Thomas Clarkson and Catherine Rayson

Bones in the Belfry home page 

Parents  :       Mountford Clarkson and Ann Wadham (60%)         Thomas Rason and Sarah Bennett (80% see page)

Thomas Clarkson (b 1766 Aldridge Warwickshire, m Catherine Rayson 1794 Kingsbury, d 1824 Hunter St Sydney).
Catherine Rayson .(b 1774 Bedworth Warwickshire, d 1839 Sydney)
    Catherine Clarkson (b 1798 Kingsbury, m Thomas Rowley II 1818 Christ Church, Castlereagh, d 1858 Minto NSW).
        John Rowley (b 1822 Minto NSW, m Mary Jane (Jane) Onslow 1846 Liverpool, d 1856 Liverpool NSW)
               John Clarkson Rowley (b 1847 Liverpool, m Sarah Jane Smart 1874 Beechworth Vic, 1928 Bethanga Vic)
                     Joseph Smart Rowley (b 1875 Yackandandah Vic, m Eircell Broome 1909 Albury NSW, m Avis Sirl 1922 Albury, d 1957 Bethanga)
    John Clarkson (b 1799 Kingsbury, m Rebecca Bannister, d 1879 Leicester)).
    Mountford Clarkson (b 1802 Kingsbury, d 1802 Kingsbury).
    Hannah Clarkson (b 1802 Kingsbury, d bef 1806 ?).   - See Research Notes
    Sarah Clarkson (b 1804 Kingsbury, m Michael Cook 1824 St Lukes Liverpool, d 1877 St Leonards Sydney)
    Thomas Clarkson (b 1810 Sydney, m Maria Fielder 1830 Scots Church Sydney, d 1884 Qld)
    Mountford Clarkson (b 1812 Sydney, m Jemima Fisher 1833 St Phillips Sydney, m Mary Ann Smith 1850 St James Sydney, d 1885 Camperdown NSW)
    Ann Clarkson (b 1815 Sydney, m William Simons 1831 Goulburn Plains NSW, d 1864 Goulburn)
    Mary Clarkson (b 1818 Sydney, m William Harris 1840 Goulburn, d 1863 Grafton NSW)
    Martha (b 1821 Sydney)

Update March 2016

    We received an email from John Perry Some time ago with some superb research on "our" Thomas Clarkson (the convict). He demonstrated that Thomas, son of Samuel Clarkson and Mary Heargraves could not be our Thomas. He found Samuel and Mary's Thomas in the 1841 census, in Sutton Coldfield aged 75 with Sarah Langley aged 82. His elder sister Sarah married James Langley in Aston Juxta 14 May 1797. The ages match beautifully against Samuel and Mary's family. Thomas appears to be buried at Curdworth 21 July 1844 aged 82, ie born c1762. Sarah Langley is buried at Curdworth 13 Jun 1842.Sutton Coldfield is a larger town about 3 miles NW of Curdworth
    John also makes a good case for Mountford Clarkson and Ann Wadham being Thomas the convicts parents. This is discussed on their page
    Spare some sympathy for the "If Only" authors writing in 1988. There was nothing online. Census entries were microfiche, and often had to be ordered in in one month delay. To find the entries to rule out the Mary Heargraves parents would have been a miracle
    John's connection is interesting. To Quote

     My interest has come about as I have entered into a project listing & photographing the memorials at Curdworth Church here in Warwickshire , England. But also incorporating ALL Burials recorded in the PR's, creating a Family Tree with a burial entry as the start point and searching for the relations to that person. Clearly the Census's help enormously, prior to then establishing each family is educated guess work to some degree based upon location of births, marriages, baptisms and burials and probability that it adds up to be correct! 
    It comes about because I have done a similar thing for another churchyard which figures in my Family Tree and found it of great help, Curdworth because my wife's father and a number of her line are buried there, but also as we discovered she & I are actually 7th cousins as we share the same 6x Gt Grandparents. Her paternal line are therefore cousins to me also then! And we live near there.
    So the reason to contact you is that I have come across a number of trees with the above person recorded, I prefer to research from scratch, comparing to existing structures only as a cross check. So in my researching I have spent some time looking at the Clarkson Surname in my listing, and building them into that tree as described, and it is in doing so that I have hit a question regarding Thomas shown by many as being convicted of forgery along with others and transported.

