The Alcock Family More convicts, some free settlers and a Justice of the peace!

My Alcock family ancestors are an interesting lot, some bad some good. Thomas Alcock a needle maker & Martha Wilkingson of Feckenham had at least 11 children of which 7 were male. I will feature these sons in my blog as I’ve enjoyed discovering what happened to them. Their names can be spelt either Allcock or Alcock, people 200 years ago were not that fussed how their name was spelt and some were not very literate. I have found various spellings in the records that I have discovered, so for ease I will use Alcock.

William Alcock was born at Headless Cross, baptised in Redditch in 1799, he was an agricultural labourer.

He married Sarah Robinson in 1821 at St Bartholomew’s Tardebigge.

St Bartholomews Tadebigge

They had a least 6 children but 10 years later he was a widower and living alone. His life seems rather sad. He turns up on the next three censuses living alone in various lodging houses in Redditch, Aston and then Crabb’s Cross, and his occupation is house painter. By 1881 he ends up in Alcester Union Workhouse. He dies there aged 84 with no family around him in 1882.

Alcester Union Workhouse

Henry Alcock was born in 1803 he was a needle maker like his father and married Sarah Sealy in 1831 in Feckenham, and I have already told his story of sheep stealing and transportation to Australia in my previous blog.

Richard Alcock was born in Feckenham in 1805. He was a needle maker and married Jemina Jarvis in 1829 in Feckenham, she gave him 3 children but by 1839 she was dead. Richard had two brushes with the law, in 1820 he was sentenced to 1 months imprisonment for larceny and in 1831 he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for felonishly destroying a machine. He would have been sent to Worcester Gaol.

Worcester Gaol

He probably spent some time on the treadmill as part of his hard labour.


After the death of his wife Jemima he married Ann Christopher in 1842 in Birmingham.
By the 1861 census he is living in 205 Cumberland Street, Sydney, N S W, Australia, I do not know if he went out there as a convict or a free settler. He seems to have arrived sometime between 1851 and 1854 as his daughter Ann was married in Wodonga, Victoria to Henry Gullen.
Richard Alcock died 4 Jan 1864, cause of death mania, occ. needle maker, informant son William also of 205 Cumberland Street. Sydney, N S W. His wife Ann died in 1873.

Frederick Alcock was born 14 Jul 1897 in Redditch, Worcestershire, he married Mary Ann Green on the 3 Feb 1834 at Redditch in Worcestershire and they had at least eight children. On the 1841 census Fred is living in Webheath, Feckenham with his wife and four of his children, his wife’s sister is also living with them. He is working as a labourer on the rail road. By 1851 he is still in Webheath, living with his wife and three of their children, he is now described as a day labourer, which means he can only get work when it’s available and paid on a daily rate. Not much security for a family man.

Frederick Alcock

With three of his brothers now in Australia and his wife’s brother also living there and news that gold has been discovered in the area where her brother John Green is living, Fred decides to take a chance and emigrate with his family as a free settler to try his luck in the Araluen gold fields. They departed aboard the ‘Epaminondas’ from Liverpool on the 30th April 1852. They arrived in Adelaide, South Australia on 2nd August 1852. They then went to the Monaro district to a property called ‘Dolondondo’ which was owned by Mary Ann’s brother John Green. Sadly Mary Ann drowned in the Numerella river at Rose Valley near Cooma on 17th June 1864 and was buried Nimmitabel.

The Araluen Goldfields

One of Fred’s sons called Arthur who was 18 when he arrived in NSW did particularly well for himself. He managed a station for his uncle John Green. Five years later he purchased Greenlands station near Nimitybelle comprising 16000 acres. Moving to Candelo in 1862 he bought the Springfield property near Bobundarah and combined the dairying agricultural farming breeding cattle and sheep and a love of thoroughbred horses. He became a justice of the peace in 1882, he was also involved in setting up the local school and was president of Candelo turf club.

Arthur Alcock J.P.

