Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Laurence Butler- Ch. 10: Butler's Property in Pitt Street Sydney

The freshwater stream originating from an underground spring, that flowed into Sydney Cove, known as the Tank Stream[i]  became a dividing line between two separate residential developments in the settlement of Sydney. The Tank Stream flowed towards the Cove, between George and Pitt Street.

Tank Stream by J. Skinner Prout C. 1840's

To the west of the Tank Stream, extending along through The Rocks, were buildings to house the military and convicts, and later the hospital and worker’s cottages. To the east of the Tank Stream lay the Governor’s residence and the homes and premises of the wealthier residents and more prominent military personnel and officials. This area was designated ‘St James’. Laurence established his premises and home in this eastern part, in a street then known as Pitts Row, part of City Plan Section 37, between Bridge Street  and King Street.

Map of Sydney 1810-1823- note Tank Stream between Pitt Street and George Street emptying into Sydney Cove

Part of Bryan Thomas's  map of Sydney's principal residents 1803-1810 taken from James Meehan's Plan of Sydney 1807 and the 'Sydney Gazette' 1803-1810

All houses at that time were of simple construction: wattle and daub, or timber walls with thatched rooves which were replaced with wooden shingles.
The premises in Pitts Row/Pitt Street were described in 1848 by artist Joseph Fowles as ‘mean cottages’ [ii]  i.e. single story weatherboard cottages. Fowles made drawings of the buildings in Sydney in 1848 which he published. The buildings that were purchased by Laurence Butler were still standing in the 1848 streetscape by Fowles.


Most of the houses and buildings up until about 1820 were single story. An exception was the two story house built by Samuel Terry in 1815 on the property adjacent to Laurence Butler. Fowles explained in his annotations that ‘Old’ John Connell had lived in the house (as noted) for 49 years.’ (This was a slight exaggeration as Connell arrived in the Colony in 1801.)  Fowles did not indicate who owned the properties between John Connell’s and Samuel Terry’s in 1848. However, he did say that in 1848 John Connell shared his building with T. Laycock. Connell’s son-in-law Thomas Laycock died in 1823 and his sons came under the guardianship of their grandfather John Connell. John Connell Laycock inherited his grandfather’s property and was probably the Laycock sharing Connell’s premises in 1848. Laurence Butler’s premises were located between Connell’s and Terry’s buildings.
In the City Plan map of Section 37 [iii] dated c. 1835-39, the order of the Allotments is:
Saul Lyons Allotment No. 20, John Connell No. 21, Samuel Terry No. 22 (including Laurence Butler’s properties purchased by him  in 1809 and 1816 and sold to the Terry family  in 1833).

It is not known exactly when Laurence took up residence at Number 7 Pitt Street/Pitts Row, the advertised address for his premises from his first advertisement in the Sydney Gazette in November 1811 until his death in 1820 and his family beyond that, but Butler was established at No. 7 by 1809.

An  advertisement in the 'Sydney Gazette' Sunday 6 October, 13 October 1805 describes:
“For Sale by Private Contract, the Premises Nos. 7 and 8, Pitt’s Row; comprising a small shingled Dwelling House, floored, ceiled(?), and glazed throughout; good Stock Yard, Tan-Yard and Garden in a high state of improvement and cultivation with a Well perpetually supplied with pure Water for family use, and some choice Fruit Trees. The Tan Yard has lately been enlarged, and supplied with Tools and other apparatus for carrying on the Leather Manufactory. And in order that the Purchaser and the Colony at large may reap the Benefit of six years Experience, during which period the most ___ attention has been bestowed in adapting the different kinds of Bark(?) to the various Seasons of the Year, the Water, &c. &c. a regular Code of Instructions will be given to the purchaser for carrying on the Business in a style __ plain as to be readily understood by the weakest capacity(?). The Stock on hand at the time of the final departure to be taken at a Valuation. For further particulars enquire on the Premises.”

Preceding the above advertisement, it states:
“Claims or Demands on William Gough are desired to be presented for payment, and as he expects to leave this Colony, every Person indebted to him is requested to discharge the same before the 1st November next, as legal measures will be taken to enforce Payment of any out-standing after the above __.” [iv]

The advertiser and owner, William Gough (also spelt Goff), was a fellow Wexford rebel who lived a few miles from Ferns, and was closely associated with Laurence during the Rebellion, as they were both in Fr. John Murphy’s unit. Gough (a rebel captain) was transported on the ‘Friendship’ with Michael Hayes and Fr Dixon. In the above advertisement, Gough who had received his Absolute Pardon, stated he was leaving the Colony in November 1805, however, he failed to do so, remaining in the Colony for a further four years.

