Francis Kingshott (1831-1900) and Mary Ann White (1834 – 1911) – convicts children to settlers.

Francis was born on the 16th February 1831 in Greatham, Hampshire, England. Francis was the youngest son of John and Mary Kingshott of Greatham. Francis was one of seven children to John and Mary.  His siblings were, William Kingshott b. 1820, Mary Ann Kingshott b. 1823, Hannah Kingshott b. 1825, John Kingshott b. 1825, James Kingshott born and died 1829 and Ellen Kingshott b. 1837. Of the children all would be born in Greatham England except for Ellen who was born in New Norfolk, Tasmania.

Francis wouldn’t get to know his father until he was quite a bit older. His mother Mary was pregnant with him at the time that his father was arrested and by December of 1830 taken out of the home to jail. In November of 1830 the Headley Workhouse Riots would take place in Hampshire in England. HIs father John Kingshott or ‘machine-breaker John’ as would also be called had had a leading role in the riots. This would result in John being shipped as a convict to Van Dieman’s land. (Tasmania).

An English home; grey twilight poured, on dewy pastures, dewy trees. Softer than sleep, all things in order stored; A haunt of ancient peace.  Tennyson.

Francis was the baby of the family for some five odd years before he and his family joined their father in Van Diemans Land. Francis mother Mary must have been a stalwart character for she kept the family together in England without her husband present or contributing to  their income and managed to keep them intact until they themselves sailed and joined John in what must have seemed the furthers place on the earth. On the 13th June 1835, four year old Francis and his four siblings and mother clambered onto the barque ‘Hector’ from Woolwich in England and set sail to be reunited with John in far off Hobart Town.  They made good headway and landed on the 20th October 1835.

Tragically for the whole family Mary and John would only be together again as a family for a mere handful of years before Mary died in 1839. Francis was only eight years old and his youngest sibling, Ellen, only two. At the age of 14 Francis was admitted ‘on charity’ to the New Norfolk Colonial Hospital in August with contusio. Contusio being a term that referred to bruising/crushing injuries.  Likely something had happened that was bad enough for Francis to be admitted to the hospital for about a week. On the 6th October 1855 at the age of 24 Francis married 21 year old Mary Ann White another New Norfolk local at the Wesleyan Chapel in New Norfolk. Given that both of them signed the register with an X as ‘their mark’ it is reasonable to believe that neither of them could read or write, certainly at that time.


Mary Ann herself produced a smaller brood with Francis.

Jane Ann Morgan Kingshott b. 1854, John William Kingshott b. 1857, Caroline Kingshott b. 1859, Sophia Kingshott b. 1865, David Benjamin Kingshott b. 1866, George Francis Kingshott b. 1868, William Henry Kingshott b. 1874, Ernest Kingshott who born and died in 1875 and finally Amy Louisa Kingshott in 1880.

Francis and Mary Ann carried on crop farming and are recorded as doing so on records from 1866.  They remained in the Lachlan River area of New Norfolk.  Their property was at Swamp Gum Hill.

They were farming hops which were introduced to the area in 1846 and must have done reasonably well at it.  The hop harvest lasted about five weeks and in their day the tender vines grew along slender saplings as opposed to string vines.  All the picking was done by hand and the goal was to pick as many bushels per day as one could.  The work was laborious and energy intensive. Francis introduced all of his children to hop picking in the paddocks from a young age. His son William went onto pick for many years into his own older years.

Hop picking in New Norfolk 1888
Hop Picking at New Norfolk

The area where the Kingshott’s were living was Lachlan, New Norfolk, Tasmania.  At this time the main industry providing employment was agriculture including orchards, vegetables, dairy and timber. The boom industry was hops. The land was arable and with a good supply of water. Easy transport was provided by use of the river for carting by boat or over land to Hobart town 32 kilometres away. During the 1860’s when the industry was at it’s height the Kingshott family were growing hops as their main cash crop.

The Bush Inn Hotel
The Bush Inn

Initially New Norfolk which it’s residents had first called The Hill’s was put forward as a capital for Tasmania however this was vetoed in preference of Hobart.  St Matthews Anglican Church in the Back River area was established in 1825. This was the Kingshott families church for many generations. The Bush Inn also opened in 1825 and became the central meeting point for the men of the district. The railway came to New Norfolk during Francis and Mary’s lives in 1887. This now connected Hobart and New Norfolk to each other by steam train. Times changed a great deal in Francis and Mary Ann’s time.  Fashion changed, the world order changed. The children of convicts became old themselves and the old European order gave way to a new century of hopeful Australians. It was in 1900 that Francis died, aged 70.

Worths Australian fashion styles 1900
Worths Australian fashion styles 1900

KINGSHOTT.-On Thursday, February 8, at his late residence, Lachlan, Francis Kingshott, after a long and painful illness, aged 70 years. Saturday 17 February 1900 – reported in the Tasmanina Mercury newspaper

Eleven years later in 1911 the Hobart Mercury reported the death of Mary Ann.

The early winter usually sees the departure of a number of old residents and the chronicle of New Norfolk’s early days are fast diminishing. During this month the following old residents have departed: – John Brown, aged 98; John Tremayne 103, and the following who were born in this district – Mrs. Louisa Denholm 80; George East 67; and Mrs Mary Ann Kingshott, aged 75 – five residents, averaging over 84 years each.

Once probate was complete Mary left the following in her will.  The majority of her estate went to her son George Francis Kingshott.  Jane Ann (who was recorded as Kingshott (her daughter) was permitted to remain in the family homestead for the remainder of her life and to be ‘kept and clothed’; Rowland Kingshott (grandson) was given property use and left 5 pound. John William Kingshott was not mentioned in the will.  Caroline Kingshott was not mentioned in the will.  Sophia Kingshott inherited 5 pound from her mothers will.  David Benjamin Kingshott was not mentioned in the will.  William Henry Kingshott was only mentioned in the will insomuch as ‘ 2 acres he had conveyed to his mother’ and this went to George Francis Kingshott. Amy Louisa Kingshott inherited a home and a quarter of an acre of land on which the home stood which was on part of the 40 acre property.

It would appear that George Francis Kingshott did not marry as he left his entire estate upon his death in 1925 to his sister Amy Louisa Kingshott and then to be divided among her children upon her death.

Mary Ann Kingshott 1911 death

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