Thomas Alcock Baptised at Redditch 15 Oct 1813, he was a needle maker and illiterate. Thomas was not the best-behaved person in the world already being sent to prison twice; once for ‘feloniously damaging machinery’ and secondly for larceny. He was charged with sheep stealing on the 15 Oct 1838 and sent to the hulk ‘Ganymede’ at Woolwich. He was transported aboard the ‘Layton’ to Van Diemen’s Land on 26 Jun 1839. When he stole the sheep, the judge thought that transportation to Tasmania for 10 years may have changed his ways but this was not to be. On two occasions he received the lash and was placed in solitary for being drunk and disorderly. He is granted his ticket of leave on 25th Jan 1845. He applied for a Conditional Pardon which was granted on 27th Nov 1847.

In 1853 he turns up in NSW at the Araluen Goldfields where his brother, Frederick, is baking bread in an oven built out of an ant hill. (Alcock family history says so!). Apparently, Frederick is none the wiser that Thomas has received a pardon and rather than be associated with an escaped convict Frederick reports Thomas to the Police. The Sydney Morning Herald 4th July 1853 states that Thomas was at the diggings at Araluen when police officer Bradley put a gun to his head and arrested him for being a runaway from Van Diemen’s Land. He was handcuffed and marched 8 miles to Bell’s Flat and kept on a chain all night. He was then ordered to Sydney to be identified. But he was first kept in the watch house at Braidwood for 9 days then marched to Sydney in handcuffs which is over 135 miles. They would not allow him to take a coach at his own expense. He was made so ill by this treatment that he had to remain I day in Goulburn. When finally arriving at the office in Sydney he was discharged without the slightest hint of regret or offer of compensation for the wrongs he had endured. I would love to know what happened to him after that. On one family tree they have his death in 1902 which would make him about 89 when he died.

Nathaniel Alcock was born in Redditch in 1818 he was a tailor and he married Maria Jones at Kings Norton in Oct 1839. They had two children, Mary Martha Alcock 1855 and Thomas Nathaniel 1858.
His wife died in 1868 he seems to have led a sad lonely life after that and by 1881 Nathaniel was living in the Richmond Union Workhouse when he died.

Richmond Union Workhouse, Surrey

Hugh Alcock was baptised 5 Jan 1823 at Redditch and became a needle maker by trade same as his father. He was convicted at Worcester quarter sessions 24 Feb 1840 and charged with warehouse breaking and stealing needles. Was sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. On the record it says he had two brothers of bad character who had been transported. He was received aboard the Hulk ‘Justitia’ moored at Woolwich on 19 Mar 1840.

He was taken aboard the ‘Asia’ on 17 April 1840 and arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 6 Aug 1840. His behaviour was not that good. He was reprimanded for leaving his work gang, also being absent without leave at night and suspected of stealing fruit from his master’s garden. But by 1842 his behaviour has improved; he is described as an intelligent and regular servant. He was praised for ‘Meritorious Conduct’ when his master Mr. Walker was attacked and tied up by 2 armed bushrangers, Hugh helped him to escape and raised the alarm at considerable risk to himself.

Hugh Alcock’s record

On 20 Dec 1844 he was given his TOL at Hobart. He received his conditional pardon on 21 Jan 1847 in Hobart, Tasmania. This pardon was conditional on him not retuning to England but Hugh did! For I have found him marrying Kezia Dent who was born in Redditch the daughter of John Dent & Sarah Willington. They married at St. Martins Church, Birmingham by licence in 1852. Hugh then emigrated to Victoria, Australia with his new wife and it is thought that Ann Alcock the daughter of Hugh’s brother Richard came with them. Hugh was now calling himself William Clark or Hugh Clarke with or without the (e) on various documents. They went on to have 7 children all with the surname Clarke. Hugh died on 1st May 1882 in Oven District Hospital, Beechworth, Victoria, Kezia his wife lived to her 90th year dying 5th May 1918 in Victoria, as well as 7 children, she left 6 grandchildren and 2 gt. Grandchildren.

Notice of Kezia’s death

So, it seems that the men who were either transported or emigrated as free settlers had a much better life than to two brothers who stayed in England who both ended their days dying without family in the workhouse.

Published by toniaeva

I have been researching family history since 1980 and used to teach this subject at Adult Education classes in Richmond and Twickenham. This is my first attempt at a Blog and website.

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