Comments in a later email are also worth quoting
    The Parishes of Kingsbury and Curdworth border each other - GenUK is worth looking at, the entries can be seen at: - and
    Samuel Clarkson and wife Mary (Hargrave) both recorded as Buried at Curdworth,  are recorded in that (PR) as of Minworth - This area is next door to Curdworth and whilst it has a small chapel of its own the BMD admin (?) was conducted from Curdworth.
. Would also suggest perhaps a reference to the FindAGrave web site for Curdworth Cemetery might be worth adding, that is at: -, the Family Tree created reflecting those records and more is reference on the entry page. The address used is: - and directs to one entry that of second lieutenant Conrade William Jacot Royal Flying Corps who died 22 June 1917. From there the tree can be explored.
My attention has been elsewhere recently in Family Tree research, plus been doing re-transcription of the Baptism PR's (from Kingsbury as it happens!) in conjunction with North Warwickshire FHS. Previously worked on Coleshill and indeed Curdworth, next is Wishaw another nearby Parish.

 We can only be grateful that John worked in our patch even though unrelated. That ancestry link that John supplied I cannot get to work. But if you sign in to ancestry and search Mary Hargrave b 1738 Curdworth and scroll down a bit you will find the tree Curdworth Cemetery Grave Research Tree.

Update October 2017

    An email in from T.R.M.B. sheds further light
In regards to the parents of Thomas Clarkson circa 1766 Aldridge, I did have George Clarkson and Susannah as his parents and I see you have also had this and I've also got the Mountford Clarkson and Anne Wadham as his other possible parents and I'm sure either one of these pairs are his parents. Although i have come across a 1841 census for a Thomas Clarkson born 1766 Staffordshire and living in Darlaston, Staff in 1841. Darlaston isnt far from Aldridge, is it possible this is Mountford's son Thomas? or have you come across this record and found him to not be?
There are further interesting comments from this email on Mountford Clarkson's page. In view of their now being a credible alternative son of Mountford and Ann perhaps we should downgrade the probability of the link to (say) 60%? It still looks a good chance due to the similarity of family names set out on Mountford and Ann's page

Places in relation to Kingsbury

    Aldridge                10 Miles WNW (part of Walsalll. but older. untill 19th Century was agricultura

    Bedworth              12 Miles SE

    Curdwowth            3 Miles SW
    Minworth              parish next door to Curdworth


    An email came from Peter Lane, President of the Numismatic Association of Australia, pointing out that an articlei in their journal had some interesting facts about Thomas. The article springs from material in the Archives of the Bank of England. William Henshall, Thomas Clarkson and Richard would appear to have been a major forgery gang of the time, and a major operation was mounted to apprehend them. From the text, Thomas and Richard were brothers, and Richard's wife was Lucy. This information throws up a very credible alternative set of parents for our Thomas.  More Details.
    A second email came from Eunice Cruickshank. She has done some digging on the origin of Mountford, a name that crops up in Thomas and Catherine's children (twice), and in the next generation as well. She found a George Clarkson who married Susannah or Susan Montfort in Walsall in 1648. Walsall is in Staffordshire, but only ten miles or so from Birmingham and  Kingston. The Mounforts are the aristocratic family of the area, so it is natural to use the name in later generations. At this stage we are unable to connect the tree Eunice has done for George (b 1599) to Forger Thomas. But our alternative family for Thomas has George as the father, stregthening his case a little.
    Eunice also supplied an article from Australian Family Tree Connections January 2004 by Graham Thom, on the voyage of the Alexander in 2006. The passenger list consisted of
    15 male convicts (including our three forgers, but not co-accused Thomas Ashford).
    48 female convicts
    8 wives and 10 children of convicts.
Catherine only had two children with her, confirming the view that John stayed behind
It seems likely that all 15 of the male convicts had passage offered to their wives and children, but half declined
    This voyage does not look like the normal overcrowded convict ship, so perhaps all the 15 families had special treatment for various reasons

Thomas Clarkson "If Only"

    This superb book was written by Christine Woodhead, Marlene Willcocks and Margaret Aitken and self published in 1988. It is a most interesting and carefully researched book of Thomas, Catherine and their descendants. It is available in some public libraries.
     Some comments about this internet version: Layout has in general been preserved, but some spacing has been remove to give more information displayed on the screen. All images are implemented as links. No image is bigger than one megabyte, and the average is about half a megabyte, so they will be very slow on dial-up. The book has been scanned using optical character recognition software. It has been carefully proof read, but some spelling changes or errors may have occurred. Please advise any that need correction. Les Rowley
Link to the web version of the book.

