'A Rogue and a Vagabond'                                 

Elizabeth Tamplin 1793-1866

(nee Glithero, alias Frisby)                                                        

Paternal great great grandmother of Horace Leopold Hurley

Glitheros and Riddles

Elizabeth Glithero was baptised at the parish church of St. Michael and All Angels, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire on August 4th 1793. Her mother was Hannah Glithero (nee Riddle) but a father’s name does not appear in the register. Hannah (b 16/3/ 1755) married Robert Glithero (b 7/10/1749) in December 1776. They had three children before Elizabeth’s birth: Thomas (1777), Jeremiah (1779) and Susannah (1781) but we can’t be sure if Robert was Elizabeth’s father. He may have died before 1793 but there is a lack of death records for this period. 

The Church of St. Michael's and All Angels, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire, where Elizabeth Glithero was baptised in 1793. Photo: Euan McGillivray 2007.                                                                          

Elizabeth the 'incorrigible' convict

Elizabeth came to Australia as a convict, her crime being she was 'an incorrigible rogue and a vagabond', in other words she was homeless. She was tried at the Northampton Quarter Sessions on October 22nd 1818, and sentenced to 7 years transportation.

The court records state:

'Whereas Elizabeth Glithero was, at Thomas A Becket Sessions, 1815 adjudged an incorrigible Rogue, having twice before been convicted of being a Rogue and a Vagabond, and at the same sessions was ordered to be transported for seven years but His Majesty was afterwards graciously pleased to grant her His Pardon for said Crime on Condition of her being imprisoned in the Gaol of this County for two years. And whereas the said Elizabeth Glithero hath again been convicted of being a Rogue and a Vagabond since her release from Gaol, she is therefore hereby adjudged to be an incorrigible Rogue and ordered to be transported for the term of Seven Years.'

The Northampton Mercury of October 24th 1818 reported she had been …… 'At our Quarter Sessions, which commenced on Thursday last, Elizabeth Frisby, alias Glithero, convicted as a vagabond, in wandering abroad and lodging in the open air in the parish of Great Oakley, and not giving a good account of herself, was sentenced to be transported for seven years.'

The Sessions House in Northampton where Elizabeth was brought for her Quarter Sessions trial in 1815 and 1818. Source: Northamptonshire County Council                                                                                             

Why was she homeless?

How did Elizabeth come to be homeless? Her mother was about 38 when Elizabeth was born and there is no record of the father, so she may have been orphaned young and for whatever reason not had the support of her older siblings. A researcher in England says Elizabeth was evicted from her house after her parents died because the landlord wanted the house for himself. However an IGI record has been found of Elizabeth Glithero age 17 marrying John King on June 19th 1810 at Wansford/Thornhaugh, a little further north from Great Oakley. There is also a record of the birth of John Glithero King in Yarwell (also near Wansford) in 1817, mother: Elizabeth. If this is our Elizabeth, what happened to the husband and child? In the early 19th century homelessness and unemployment was common as poorer families were split up and uprooted in the search for work. The alternative was the dreaded workhouse. Whatever the reason for Elizabeth’s homelessness it seems she was determined to avoid this fate.

Transportation and pregnancy 

Elizabeth’s convict record describes her as Elizabeth Frisby, a servant aged 26 years with an alias 'Glithero' (also Clitherow). She was transported to New South Wales on the convict ship Lord Wellington which left England with the ship Janus for Ireland in1819 before setting out for Australia on July 7th. The Lord Wellington then traveled to Rio de Janiero leaving there on October 22nd and finally arrived in Sydney Cove on January 20th 1820. According to the Reverend Samuel Marsden at Paramatta, in a letter to the Convict Ship Committee: 

'I could not have concieved that any ship could have been fitted up so as to have afforded accommodation to the unfortunate female exiles as the Wellington was. The women had not that low, viscious, squalid, dirty look that the women of former periods have had when they arrived. I trust that now they are landed, many of them will behave well in the colony.'

