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James Crofts (1794–1854)

James Crofts, a framework knitter, was found guilty on 26 March 1817 at the Leicester Assizes, of highway robbery. His death sentence was commuted to life transportation and he arrived at Sydney aboard the Lady Castlereagh in May 1818. He was described as being 33 years old, 5 feet 8¼ inches tall, with a dark sallow complexion, black to grey hair and hazel eyes.

Croft was granted a ticket of leave on 18 August 1828 and a conditional pardon on 23 September 1834. In 1820 he was sent to Newcastle to work in government employment and two years later was appointed a gaoler at Newcastle, with an annual salary of 80 pounds. He married Mary Smith on 8 April 1823 at the Church of England, Hexham, Newcastle; they had no children.  Following her death in 1841 he married Maria Brennan on 28 December 1841 at Hexham; they had five children. By 1842 his occupation was given as dealer. In 1845 he was also the licensee of a hotel in Newcastle. He was declared insolvent in 1848. In the 1850s he worked as a labourer.

James Crofts died on 23 March 1854 at Hexham, Newcastle.  His age was given as 62 and his occupation as labourer.

Citation details

'Crofts, James (1794–1854)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Croft, James

Nottinghamshire, England


23 March, 1854 (aged ~ 60)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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Passenger Ship
Convict Record

Crime: highway robbery
Sentence: death
Commuted To: life
Court: Leicestershire
Trial Date: 26 March 1817


Occupation: knitter


Children: Yes (5)