The following entries in the Old Registers are confusing:
23 June 1806 Sale of No. 7 & 8 in Pitts Row from William Gough to William Holness for ₤150 together with __ furniture stock in trade by a ___ Valuation.

 This was followed a few months later with the entry:
17 October 1806 Assignment of House and Premises No. 7 Pitts Row from Wm Holness to Wm Gough secure ₤250 at 3 months.[v]

What is meant by the second entry is uncertain. Whether the sale of one or both properties fell through, or the initial transfer was due to a debt owed by Gough to Holness which was subsequently paid, is also uncertain as Gough was still at No. 8 for the following three years.
Interestingly, in an article written by old resident Obed West, describing the residents of Pitt Street, he wrote "our next door neighbour was Mr Holdness (near the corner of Pitt Street and King Street) who, like many people had a garden in front of his cottage. Unfortunately, this was later to be the scene of his own cruel murder, at his very door. I believe the murderers were two army officers but I forget the details."

Gough was still advertising his leather products and general merchandise from No. 8 Pitt’s Row in the Sydney Gazette on 15 March 1807 (page 2):
On sale at No. 8 Pitt’s Row the residence of William Gough the undermentioned articles, etc.

Gough’s first advertisement in the Sydney Gazette was placed on 25 December 1803, where he stated:
 “William Goff, Respectfully Acquaints the Proprietors of Stock, that he will purchase OX and COW HIDES, at No 8 PITT’S ROW, and will pay the intrinsic Value, and Ready Cash for them, according to their Size and Quality. A great preference will be given to Hides of the English Breed. He requests that such as stand Indebted to him for Shoes or Leather, will be good enough to Discharge their Accounts on the close of the Old Year.”[vi]

Gough once more advertised his premises, presumably No. 8, in the Sydney Gazette, Sunday 6 November 1808:
“To be Sold by Private Contract, a valuable Premises in Lower Pitt’s Row, the Property and present Residence of Mr Gough; consisting of a roomy House neatly finished, and fit for the reception of a genteel family; a Shop long established in business. Out–houses, two abundant Wells; an excellent Garden, and a __ Tan-yard, with every necessary Implement for the Tanning Business; and any Person desirous of embarking in that way, has now an opportunity of employing a free man capable of conducting it- … the Proprietor intending shortly to leave this Colony, having His Honor the Lieutenant Governor’s Permission.” [vii]

The following entries in the Old Registers reveal that he sold No. 8 in the following February. The dates on the entries indicate that although the property was transferred by an “Article of Agreement” in 1809, the transfer was not registered until 1816:
July 20th 1816 Transfer dated 13th February 1816 between William Gough of Sydney of the one part and Barnaby Burne of Sydney of the other part witnesseth that for and in consideration of ₤280 Sterling in hand paid by the said B. Burne in manner following namely Six pounds part thereof in hand ₤100 in one month and ₤174 in 3 months He the said Will Gough hath bargained sold assigned all that House and Premises No. 8 Pitts Row Sydney with the appurtenances there unto belonging to Have and to Hold unto the said B. Burne his Heirs and assigns in case of failure to be received by Civil bill or otherwise.
Executed by the parties in the presence of Alexander McGuire.[viii]

The following Indenture reveals the original date of transfer of the above property:
(NB. No. 8 Pitts Row became No.6 Pitt Street)
Indenture dated 23rd April 1816 Between Bernard Burne (ie Barnaby) of Liverpool Settler, of the one part and Samuel Terry of Sydney of the other part. In consideration of the sum of ₤300 to be paid as in the said Indenture mentioned and also in consideration of 3/__(?) He the said Bernard Burne Hath bargained sold assigned and made over and by these presents doth bargain sell assign and make over unto the said S. Terry all that House and Premises No. 6 Pitt Street. And the plot of ground thereunto belonging with the appurtenances &c being the same premises as by articles of agreement dated 18th February 1809 was purchased by the said B. Burne of Will. Gough and therein described to be that House and premises situate No. 8 Pitts Row To Hold to the said S. Terry his Heirs &c for ever and the said S. Terry binds himself in the penal sum of ₤300 Sterling to pay or advance Goods at the Wholesale price to the amount of the said ₤300 as the Consideration Money in the said Indenture mentioned within the space of 6 months if called upon &c.
Executed in the presence of
Geo Crossley and Chas Hogsflesh  [ix]

