Elizabeth Lantaff

Elizabeth Lantaff
Elizabeth was born at St Ives in 1797 to Thomas and Elizabeth. She had two brothers and two sisters.

In 1814 Elizabeth, aged 17yrs, her sister Ann aged 23yrs, and friend Mary Halworth 22yrs, were caught shoplifting. On 12 March 1814 they were found guilty of larceny at Huntingdon Assizes. All three were given the death sentence. This was commuted to transportation to Australia for life.

After a period in gaol at Huntingdon Elizabeth was transferred to either Newgate Prison or the prison hulk Dunkirk moored at Portsmouth. She spent many months in appalling conditions before boarding the Northampton at Portsmouth. There were 110 female convicts on board.

The Northampton set sail on 1 January 1815, the voyage taking 169 days. Joseph Arnold, Northampton's surgeon, wrote a transcript of the voyage.

Off Madeira on 18 February 1815 they were captured by an American ship, 'but afterwards liberated, the enemy not liking the cargo, and suffered her to proceed on her voyage.'

There were ten deaths, four of whom were convicts. Fatalities were low compared to previous transportations since this was first to have a naval surgeon appointed to care for the convicts. The passenger list included thirty free women and about forty children, most intending to join their husbands who had previously arrived as convicts.

The Northampton arrived in New South Wales on 18 June 1815 and Elizabeth entered the penal colony at Port Jackson, Sydney, undergoing a process of disembarkation.

Port Jackson, Sydney from the Rocks
Port Jackson, Sydney from the Rocks
On 18 April 1818, aged 21yrs, Elizabeth was granted a conditional pardon. Her occupation was shown as a mantua maker. She was described as just under 5ft 4ins tall, with a fair complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.

Elizabeth married James Thompson, a free man and butcher, on 29 April 1818. It was not unusual for female convicts to marry soon after arriving in Australia. With nine men to every woman they were in demand and also needed protection.

The marriage was successful, producing one son and three daughters. The family lived at The Rocks, Sydney, James listed as landowner and publican of the Coach and Horses in Cumberland Street, Sydney. He died in 1837.

Elizabeth died on 6 October 1858, aged 61yrs.

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