Patrick Langton, the Rebel

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Patrick Langton (c.1770-1823)

Patrick Langton was a native of Queen's County, Ireland. 

Patrick was convicted in Queen's County in April 1801 and sentenced to transportation for life. He was transported to New South Wales on the ship Rolla, arriving in Sydney on 12 May 1803..

If people received life sentences they were paroled on a "ticket of leave" usually sometime between 8 and 12 years after commencing their sentences, and later they could apply for a Conditional Pardon or an Absolute Pardon (this writer is not sure of the criteria). However it is thought that it was always conditional on never returning to England or Ireland.

Patrick is named in the Register of Conditional Pardons. The month was difficult to read but the date seems to be "31 Jany 1820" which is presumed to be January. Many other pardons were granted on the same day. This register states he came on the "Rolla" in 1804; although this date is incorrect, it helps to confirm that the entry in the Register is for this particular person. The Register includes spaces for inclusion of native place, trade or calling, offence, height, complexion, hair & eye colour but none of these is recorded. It says only that he had been convicted in Queens County in April 1801 and given a life sentence.

The State Records Office of New South Wales has indexed much of the contents of significant official correspondence in the early years of the colony and in 1823 there was a letter from a farmer in Van Dieman's Land to the Colonial Secretary in Sydney accusing two men, including one Patrick Langton, of stealing cattle.

In the early 19th century, the islands of Van Dieman's Land and Norfolk Island were administered from Sydney and were regarded as part of New South Wales. Van Dieman's land became a separate colony in 1825 and became an independent state under the name Tasmania in 1856.

In the early years, both Van Dieman's Land and Norfolk Island tended to receive the more difficult convicts - more so Norfolk Island but convicts regarded Van Dieman's Land as a more extreme exile than the Sydney area where they otherwise worked in the early years. It would be a safe guess that Patrick didn't end up in Van Dieman's Land for being well behaved.

In the convict era, occasional "musters" were held; these were like roll calls, and developed into an early form of census and later included free settlers. Musters were held in Van Dieman's Land in 1811 but Patrick could not be found listed there. However he is listed in two musters, in 1820 and 1821 (it was not usual to hold two musters so close together, or if it was, few records remain, so this is unusual). The musters were held in two settlements in Van Dieman's Land : Hobart Town (now the city of Hobart) and Port Dalrymple (the original coastal settlement has been replaced by a larger city up the river, this is the modern city of Launceston).

In the Muster of Population (convicts and free settlers) in Port Dalrymple on 15 November 1820, Patrick Langton is listed. It states that he came "from England" (at that time Ireland was part of the U.K. and the official forms often referred to it all as "England") on the ship "Rolla" (so we can be certain it is the same Patrick Langton). His master's name had been Cummings. It says he was tried in 1799 in "Marybone" or similar which is incorrect, and that he had a life sentence. So much fits that it has to be the same Patrick. It should be remembered that this was written almost 20 years later and Patrick may have been as rebellious as ever and not willing to help the census master by adding information the census master didn't know already.

As he ended up in Van Dieman's Land and as it took about 17 years for him to be given a Conditional Pardon, Patrick could well be described as a "rebel". It would be interesting to know the offence for which he was sentenced in Ireland - would be a safe bet that it was something befitting a spirited rebel.

The 1820 muster shows that another Irishman (named Edward Hylands who had been tried in Dublin) was also transported on the "Rolla" and worked for Cummings; so it could be guessed Patrick shared a lot with this man. In the muster records, everyone was listed as "on the stores" or "off the stores" which I think described whether they were living off the government supplies. Patrick was "off the stores", in other words, self supporting.

The muster also names three Langton children : Ann aged 2 years, Jane aged one month and John aged 3 years (the writing was difficult to read and I think the third child was named John, but I could not be certain). His wife could not be found in the muster even though many of the women were listed and their husbands' names entered in the "remarks" column.

Another muster was undertaken in Port Dalrymple in 1821. Patrick Langton, whose master had been Cummings, is listed as having been tried in 1801 in Queen's County Ireland and given a life sentence. He is again described as "off the stores".

Bridget Judge, of Naas, who had been transported on the ship "Catherine" in 1813 with a seven year sentence is noted as "married to Patrick Langton".  However under listing of children, only two Langtons are found : Mary age 5 and Ann age 3. (the reference to Ann fits with the previous muster but there is no obvious explanation for the other discrepancies, except see below re baby Jane).

The ship "Catherine" arrived in Sydney on 3 May 1814. The ships records show that Bridget Judge of Co. Kildare was tried in March 1813 and sentenced to 7 years. Her calling was "country work" and she was aged 20 when the ship arrived in Sydney.

Although Van Dieman's Land was part of New South Wales until 1825, all the records appear to be now lodged in Tasmania. According to the records, Patrick Langton married Bridget Judge in 1819 and the marriage was registered in Launceston. The registration number was 348 and the RGD reference number was 36.

