Charlotte Lloyd (1808?-1838)

by Kay Buttfield


Charlotte Lloyd, who was born at the Cape of Good Hope, Africa, was aged 24 when she was sentenced to death for housebreaking/larceny on 6 September 1832 at the Middlesex Gaol Delivery. This was her first conviction.

Charlotte’s sentence was commuted to life, and she was transported to Van Diemen’s Land. At the time of the conviction, the prisoner stated that she was married to a linen draper in Fleet Street, and that she had one child—but Charlotte’s record also states, ‘living with <illegible> 9 months’. This remark could mean many things: perhaps it referred to the child’s age, or that Charlotte had left the marriage and was living with someone else, or perhaps it described where the family lived for the past nine months. We may never know, but as Charlotte’s convict description states ambiguously that she is both single and married and that she was, ‘married stated on this offence’, perhaps her marriage had broken down.

She was a Protestant and could read and write. Her occupation given as ‘dressmaker’. Physically, she stood at 5 feet 1½ inches (156.21 cm) tall with a small to medium sized head, a fair complexion, dark brown hair and hazel/grey eyes. It is unknown how long she had been in England, and as civil registrations of births and deaths began in 1895 in the Cape it is impossible to verify any earlier details of her life and family. While in gaol before transportation she was ‘particularly well conducted’.

Charlotte embarked for Hobart on the 22 February 1833 aboard the transportation ship Jane, which set sail from the port at Torbay in Devon. On board were 115 convict women under Captain F. Tupper, and ship’s surgeon Robert Dunn, who was later to report that on the voyage Charlotte’s health was ‘very good’. The voyage took over four months with the ship arriving in Hobart on 30 June 1833.

After being processed in Hobart, Charlotte was assigned to various Masters. Her record of employment and offences in the colony show that at times she was punished, but on the whole there are not too many incidents. Records show that in 1833 she was assigned to a Mr. Burnett, but on 24 August she was absent without leave and found drunk; as a result she was sentenced by the Principal Superintendent of Convicts to be placed in the cells for six days.

In the Muster of 1833 it is noted that she was next assigned to a George Eagle. Charlotte remained out of trouble until 8 January 1835 when she was discovered drunk in a public house. Again she was sentenced to the cells for four days. At the time of this second offence, Charlotte was working for a Mr Lewis. She was reprimanded in March 1835 for being drunk again, and then in May of that year she was reported by her Master for misconduct.

When taken in front of the Superintendent of Convicts, Charlotte told him she would not return to Mr Lewis’ service. This earned her indefinite hard labour at the wash tubs at the Female Factory at Cascades. Next Charlotte was assigned to a Mr Gregson, but in September she was discovered in town, drunk without a pass. She was sentenced to the cells for four days on bread and water. The records do not say what happened in the next few years, but sadly it is recorded that Charlotte died in the Female House of Correction, Hobart on 31 January 1838, and was buried on 2 February 1838. At the time of death she was approximately 30 years old.

Charlotte had crisscrossed the globe from Cape Town, to London, to Van Diemen’s land; the records, which are testament to the last five years of her life, show what she endured much during that time. Nothing more is known of her life, her child, or spouse. 

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Further reading:

Kay Buttfield, 'Convicts from the Cape Colony', in From the Edges of Empire, eds L. Frost and C. McAlpine, Convict Women’s Press, Hobart, 2015, pp. 90-113. 



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