Shortly after this transaction, Samuel Terry sold the above property to Laurence Butler, by mortgage. This document reveals that the property described as ‘No. 8 Pitts Row, now No. 6 Pitt Street’, was situated between the property of Samuel Terry and the property of Laurence Butler at No. 7:
March 15th 1817
Indenture of Assignment or Mortgage bearing date the 28th day of September 1816 and made  between Lawrence Butler of Sydney Cabinet maker of the one part and Samuel Terry of the same place Merchant of the other part after reciting as therein is contained.
It is witnessed that for the Consideration therein mentioned the said Lawrence Butler Did Bargain Sell and Assign over to the said Samuel Terry All the House and premises and the plot of ground thereunto belonging containing 35 feet in front of Pitt-street from premises in the occupation of Lawrence Butler to premises in the occupation of the said Samuel Terry and 35 feet in the rear and running a straight line from front to Rear known by the name of No. 6 To Hold to the said Samuel Terry his Heirs Exors Admors and Assigns Asscording to the Tenor of the said estate for ever. Which said Indenture contains a Proviso to make the said Agreement void and of none effect on payment by the said Lawrence Butler to the said Samuel Terry of the sum of ₤200 Sterling by Instalments on the Days and times therein mentioned and the premises immediately after such payments to be and become the property of the said Lawrence Butler and such Indenture of Assignment or Mortgage is witnessed by
Edward Eagar of Connell St Sydney Gent
George Crossley of Pitt Street also Gent and
Was registered at 12 of the Clock at Noon of the 15th March 1817 
Book A 1817 No 16  [x]

(NB Eagar and Crossley were both emancipist lawyers, who at that time were not allowed to practice law in the colony due to a dispute between the Judge Advocate Jeffrey Bent and Gov. Macquarie.)

City of Sydney Maps- Historical Atlas of Sydney- City Section Survey Plans 1833- Section 37

The following records in the NSW Government Gazettes 1833-1850, confirm the above transactions and indicates the exact locations of the properties in Pitt Street.

The first entry confirms the transfer of the Deeds for Laurence’s property to Samuel Terry:
Government Gazette NSW, Dec 1834- p884- Town Allotments
Parish of St James Section No. 37
Bounded on west by George Street, on south by King Street, on east by Pitt Street, on north by Hunter Street,
Allotments: No.21 John Connell (witness to Laurence’s will); No.22 Samuel Terry (ie. Laurence Butler’s premises) 0 Ac 3 R 16 ½ P bounded on east by Pitt Street, on north by allotment 23, on west by the stream of the tanks, on south by allotment no.21. Quit Rent £3 8s 3d. pa. Commencing 1 July 1833.” [xi]

The Gazette of 1839 then informs us that John C. Macdougall (Laurence Butler’s daughter Mary Ann Butler’s intended husband) sold the Pitt Street property to John Terry Hughes who was married to Terry’s step-daughter Esther.

“4 May 1839:
Government Gazette NSW , 1839:
Court of Claims- Claims for Deeds of Lands and Town Allotments:
Case No. 399
Rosetta Terry of Sydney, widow, by her Attornies Messrs Unwin and Want.
62 ½ perches in the County of Cumberland, parish of St James, town of Sydney, part of the allotment No 22 of section No 37, commencing on the Tank Stream at the western extreme of the north boundary line of John Connell’s allotment no 21; and bounded on the south by that boundary line of Samuel Terry’s grant of 71 perches, on the north by that boundary line westerly to the Tank Stream, and on the west by that stream to the western extreme of the north boundary line aforesaid.
The above is a description of a portion of the allotment No 22 advertised in the Gazette of 17th Dec. 1834, with a view to the preparation of a Deed of Grant in the name of Samuel Terry, now deceased. It was found, however, that a large portion of the allotment was already granted to Mr Terry, and he has devised the portion in question to claimant. It is alleged that Mr Terry purchased it in 1816 from Barnaby Bourne , and sold to Lawrence Butler, who devised to trustees, who sold to John Campbell Macdougall who sold to John Terry Hughes, who again sold to Samuel Terry.”  [xii]
(NB. Macdougall married Laurence’s daughter Mary Ann in January 1834, two months after the property was transferred to him.)

CASE 399: Rosetta Terry: [xiii]
The documents for this case, reveal much information about Laurence Butler’s purchase of  ‘No. 7 Pitt- street’, and the adjacent property originally designated  ‘No. 8 Pitt’s Row’, then renumbered ‘No. 6’ Pitt Street.
The dispute in the Claims Court was over the ownership of the combined property incorporating Numbers 6 and 7, previously owned by Laurence Butler and then his heirs, which, when sold to the Terry family in 1833, had then been subsequently subdivided into two Lots, designated  22A and 22B, part of Allotment 22 Section 37 of the Parish of St James, Town of Sydney. The dispute arose over the terms of Samuel Terry’s will as regards the ownership of the divided lots, following his death in 1838.