Two christenings were found and, rather pretentiously, the records are partly in Latin. Anna Langton's christening was registered in Hobart in 1822 (registration no 1309, RGD no. 32) father's name recorded as "Patritis" and mother's name as "Judge Brigida".

Patritius Langton's christening was registered in Hobart in 1823 (regn. no. 1503, RGD no 32). (obviously a child named Patrick)

Not all christenings were registered and not all births recorded. Anna whose christening was recorded in 1822 may be the child Ann who was recorded as age 2 in 1820 and age 3 in 1821 and she may not have been christened until age 4 or the christening may have happened earlier but not registered until she was 4. Or maybe it is a different child.

In the Tasmanian death records, Patrick Langton, age 53, is recorded as buried on 31 December 1823, with the burial registered in Launceston registration no 774 and RGD no. 34,

Another Patrick Langton, age 23, died in Hobart on 5 May 1847, death registered in 1847, regn. no. 1467, RGD no 35. This is consistent with the expected age of the child whose christening was noted above.

Another Patrick, age 3, father Patrick and mother "unknown Bridget", was buried on 11 March 1821. Burial registered 1821 in Launceston, regn. no. 542 & RGD no. 34. This appears to be an earlier child of theirs who died in infancy. If his age is correct, he may have been born prior to their marriage.

Jane Langton, age 0, father Patrick and mother "unknown Bridget" (i.e. maiden name unknown), was buried on 8 December 1820. The burial was registered in Launceston in 1820, registration number 464 and RGD number 34. This would be the child who was aged one month in the 15 November 1820 muster noted above.

A John Langton, age 35 died at Westbury on 31 December 1856. Registered in 1857, regn. no. 778 RGD no. 35. The right age to be a child of Patrick's. There was a John listed above as age 3 in the 1820 muster; could possibly be him with an error in age or maybe not.

For the sake of completeness, the other Langton deaths in Tasmania in those years are noted :

Records of marriages were reviewed to see if any of the Langton children could have married. Only two Langton marriages noted apart from Patrick and Bridget's own marriage:

John Langton age 33 married Mary Ann Hooley age 37 on 18 October 1863. registered at Longford, regn. no 576 RGD no. 37. This John would have been born in 1830 after Patrick's death.

Mary Langton married Henry White at Launceston on 21 September 1836. regn. no. 3437 RGD no. 36. No ages were listed but this could be Patrick and Bridget's child Mary, and it occurred at Launceston, supporting the link.

In a search for other death records that might be of interest, Mary Ann White died 7 April 1892 at the age of 72. regn no 1192 RGD no 35.  It would be a good guess that this is Patrick's daughter. Certificates issued after the mid 1850s are likely to contain good information so it could be worth getting her death certificate and seeing what is on it. If any of Patrick's offspring continued to live in Tasmania, it seems most likely that it was through this line.

Victoria is the nearest mainland state for Tasmanians and it is usually their destination if they leave Tasmania. In the Victorian Pioneers Index, can be found a record that Bridget Langton, daughter of Andrew Judge, died in Victoria in 1860 at the age of 64, registration no. 1860/8647. The certificate shows that Bridget Langton, age 64 years, daughter of Andrew Judge (occupation described as "labourer"), died on 5 August 1860 in the Benevolent Asylum, Portland, Victoria. She had lived in Victoria for 14 years. The death certificate contains no information about marriage or children, indicating that the Asylum had no knowledge of any family.

Additional information :

On the internet, at is an Index of Names for people receiving cart licences in the Launceston District, 1826-1830 and it includes Bridget Langton whose residence stated to be "Springs". Obviously she needed to support herself after Patrick's death at the end of 1823.

The site includes correspondence to the colonial secretary:

LANGTON, Patrick. Resident of Paterson's Plains, Van Diemen's Land

1823 May

Accused of stealing cattle (Fiche 3289; 4/7015.1A pp.5-6)

The document on the microfiche is very difficult to read and would not reproduce well. It is a letter from a landholder stating that he went to Patrick Langton's house and saw him and his wife and children at the dinner table with a some pounds of beef on the table and he saw someone else there (a convict on leave) also eating beef and he (the landholder) was missing a heifer. He asked the colonial secretary to take some action about it. This was in May 1823. It is not known what happened next, but Patrick died at the end of that year, perhaps just coincidence.

Also the web-site tells where Pattersons Plains was :

ST LEONARDS: This is now a suburb of Launceston on the eastern side of the North Esk River. First opened up in 1806 for pasture it was named Pattersons Plains. In 1866, it was proclaimed a town and named after Lord St Leonards.

Another reference in NSW State Records may also be worth looking at :

LANGTON, Bridget

1824 May 14

On return of orders for land to be measured in Van Diemen's Land from 14 Mar to 13 May 1824 (Reel 6017; 4/5782 p.40)

This would have been just some months after Patrick's death. It would seem Bridget's name is included in a list of land holders.

Patrick Langton, the rebel.
He would have been an interesting person.