Monthly Archives: August 2012

John Worthington (Warrington)

John, what was your surname?  Was it Worthington or Warrington?  Why did you change it?  And what became of you?

John Worthington was born about 1784 in Lancaster. In April/May 1805, he was tried and convicted of larceny. He was transported on the “Fortune” in 1806, which arrived in Sydney on 12 July 1806. The 1806 Muster states that John was engaged at the lumberyard, and that he was a carpenter in Sydney.

John Worthington had four children with another convict, Catharine Malone. No record of a marriage between the two has been found.  The children were:

  • James Worthington/Warrington;
  • Thomas Worthington;
  • John Worthington; and
  • William Fry Warrington

On 5 January 1810, John is included with a group of other prisoners “to be released from Sydney Gaol on the occasion of Lachlan Macquarie taking charge of the Government”. Just what he had done to be in Gaol, and how long he had been there is unknown at this time. The last reference to John, that shows that he was still in New South Wales ia the 1811 Muster. The Muster states that he was tried at Manchester.

By 1818, John had “left the colony” (according to the Return of the Number of Orphans in Liverpool in July 1818, on which his son Thomas was listed). Whether he had returned to England (which is commonly believed by other descendents) or had just left the colony of N.S.W is not known.

The 1821 Muster identifies at least five convicts who arrived on the “Fortune” in 1806 as “missing”, these convicts are:

  • James Wright – tried in Aberdeen in 1803;
  • Samuel waters – tried at the Old Bailey in 1806;
  • Richard Woodbury – tried at Bristol in 1803;
  • John Wright – tried at Hottingham in 1804; and
  • John Worthington – tried at Manchester in 1805.

This would suggest more that he was either in hiding, or had left the colony of N.S.W.

It has been suggested that he returned to England, and was the John Worthington who was charged with Highway Robbery, was sentenced to Life (originally sentenced to death, but then commuted to life) in Lancaster on 20 March 1820, and transported on the “Elizabeth” in 1821. In the 1822 Muster, this John Worthington is listed as a Government Carpenter. According to the 1825 Muster, he died 17 May 1825 at Sydney aged 47. This is unlikely to be our John for several reasons. John would probably not have had the funds required to return to England. And even if he had, if was found guilty of such a serious crime, his sentence would not have been commuted. And as mentioned above, he is listed as “missing” on the 1821 Muster. Had he returned to England, he would have had to obtain permission to do so, and would not have been “missing”.