Elizabeth Selwyn

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Parents      Possibly             Thomas Selwyn and Mary King               Or              John Selwyn and Betty Bird

In 1791 in Gloucestershire, Elizabeth Selwyn was sentenced to transportation for burglary, stealing 32 shillings sixpence worth of goods. in conjunction with Elizabeth Evans. On arrival in Sydney in 1792 she was assigned to Thomas Rowley, by whom she bore five children..It seems likely that she bore a 6th child by Thomas in 1806 after he died. See the discussion on Thomas Rowley's page. Elizabeth lived till 1843, having seen her children Thomas, John, Mary and Eliza become prosperous citizens in the new colony. In her later years, would Elizabeth have looked back and reflected that getting nicked all those years ago in Gloucestershire was a lucky break? Even though she had the means, in later life she never went back to England. But that could have been simply that a ship voyage would be unappealing after her nightmare voyage from England? See comments on the Pitt voyage in the Thomas Rowley page.

Elizabeth Selwyn (b abt 1772 Gloucestershire, arr 1792 Pitt, children by Thomas Rowley, d 1843 Kingston House, Newtown).
    Isabella Rowley (b 1792 Sydney Cove, m William (Lieut) Ellison 1807 Sydney Cove, d 1808 Sydney)
    Thomas Rowley (b 1794 Sydney NSW, m Catherine Clarkson 1818 Christ Church, Castlereagh, d 1858 Minto).
        John Rowley (b 1822 Minto NSW, m Mary Jane (Jane) Onslow 1846 Liverpool, d 1909 Pertersham)
            John Clarkson Rowley (b 1847 Liverpool, NSW, m Sarah Jane Smart 1874 Beechworth Vic, 1928 Bethanga)
                   Joseph Smart Rowley (b 1875 Yackandandah Vic, m Eircell Broome 1909 Albury NSW, d 1957 Bethanga)
    John Rowley (b 1797 Sydney cove, m Sarah Pear 1819 St John's, Paramatta, d 1873 Scone NSW)   
    Mary Rowley (b 1800 Kingston House Newtown, NSW, m John Lucas 1817,  d 1869 Nunima, NSW)
    Eliza Rowley (b 1804 Kingston House, m Henry Sparrow Briggs 1826 St Johns, Paramatta, d  1882 Kingston)

.Elizabeth would have been the formative influnece on the children, as Thomas died when they were young. His main contribution may well have to leave them the Sydney properties 

One of the provisions of Thomas Rowley's will  was that "so long as the said Elizabeth Selwyn shall continue solo and unmarried and does not live in a state of cohabitation with any man then she shall be entitled to and receive one sixth share". There is a statement in the book "Thomas Clarkson If Only" that  states that "Elizabeth Selwyn did forfeit her income from the trust after Thomas’ death, by living with Abbott Osbourne, a convict who had been assigned to her husband". The reference given is Archives Office of NSW Court of Equity 7/3424. On requesting this file from NSW State Archives, it appears to contain nothing to do with Thomas or Elizabeth. So little that they generously gave me my money back. Pam Fulton also emailed me expressing strong doubts about the Abbot story, As she says, "someone has interpreted lived with in a more modern context"  In those days, most people lived with convicts. So we will leave it there unless someone can produce a "smoking gun".

Elizabeth's Indictment, quoted from Ian Ramage's Cameo

4.06    Among the convicts listed in the convict indents for the Pitt was
Name:            Selwyn, Elizabeth
Where Sentenced:    City Gloucester at Gloucester
Date:                      23rd March, 1791
Term:                     7 years

4.07    Her crime was reported in the Gloucester Journal of 28 March:
“At our assizes last week, Thomas Creed, for stealing 5 fleeces of wool, Elizabeth Selwyn, Ann Mose and Judith Cowley, for sundry thefts, were sentenced to seven years transportation.”
Creed and Cowley were also transported on the Pitt.

4.08     In the Calendar of the Prisoners in the County Gaol for the Epiphany Sessions, 11 January, 1791, it is recorded that Elizabeth Selwyn was aged 18 and her companion, who was found not guilty, 16. They were committed for trial by “P. Hawker, Clerk” on 14 December, 1790 on suspicion of stealing – “grand larceny and burglary” - with Elizabeth Selwyn convicted of the lesser crime of grand larceny at the Lent Assizes, 1791. According to the record, she was sentenced “to be transported beyond the seas for seven years."

4.09    The indictment reads:-

“Gloucestershire - The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath present that Elizabeth Selwyn /Guilty of the simple felony only - To be transported beyond the seas for seven years/ late of the parish of Cherrington in the county of Gloucester spinster and Elizabeth Evans /Not guilty/ late of the same spinster on the fifteenth day of September in the thirtieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third King of Great Britain etc about the hour of one in the Night of the same day at the Parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid being in the Dwelling House of one James Brown there situate one cotton gown of the value of fourteen shillings four yards of striped serge of the value of five shillings two pairs of women's shoes of the value of three shillings one woman's hat of the value of sixpence one serge cloak of the value of three shillings one pair of scissors of the value of sixpence one linen shift of the value of one shilling one holland shirt of the value of two shillings two pairs of stockings of the value of two shillings three linen caps of the value of three shillings and two yards of ribband of the value of sixpence of the goods and chattels of the said James Brown in the said Dwelling House then and there being with force and arms feloniously did steal take and carry away and that the said Elizabeth Selwyn and Elizabeth Evans being so as aforesaid in the said Dwelling House and having committed the Felony aforesaid in manner and form aforesaid They the said Elizabeth Selwyn and Elizabeth Evans afterwards to wit on the same day and year aforesaid about the Hour of two in the Night of the same day with force and Arms at the Parish aforesaid the same Dwelling House then and there feloniously and burglariously did break to get out of the same against the form of the statute in such Case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.

