Henry Goucher the Horse Thief

Henry Goucher was tried at the Old Bailey in London on 14th January 1811 charged with Horse Stealing.

Henry was accused of stealing a Gelding value £80 together with a saddle, two bridles, a Chaise harness and two halters valued in total at a further £9.6s.0d. It was claimed that on 18th December 1810 Henry broke into the stables of a firm of coachmakers that he had formerly worked for. He stole the horse and equipment which he hid in a local livery stables where he had previously rented two stalls. The value of Henry’s theft at current prices would be about £3,300.

The evidence against Henry was fairly overwhelming and he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Henry was sent to Newgate prison to await execution.

However in the spring of 1811 Henry’s sentence was commuted to transportation for life, as:

"… His Royal Highness The Prince Regent has …. been graciously pleased to extend his Royal Mercy unto (him) upon condition of being transported to the Coast of New South Wales, for and during the terms against (his name)."

Henry was transported on the Guildford, which left London on 3rd September 1811 and arrived 137 days later on 18th January 1812 in Sydney. The ship left with 200 men and arrived with 199, not bad as there was no surgeon on board. The master of the ship was Magnas Johnson.

There is very little subsequent information on Henry after he arrived in Australia. There is no marriage or death of any Henry Goucher in NSW records up until 1888. But Colonial records show that:

On 4th October 1813 he was sent up to Newcastle with other prisoners on the Estramina;
On 8th January 1814 he repeated the journey, so he must have been returned to Sydney at some point;
On 4th April 1814 he was sent to the Derwent on the Windam;
On 16th April 1820 he was sent back to Newcastle on the Elizabeth Henrietta;
No further information on Henry after this date has been found.

At his trial Henry was said to be 35 years old. When the police searched Henry’s lodgings they found certain incriminating evidence and there is mention of his wife, or as one witness said "a woman there that answered to his name". Unfortunately there is no mention of the name of this woman or the address of the lodgings

We have not been able to establish the identity of Henry and link him to an existing family tree. If you have any information which might help please email me at