Scrivener – Bishop – Brownrigg Families

James “Simon” Scrivener (1815-1845) and Mary Ann Scrivener (nee Bishop) (1814-1907)
and second husband, William Brownrigg (1811-1875)

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The Coat of Arms of the Scrivener Family. Ipswich in Suffolk

James Simon Scrivener, known as Simon, and Mary Ann Bishop were my g.g. grandparents they arrived together at Launceston, Tasmania on 6 March 1840. They departed London/Gravesend on 2 October 1839 with 60 passengers travelling aboard the 297-ton barque “Thomas Lawrie”. The boat had been built in 1825 and made several trips to Australia. The Commander for the 1840 voyage was Captain W.P. Price.

Simon was listed as a passenger with Mary Ann recorded as an Indentured Servant for the Van Diemen’s Land Company. Possibly they met and got to know each other aboard ship.

Simon had previously visited Van Diemen’s Land, he is listed as a passenger aboard the Thomas Lawrie when it arrived at Launceston on the 21 May 1838 (Report in the Tasmanian Hobart newspaper on 25 May 1838). Mary Ann Bishop is not shown as a passenger. 

On the voyage, at least eight horses are reported as being carried, three of whom died during the trip. Six were the property of Dr Edmund Wilmore (with one of these dying on the voyage). Dr Wilmore had in 1847 purchased a property at Longford, Tasmania which he named “Kinlet” (after a horse). His intent was to establish a high-class horse stud with the horses imported on the “Thomas Lawrie” being the foundation of the stud., Simon may have been travelling as the carer for Dr Wilmore’s horses.  One of these horses coming on the “Thomas Lawrie” was later owned by Simon, he advertising it for sale in 1845.

Mary Ann’s obituary stated that Simon and Mary had been resident at “Kinlet” for two years but Mary Ann is unlikely, and Simon only for a short period for he soon returned to England, again emigrating in 1840 and travelling for the second time aboard the Thomas Lawrie.

Soon after arrival at Launceston, on 5 March 1840, Simon and Mary Ann were married at the Longford Church of England on 5 May 1840, Simon a bachelor and Mary Ann Bishop a spinster (aged 25 and 26 respectively).

On arrival in 1840, Simon and Mary Ann moved to Perth, Tasmania where they rented a property and commenced a business under the name of “Queen’s Head Inn”, which included providing service to coaches travelling between Hobart and Launceston.

Simon soon purchased a block of land fronting onto the highway and built a substantial brick premises, commencing it in February 1845, and opening for business in July 1845. The name of “Queen’s Head Inn” was transferred to the new premises. The choice of name may have been influenced by the name of the inn beside his father’s business at Ipswich, England, named the “King’s Head Inn”. The “Queen’s Head Inn” still continues.

Simon was not long at the “Queen’s Head Inn” dying there on 18 November 1845 at the young age of 29 years. His cause of death is recorded as dropsy and was buried in the Perth St. Andrew’s Church of England cemetery where other family members were later interred in the family plot. For many years there was no headstone but eventually, one was erected by a granddaughter, Leila Kate Smith (nee Badcock).

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The Scrivener Family Headstone at the Perth Church of England Cemetery
Other family members are buried there but names not included on the headstone.
Inscription: Sacred to the Memory of James Simon Scrivener Who Departed this Life, November 14th 1845, Aged 29 Years, Leaving his Wife and Three Children to Lament his Loss. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Four children were born to Simon and Mary Ann-

  • Jane Orbell Scrivener (a twin), born 26 February 1842, died 18 April 1842
  • Mary Jane Scrivener (a twin), born 26 February 1842, died 16 June 1928
    • married John Collins and had 12 children.
  • Susan Ann Scrivener, born 30 July 1843, died 18 October 1923
    • married William Badcock and had 12 children. 
  • Jane Elizabeth Scrivener, born 22 October 1845, died 10 November 1938
    • single

The Scrivener Name – Origins

Wikipedia records: A Scrivener (or scribe) was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material.