The remainder of this page is a brief outline of the book, plus a few other items that may be of interest. 
The careful scholarship of  "If Only" allows this writer to add some personal comment and speculation.

Contents of this webpage

Biography of Catherine
Biography of Thomas

Discussions, Correspondence

What did Thomas do in Kingsbury?
Who had the Money?
A Very Modern Man?
That Tobacco Embezzelment Charge, and Life on the Alexander
What happened to John?
Catherine's Role
What caused Thomas' Fall
Currency problems in early Sydney
If you are counting Convict Ancestors
Some interesting Links on the Web
Input from Eunice Cruickshank (email Feb 2006)
Input from Eunice Cruickshank (letter Mar 2006) 
Input from Judy O'Donoghue
Input from Eunice Cruickshank (email Jul 2006)
Research Notes


1766 Thomas Clarkson born Akdridge Warwickshire 
1774 Catherine Rayson born Bedworth Warwickshire
1794 Thomas Clarkson and Catherine Rayson marry Kingsbury
1799  John Clarkson born  Kingsbury
1802  Mountford Clarkson born  Kingsbury, died 1802 Kingsbury.
1802  Hannah Clarkson born  Kingsbury
1804  Sarah Clarkson born  Kingsbury
1805 Thomas convicted of passing a counterfeit 1 note (March), and sent to Warwick Prison, sentenced to 14 years transportation  .If Only Link 
1805 Thomas named as bankrupt (April, May)
1806 Thomas departs Portsmouth as convict on the "Alexander" (January). Catherine and two children are also on the ship   .If Only Link 
1806  "Alexander" arrives in Sydney(August)
1806 Thomas assigned to Catherine as (convict) servant
1806 Catherine purchase house in Sydney for 38 (October)  (location now corner Hunter and Elizabeth St)
1806 Thomas convicted of embezzling  tobacco on the "Alexander" and sentenced to two years hard labour  .If Only Link 
1809 Thomas fined 2/12/- for selling short weight loaves of bread (May)     .If Only Link 
1809 Thomas has remainder of sentence remitted for good conduct. (December)
1810  Thomas Clarkson Jnr.born Sydney
1810 Thomas granted licence to brew and sell liquor.
1811 Thomas now has four properties. His properties and debts grew steadily, and are detailed in "If Only"
1811 Thomas becomes bondsman for rent on the Parramatta to Windsor Turnpike      .If Only Link 
1812 Mountford Clarkson born Sydney
1814 Thomas is contracting to build houses. He seems to have been supplying the upper end of the market.
1815 Ann Clarkson born Sydney
1816 Thomas now contracting  to supply 2000lbs of fresh meat to Govt stores from his farm. In later years it went up to 6000lbs, and pork and wheat were added     .If Only Link 
1817 Thomas takes out 12,000 mortgage on an impressive list of properties.    .If Only Link 
1817 Thomas' property now includes a (stone) windmill built to support his baking and brewing business     .If Only Link 
1818 Mary Clarkson born Sydney
1819 Thomas builds a paper mill. His finances are starting to show signs of overcommitment       .If Only Link 
1820 The other Turnpike bondsmen (see 1811) in turn having died and absconded, suit is issued agains Thomas for 1,000 in unpaid tolls.     .If Only Link 
1820 Thomas builds the beautiful Eschol Park House, at a cost of 1,500. (now a restraunt and function centre)      .If Only Link 
1821 Catherine convicted of receiving stolen goods and sentenced to five years transportation (She may not have served any of the sentence)  .If Only Link 
1824 Thomas Clarkson dies Hunter St Sydney. First writ to recover his debts from the estate issued two weeks later      .If Only Link 
1824 Catherine commences legal fight to preserve the property she purchased in 1806 from the estate's debts
1836 Ownership of the Woodman finally established free of Thomas' debts         .If Only Link 
1839 Catherine dies Sydney

