Joseph Berry and Transportation to Australia.

In March this year, Lesley Abernethy posted the following message on the Rootsweb, West Riding mailing list:

I came across this reference in the Hull Packet (newspaper) issue  2780,
Friday 16th March 1838:

'At the Spring Assizes, Joseph BERRY (23) was charged with the manslaughter of his wife Mary BERRY at Almondbury. He pleaded Guilty, and was sentenced to be transported for the term of his natural life.'

A possible candidate for the Joseph BERRY in question would appear to be the Joseph chr. 27th March 1815 at Almondbury, son of  Matthew BERRY, a clothier, of Lowerhouses, Almondbury, and his wife Martha SYKES.

Since Josephs father, Matthew, is my 3xg grandfather I decide to follow up the story and learn more about the people involved. This turned out to have complications – don't all these stories – since there were two Joseph and Mary Berry's in the parish at this time, both Josephs being cousens. The details of both these families are set out below:

Family Tree (PDF File 411 Kb)

Joseph BERRY, born about 1812

Joseph BERRY, born about 1809

Baptised: 27 Mar 1815 Almondbury Parish Church

Joseph son of Mathew Berry & Martha Sykes of Lowerhouses, clothier” (PR)

Baptised: 12 Jan 1809 at Lockwood Baptist Church (BR)

Married: Mary ??

No record has been found

Married: 24 May 1835, Almondbury Parish Church

“Joseph Berry & Mary Moss, both of Honley” (PR)

NB: This marriage is attributed to the elder Joseph because of the references to “Honley” in the record.

Children: None recorded


Before the marriage Mary had born twins, Mary and Martha. Their baptisms took place at South Crosland Church on 3 Nov 1833:

Mary (illigitimate) dau of Mary Moss of Honley Wood Bottom, spinster. Born 8 Oct 1833” (PR)

Martha (illigitimate) dau of Mary Moss of Honley Wood Bottom, spinster. Born 8 Oct 1833” (PR)

After their marriage Mary then bore another set of twins. They were baptised at South Crosland on 25 April 1836:

Sarah Ann, daughter of Joseph and Mary Berry of Honley Wood Bottom, Cloth Miller.” (PR)

Fenton, son of Joseph and Mary Berry of Honley Wood Bottom. Cloth Miller.” (PR)

Fenton died in infancy and was buried at South Crosland on 27 Dec 1836. The burial register records:

George Fenton, son of Joseph Berry of Honley Wood Bottom, age 36 weeks. (PR)

On 29 July 1837, Mary died following an attack by her husband. She was buried at South Crosland on 1 Aug 1837. The register records:

Mary, wife of Joseph Berry of Lockwood. Age 25 years”

No mention is found of either this Mary and Joseph after this time.

Prof Brian Berry, in his book “Berry Roots” associates the the burial of Mary Berry at South Crosland to this couple but the date and the abode mentioned in the register suggests to me that this is not so.

Click here for further details of the Josephs Trial and Transportation

Joseph died in New South Wales on 4 August 1842.

In the 1841 census, Mary Moss, age 8 and Sarah Ann Berry, age 6 are to be found in the Honley workhouse.

In 1851, Mary is with her uncle, Benjamin France, and his family at Lower Fold, Honley.

Sarah Ann is “in service” with Joseph Brook and his family at Upperthong. Her birthplace is given as Lockwood which does conflict her baptism record.

Return to Berry family pages


PR – Parish Register (West Yorks Archive Service, Fiche, Huddersfield Local History Library)

LM – Leeds Mercury Newspaper (West Yorks Archive Service, Film, Huddersfield Local History Library)

JC – Jill Chambers CD - Sentenced to Death & Transportation in Yorkshire 1830-1839

BR – “Berry Roots” - Prof Brian J L Berry

The case is also covered in "Foul Deeds and Suspicious deaths Around Huddersfield" by Vivien Teasdale