Black Sheep Search Swing Riots and Rioters
    Black Sheep SearchSwing Riots and Rioters

Welcome to my website


I have been interested in convict research and transportation since I was at school and was told by my aunt that two members of my father’s family, brothers, had been transported to Australia for sheep stealing. Once free they had made their fortune and returned to the Isle of Wight to share their good fortune with their family, but were turned away by her grandmother, a devout member of her local Baptist Chapel. Needless to say despite extensive research I have so far failed to find any evidence to confirm this story, but I have maintained my interest in convict research and this has led to my particular interest in the 1830 Swing Riots, Convict Prison Hulks, Juvenile Convicts and the Bermuda Convict Establishment.


I have been researching the Swing Riots of 1830-1831 for over 40 years. I am interested in the riots and the people involved, both the rioters and those whose machine were broken, and whose corn and hay ricks were burnt. During this time I have collected a lot of information, and I have been lucky enough to make contact with a number of people who are related to those involved, and they have been kind enough to share their research with me. As far as I am aware I do not have a Swing Rioter among my ancestors, the nearest I can come are ancestors who lived in Bibury, Gloucestershire, when machines were broken there. I have now published a number of books covering some, but not yet all, of the counties where the riots took place. The counties covered are – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset. Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, and Wiltshire. Unfortunately a number of these books are now out of print, although some are available to Download. The Downloads, and the books still in print are available from: -


I am now offering a Machine Breakers Search Service on Genfair, which means if you are just interested in a particular person who was involved in the Swing Riots I can now provide a printout of all the information I have on that person.



Although I began researching the riots before 1980 it was not until 1990 that the first county volume, covering Hampshire, was published. It was almost the size of a telephone directory and very heavy to post! The books published since then have been A5 in size but can still be rather heavy when it comes to posting them. 


Although not published yet I do have a lot of information for Huntingdon, and Oxfordshire, and quite a bit on the rioters from Sussex, Suffolk and Norfolk, and I hope to get round to publishing volumes covering all these counties eventually.


It was my research into the Swing Riots that led to an interest in the transportation of convicts to Australia, particularly juveniles. I started by transcribing the Hulk Register, held at The National Archives, for the Bellerophon and the Euryalus, where many of the boys were held prior to transportation. I have now completed this work and the results can now be found on


The Convict Hulk Registers have been available on  for some time now, and as a subscriber to Ancestry, I was delighted to see this addition to their collection, but disappointed when I discovered that many of the Swing Rioters who I knew had been held on board the York before being transported had been index on board the Hardy. I did report this mistake as soon as I noticed it, but to date it has not been corrected. It is because of this that I transcribed the Hulk Registers for the Hardy, which can now also be found on Findmypast together with the Captivity & Discovery


When I found that two of the Swing Rioters from Kent were transported to Bermuda, rather than Australia I became interested in the Convict Establishment in Bermuda, which was in place from 1824 to 1863 and the Hulk Registers for the Antelope, DromedaryCoromandel and Weymouth found at The National Archives in HO7/3,  have also been added to Findmypast .

I hope you are able to find something useful in the pages that follow. I would love to hear from you if you are connected in any way to one of the Swing Rioters, or someone whose property was attacked during the riots, one of the boys held on board the Bellerophon, Euryalus  or in Parkhurst Prison or you have an ancestor who was sent to Bermuda, and I look forward to hearing from you if I can be of any help.


This site is still under development, and due to other commitments I have been unable to add to it for some time, but hopefully will have more time over the next few month to put this right, so please call back again if you do not find what you are looking for on your first visit.

Good hunting.


Please Note that many of the illustrations used on these pages are Copyright and have been reprodued under Licence. They should not be reproduced without the permission of the Copyright owner.


Site updated last on 7 February 2024


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© Jill Chambers