Biography of Catherine

(By Peter Power via Eunice Cruickshank)
    The Clarksons travelled from Portsmouth on the ship "Alexander" which reached Sydney Cove on 20 Aug 1806. Catherine purchased land in Upper Bell Row (now Hunter St) with a small house erected on it in Oct 1806 for 38. She established a bakery and was assisted by her husband Thomas after his release from Castle Hill gaol in 1808. Catherine and her husband prospered in the bakery and a "public house" called "The Sign of the Woodman". Thomas branched out into land purchases around the Hawkesbury and later at Airds and Minto. As Thomas bought properties he mortgaged them to buy other allotments and although their holdings were extensive, so too was their debt.
    Catherine was found guilty of receiving stolen goods on 25 Aug 1821 and sentenced to transportation to Coal River (Newcastle) for five years. Apparently she was released on the death of her husband on 20 Mar 1824.
    Thomas left an administrative nightmare for the executors of his estate, and Catherine had to fight many court battles over the ensuing years to retain her original property in Hunter St which Thomas had mortgaged. (It was Aug 1835 when Catherine finally obtained a deed of grant for the land on which "The Sign of the Woodman" was built.) The census of 1828 shows Catherine to be a Publican and Printer, living in Hunter St Sydney. Actual ownership of the Public House, together with the brewery, was sold to her son Thomas Jnr in May 1827. Catherine sold to her son Mountford the malthouse, land and gardens at the rear of the public house at the same time. In 1834 Catherine bought a block of land in Goulburn. By 1839 she owned two herds of horned cattle, one at Holdsworthy in the charge of her son-in-law Thomas Rowley, and the other on her Goulburn property.
    Catherine died on 17 Nov 1839, aged 64 years, and was buried with her husband Thomas. Their headstone was removed from Devonshire Burial Ground to Botany Cemetery in 1901 when the ground was resumed to make way for construction of Central Railway Station.

Biography of Thomas

(By Peter Power via Eunice Cruickshank)
    It appears from the notice of auction that Thomas had been a grocer, dealing in cheese, bacon, hams, tea, coffee, etc. He also dealt in fine and coarse earthenware, grew flax, was a brewer, and had a coal boat Thomas Clarkson was sentenced to transportation to NSW for 14 years in the Midland Circuit Court, Warwickshire, on 26 Mar 1805 for "uttering" a counterfeit Bank of England 1 note. He was held in custody in Warwick Gaol and later in a hulk (derelict warship) before being placed aboard the ship "Alexander" in chains in Jan 1806. While awaiting transportation, Thomas was declared a bankrupt, and his houses and property put up for auction. He owned two houses. Thomas had married Catherine Rayson on 18 Aug 1794 and had three surviving children at the time of his conviction: Catherine aged 7 years, John aged 5 years, and Sarah aged one. Thomas's wife Catherine was granted permission to travel to NSW with her husband on the "Alexander", taking with her two children, Catherine and Sarah. (Reasons for not taking John are unknown.) The vessel reached Sydney Cove on 20 Aug 1806, just after William Bligh had taken over from Governor King.
    Catherine purchased land in Upper Bell Row (now Hunter St) with a small house erected on it, in Oct 1806 for 38. Her husband was "assigned" to work for her. However, within a matter of weeks Thomas again fell foul of the law and was sentenced to two years hard labour at Castle Hill. Catherine established a bakery, and was assisted by Thomas on his release from Castle Hill. In Dec 1809 Thomas received a conditional remission of the rest of his sentence from Lieutenant Governor Patterson. (This was subsequently confirmed by Governor Macquarie, and his Conditional Pardon obtained on 22 Jul 1911.) Because of the evil influence of rum on the colony, Governor Macquarie encouraged the cultivation of barley and the brewing of beer for consumption by the lower classes, and Thomas Clarkson was granted one of 50 licences to operate a public house (but wine or spirits could not be sold without a separate licence. In Jul 1810 Thomas established a malthouse and brewery at the back of his public house, "The Sign of the Woodman."
    Thomas and Catherine appear to have prospered from the bakery and pub as they acquired other properties in Hunter St, Phillip St, Castlereagh St and Macquarie St in 1811. Thomas was an opportunist whose policy was to buy property, borrow, then buy more property. Meantime, two more children were born into the Clarkson family: Thomas (1910) and Mountford (1912). Thomas also acquired rural properties, especially around the Hawkesbury which contained the best wheat-growing land in the colony. A daughter Ann was born to Thomas and Catherine in 1815. Land in the Minto, Airds, Appin and Bankstown areas was surveyed in 1816, and Thomas Clarkson subsequently purchased many allotments in the Airds district. He gradually built up herds and became a large supplier of beef by tender to Government Stores. Thomas also built houses, one of which still stands ("Eschol Park" at Airds.) The last Clarkson child, Mary, was born in 1818. Of all emancipists holding land in 1920, Thomas Clarkson was regarded as having the second largest holding (2,150 acres). However, his outstanding debts at this time, covered by mortgages, were considerable. Thomas appeared in court on many occasions (being sued for recovery of debts) before he died on 20 Mar 1824. Thomas's body was buried at the Devonshire St Burial Ground (now Sydney Central Railway Station.)


