Catalogue description Prisoner name: Thomas Mears, alias Thomas Tyler, William Price, and William Wills....

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Details of HO 17/5/117
Reference: HO 17/5/117

Prisoner name: Thomas Mears, alias Thomas Tyler, William Price, and William Wills.

Prisoner age: Mears aged 29 years, Price aged 30 years and Wills aged 46 years.

Court and date of trial: Kent Summer Assizes August 1838.

Crime: Rioting, treason and murder on 31 May 1838 at Bossenden [Kent] when Nicholas Mears and Lieutenant Bennett, soldier in the 45th Regiment of Infantry, were shot by John Nichols Thom alias Sir William Courtenay.

Initial sentence: Mears and Wills: transportation for life. Price: 10 years transportation.

Gaoler's report: Characters supposed to be good.

Annotated: Nil.

Petitioner(s): The prisoners undersigned by 23 others. 16 people of Boughton [Kent] (relatives of men who were shot in the disturbances) undersigned by 48 others from Boughton. 173 people from Faversham [Kent], including the mayor. 130 people from Canterbury [Kent], including the mayor (two copies). Seven relatives of Thomas Mears from Faversham on behalf of Thomas Mears (two copies). Eight relatives of Thomas Mears from Faversham, undersigned by 45 others including jurors on behalf of Thomas Mears. The Bishop of Tasmania on behalf of Thomas Mears. John Dean. William Bennett (father of murdered soldier).

Grounds for clemency: The prisoners were duped by a 'maniac' John Thom who claimed to be the messiah; the prisoners had no murderous or political intentions, and committed no robbery, nor damage to property; they shed no blood themselves and were not guilty of high treason; others involved in the disturbances were all given more lenient sentences; previous good character.

Other papers: A letter from J G Shepherd stating that lives would be at risk if the men were to be released back into the neighbourhood. Covering letter from P Plumpton forwarding one of the petitions. A note to 'see case of John Jones GX 27'.

Additional Information: Prisoners held on board the hulk Fortitude. Prisoners sent to Van Diemens Land.

Date: 1838 Aug; 1848 Dec
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: AZ 1
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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