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John Hallett

(1796 - 1857)

John Hallett was born to John and Mary Hallett (nee Bradford) and baptised at Kingsbury Episcopi parish church on 19 September 1796, he was the fourth of eight children.

John's mother died at the age of 46 when he was 14 years old. His father did not remarry again until John was 22 and probably living away from the family home.

Although not married, John had a long term relationship with Sarah Male, also of Kingsbury. John was the father of her children who, although christened as Male, were thereafter referred to as Hallett. The first child Thomas, was born in 1820 and was the subject of a bastardy order, which mentions John Hallett.

It is known that John had worked as a shoemaker probably with his father and uncle Samuel Bradford. This however was not his only source of income as will become apparent.

John and Sarah had a further child named John. He was christened as John Male on 17 February 1821

In November 1821 John was involved in a theft. He was caught attempting to steal from two of his relatives, tried, found guilty and sentenced to 18 months hard labour. The following is a transcript of the 1822 court record.

JOHN HALLETT the younger accused of stealing privately in the stable of Job Bradford and William Bradford at Kingsbury Episcopi on 30th November last One Saddle and 40 shillings of goods - their property.
Found guilty and sentenced to 18 months hard labour

The following entries were found in the records of Ilchester Gaol, suggesting it was there that John had served his time. If his original sentence had been served in full, John would have been released in September 1823; he was in prison again in October 1824.


Surname Forenames Date Age Born Last Abode
Hallett John 30 Mar 1822 24 Kingsbury Kingsbury
Hallett John 16 Oct 1824 26 Kingsbury  


Lavinia Male, the third and final child of Sarah Male and John Hallett was baptised in Kingsbury Episcopi on 31 July 1825.

On 9th December 1824, John was involved in a further theft, evidenced by the following court record transcript.

The jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath present that JOHN HALLETT late of the parish of Muchelney in the County Of Somerset, labourer,

on the 9th day of December in the fifth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the fourth by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the faith about the hour of two in the night of the same day with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid in the dwelling house of THOMAS SAWTELL there situate feloniously and burglariously did break and enter with intent the goods and chattels of the said Thomas Sawtell in the same dwellinghouse then and there being

and there feloniously and burglariously to steal take and carry away and then there with force and arms one cask of the value of five shillings, four gallons of elder wine of the value of four shillings and two hundred pounds weight of cheese of the value of six pounds of the goods and ohattels of the said Thomas Sawtell in the same dwellinghouse then and there being found then and there feloniously and burglariously did steal take and carry away against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.

(Signed and sealed by 11 people giving evidence)
Elizabeth Sawtell, Thomas Sawtell, John Watt, Thomas Best , John Small, Thomas Duck, Robert Manning, William Evans, John Webber, John Palmer, George Glover.

From the Minute Book 1825 Lent:
John Hallett - attempted burglary - death, Reprieved - 14 years.

If all dates and descriptions are accepted, John had obviously become an habitual thief. His final theft for which he was to be sentenced to death, was made less than two months after leaving gaol for a previous offence. As with many death sentences of this time, the sentence was commuted to transportation.

His details were recorded in the Ilchester Gaol as follows:


Surname Forenames Date Age Born Last Abode
Hallett John 31 Mar 1825 26 Kingsbury Bleydon Kingsbury
Hallett John 16 Oct 1824 26 Kingsbury  


31st March 1825
John Hallett, age 26, height 5ft 8in, Dark complexion, brown hair, scar on forehead over left eye, cut on left cheek, cheek stork mark, born Kingsbury, Trade -shoemaker, last place of abode - Bleydon near Kingsbury, single, transported 14 years.

John was transported to Australia, leaving Portsmouth on "The Marquis of Hastings" on 22nd August 1825; he arrived in Sydney on 3rd January 1826.

John married Eliza Forester on 20 September 1836 in Paterson, New South Wales, Australia. They went on to have the following children:

1837 Ann Hallett
1841 Mary A Hallett
1842 William Bradford Hallett
1843 George Hallett
1845 Francis Hallett


John was bequeathed the sum of £10 in a will, executed following the death of his uncle, Samuel Bradford in 1841. The relevant extract from the will is as follows:

And I give and bequeath unto my nephew John Hallett who is now in New South Wales the sum of Ten pounds and if he shall die before making a demand on my Executors for the said Ten pounds then I give and bequeath the said Ten pounds unto the three children of Sarah Male of Bladon in the said Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi which are called Thomas Hallett, John Hallett and Lavenia Hallett equally between share and share alike.

The fact that John used Bradford as the middle name of a child born a year after Samuel died suggests he received the money.

John died 14 Jan 1857, "of intemperance" in Paterson, New South Wales, Australia and was buried 16 Jan 1857 in Paterson.

There is a strong suggestion that John's life had been significantly moulded by an addiction to alcohol at a young age.

Much of the above information was provided by Geoff Hallett who lives in Canada and has researched the Hallett family in great detail. Significant contributions to Geoff's research on John Hallett's [ 1796 ] descendants have been made by Bob and Lynette Stunell of Adelaide, Australia and Bert Hallett of Kurri Kurri, NSW, Australia.

A separate page is available crediting sources of information with links to original documentation where available.