Jane Langley was born at Holborn Lying-in-Hospital in London on 16th September 1761, the daughter of Elizabeth & Edward Langley  This was a maternity hospital for distressed, poor, married women only.  It was maintained by private subscriptions, so anyone subscribing five pounds a year had the right to recommend three patients a year. Jane's mother, Elizabeth, was recommended by Lady G.Sackville, and it is thought that her father Edward may have been an employee of Lord Sackville


We don't know anything of Jane's early life in London but we know that she worked as an apprentice tambour worker, one who embroidered fabric on a small circular embroidery frame called a tambour.  It is not known who paid for Jane's apprenticeship but it is assumed that she was a clean tidy girl because dirty fingers and clothes wouldn't have resulted in the standard of embroidery sought for this luxury trade. It was intricate work, used for decorating veils, shawls, bonnets, handkerchiefs etc.


Artificial light was not available back then so daylight was necessary for fine work.  Working hours were from 12 hours in winter to 16 hrs in summer to take advantage of the light.  Research from the Broderers Guild of London told of a way to gain extra light.  This was done by surrounding a large bowl of water with candles to gain good bright reflection.

Now we come to why Jane was transported, in other words, the crime.


On the 29th July 1785 Jane was returning to her home in Blackhorse Yard at 10pm on the night of the alleged crime. The district where she lived was where the Craft Guilds were located and not far from The Tower of London.  She was charged with stealing 5pounds 5 shillings and 9 shillings and sixpence, the property of one Robert Robinson.

Statement from Robert Robinson:  ‘I was going home and I met the prisoner Langley in Nightingale Lane and she asked me to go home with her.  Accordingly I returned and she took me to Mary Finn's in Blackhorse Yard and I set down in the house for five minutes.  I felt something in my pockets and I jumped up and felt in my pocket and missed my money.  I was not in any way disguised in liquor.  I had the money after I went in not five minutes before.  I had it in my hand.  They ran out of the door and a man who stood in the doorway before I was robbed tripped up my heels and set his feet on my breast as I was going out.’


Jane's statement, as quoted from her defence:  ‘I served two years to my business.  I had been to carry some work home.  Coming along a man met me; he took hold of me; I said I was going home; he said he had been robbed in this place, I do not know by whom; he had been knocking on several people’s doors; he followed me home; I stopped and got me a halfpenny candle and I went and unlocked my door.


‘This man followed me in.  He sat down on a box that stood beside my bedside; I told him, says I, I will be very much obliged to you to go out of my house, I want to go to bed.  He asked me for a bit of candle and I locked my door and went to bed.  He never took me up till Monday and when I asked him what for, he said he had been robbed and whether it was me or not, he would make me pay for it.’


Jane was described as ‘a very remarkable woman indeed; a quite black complexioned woman and her hair grows over her forehead all rough; a tall girl with very curly hair’.  Jane is also in the records as ‘having saved a few things around her and being tidy’.  She was tried with her friend Mary Finn at the Old Bailey on 14th September 1785.


As it turned out, Robinson had been at a nearby Inn and was intoxicated.  He had lost his money and was banging on doors.  He then saw Jane and her friend Mary Finn and blamed them for taking his money.  The girls protested their innocence and produced witnesses, whom the judge refused to believe.  They were found guilty and sentenced to be transported.

Jane was marked out of Newgate Prison for transportation on 1st January 1787 and was with the first group of 56 women to be sent on the 6th January 1787 for embarkation on the Lady Penrhyn which had been tied up in the Thames from late December 1786, taking on convicts until she sailed on 13th May 1787


Jane was not, however, listed as on board the ship by Surgeon Bowes Smyth at departure.  She did not appear on the ship's log until 23rd October at the Cape of Good Hope, when she gave birth to a daughter, Henrietta.  Although, at first glance it was thought that, according to Bowes Smyth, only boys were born at the Cape, it has since been established, that all babies born on board ship, were listed under the father's name.  He did not list Henrietta, but he did list a baby Phillip.  The baby’s father's name was Phillip Scriven, a seaman on the vessel.


Phillip Scriven, being a member of the crew of the East India Company, had to return with the ship.  He went missing from Sydney Cove for about a week before the ship sailed and was found by two sailors in a search party, about eight miles from the settlement.  He had fallen in with a party of natives, who had stripped him and pelted him with stones.  He was found in a swamp, up to his neck, and lay there concealed among the rushes as he was sure the natives were going to murder him.  It was said of him that he was a very good man and his searchers were delighted to find him.

The next we hear of Phillip Scriven is when the ship departed Sydney.  The surgeon’s diary stated that Scriven was so debilitated he could not get out of his hammock and he was fearful of not reaching Oteheite, Tahiti. He was only able to have some soup and could eat nothing else.  It is thought that he died at sea as no further records of him have been found.


There is no more information about Jane’s life in Sydney Cove until she was sent, with Henrietta, to Norfolk Island to help relieve the shortage of food in Sydney Town and also help to farm on Norfolk.  She was on board the ill-fated Sirius which was wrecked on the reef on 19th March 1790.


The women and children were left at Cascade Bay because the weather was too bad to land them at the Landing Place.  I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for them.  Henrietta was 2 ½ years old and they had to find their way across the island through very rugged country.  The personal diary of Lieutenant Ralph Clarke states:  ‘The Town from Cascade is between 4 & 5 miles, a very bad road...before we got into the road we had a terrible high hill to get up, almost perpendicular.  The country is much thicker of wood than Port can hardly get through the wood it is so thick.  The women who had young children, told me that they had been obliged to sleep in the woods for they could not get to Town.... poor devils’


With the sinking of the Sirius food became very scarce.  They salvaged what they could, but also lost many supplies. Their food supply was supplemented by a migratory sea bird, the Mount Pitt petrel.  They killed and ate about 200 000 of them, thus saving their lives but also wiping out the colonies of birds.


