Convict on the “Friendship”


The most likely birth record for Edward was on the 22nd March, 1760, in the Parish of St Mary’s, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. He was baptised at St Chad’s in the Parish of St Mary’s, on 9th April 17601.


His parents were David Pugh and Elizabeth Hammer; they were married by licence on 9th June, 1757 at St Julian’s, Shrewsbury2. Edward had two siblings: Richard christened 11th September, 1758, and Elizabeth christened on 19th July, 17663.


The church of St Chad’s where Edward was baptised collapsed in a pile of rubble in 1788. It was old and had a number of cracks in its structure. A new church was built nearby using some of the old church stones4.


Edward was committed by T Pottat Esq. on the 18th September, 1784, charged with stealing a great coat belonging to William Barnard. He was found guilty on the 5th October at Gloucester Quarter Sessions, and sentenced to be transported for 7 years to America5.


Due to the War of Independence in America he was held in Castle Gaol, Gloucester for over 3 years until he was ordered to be transported to New South Wales. The Castle Gaol at Gloucester was originally a medieval castle that replaced the Norman castle in the twelfth century.  By the seventeenth century this castle was being used as the gaol, but it had fallen into a serious state of disrepair, and in 1797 it was demolished to be replaced by the new county gaol. During Edward’s time in gaol it appears he fathered a girl named Ann or Nancy with Elizabeth Parker. The child was born in Castle Gaol, Gloucester, however a search has not found any record for the birth in the gaol3.


On the 23rd March, 1787, Edward was ordered to Portsmouth for the “Prince of Wales” with Betty Mason and Elizabeth Parker who had her daughter Ann (/Nancy, an infant) with her. They would have had to travel about 190km from Gloucester to Portsmouth, most likely in a caged cart and held overnight in various goals along the way.


Edward was received on the "Friendship” on the 10th April, 1787; his occupation was given as house carpenter, age 22. He was just over 5ft 6ins tall, of dark complexion, with hazel eyes and light brown hair. On the same day Elizabeth Parker with her daughter was received on the “Friendship” and was recorded as Elizabeth Pugh in Ralph Clark’s Journal. However no record has been found of a marriage between Edward and Elizabeth or any record of the birth of the girl3..


Edward must have behaved himself on the voyage out as he does not get a mention in the journal of Ralph Clark who also travelled on the “Friendship”.


Just 13 days after the women came ashore in the new colony, Elizabeth Parker died on the 19th February, 17886 leaving her daughter Ann. She was buried as Elizabeth Pue and was recorded as the first white woman to die in the new colony. Also on board the “Friendship” from Rio to the Cape of Good Hope (Table Bay) was Hannah Smith7, and her infant son William who died on the 5th June 17886.


On the 15th June, 17886 Edward Pugh married Hannah Smith. They were marries at St Phillips Church by Rev Richard Johnson, the marriage was witness by Richard Morgan who was in Gloucester Goal with Edward and Samiel (Samuel) Barnes who was the assistant of Rev Richard Johnson and arrived with him and his wife on the “Golden Grove”.


June was not a good month for the couple as Hannah’s son William who arrived with her on the "Lady Penrhyn" died on the 5th June 17886.Two weeks later the 30th June, 17886 Ann the infant child of Elizabeth Parker/Pugh who arrived on the “Charlotte” died; her death was recorded as Ann Pue6.


Edward and Hannah went on to have five children of their own: they were David born 17896, Simon born 17916, Edward born 17946, Harriet born 17966 and Charlotte born 17996.


The two girls and Simon all grew to be adults, they married or had a partnership, what happened to David and Edward is still a mystery. There are indications in some reports where a number of male children born of convicts changed their surname to hide the fact they were convict children as their brother Simon did. He used his mother’s maiden name of Smith for a number of years until while travelling to Tasmania around aged over 30 he returned to using Pugh. 


At Christmas time 1788 Edward and Hannah’s house was robbed of a pound of flour by Michael Dennison, who in turn was convicted for his crime of stealing and received 150 lashes8.


Edward came off sentence in July, 1891 and was given a land grant of 70 acres in August at the foot of Prospect Hill. In December Captain Watkin Tench, on an inspection of the area of Prospect, noted that Edward Pugh had 2 ½ acres under cultivation but that the soil in this area was “but indifferent”, and that water was very scarce8.


Edward must have abandoned working his land grant as he joined the NSW Rum Corp in 1800 and stayed there until 1810. It appears though that he returned to his land after his time in the Rum Corp, as in 1814 he was described as a landholder in the Parramatta area.


Edward joined the NSW Corps in January 1800 and his first day on the payroll of the Army was the 29thJanuary 1800 and was paid 2 shillings & 1½ pence for 3 days to the end of the month then they were paid once a month on the 24th and Edward received 1 pound 4 shilling for his first month9


When he first joined up he was in Captain John McArthur’s company then served under different Captains, he was in Captain Grosser’s company in June 1805, Captain Lewis’s company June 1808. Edward was not listed in the 25th December 1809 to 24th February 1810 military muster book so you would have to assume he was discharged prior to the 25th December 18099. However no date was found.


Edward then had several working locations and jobs. In 1820 he was working for a Mr Withers, and in the 1822 Muster book it shows “Edward Pugh, Free B S, Friendship, occupation Fiddler at Windsor”. He was the only person listed in the 1822 muster book as a Fiddler. He served in the “Endeavour” schooner in 1824, and in 1828 he was working as a labourer for Henry Seymour, surgeon, in Richmond.


Edward died in Windsor District Hospital on 30th November 18376 and was buried at St Matthews, Windsor. He was buried as a pauper and information about the burial of paupers is they were buried down the back corner area where there are no headstones of the cemetery at St Matthews, Windsor. In November 2015 the family descendants group installed a headstone for Edward and the FFF attached their First Fleet plaque to the headstone.  


The names of Edward and Hannah Pugh are however displayed in a memorial of sorts: where they had their land grant at Prospect was assigned the name Pemulwuy on the 30th January, 2004 and a new suburb with a modern housing estate was established. A number of the streets have been named after the first fleet holders of the land grants in the area, there is an Edward Drive, Pugh Street, and Hannah Way.


Ray Keating

June 2014

1.     Shropshire Archives, fiche 148, P25.

2.     Shropshire Archives, copy of church register.

3.     Sue Stafford, Upton St Leonards Gloucester researcher with other documents from paid search.

4.     St Marys Gloucester parish churches history web site

5.     Calender of prisoners in Castle Goal 10/1/1786 and copy of page from a newspaper “Journal” 11/10/1784.

6.     NSW BD&M Certificates and Transcripts.

7.     Ralph Clarks journal

8.     Colonial Secretary Correspondence.

9.     The National Archives, England, War records; WO 12-9900 to WO12-9905



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