Elizabeth with their children, like other villagers, would have been accustomed to using the commons and wastes of Winnersh, near Wokingham, to feed their cow, geese, and possibly a pig, and to gather fuel for a fire. When seasons allowed, there would also have been wild fruits and nuts available.  

Things changed fairly dramatically in 1817, when the wastes and commons of Winnersh were enclosed under the Enclosure Acts, and although its effect on the family and his neighbours is uncertain, it is reasonable to assume that life became more difficult for them.

A poem from the time expresses the mood of some local agricultural workers.

 

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

 

Added to that general feeling, their local market town of Wokingham was in a depression during the early part of the 1800’s when a number of trading companies had ceased to exist.

This fortunately was to change in the 1840s, mainly thanks to the new railway links to Reading, Guildford and London.

At 11pm on the evening of the 5th of August 1818, 20 year old Joseph Bint, accompanied by his friend John Houlton, both disguised in long great-coats and faces covered with cloth, held up local butcher John Hibbert, close to their local pub, the Pheasant.

The butcher handed over his takings but had already recognised the voice of 20 year old Joseph Bint. 

 

The local newspaper reported .. 

Reading, Berkshire Newspaper report Saturday August 15th 1818.

On Wednesday 5th of August Mr Hibbert, a butcher from Hurst, was returning from Wokingham and was stopped at 11pm on the road leading to The Pheasant  by two men, disguised in great-coats and crepes over their faces, who robbed him of notes and cash to the amount of £40.

Not withstanding the disguise Mr Hibbert knew Joseph Bint to be one of the robbers and told him so.

John Houlton, the companion of Bint, was apprehended in Wokingham on Tuesday and immediately confessed that himself and Bint went out with the intention of stealing a horse, but finding it difficult to catch it, and having seen Mr Hibbert telling his money in a public house, agreed to stop and rob him.

After which they went to London but the notes being of the Reading Bank could not get them changed. They therefore set off for Oxford where they brought watches and a variety of other articles.

Having returned to the neighbourhood of Wokingham, Houlton went out to reconnoitre, and finding his name had not been mentioned, he gave his share of the money to Bint, who was hid in a wood, to keep for him till his return and then ventured into the town and was immediately taken into custody.  Bint on not finding his companion returned took alarm and escaped.     Twenty guineas is offered for his apprehension.

Houlton confessed they had committed a highway robbery before and at different periods have stolen poultry from every farm in the neighbourhood.

John Houlton is fully committed for trial at the next Assizes.

Saturday August 22nd 1818

Last Sunday, the same day, Joseph Bint the accomplice of Houlton in robbing Mr Hibbert, was committed to the County Gaol by James Webb Esquire for trial. He was taken at Colnbrook.

 

At Berkshire's Lent Assizes in 1819 Joseph was sentenced to Death which was later commuted to transportation for life. John Houlton was luckier and walked free having had all the charges withdrawn. 

On the 14th of June, Joseph, with 169 other convicts, was on his way to Australia in chains on the good ship  Malabar.

 


Ticket of Leave granted after 11 years as a convict

 

 

The Malabar. The 525 tons Malabar, not to be confused with the Royal Navy's similarly named HMS Malabar, was built at Shields in Tyneside around 1804 and was owned by Johnson and Son. Captained by William Ascough, on his first recorded voyage as a ship's master, it sailed to New South Wales from Spithead near Portsmouth in June 1819, with 170 convicts and guard detachments from the 89th Regiment. Included in the ship's complement was surgeon Evan Evans.
Captain Ascough was a competent man, as was his surgeon. The voyage to Sydney via Rio de Janeiro was completed in 135 days without the loss of any of his charges. The Malabar arrived in Sydney on the 30th October 1819.
The surgeon’s log of the Malabar indicates that the prisoners were well treated on the voyage, the youngest prisoners being separated from the hardened criminals and taught to read and write.

Returning again on the Malabar in 1821, William Ascough was to build up a considerable fortune bringing convicts to the colony, and also investing in property and land there. Between 1819 and 1833 he was to be captain on various Johnson & Son vessels, making at least a further seven voyages carrying convicts. 

Joseph Bint who had arrived on the Malabar in April 1820 only received his Ticket of Leave 10 years later on May 1st 1830 at Airds which indicates that he may not have stayed out of trouble.

On the New South Wales General Muster of 1822 he is listed as a government servant and his employer is Mrs Aylard of Parrammata. The 1828 census shows him now as a servant to Sarah Harris, also at Parramatta. On both returns his name is wrongly spelt as 'Bent'.

