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Bloodsworth, Sarah (1770–1843)

Sarah Bellamy (1770-1843), a servant, was found guilty on 9 July 1785 at Worcester, England, of stealing a purse and money (totalling £16.5s.6. and promissory notes worth £15.5s.6d) from her employer, a local weaver. Sentenced to seven years transportation, she remained at Worcester Gaol, and embarked for New South Wales on the Lady Penrhyn in January 1778, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. Bellamy had a son, Joseph, on the ship towards the end of the voyage. Joseph Downey, a seaman on the ship, was the father. The infant died in late February 1788.

During the night of 1 August 1789 a drunken Captain James Meredith attempted to force his way through a window of the hut Bellamy shared with a child at Port Jackson. James Keltie who, equally drunk, was supporting Meredith's legs as he tried to wriggle his body through the window later said that Meredith 'did not want to sleep with her, he only wished to sleep on the hearth stone if she would let him in', and tried to persuade Meredith to leave. Meredith persisted however, caught hold of Bellamy, pulled her by the hair and beat her, telling her that 'I will have my Revenge on you, I would no mind killing you than I would Flying in the Air'. He continued to beat her through the window. Bellamy's shouts attracted the night watchman and Meredith ordered her to be taken to be taken to the guard house. Bellamy was asked at the court hearing if she had been persuaded to make an accusation against Meredith; she replied that she 'resolved in her own breath to do it, that she was determined not to put up with such unmerited treatment from Captain Meredith or anyone else'. The charge against her was dismissed.

By 1790 Bellamy was living with James Bloodsworth. They were to have eight children, four dying in infancy. The children were registered under the surname Bellamy but married under the surname Bloodworth. She received a 20 acre grant of land in December 1794, in the same area as James Bloodsworth. Her youngest child was only two-years-old when Bloodsworth died, insolvent, in 1805. Bellamy, as sole executrix paid off debts of £350; Governor King secured her house in South Street by putting it in the name of her fourteen-year-old son James. She rented her kitchen and an adjoining room to Jeremiah Cavanaugh in return for his teaching her youngest children, George (b.1796), Ann (b.1798) and Elizabeth (b.1802) to read. In 1828 she lived in her daughter Elizabeth’s house and worked as a washerwoman for Sarah Burgis.

As Sarah Bloodsworth she died on 24 February 1843 at the home of her daughter Elizabeth Carver at Lane Cove; her age was given as 73. 

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989)
  • Madge Gibson, Belbroughton to Botany Bay (1987)

Citation details

'Bloodsworth, Sarah (1770–1843)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/bloodsworth-sarah-24919/text33469, accessed 31 October 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bellamy, Sarah
  • Bloodworth, Sarah
  • Belaney, Sarah
  • Belamy, Sarah
  • Bellamey, Sarah
Birth

1770
Worcestershire, England

Death

24 February 1843
Lane Cove, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

unknown

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