The following assume that you have read through the main body of "If Only". Where appropriate, reference links are provided

What did Thomas do in Kingsbury?

    Thomas was 42 when he came to Australia. His achievements in Australia in seventeen years from Australia are impressive. He built fine houses, built and operated breweries, a hotel, a flour mill and a paper mill. He also ran a farm successfully, supplying serious quantities of food to Government tenders. It is hard to imagine that he learnt all this in Australia. Also that the burning entreprenurial spirit he showed in Austraia lay dormant for twenty years plus in England. All we know is the conviction and bankruptcy in 1805.   If Only Link    Update: see biography above, and  Judy's Email

Who had the Money?

   Thomas was being pursued as a bankrupt soon after his conviction.  If Only Link  Yet on arriving in Sydney Catherine is able to purchase a house.  If Only Link   Also one wonders whether Thomas' blossoming career in property over the next few years was helped by seed money brought by Catherine, or sent later. Did his or her parents have enough money to tide them through the three years from 1805 to the end of his second sentence?

A Very Modern Man?

   Reading through Thomas' property acquisitions, and the parallel story of his debts, one can't help thinking of Alan Bond,  When faced with court action to force payment of debt, he would stall right to the last minute, then make some barely adequate partial offer, to make the debtor to to go back and start all over. But this is unfair to Thomas. He was a product of the Wild West economy he found himself in? Also he was a builder and producer running farms, flour mills, paper mills, Inns, etc. But he would  give a n amused smile if he could see a modern film such as "Other Peoples Money", and he would have a twinge of sympathy for Ken Lay of Enron. Thomas was even investing in Infrastructure (the Toll Road), but this would eventually cause him to much appreciate the modern invention of a Limited Liability Company.

That Tobacco Embezzelment Charge, and Life on the Alexander

    I have this picture of convicts on the journey to Australia in crowded cells below deck, only being allowed out for a small amount of light and fresh air each day. Yet here he is accused of embezzlig tobacco from the Alexander's stores, taking it ashore, and still having it in his posession two months later   .If Only Link   This seems to imply both access to the ship's stores, and also that he was not in crowded confinement.

What happened to John and Hannah?

    There has been a fair amount of discussion as to whether John, the eldest child, came to Australia in 1806. See  .If Only Link  Update  See Judy's Email  and Eunice's Email.
But the latest seems to be evidence from
Tina Arrindell that he was left behind in England. She has a comprehensive genealogy for a John Clarkson, born in Kingsbury at the right time, who just about has to be him. We can get a bit of a feel for his life from the census records. The mention of John in the various Sydney documents is understandable, given the heartache of leaving him behind at age six. They may even have been providing support back to England.  Tina's Genealogy of John (PDF)        1841-1871 Census records with comments
    Questions flow from this, Why did they leave John  (six) behind but take  Catherine (eight) and Sarah (two).   Also what happened to their daughter Hannah born in 1802. John seems to have been alive when Thomas died, as he is specifically listed in his will, but Hannah is not mentioned. All this seems to be consistent with Hannah dying young, probably before they left England. But I know of no evidence

Catherine's Role

    To what extent was Catherine an active partner in Thomas' business affairs? The first reaction is that seven young children would preclude much participation. And there is no mention in "If  Only" of convict help till 1822, and then it was two men? All the business transactions seem to have been done in Thomas' name only. On the other hand she fought a well organised and determined action to extricate her home from Thomas' debts after he died. This suggests familiarity with his business affairs, and a high level of competence and determination on her part.

What caused Thomas' Fall

    Thomas'  was obviously a successful man in the early colony. Yet when he died, Catherine  inherited debts, and had to fight a long legal battle to retain their home. There are a number of possible reasons for this:
(a) Failing health meant he was unable to give his affairs the same attention as in earlier years
(b) A business is always worth less on winding up than as a going concern
(c) Thomas was always borrowed to the hilt, and a crash was inevitable
(d) The Tollway judgement was a very serious setback in 1922
(e) All of the above

Currency problems in early Sydney

    The Rum Corps has gone down in Australian folklore. But perhaps the picture is unfair. The colony was desparately short of currency, and people coped as best they could. Eg, we find a promisory note being redeemed  with rum,  bread,  glass, tea,  sugar and butter     .If Only Link   And similarly the trail of court actions over promissory notes that gave such a good record of Thomas' business affairs could simply be due individuals trying to make the system work in a frontier environment.                   