Earlier Family Members  

James Simon Scrivener was born on 24 January 1815, the second son and child of James Scrivener (1789-1841) and Jane (nee Orbell) Scrivener (1790-1816). He had two siblings Henry Simon Scrivener (1813-1821) and a sister, Jane Scrivener (1816-1850). Both remained single.

All three children were baptised on the same day, 15 December 1816 in the Tacket Street, Ipswich Independent Chapel. The church record states that their mother Jane was deceased. 

James Scrivener (1789-1841) married again on 11 February 1818 to Elizabeth Trigg (1797-1851) and they had eight children – John Trigg (b. 1818), Elizabeth (1820), Frederick (1824), Fanny (1826), Alfred (1829), Harriett (1831), Henry (1835) and Edwin (1838).  James’ family home was at King Street, Ipswich with the children from both marriages being reared there. James is described as an ironmonger.

James Scrivener, the father of emigrant James Simon Scrivener, was born 9 January 1789 in Suffolk and was baptised 10 days later in St. Peter’s Church of England, Ipswich the son of Johnathan and Jane (nee Curtis) Scrivener. Johnathan’s occupation is given as maltster.

The Scrivener family can be traced back to 1320. In a history of the family published in the East Anglian Miscellany in 1929, it notes the family line in the neighbourhood of Framlingham, but soon migrated to Ipswich and parishes in the locality, where the name persisted from the 14th. century.

In earlier days the Scrivener blood was enriched, and the family fortunes enhanced by marriages with the heiresses of knightly families. But as time went on the Scriveners seemed have lost the power of acquiring well-dowered wives and their estates shrank as the generations multiplied.    

Mary Ann Bishop

Mary’s family has not been positively identified. Her obituary noted she was a native of Wiltshire, England and at death her age was given as 93 years, giving a birth date of 1814.

Two Mary Ann Bishop births for 1814 at Wiltshire have been found with the one most likely being the child of George and Betty (nee Brown) Bishop. She was baptised at St. Denys Church, Warminster with her father being an ironmonger. The children located to the family were Mary Ann (b.1814), Caroline (b.1816), Sarah (b.1819 and Maria (b.1821)

The other Mary Ann Bishop was born late 1813, baptised 1814 and married in Wiltshire in 1835 to William Shipton. She died at Malmesbury on 22 May 1839.

The George Bishop family were subject to a Removal Order on 28 March 1826, transferring from Bradford in Wiltshire to St. Philip, Gloucester, Gloucestershire. These Orders were part of the Poor Law system and when assistance was needed a family was transferred back to the Parish from where the bread winner originated, with help to be provided from there.

The use of the name of George by descendants may also indicate a connection to this family. A granddaughter of George Bishop, Mary Ann Collins (nee Scrivener) named her first child George Simon Scrivener Collins, an apparent use of family names. Susan Badcock (nee Scrivener) also a granddaughter of George Bishop, incorporated the name of George as a second name when naming her child, Melvyn George Badcock. This family appear to have generally used family names for second names when naming their children.

Mary Ann is remembered as being dark skinned, with a granddaughter Leila Kate Smith (nee Badcock) who could remember her, saying “she was half black”. This dark skin colouring to varying degrees is still evident in a number of descendants.

Mary Ann’s Obituary which appeared in the Examiner Launceston newspaper on Friday 22 November 1907 records much of her life’s activities.

PERTH – One of the oldest residents of the town of Perth passed away on Tuesday evening in the person of Mrs. Mary Ann Brownrigg, a resident of 67 years, also a colonist of 69 years’ standing. She was twice married, her first husband being Mr. James Simon Scrivener, of Ipswich, England. The deceased was a native of Wiltshire, and with her husband arrived in Tasmania in 1838 in a ship called the Thomas Lowery(sic) the voyage out taking six months. Launceston was not much of a place then. The deceased with her husband resided at Kinnlet (sic) for two years, coming to Perth in February 1840, to reside. Mr Scrivener died in 1845 leaving his wife, with three children, to mourn for him.

