My Devine Ancestors

The Devine Family


It has been known for decades that Philip Devine (aka Thomas Hilton Tennant) was a convict sentenced at Chelmsford (Essex) Quarter Sessions and that he was a native of Ardleigh in Essex.

In Court on 6 March, 1786, Philip was tried for stealing “one Dowlas shirt of the value of 2 shillings one Hempen shirt of the value of 2 shillings one woman’s Scarlet cloth Cloak of the value of 5 shillings one pair of woman’s Stayes of the value of 5 shillings 2 Silver Tea Spoons of the value of 2 shillings 2 Steel Razors of the value of 6d and one linen Pillow Case of the value of 4d.” He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation. His occupation was given as currier and his age as 25 years. He was transported to Sydney Cove on Alexander.

Over recent years the British Newspaper Archives (part of the British Library) has been copying then digitising its vast newspaper collection and releasing them online here.

Recently (2021) a good friend in England took out a subscription with the British Newspaper Archives and asked if we had anything we would like him to search for. One name put forward was Philip Devine (Divine), also known as Thomas Hilton Tennant. Here are the results.

Chelmsford Chronicle – Friday 11 November 1785

Quote – Saturday Oct. 29, Thomas Hilton Tenant, alias Philip Divine, and William Hilton Tenant were committed to our goal, by Charles Matthews, esq. charged on the oath of Thomas Todd, of Ardleigh, in this county, carpenter, with having feloniously broken into his, the said Thomas Todd’s dwelling house, and stolen thereout divers goods, and wearing apparel, of the value of twenty shillings, the property of the said Thomas Todd.

The Ipswitch Journal – Friday 12 November 1785

Reported that Thomas Hilton Tennant or Philip Divine and William Hilton Tennant committed to Chelmsford gaol, charged with theft from Thomas Todd of Ardleigh, Essex

The Ipswich Journal – Saturday 11 March 1786

Quote – Richard Harris, John Mansfield, Thomas Hilton Tenant, alias Philip Divine, are to transported for 7 years. James Webb, Wm. Tunbridge, and Mary Maloney, are to be imprisoned 12 months in the house of correction in Newport. W. Tyler to be imprisoned 9 months. Elizabeth Chalkley, John Howard, Charles Bickers, Tho. Garrard, W. Hilton Tenant, Wm. Gorver, William Saunders, alias Golding, John Finch, and Richard Maishfield, are all to be imprisoned 6 months. Isaac Honeyball, convicted of an attempt to commit sodomy, 12 months imprisonment, and to stand in the pillory

Also our friend drew my attention to a release of National Archives records for Home Office Class 13 – Correspondence and Warrants, relating to convicts sent to Sydney on the website findmypast.

For Thomas Hilton Tennant (aka Philip Divine) a warrant was issued on 3 January 1787 providing for a group of convicts sentenced to transportation to Sydney, to be transferred from various hulks on the River Thames, to the ship Alexander. Included in the list was Thomas.

Other Devine information.

A number of Devine cousins have researched this family, and the following are details of five sources.


Betty E Duns – book

The family tree of Philip Devine c1761-1821 & Ann Doyle c1769-1822 and their children

Published by Betty in 1989 in Port Lincoln, South Australia

Note – In this book Betty states that Rosetta Pierson (sic) the wife of Edward Devine, son of Philip and Ann above, was the daughter of William Eggleton (arrived First Fleet ship Alexander, 1788) and Mary Dickenson (arrived First Fleet ship Lady Penryhn, 1788), this is incorrect, click here.


Jess Devine

Research by Jess was published as a Bicentennial Feature in 52 articles in the Warwick Dailey News from the middle of 1987 to February 1988. Most are about the early history of white settlement in Sydney. Known specific articles relating to the Devine family in this series are

Number 44 – 15 January 1988
Number 46 – 20 January 1988
Number 47 – 21 January 1988
No number – 27 January 1988
Number 50 – 2 February 1988
Number 51 – 9 February 1988

There could be others


Louise Wilson – book

Southwark Luck – the story of Charles Homer Martin, Ann Forrester and their children

Published by Louise in 2012 in South Melbourne, Victoria

Particular references to the Devine family as a result of Elizabeth Ann Martin 1824-1920 marrying in 1844 to Philip Devine

pages 157 – 176 – The life story of Elizabeth and Philip and some details about their children.

pages 319-320 – Devine births, deaths and marriage details


Fellowship of First Fleeters website – Philip Devine

Ann Doyle

Extract from book – The Second Fleet by Michael Flynn, Sydney, 1993, page 251

Ann Doyle (c1770-1822)

Ann Doyle and Ann Poor were sentenced to death at the Maidstone, Kent Lent Assizes of 1787 for a burglary at East Greenwich in which a pair of sheets and a bundle of clothing and linen had been stolen. On 17 April 1787 they were reprieved to transportation for seven years on 4 April 1789 Doyle, aged 18, was embarked on the Lady Juliana which sailed from the Thames on 4 June.

On 1 August 1790, eight weeks after landing, Doyle was among 194 convicts, mostly women, sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize, arriving a week later. She bore four children on the island: Sarah (1791), Rebecca (1794), Edward (1796) and Thomas (1798). A surviving baptismal record names the father of Thomas as the First Fleet Convict Philip Devine (alias Thomas Hilton Tennant) C1760-1821, tried Essex). He was probably also the father of the elder children (but no baptismal records survive to give an indication of their paternity). The couple separated some time after 1798 and before 1805, when Devine sailed for Sydney and joined the expedition to settle Port Dalrymple, Van Diemens Land. He took with him one of his sons (probable Edward), and had returned to New South Wales by 1806. Ann retained the custody of the three remaining children. She was living with a constable, William Parsons (Salamander 1791, tried Old Bailey) when they were among the settlers transferred from Norfolk Island to Van Diemens Land on the City of Edinburgh in September 1808. Three children went with them. The couple married at Hobart on 3 June 1812 and Ann died there on 6 August 1822; her burial at St Davids Cemetery, Hobart was registered on the 9th. Parsons was buried with her in June 1826.

Also see Australian Royalty website

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