On January 27th the convicts were disembarked for the Paramatta Female Factory. Elizabeth may have then been assigned as a servant to a settler.  Seven months later Elizabeth was sent to Hobart on the Princess Charlotte. Elizabeth was pregnant. Assigned convicts who became pregnant would be dismissed from their service and there was also a shortage of females in Van Dieman’s Land. The Princess Charlotte ship left Sydney on August 22nd 1820 but had to return on August 30th due to bad weather. They departed once more on September 3rd and arrived in Hobart on September 6th.


The Princess Charlotte that brought Elizabeth from Sydney to Van Dieman’s Land in 1820. Source: Nick Vine Hall Collection                                                                                                                  

'With Tamplin' in Van Dieman’s Land

Soon after her arrival in Hobart Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, naming her Elizabeth Frisby (this child was to become Elizabeth Gubby, and later Quinn). Where she had the baby and stayed on arrival is not known - the Hobart Female Factory was not built until 1822. By 1821 Elizabeth was listed on the Muster Roll as 'with Tamplin, Bagdad’*.  John Tamplin was a carpenter, farmer and ex-convict who had been granted land at the Blackbrush, Bagdad and Elizabeth was probably assigned to him as his servant. Soon they were living as a couple and produced seven children all bearing John’s name Tamplin (often spelt Tampling): John b1822, James b1824, Jane b c1826, Hannah b1828, William b1830, Sarah b1832, and Eliza b1834.

Drawing of School House and Church at the Blackbrush, 1859 by Mary Morton Allport Source: State Library of Tasmania

However Elizabeth did not marry John until 1858. On the marriage license John is described as a widower aged 93 and Elizabeth a spinster aged 65. In February 1860 John Tamplin died at the age of 94 years. Why did they wait so long to marry? Maybe John had a wife in England and therefore could not marry until news of her death.

IMG 4892

Part of Tamplin's Block looking toward Jordan River, Broadmarsh/Bagdad area Tasmania. Photo: Euan McGillivray 2012                                                                                                                           

Rejoining her children in Ceres

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth left Tasmania to join many of her children who had previously settled in the Geelong area of Victoria. A few years before, in 1854, her daughter Elizabeth had bought land at Ceres, a village just outside Geelong in the Barabool Hills. Elizabeth senior lived there in a cottage on the Barabool Road with her daughter who had been a widow since 1851. Neither of the women could read nor write but the younger Elizabeth was a renowned midwife and also earned a living as a dressmaker.


Ceres in 1861 when Elizabeth Glithero and her daughter Elizabeth Quinn lived there. Source: stampboards.com                                                                                                                          

On March 12th 1866, Elizabeth died at Ceres and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Anglican section of the Highton cemetery. Her death certificate says she was 80 years old (she was really 73), and the cause of death was 'old age and general debility'. Her daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter Elizabeth McMurtery, who were victims of typhoid (called 'colonial fever') and both died in the same year as Elizabeth senior. They were buried with her.

A great achievement

Elizabeth Tamplin’s story illustrates how convict women were often victims of unfortunate circumstances, that being 'a rogue and a vagabond' was not a lifestyle choice. Given the opportunities of a better environment they could become responsible citizens, wives and mothers. Elizabeth began adulthood as a destitute and homeless woman, survived English gaols, the long voyage to Australia, and the tough life of a convict and an early settler. By the end of her life she had achieved a long and stable marriage and reared eight children.


*John Tamplin was transported for larceny and arrived in Australia in1812. After completing his 7-year sentence, he was granted 30 acres under Governor Macquarie in 1821 and another 43 acres in 1842 in the district known as The Blackbrush. This land was part of a large region originally the home of the Mumirimina people and had been stolen by Europeans and occupied for farming from the early 1800s. Wars against the aboriginal people had continued through the 1820s until by January 1832 total dispossession was complete. 

Click here to continue to Elizabeth Frisby and Patrick Quinn’s story