Page 2 - Newsletter-9th-edition.pdf
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The arduous journey to the penal colonies in Australia.
          Transportation was the practice of sending convicted criminals overseas to serve their sentences  - as an
          answer  to  overcrowded  jails  in  England  and  as an  alternative to the death  penalty.  After  the loss  of  the
          American colonies Australia was the main destination for transported criminals
          George Weightman, whose sentence had been commuted to transportation and nine of the other Pentrich
          revolutionaries were sent to London and were put on board The Retribution. It was one of the ships moored
          to hold prisoners before they joined the ships to sail to Australia. Four men were considered too ill to travel.
          The  week  before  Christmas  1817  they  were  taken  on  board  the  Tottenham  where  200  prisoners  were
          gathered from the prison ships ready to sail to Australia. Each prisoner was given a suit of clothes, a change
          of linen, a flock bed, a pillow and a blanket. The flock beds were either filled with coarse wool or finely cut-up
          pieces  of  cloth.  All  week  the  weather  was  cold  and  squally.  The  ship's  surgeon-superintendent,  Robert
          Armstrong, reported that the prison quarters were wet and uncomfortable, and fires were lit to dry out the
          flooded areas. The mattresses, pillows and blankets were probably damp if not soaked and not much help to
          keep warm or dry. The Tottenham stayed moored at Sheerness, on the northern Kent coast until early 1818.
          Joseph  'Manchester'  Turner  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Derby  Mercury  on  11th  December  1817.  The  Derby
          prisoners were still held in irons, sent to work, provided with food and attended church.
          "We have barley and oatmeal night and morning and beef for dinner four days a week and the other days
          bread and cheese...By our good behaviour we hope to get a mitigation of our sentence and enjoy our liberty
          once more. A ship is expected here to proceed to Botany Bay in 15 days, and having made no provision for
          our  journey,  you  will  be  so  kind  to  tell  the  other  prisoners  to  bring  all  clothes,  shoes,  stockings,  knives,
          razors, needles and other sewing cotton, looking glasses and combs which are very expensive here".

          Who  was  Joseph  Turner  writing  this  letter  to  the  newspaper  for?  The  list  of  things  he  suggested  the
          prisoners needed to bring with them is in contrast to the poor state of the men in prison in Derby during the
          summer. Where would the men have got these things - their families were struggling and suffering. Joseph
          continued to think that good behaviour on the voyage would mean freedom on arrival in Australia - but this
          was not the case.

                                                     Those left behind

         The Prison sentences                                  The demise of Pentrich
         Several  of  the  Pentrich  Revolutionaries  were     Pentrich  was  part  of  the  The  Duke  of  Devonshire’s
         given  prison  sentences  with  hard  labour.  These  estate  and  soon  after  the  trials  and  executions  his
         ranged from six to twelve months. Although these      agent  began  demolishing  The  White  Horse  Inn,
         sentences  were  relatively  short  the  prison       Thomas Bacon’s House and the houses of the other
         conditions  were  so  poor  and  the  work  so  hard  rebels  who  lived  in  Pentrich.  Their  land  was
         that often men did not survive.                       redistributed to loyal tenants.

         Twelve  of  the  younger  men  were  released         A school was built on the site of Bacon’s House and
         without further punishment but the judge left them    a  new  church,  All  Saints,  was  built  in  Ripley.  The
         in  no  doubt  about  the  consequences  about  any   population  of  Pentrich  declined  rapidly  and  Ripley
         further thoughts of rebellion.                        rose to become the administrative centre of the area.
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