THE TITMUSS PAPERS III: George Titmus – Convict 1814-1866
George Titmuss was born in Hexton, County of Hertfordshire, England in 1814, to parents George and Ann (nee Dinsey) Titmus. He was baptized on the 14 Aug 1814 as George Titmouse. Records show his native place was Streatley, a small village in Bedfordshire County about 4.5 miles North of Luton. It is possible that he moved from Hexton (about 2.5 miles) to Streatly in adult life where his family lived.
In 1836 at the age of twenty George was entered on the list of prisoners in the county jail after being convicted at the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions on a charge of “Feloniously breaking and entering a building within the cartilage of a dwelling house and feloniously stealing chattels therein”, He stole two bushels of corn.
The following details of his conviction are as recorded at the time, 5 Jan 1836
The said Henry Else upon his oath saith as follows
I am a labourer in the employment of Mr. Francis Davis of Streatley, farmer. On Saturday night the second of day of January instant I was employed by my master to sit up and watch the premises at about half past twelve as I was returning from my Mothers where I had been to get something to drnk . As I am leaving her house at about half past 12 o’clock for that heard Mr. Davis’ clock strike 12. I heard a sound like breaking open a door. The noise came from Mr. Charles Wells farm yard and I was outside on the road at the time on my way back to Mr. Davis’. I went down the road to see what the noise was and as I peeped over the palings of Mr. Charles Well’s yard I saw two men, George Titmus and George Roberts. It was moonlight when I first saw them, They were standing near the house astern which is at one end of the granary. I watched them for a few minutes and I saw them go round towards the door of the granary. I went into the yard and sat down to watch the fellows . As soon as the two men moved towards the granary I crept along the farm yard and got close to the door of the granary, when I saw that the door had been opened and George Titmus and George Roberts were in the granary. I never spoke a word to them and they never saw me. I watched them for several minutes. I could not hear what they were talking about. The …….. noise I am certain was made in Mr. Well’s Yard and I went in as soon as possible after the noise , after watching the men. I left them in the granary and went back to my master Mr. Davis . but I never mentioned to him or Mr. Wells what I had seen. I know the men, and busy Sunday I did not know what to do. Yesteday afternoon I met George Titmus and George Roberts in the street at Streatley. I said to them I am sorry to see where you were last night. George Titmus said where was I then? I said in Mr. Well’s granary . Roberts spoke up and said don’t you say a word Henry, I’ll give you five shillings. I said I wont have it, for I dare not. This was at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
I then Left them together and went and told Mr. Davis of it and then went to Mr. Wells.
The deposition of Joseph Buisier upon his oath saith as follows.
I had a search warrant directed to me to search the house of Edward Odell of the parish of Sandon for some stolen goods, the property of Mr. Charles Edward Wells of Streatley, Mr. Wells went with me. When I got to Mr. Odell’s house and premises of Mr. Odell.
James Odell was in the room when I stated this, he went upstairs. In a short time he came back and after remaining in the house some time he went out of the house. I did not see him go to the barn. I kept in doors all the time.
Taken upon oath the day
In the year above written Joseph Buisier
Henry M. Musgrave
Bedfordshire} 5 January 1836
To wit}. The further examination of Edward Odell
and George Titmus being charged as aforesaid
to these before us Justices of the Piece of the
County of Bedford this 5th day of January 28
1836 and finish there I
Edward Odell saith – I was in bed and asleep and know nothing about these and don’t know how they came in my barn. I never did see them.
Before us The mark of
Mr. D.C. Cooper X
Henry M. Musgrave Edward Odell
George Titmus declines saying anything further.
D. C. Cooper George Titmus convicted
Henry M. Musgrave for trial as principal
Edward Odell as receiver
Resworn I the presence
and hearing of Edward Odell
and George Titmus this 4th
and after days of January1836
Henry M>. Musgrave
George Titmus having been condemned as be saying anything in his defense said as follows.
I know no more about the goods than you as I was in Bed and asleep all Night long.
Before me The mark
Henry Musgrave X
of Edward Odell
Edward Odell, the person referred to in the proceeding Constables report at Bedford Town Quarter Sessions on the 5 January 1837 and was sentenced to 7 years transported for receiving stolen goods, namely oats and barley. The prosecutor being Mr. Wells of Streatley.
He arrived at “Blenheim” on the 16 July 1837 aged 45 years, He left behind a wife and 6 children at Westney.
His son James also trans ported on the same ship. James was convicted at the same time and for the same reason as his father. He died 22 December 1838 at Avoca.
Both were reported as exceedingly well behaved although they had convictions for the things such as trespass , poaching, drunkenness and neglect of duty.
Edward was given a free ticket in 1843
George Titmus was described as single. Ploughman, 5’5 ¾” height with dark complexion. A long head, dark brown hair, no whiskers, oval visage, medium forehead, black eyebrows, brown eyes, medium long nose, wide mouth and large chin.
It also appears that he spent some time in England on a (not known) prison hulk.
He was sentenced to transportation to Van Diemens Land for 14 years and arrived on the “Eden” on 26th December 1836.
He was assigned to the service of J.C. Nicholson, Perth.
The “Eden” a class A1 Barque of 513 tons with 4 guns built in London in 1826. Her Master was Alex L. Mollison and surgeon Gilbert
King. She sailed from Plymouth via the cape and this voyage took 106 days. There were 277 male convicts and 41 crew on board.
George was one of two convicts assigned to Mr. Nicholson, the other being John Thomas a 21 year old labourer and sweep who was tried at Glamorgan and sentenced to seven years.
On the 8 February 1838 George was charged with being drunk with neglect of duty and was given six hours exposure in the stocks.
He received a ticket of leave on the 10 February 1843 and was recommended for a conditional pardon for the Australian Colonies on the 27 April 1845. It was approved on the 15 January 1846.
Still living in the Norfolk Plains area (Perth) from 1839-45
In February 1845 he was given permission to Marry Susan Raider (free) but it is not known what occurred thereafter because no further records are available of the woman.
George did marry later; a person by the name of Elizabeth Cox, who was born in 1828 at Pateena (Tasmania) and christened on the 4/1/1829 at st Johns Church, Lauceston the daughter of Joseph and Matilda (nee Wise). They married at the Church of Christ, Longford.
George was carrying on the business in the Main Street of Perth as a builder and carpenter and they lived in a small cottage at the rear of the Methodist Church in Perth.
Both are devoted Methodists and George was a lay preacher both to the Perth and Longford Churches. A plaque was erected to his honour in the Longford Church to Mr. & Mrs. George Titmus who were faithful stewards for over 70 years.
George and Elizabeth had 12 children, George (Jnr), Charles Levi, William, Elizabeth, Ema Jane, Laura Ann, Alice, Ester, Frederick Mark, Lucy and Edith Matilda.
George died at Perth of a heart condition at age 72 and a death notice appeared in the Examiner on the 3 May 1886, John Write being the undertaker.
Elizabeth died at her residence in Perh in her 95th year and a notice appered in the examiner on the 26th January 1923, Hudson of Longford, undertaker.
Both were buried in Perth General Cemetery