Talk on Horncastle's 19th century convict

The terrible tale of a poor Horncastle woman who was transported to Australia will be the subject of a fascinating talk next week.

A 19 th century engraving of a female convict for transportation.
A 19 th century engraving of a female convict for transportation.

Horncastle History and Heritage Society (HHHS) has announced that their next talk will be given by their chairman Dr Ian Marshman on the life and crimes of Maria Carter.

In 1816, Maria was a nurse maid aged 21 and living in Horncastle with her husband, a labourer named John.

At the time, Horncastle was a bustling market town, growing rich on the proceeds of the new canal.

However, crime was rife and the town had no police force, and Maria was hauled before the courts accused of the minor charge of stealing a pair of breaches (valued at tenpence) from another labourer.

She was found guilty and sentenced to transportation to Australia.

But this was only the beginning of her fascinating and sorry story, as she crossed the globe to a strange new world and her life changed forever.

Unlike most poor women in Horncastle’s history who have left little trace of the lives, Maria’s is well recorded, and her story offers a glimpse into how England and her Empire treated men and women like her that they saw as a criminal class.

The meeting will be held at Horncastle Community Centre, located on Manor House Street, Horncastle on Wednesday (July 20) at 7:45pm, doors open at 7.30pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend with admission to HHHS members priced at £2, and non-members £4.