Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Fate of the Luddites: Benjamin Hancock

At the time of his conviction for frame-breaking on 18th March 1812, Benjamin Hancock was 22 years of age. A direct descendant of Benjamin from Australia contacted us with the results of her research into Benjamin's life, both before and after his conviction, which we now publish below.

Benjamin Hancock was born on 14th June 1789 in Hucknall Torkard, the sixth child of James Hancock and Ann Walker. He had eight brothers and sisters (including William, James & Joseph).

He married Elizabeth Harrison 24th December 1810 in Hucknall Torkard.

Their first daughter, Ruth was born about 1811 in Hucknall.

On 18th March 1812 he was tried in the Nottingham Assizes for feloniously breaking stocking frames and sentenced to fourteen years transportation.

Benjamin was transported on the 'Indefatigable' which sailed from England on 4 June 1812 with 200 convicts on board.

They arrived in Hobart Town (Van Diemen's Land) on 19 Oct 1812.

In 1814 Benjamin's wife Elizabeth and their daughter Ruth arrived in Hobart. Convicts wives were given the opportunity to join their husbands which Elizabeth was no doubt eager to accept.

They very quickly added to their family having eight more children

Benjamin worked as a sawyer. He was also appointed a Constable for the District of Hobart Town.

After he was granted his Conditional Pardon he was granted 50 acres of land in the District of Norfolk Plains (north of Hobart)

Benjamin then became an Innkeeper of various Inns in Hobart.

In 1840 Benjamin decided to move his family to Melbourne, Victoria where he became the Licensee of three more Inns the last being the 'Punt Inn' in Richmond ,a suburb of Melbourne.

Unfortunately, Benjamin was declared bankrupt on several occasions.

He died at his residence, the Punt Inn, on 7th June 1853, aged 63. His wife, Elizabeth, had died two years earlier at the Punt Inn on 3rd December 1851, aged 65.

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