Some time after the widow married the late Mr. Wm. Brownrigg, Superintendent of Police, and resided at the Government station, remaining there until it was broken up, thence moving on to the town. She was assistant teacher in the public school to the late Mr. John Clemons in 1860, he being the first schoolmaster in the new building erected by the Government and also held the position of postmistress in the nineties, under the State Government. The deceased was one of the only three members of the Baptist denomination (the other two the late Mrs. Wm Gibson, Native Point and the late Mr. David Thomas) when the late Mr. William Gibson erected the first Baptist Church on Perth, over 40 years ago. Her second husband predeceased her 32 years ago. The deceased retained all her faculties up to the last, passing away after a long and painful illness at a ripe old age, leaving one son and three daughters (two of whom are married) and also a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren to mourn their loss.

Change of Direction

Simon’s untimely death was the catalyst for change forced by family circumstances. At that time their children were very young, Mary Ann 3 years and 9 months, Susan 2 years and 4 months, Jane Elizabeth one month. The business at the new premises had just commenced and carried much debt.

Initially, Mary Ann attempted to continue the business but after 12 months leased it out to Fred Houghton, but he did not prosper. By the early year 1849 scheduled repayments and interest due had fallen into arrears and the mortgagee, James Scott, a surveyor of Launceston, took action to sell the property and chattels. The sale was scheduled for 16 April 1849.

Thirteen months after the death of Simon, on 17 December 1846 Mary Ann married William Brownrigg (1811-1875) who at the time was Superintendent of Police at Perth. William was the eldest son of Samuel Brownrigg of Wicklow, County Carlow, Ireland. Their residence initially was at the Government Old Station at Perth from where convicts in the area were allotted their work duties. William later operated as a butcher.

They had two children-

  • Samuel James Brownrigg, born 13 October 1847, died 28 August 1849 (due to scalding).
  • William Bishop Brownrigg, born 25 September 1849, died 30 November 1931. He never married but had a son Walter Guy Morton.

When  the Old Convict Station was closed down they moved into Perth taking up residence at the Leather Bottle Inn where the family lived for many years. 

Mary Ann in 1860 is noted as an assistant teacher at the new Perth State school and later commenced her own school, which eventually was taken over by her daughter Jane. 

In February 1885 she was appointed postmistress, money order, and Saving Bank agent at Perth and continued in this position until the 1890s. She operated from the “Leather Bottle Inn”. 

Mary Ann (nee Bishop), Scrivener, Brownrigg (1814-1907)

Family stories relate that Mary Ann, at one time so as to provide an income, took a position as a domestic servant (scrubbing floors) at the William Gibson “Native Point” property which adjoined Perth. It is probably there that Mary Ann started her involvement with the Baptist Church denomination, influenced by the Gibson family who were very active in the Baptist denomination. They were financially well off, and financed or partly financed the building of 13 Baptist churches across northern Tasmania, including both churches at Perth.


After a short service led by the local Baptist minister at Mary Ann’s residence, she was laid to rest in the Scrivener family plot at St. Andrew’s, Perth, burial ground, with the committal service being officiated by the Rev. Charles Arthur the Longford Church of England minister.

Written by Ivan Badcock – 5 June 2021

1 thought on “Scrivener – Bishop – Brownrigg Families

  1. Mike


    There is another potential hit for Mary Ann Bishop. She was baptised in Bradford, Wiltshire, in 1816 to John and Elizabeth Bishop. John was a weaver. Mary Ann’s siblings were Sarah, Jane, James, Catherine and possibly George. The family later became non-conformists. She had left home by 1841 but I haven’t found a local marriage for her.

    Although the birth year doesn’t quite match the age at death, she could’ve been baptised late, or more likely the age at death is wrong – they so frequently are as they are reported by next-of-kin or a neighbour. Might be worth looking into further.

    All the best,


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