In December 1835, now with his Ticket of Leave and living at Airds, he married Catherine Ward from Campbell Town.

Catherine was a Roman Catholic and Joseph (now Bent) was himself baptised as a Catholic at St Mary's, Wollongong in November 1837.

There does not appear to be any children from the marriage and there is currently no record of what happened to him after 1837. We must assume that Joseph died sometime between 1843 and 1844 as that year the widow Catherine Bent married John Jones at Goulburn Catholic Church. 

It is possible that his late baptism at a Catholic church in November 1837 at the age of 39 was because he was seriously ill and Catherine would have understandably wanted to give him a Catholic burial.

He seems to be still alive at Camden on 20th January 1843 when his name appears with that of brother Henry, and Josiah Bent, in a newspaper advert endorsing Charles Cowper as a candidate for the Legislative Council. (Cowper was later a premier of NSW, serving five terms.)

 

Joseph Bint's older brother, Henry Bint, who was born at the parish of Hurst in 1793 also found himself in trouble for thieving.

The Reading Mercury reporting the Berkshire Easter Assizes in May 1824, relates - Thomas Swallow jnr, Josiah Bint and Henry Bint, three well-known characters, were indicted for feloniously stealing from a summer house at Whiteknights, the mattresses and cushions of a large sofa containing a considerable amount of horse-hair. (The Whiteknights estate is today part of Reading's University.)

It appeared from the evidence that the summer house had been forcibly entered by destroying the back part of it and that the prisoners had been frequently seen in company together on or near the premises about the time of the robbery and that all of them had been offering horse-hair for sale.

Josiah Bint was detained in the act of doing this - he had with him a sack of horse-hair which after various statements he had said he found under the Park pales, and upon searching his house and the lodgings of Swallow, a quantity of horse-hair and canvas was also found in their possession. The identity of the latter of which, with the covering of the sofa, and its correspondence in size with the extraordinary dimensions of the sofa, were clearly proved.

The trial occupied about five hours and the Jury after a few minutes deliberation (to the satisfaction of a crowded court) found a verdict of Guilty against all the prisoners who were immediately sentenced to Transportation for seven years.

The court records show that the crime took place on the 6th of March 1824 and that the inventory of items stolen were - Ten sofa mattresses - value 2 pence, ten sofa squabs - value 2 pence, ten sofa cushions- value 2 pence, 100 lbs of horse-hair- value 2 pence, 10 yards of canvas - 2 pence, the goods and chattels of Sir Charles Cockerell - Baronet and others.

Henry Bint lived in Brunsdons Buildings at Castle Street, Reading and was in bed when arrested by Peace Officer William Golding of the Borough of Reading on Sunday morning the 7th of March at 9am and had a gun by the fire-place which was made to be carried inside his coat. It was in two pieces and loaded with powder and middling-size shot.

We have no idea who his accomplice Josiah Bint (1792-1865) was. He later claimed his birthplace as Wokingham and if that is correct he was highly likely to be a cousin of Henry Bint who probably was not christened. I have been unable to find a birth record or that of any parents.  He married Jane Collins at Sydney in 1848 and when he died at Myrtle Creek, NSW in 1865 his father's name was given as Josiah Bint and on an earlier record his mother was named Helen.

Both were sentenced to seven years transportation at the Berkshire 1824 Lent Assizes, and arrived in New South Wales with the convict ship Mangles on October 30th 1824. It seems that they managed to stay together and were assigned to Mr Hawkins of Bathurst.

Henry and Josiah were granted their Ticket of Leave on 24th March 1829 but Josiah had his cancelled after being found guilty of larceny on 26th August 1830.

They appear to have settled in the Picton Stone Quarry area.

 

 

After the end of the American War of Independence, Britain had to find new territory to send its convicts. New South Wales was selected as a suitable penal colony. Legislation permitting transportation from Britain to Australia was passed in 1784.

Between 1788, when the first convict ship arrived on the east coast of Australia at what is now Sydney, and 1868, when the last official convict ship landed on the west coast, at Fremantle, roughly 160,000 convicts were transported from the British Isles, which also then included Ireland, to our colonies in Australia.

 Some impressions of the accommodation provided for the convicts on board are mainly gained from accounts of other convict ships. "Two rows of sleeping-births, one above the other, extend on each side of the between-decks, each berth being 6 feet square, and calculated to hold four convicts, everyone thus possessing 18 inches of space to sleep in--and ample space too!