Now to my second First Fleeter, Thomas Chipp


Thomas was a marine in His Majesty's Service since at least 1780.  He was also a Soldier, Farmer, Police Constable and Baker.  On his discharge papers from 102nd Regiment in 1821, at age 67, it states that Devizes, Wiltshire, is his place of birth in 1754, but no records have been found.  Little is known of his life before the First Fleet.  His service records state that he was in the marines for 16 years, and had travelled extensively as a member of the crew of the Warwick and other vessels.  We do know he was a baker by trade.


Thomas joined the First Fleet with the 42nd Company. under Captain Lieutenant Watkin Tench on Friendship.  It was, apparently, a great honour for the marines rather than the army to accompany the First Fleet to NSW.  At the end of his marine service, Thomas took the option of becoming a settler on Norfolk Island and left Port Jackson on the Atlantic on 26th October 1791.  

Thomas Chipp and Jane Langley were married on 5th November 1791, blessed by Rev. Richard Johnson who had also travelled on the same ship as Thomas.  No records have been found, but it is said that Rev. Johnson married many couples in the few days he was on the island.  Their marriage date is recorded in the book, Norfolk Island 1788-1813, The People and Their Families by James Donohoe.


It would seem that Thomas and Jane had been friends at Port Jackson and maybe he was influential in moving her to Norfolk Island.  This, no doubt would be the main reason for Thomas following Jane there and becoming a marine settler.  Thomas was granted 60 acres of land at Cascade Stream, Phillipsburg, Norfolk Island, on 28th November 1791 for 14 years.  The land here was in two sections and was the first land grant he received.


Jane and Thomas's first child, Robert Thomas was born on Norfolk Island on 1st November 1792.  Sadly, he only lived a few days and died on 23rd November 1792.  He was buried on their property as no official burial ground had been established.  Ann was born a year later in Nov 1793.  In October 1793 Thomas & Jane had 7 acres cultivated and were selling grain to stores.  Export and import was impossible due to lack of shipping and there was much ill will between the NSW Corps and the Marine Settlers, so many of them left the island.


Thomas sold his farm to Stephen Martin and returned to Sydney on the Daedalus in Nov 1794.  He immediately enlisted as a private in Colonel Francis Grose's Company, NSW Corps of Foot on 27th Nov 1794 and served in the Corps for eight years, finally taking his discharge in December1802.


After their return to Sydney, Jane and Thomas had five more children, four girls and a boy. Sadly this son, William, died, age 16, in 1814.  There is no information on his death.  On 4th June 1804, Thomas received a land grant of 100 acres at Bankstown and by 1806 as a settler he was supporting himself, his wife, and seven children, employing one man on his farm, Chipps Farm, on the Georges River.


Other land grants followed:  In August 1807 Thomas advertised his Georges River land for sale.  On the premises at the time was ‘a good shingled dwelling house, barn and other requisites’.  A grant of 100 acres of land was recorded in 1809 being in Mulgoa but the deed was never made out.

On 1st January 1810 a grant of 100 acres at Upper Minto was recorded. However the land grants made in 1809 by the Rum Rebellion Government were declared illegal. When Governor Macquarie arrived he instructed that land grants made during this time were to be cancelled, but could be re-granted to deserving persons.  Thomas surrendered his Upper Minto land on 22nd January 1810 and was re-granted it on 11th April 1811.


Various records indicate other milestones in the life of Thomas Chipp.  In 1811 he was appointed as a constable at Sydney Town and in the 1814 Muster he was still a constable.  In an 1822 document Thomas was listed as a baker in Pitt St Sydney and he was still there in the 1828 Census.  On the 18th February1823 he was recommended as an out pensioner of Chelsea Hospital, because of his long service.  At some stage of his service, his arm was injured and he was left severely handicapped.


Jane died in February 1836 aged 74.  Her profession on her death certificate was shown as a tailor and at the time of her death she and Thomas still had a baker’s shop in Pitt St.  Jane was buried at Devonshire St Cemetery.  No headstone remained to be transferred later to Botany.  Thomas died in 1842 aged 88 and is buried in St Johns Cemetery Parramatta.  No headstone remains.


The Chipp-Langley family history book referred to above contains over 11500 descendants with the database being added to all the time.  Included are some well-known people: HENRY BOYLE was a cricketer with the first eleven to England and the founder of the Silly Mid On fielding position.  SYDNEY LONG, artist, was part of the Julian Ashton School and a trustee of the NSW Art Gallery from 1933 to 1949.  JACK THOMPSON, jockey, in his long career was four times leading apprentice and five times leading senior jockey. He rode over 3000 winners.  GORDON RORKE, a controversial fast bowler, had a unique style of delivery which led to the introduction of the front foot law. He played for NSW in 1957 & 1958 and was also in the Australian test team in the late 1950s..


FFF 7793 Delma Burns, whose ancestry traces back to Sophia Chipp, the 6th child and mother of twenty children.

She notes: This information comes from family members who have done a great deal of research over the years and have written a very large, detailed book, now out of print.  There are reference copies at First Fleet House, the State Library and Liverpool Library. The title is A New Beginning. The Story of Three First Fleeters and their Descendants.  The three people are Jane Langley, Thomas Chipp and Henrietta Fletcher, because Henrietta was also a First Fleeter, having been born on the voyage.


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