If you are counting Convict Ancestors

    Then you can count Catherine as well? She was sentenced to five years transportation, admittedly when already in the colony.(The transportation was to Newcastle.)  And we are not sure if she served any of the sentence. .If Only Link     Update: Link to Record of Trial (from Eunice Cruickshank) . 

Input from Eunice Cruickshank (email Feb 2006)       

(1) The charges for receiving stolen goods against  Catherine actually took place 10 April 1821 in Sydney. She and Margaret Roach who actually stole the goods were sentenced to 5 years to Newcastle.  Catherine was allowed to return when Thomas was dying. It was all very comical and true to form Catherine denied the lot right up to the time they found the clothes. 
(2)Also the long lost John born 1799 was possibly left behind in England and later married . A young women, Tina Arrindell from Leicester contacted me a few years ago and sent over the material. He may have come over and gone back to England around 1819 but the shipping records only mention Catherine & Sarah as far as I know.
(3) There is a possible brother for Thomas , James who came in the Admiral Gambier in 1808 charged in London for the same crime. Lyn Hyatt is his descendant.

Input from Eunice Cruickshank (letter Mar 2006) 

    The charges re Catherine show I think that she was not the meek and mild type. The Magistrate seemed to be a little sorry for Thomas in this case I think.
    Also information re the famous matter of the Quince Tree. Someone told me (can't remember who) that Mountford's godfather gave him that piece of land and Thomas sold it to Stubbs. Its interesting to note who the panel who were judging the case, were. All friends or associates of the Rowley, Clarkson clan. Both from the work of Pat Hansen, married to Alan a descendant of Sarah Clarkson & Michael Cook who had 17 children.  Link to Clarkson Vs Stubbs
    The Bios are from a Family Tree of the mostly Queensland branch, of Sarah Clarkson & husband Michael Cook. The research was carried out by Peter Power also from Queensland. Would you believe he is also not only a descendant but was married to one. He has done a fantastic job.
    Pat & Lyn have visited Eschol Park, now used as a Convention centre. Thomas's small dwelling is in the middle of a larger extension. As I think I mentioned we now know what happened to John but not why he was left behind. Also Lyn is a descendant of James Clarkson who we believe was Thomas Snr's brother. There was also a Richard who came with Thomas who was most likely a relative, perhaps cousin, charged at the same Court for the same crime along with three other men the sister of one married Richard but did not come with him. No luck in connecting the Staffordshire Clarksons with our lot but there is one. The name Mountford was used there as a Christian name from the 15th century. Thomas thought enough of it to give it to two of his sons so there had to be some reason.

Input from Eunice Cruickshank (email Jul 2006)

  In 1808 a James Clarkson born 1776, again 14 yrs sentence for forgery.  Lyn Hyatt of Leumeah in Sydney is his descendant, there is a discrepancy in  his age but we all think that he was Thomas' brother. 