The hospital is in the fore-part of the ship, with a bulkhead across, separating it from the prison, having two doors with locks to keep out intruders; while a separate prison is built for the boys, to cut off all intercourse between them and the men.

Strong wooden stanchions, thickly studded with nails, are fixed round the fore and main hatchways, between decks, in each of which is a door with three padlocks, to let the convicts out and in, and secure them at night. The convicts by these means have no access to the hold through the prison, a ladder being placed in each hatchway for them to go up and down by, which is pulled up at night".  

"Before embarking, the convicts had been washed and fitted out with the regulation dress for the voyage, which consisted of jackets and waistcoats of blue cloth or kersey, duck trousers, check or coarse linen shirts, yarn stockings and woollen caps.
"Each is allowed a pair of shoes, three shirts, two pairs of trousers, and other warm clothing on his embarkation, besides a bed, pillow, and blanket---while Bibles, Testaments, prayer-books, and psalters are distributed among the messes." 
From the medical journal of the Grenada convict ship - 28 March to 20 September 1821 by Peter Cunningham, Surgeon and Superintendent.

"It would be impossible to relate the scenes or to describe the feelings experienced during the first few days of a voyage. These painful sensations, arising from a sense of leaving our native land, and of parting with dear and affectionate friends, were in this instance increased by the sight and sound of a number of fellow-creatures in a state of degradation, with pale and haggard countenances passing up and down the hatchways with their legs ironed; or else at intervals marching round and round the ship, in a continued line, or rather oblong, of three and four deep, to the beat of drum, for the purpose of obtaining the exercise necessary to the preservation of health."  A Church of England minister in 1844.

"The smells were, of course, among the notable feature of life on board. The combination of animal and human excrement, foul water from the bottom of the ship below pump wells which never came out, the remains of old cargoes and the perpetually rotten wooden structure of the vessel herself must between them have produced a dreadful stench, unrelieved by any kind of ventilation system in the ship.

People were accustomed to this ashore in towns and villages which stank like an Oriental slum today".  John Boyle's description of the last convict ship Hougoumont  sailing to West Australia in 1868.

Until 1810 convicts were permitted to wear ordinary civilian clothes in Australia. The new Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, wanted to set the convicts apart from the increasing numbers of free settlers who were flocking to Australia.
The distinctive new uniform marked out the convicts very clearly. The trousers were stamped with the letters PB, for Prison Barracks, and were buttoned down the sides, enabling them to be removed over a pair of leg irons.

Most convicts were not sent to work on Government projects such as roads but were assigned to private masters, whether Army officers or settlers, as servants or labourers.

To have convicts assigned to them, free settlers had to prove that they were rich enough to provide them with clothing and food and that they had enough work for them to do. Usually a settler could have a certain number of convicts assigned, according to the size of their property and the work that had to be done.

Settlers around Sydney, or friendly with the Governor, usually got first pick of the convicts. There were many complaints, from those living further out in the bush, that they were assigned the ones that were too old, lazy or sick, to work properly.

Convicts who stayed out of trouble could become eligible for Tickets of Leave, rather like a parole or probation in our modern system. Generally they were eligible after four years of a seven year sentence or after six years for fourteen year sentence or after eight years for a life sentence.

The importance of the Convicts to Australia's development cannot be taken lightly. Convicts and their children numerically dominated the country from the first settlement in 1788 to the 1820's. They formed the great labour force, which laid the foundations of Australia prior to the Gold Rushes of the 1850's.

Once granted a ticket of leave, a convict was permitted to seek employment within a specified district but could not leave that district without the permission of the government or the resident magistrate. Each change of employer or district was recorded on the ticket. They could also acquire property. 

Convict huts and punishment stocks Parramatta in 1798. Government house is on the hill.

 

Church attendance was compulsory, as was appearing before a Magistrate when required.

Ticket-of-leave men were permitted to marry or to bring their families from Britain, and to acquire property, but they were not permitted to carry firearms or board a ship. They were often required to repay the cost of their passage to the colony. 

The Ticket of Leave lasted for a year at a time and was renewed provided the person had behaved themselves. If they were convicted of any offence while they held one, they could have it taken away from them. It was easy to lose it. If they went outside the prescribed district without a passport, did not carry their Ticket of Leave, overcharged for work or were drunk and disorderly in town, they could be reported and charged and loose it. If they committed a colonial offence they not only lost their Ticket of Leave they could be sentenced to a chain gang or time in a penal colony. A convict who observed the conditions  until the completion of one half of his sentence was entitled to a conditional pardon, which removed all restrictions except the right to leave the colony.

 

 

 

 

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