Elizabeth Evans

"Elizabeth's accomplice was Elizabeth Evans.
Was she sent to NSW?
If so, did they keep contact and were they a part of each others lives?
Are there any researchers of Elizabeth Evans?
Do these researchers have info on Elizabeth Selwyn that we don't?
We may be able to help Elizabeth Evans researchers - if there are any."

Bob Venn
Search of Ancestry.com.au Convict Register shows no Elizabeth Evans - L Rowley

Elizabeth Selwyn's Indictment from Vic Douglas

Note Elizabeth Evans only got one month, so did not come to Australia from this conviction at Least

Elizabeth's Birth and Parents

Family search gives us possible birth and parents for Elizabeth
Entry 1 - Ancestral file entry submitted by Richard Metcalf, 5 Imperial Ave, Emu Plains 2750 NSW
birth - 1775 Cherrington, Gloucestershire  - parents Thomas Selwyn and Mary King
married Thomas Rowley 1791
death 1843 Kingston NSW
Entry 2- Family Group Record also submitted by Richard Metcalf
Thomas Selwyn birth - 1741 Minchin Hampton, Gloucestershire and Mary King birth - abt 1745 Avening, Gloucestershire, married 31 Jan 1766 Gloucestershire\
    possible parents
Entry 3 - submitter unknown. Entry 2 marriage is at Minchinhampton
Entry 4 - Pedigree Resource file entry similar to entry 1
    From Ms Jeanette Mary EGAN
    109 Old Glen Innes Road,Waterview Heights Mail: P.O.Box 315, South Grafton NSW 2460 mobile:0413719771
Entry 5 Thomas Selwyn birth - 1741 Painswick, Gloucestershire and Elizabeth Humphries married 26 Jan 1766 Painswick
    possible parents
Entry 6  Elizabeth Selwyn married 1799 Painswick

How does the above fit with known facts
Date of Birth - Elizabeth was recorded as 18 on 11 Jan 1791 (Cameo 4.08 above)
This would have her year of birth as  probably 1772
Geography- Cherington, Avening and Minchin Hampton are all within two miles of one another
Painswick is only six miles to the north
Siblings - Family search gives no children for Thomas and Mary, nor for Thomas and Elizabeth

(1) Elizabeth was probably born in the little cluster of towns including Cherington
(2) No suggestion for her birth seems to be based on Parish records (no date within year), ie they are just educated guesses
(3) It is only Entry 6 that stops Entry 5 from being a really good candidate
(4) The lack of children for either marriage in Family search in a way is encouraging. It is much better than finding a family that does not have an Elizabeth
(5) As there are a few Selwyn families in the region in family search as well as the above, Entry 1/2/3 is only a warm favourite. My bookie is giving even money
(6) The suggestion that Thomas Rowley married Elizabeth is wrong. There was a wife Elizabeth on the Pitt who died. Thomas is believed to have taken her as mistress when the Pitt landed in NSW in 1792 (on Valentine's Day - nice touch Thomas!)

Email from Rhonda Kroehnert, January 2012

Just doing a hunt around the 'new' Family Search website and I think the following are excellent candidates for the family of Elizabeth Selwyn, all at parish of Kings Stanley, Gloucester (near Cherington).
John Selwyn married Betty Bird 25 April 1763 parish of Kings Stanley, Gloucester
Ann, christened 28 January 1764, father John Selwyn, residence Gloucester (died 26 November 1769).
John, christened 21 April 1765, father John Selwyn, residence Gloucester.
Elisabeth, christened 1 June 1766, father John Selwyn, residence Gloucester.
Sarah, christened 21 May 1768, father John Selwyn, residence Gloucester.

I really feel this is our Elizabeth. I don't know if you have seen a copy of the original burial of Elizabeth Selwyn but it states she was 78 years which fits nicely with the Elisabeth above baptism date.
I know on your website it is stated on the Calendar of Prisoners that she was 18 years but I suspect she gave incorrect information, maybe to assist in getting a lesser sentence! If this is our Elizabeth, and we know that she was known as 'Betsy' Rowley in the colony, her 'mother' may also have been known as 'Betsy'. I have a friend going to Salt Lake City in April, I will get her to copy the original marriage of John Selwyn & Betty Bird, who knows it may read 'Betsy' not Betty.
Also, another clue is that she named one of her sons John (maybe after her father)!!!
The only thing that may 'throw a spanner in the works' is that there is a marriage of a Betty Selwgn [sic] married 14 August 1782 to Thomas Harris at Minchinhampton. This could be the Elisabeth below who would have been 16 or 17 years at the time; possible!!

Comment Les Rowley
    Now we have two good candidates, so I have put them both at the top of the page. Opinions anyone.. King Stanley is six miles from Cherrington.


Ian Ramage's Cameo is the authoritive document.
An email from Peter Myler prodded me into the Family Search research above.
Vic Douglass for the Indictment above

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