Input from Judy O'Donoghue

    The Clarksons lived not in Kingsbury but at Bodymoor Heath adjacent to Kingsbury, which is well known today for its Water Park. Children of the time would have walked across Hemlingford Bridge to the old School House in Church Street. When Thomas was caught "uttering" a British one pound note, (trial papers no longer exist) his propery was put up for sale, along with his goods and chattels.The first was held on 6 and 7 May 1805 and published in the Birmingham Gazette, 29 April. This is the list of goods and chattels.
    Household furniture, linen, plate, china, glass, prints, paintings, --a dealer in earthenware, grocery, cheese, bacon, teas, coffee, well cured bacon, hams and chawls, 154 cwt of cheese, full growth of 6 acres of flax. The furniture -- handsome mahogany four poster and tent bedsteads, carpets, large pier and swing glasses, mahognay chests of drawers, card, pillar and claw tables, a capital 8 day clock in handsome mahogany case, excellent brewing vessels. On the same day an in-calf cow and a coal boat in good condition were to be sold.
    On 20th May to be sold: a substantial and newly erected freehold messuage or dwelling house, with outbuildings and premises called Greaves House, situated near Bodymoor Heath and adjoiniing the Birmingham and Fazely Canal - comprising, 2 kitchens, 2 parlours, 7 bedchambers, a large grocer's shop, Bakehouse and Store room - dairy, 2 cheese rooms,, stabling for 12 horses, together with a coal wharf, lime yard, 3 lime kilns, weighing machine, and ware house. Also another freehold dwelling house, nearly built, with outbuildings and appurtenances, together with 10 acres of excellent pasture land adjoining the above premises and late in the occupation of the said bankrupt, and also an extensive right of common over Bodimoor Heath. The notice concludes - the above premises are elegibly situated for a wharfinger, Coal dealer, or timber Merchant and are 10 miles form Birmingham, 4 from Fazeley and five from Coleshill
    Years ago I found out that Thomas Clarkson's "Greaves House" was later known as the Beehive Inn and remained so until after WW2 when it reverted to a private residence. I was able through contacts to get in touch with a local resident who sent me a photograph of the house - showing only the back which overlooks the canal. An out of print book "Kingsbury Remembered" which I purchased then, also has a photo of the Beehive Inn in 1910, taken from the front. I was surfing the net yesterday looking at sites for the canal when I came across one which clearly shows Thomas' house. The web site appears to be     Thomas' house is in the centre of a row. It is 2 storey with a glass panelled entry there is a nice fence beside the canal.  This view is the back of the house of course.
    I have been twice to Thomas' house at Minto, Sydney. I know the house in Kingsbury is most likely to be Thomas' original house in Bodymoor Heath because the picture of his house over there has a glass fan-light over the front door which is an exact match to the house in Sydney!! In fact the whole house looks similar!
    I also believe Catherine left her son John in Kingsbury when they departed for Australia. I spent weeks in the NSW Archives looking for him but nothing was found. It was an offence to miss regular Musters so I can't explain it really, and he should have been on the Indent for "Alexander" - he was not even in the crew! what I think happened was he was a sickly boy and he was left with Catherine's or Thomas' parents in Kingsbury. Of course Thomas and Catherine still had to provive financial support for the boy so I think it the reason Catherine always stated she had one child extra to support, even though he was not physically present in the colony. It also made her position stranger when appealing for remittance of sentence. She did not serve her time at Newcastle but was "recommended to mercy". As for Thomas he served 2 years on arrival at the NSW govermement Farm at Castle hill for stealing tobacco.. Johm Clarkson later married Sarah Owen in Kingsbury. Well that is about all I know of the early years

Input from Warren and Annett Read - Location of the Clarkson Mill

     I thought it best to let you know that several early plans have the location of Thomas Clarkson's land in the wrong place. I am one of a group of three researchers who have extensively researched our
ancestor John Hill the convict and miller who purchased approx half of the 5 acres in 1834. John's portion fronted Forbes Street just north of Liverpool Street and included the millers cottage and the wooden postmill on the right in the long panorama which also evidences that Clarkson's stone mill was further south.
     (They have extensive documentary evidence - If you are interested, I can put you in touch. Les Rowley 2/8/16)

Some interesting Links on the Web

Eschol Park House


    First, of course, is the book Thomas Clarkson "If Only", written by Christine Woodhead, Marlene Wilcox and Margaret Aitken. Valuable inputs have been received from Eunice Cruickshank, Judy O'Donoghue Peter Power and, Pat Hansen via Eunice Cruickshank. Updates entered from the Warren Family tree in Ancestry
        Thanks to John for his meticulous work updating our Thomas' origin

Research Notes

(1) There seems to be a few Rayson's around Bedworth
Foleshill is 5 K to the south. Chilvers Coton is 5 K to the north
(2) FamilySearch seems to have Thomas Rayson and Sarah Bennett marrying in 1770 (Warwick) or 1773 (England).
It has both Thomas and Sarah as being born in 1754.
(3)  The only Census with interesting Raysons is 1851.
    (a) There is a family in Chilvers Coton who could be related
    (b) William b 1801 Bedworth could be related
(4)  Email received from Warren Diggins, who is a descendant of  Mary Clarkson b 1818
      Email received from Tom Caldwell, who is a descendant of  Mary Clarkson b 1818
(5) Hannah Clarkson (b 1806) is listed in f Only" as in the Parish record. However searches of LDS and Ancestry do not find her. Ancestry has her in Family Trees only, probably derived form "If Only".
But the quality of research in "If Only" is excellent, so leave Hannah an open question

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