39 responses to “The Convict Hulks of Bermuda”

  1. Prof Bernard de Neumann

    Do you have any evidence of penal colonies, and in particular, prison hulks, in the Cape Colony?

  2. jason

    A good friend is an expert on convict hulks in Bermuda…

    One of this articles.

    Google “Chris Addams”


  3. Peter Selley

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    The medical records of the patients in the Bermuda Royal Naval Hospital 1824-1848 from National Archives have been scanned and are available and searchable on Ancestry (by name and year only). Almost all the records concern ill convicts. (Paradoxically the records are under Tax Criminal Land and Wills / UK Royal Naval Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Search under ‘B’ and Bermuda Royal Naval Hospital rather than the name of the hulk). For instance there was a nasty epidemic of Yellow Fever in October 1837 with a very high mortality rate. For each patient there is his name, age, hulk (if appropriate), diagnosis and outcome as well as extensive clinical information.

  4. Phil Barber

    Thanks for your article and guidance into Bermuda research by your contributors.

    The convict ship Merchantman called to Bermuda 10 Oct 1862 to pick up 192 convicts to be transferred to Swan River Colony Western Australia.

    Names of convicts, sentence place and date including a number of court martial’s from Bermuda can be found on Ancestry under Australian Convict Transfer Registers 1791 – 1868, slides 240 to 251.

    More information on the voyage can be found on the perthdps website Convicts to Australia and search for the ship Merchantman.

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  8. Barb

    Hello I am researching a female who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1846. She said her husband was transported to Bermuda on the “Scotia” where can I find more details of this please?

    Thank you for your very interesting article as the above was the first time I’ve come across Bermuda as a place for transportation.

  9. Barb

    Thank you Clare, indeed they are on Find My Past. I’ve long had an interest in crime and punishment and find it fascinating to look at records. I have an appointment in a few weeks with a doctor at the archives at Lancaster Castle.

    Thank you for the information on the Scotia. So the ships would sail from England then lay in the harbour with the men living on board, just going off to do their labours. How and when did they make it back to England? Transportation really is an interesting subject which I’ve only been researching a short while but my eyes have sure been opened!

  10. Max Double

    Thank you for the most useful background to help fill in my understanding of my great grandfather’s time 1840-1850 incarcerated on Bermuda.

    Max Double

  11. Jim Phillips

    Thank you for an excellent site. I am an historian of criminal justice history in Canada. Transportation plays only a small role in that history, but it was used in the 1820s and 1830s for people sentenced to death and pardoned, as a condition of pardon, and the convict destination was Bermuda. The British government stopped the practice in 1835. Is there a set of records devoted specifically to transportation from British North America to Bermuda? From what I’ve been able to gather so far the convicts were shipped from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in naval vessels (Halifax was the principal naval base on the North American east coast). Convicts convicted in Nova Scotia went to Bermuda, and so did a few convicted in Lower Canada (now Quebec). I haven’t found any evidence yet of convicts from Upper Canada or New Brunswick going to Bermuda.

    Jim Phillips

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  13. joy munns

    Hi Clare, my gr gr grandfather was convicted in Ireland in January 1847 and sentenced to 10 years transportation. He was sent to Bermuda on board the “Bangalore”. In April 1849 he was put on board the “Neptune” ( along with hundreds of other Irish convicts) and sent to Cape of Good Hope to finish his sentence. The Cape, however, would not accept the convicts, and after many months at anchor in the harbour there, the “Neptune” was sent to Tasmania, where all the convicts were given a Conditional Pardon. The arrived in Hobart April 1850. They spent 12 months on board the “Neptune”. The Home Office in London decided they did not have to complete their original sentences.
    Great site for info on Bermuda.

  14. Jeannette Edgar

    Hi my ancestor Manuel Jacinto apparently from the Azores then a prisoner a Trinidad was a convict on the Coriomandel ship transporterd to Hobart Australia in 1838. I notice you mentioned limestone blindness. Interestingly a discription from the ships Records of him said he had something wrong with his eyes. He married my great great great grandmother but sadly drowned in Sydney NSW Australia maybe his poor eyes contributed to him drowning.

  15. Julie Webb

    Hi Clare

    My ancestor Henry Harris was convicted and sent to Bermuda on the Hulks. He was a second offender years later and then sent to Australia where I come in. Can you advise how I can find out which hulk he was on or what records to search, thank you

  16. Christine Yeats

    Dear Clare

    Has there been a study of convicts sent to NSW who had been previously transported to Bermuda?


  17. Christine Yeats

    Dear Clare

    Thank you very much for your response and for your Blog ‘The Convict Hulks of Bermuda’. It is most informative. My interest is in the handful of convicts transported to NSW who, having returned to the UK following transportation to Bermuda, re-offended and were transported to NSW. I was wondering if anyone has looked at this group in more detail.

    Many thanks for the figures on the convicts transferred to VDL (Tasmania) and WA from Bermuda. I had located the list of the 191 convicts transported to WA on the ‘Merchantman’ in 1863 but I don’t have anything about the 136 sent to WA around the same time. Do you know more about them?

    Best wishes


  18. Christine Yeats

    Hi Clare thank you for letting me know that the second group of convicts sent from Bermuda in 1863 were sent to England and not WA. Christine

  19. Jim Gale

    What a wonderful post. Do yo have any information on which ships were used as the hulks?

  20. Emily

    Hi Clare,

    I was wondering if you have idea where I could find records for where a convict went once his sentence was up? He was transported for life on the Medway, and would have arrived in Bermuda in 1848, but I have no idea where to find details on his sentence from there (whether it was commuted etc).


  21. Caroline Ryan

    Hi Clare,
    I am trying to find out what happened to a Patrick Costello sentenced to Transportation for life and went aboard the Bride ship May 1851
    From Ireland to Bermuda. There are no records of him in Australia so I wonder where I would find convicts who died in Bermuda?
    Would appreciate any help.

  22. Angela Linnell

    I am very interested in this as I am researching a RICHARD DOWELL b 1816 in Ratcliffe Culey, Leics. I knew he was transported and spent years trying to find him in Australia. One day I Googled just “Richard Dowell convict” and immediately found his medical record at Bermuda Royal Naval Hospital in 1845.

    I have just found the entry for his release: From Dec 1849 Quarterly Return “Disch’d by pardon for passage to to Sullivan US [I take it this is the port on the East Coast] 13 Nov 1849. I can see that others on the same page were discharged to Halifax. I would love to know why he was going to Sullivan – was he en route to England? I cannot identify him in England after 1849.

    He is not a direct ancestor but my ancestors lived very close in Barwell, Leics, in the 1800s and I think I can see a connection with his grandfather, JOSEPH DOWELL.

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