DOCUMENT 1: final judgement by the Commissioner of the Claims Court
Court of Claims Case No. 399

Claimants- Rosetta Terry for Allot. 22a
 -Rosetta Terry and others for Allot. 22b

38 perches Allot 22a  Parish St James
Granted to Mrs Rosetta Terry
21 perches Allot. 22b  Parish St James
Granted to Mrs Rosetta Terry, John Terry Hughes, Tom White, Melville Winder and James Norton In trust .
Dated 8 June 1886

DOCUMENT 2: original final report of the Commissioner:
NSW Report of the Commissioners Appointed under the Act of Council of 5th William IV, No.21 for Hearing and Exzamining Claims to Grants of Land
17 July, 1840 (40/7029)
Case No 399
Proposed Grantee- Rosetta Terry of Pitt Street, Sydney for one portion No 22A
Rosetta Terry, John Terry Hughes, Tom White, Melville Winder and James Norton for other portion No 22B
Claimant &c- Rosetta Terry
Opponents- The Trustees of the Estate of the late Mr Samuel Terry
Description of Land:
Thirty Eight perches:
County of Cumberland parish of St James Town of Sydney, allotment No 22a of Section No 37, commencing in Pitt Street, at a point distant 108 links from the North Eastern extreme of John Connell’s allotment and bounded on the East by 41 links of the West side of that Street; on the North by a line bearing West 2 degrees 30 minutes, South 145 links; on the West by the Tank Stream 135 links; on the South by part of John Connell’s allotment bearing East 1 degree South 157 links; again on the East by a line North 30 degrees East 96 links; and again on the South by a line East 3 degrees, North 129 links to the point of commencement.

Twenty one perches:
in the County of Cumberland, parish of St James, Town of Sydney, allotment No. 22b of Section No 37 commencing at the North eastern extreme of John Connell’s allotment and bounded on the East by 108 links of the West side of Pitt Street, on the north by a line bearing West 3 degrees South 1329 links; on the West by a line bearing South 30 degrees West 96 links and on the South by part of John Connell’s allotment 144 links bearing East 1 degree South to Pitt Street
Date of Determination March 10 1840


The Commissioners have the honour to report for the information of His Excellency, the Governor.
That the allotment of land included in this Case originally formed two allotments- one portion belonged to Mary Barber and was purchased by the late Samuel Terry more than twenty years ago and has ever since been in his own occupation. Vide the deposition of Mrs Rosetta Terry.
That on the North of the other portion was a portion purchased by the late Samuel Terry under a certain Deed Poll dated 23rd of April 1816 from Barnaby Burn.
Samuel Terry, by a certain deed bearing date 27th of September 1816 sold the same land to Laurence Butler in consideration of ₤400. The other part on the South of this said last mentioned portion had been obtained by Laurence Butler from the occupant, from whom Barnaby Burn purchased, so that Butler was thus in possession of the whole of the remainder not Mary Barber’s. Vide the deposition of Mr Connell.
Laurence Butler, by an Indenture dated 28th September 1816 mortgaged the same land to Samuel Terry for securing the payment of the said sum of ₤400.
Lawrence Butler by his Will dated 18th November 1820, probate of which was exhibited, devised the same allotment of land (amongst other real property) to his wife, Ann Butler, and his three children- Lawrence Butler, Walter Butler and his daughter designated as Ann Butler equally with remainder to the survivors.
Ann Butler, the wife is dead and in the year 1833 Walter Butler, Lawrence Butler and Mary Ann Butler spinster by certain Indentures of Lease and Release, the latter dated the 17th October 1833, Sold and conveyed the same land to John Campbell MacDougall.
By Indentures of Lease and Release, the latter dated the 30th October 1833, the said John Campbell Macdougall sold the same allotment of Land to John Terry Hughes.
By certain Indentures of Lease and Return the latter dated the 21st January 1834, the __ John Terry Hughes sold and conveyed the said allotment to Samuel Terry now deceased. These several conveyances were exhibited to the Commissioners.
That Samuel Terry died on the 22nd February 1838 and by his Will bearing date the 25th October 1824 and several Codicils thereto dated respectively on the 25th of October 1825, 1st Feb 1834 and 5th July 1836, he devised all his houses in Sydney not occupied by members of his family to Rosetta Terry, John Terry Hughes, Tom White, Melville Winder and James Norton, in trust.
That a portion of the allotment included in this Case is the site of some old houses in Pitt Street, to the South of his late residence and that the remainder forms the garden and attached to his said residence.
That by the Codicil to his Will, he devised the house and premises, in which he resided in Pitt Street to his wife Rosetta Terry, absolutely. Thus one portion of the allotment becomes the property of the trustees, and another portion the property of Mrs Rosetta Terry.
That one of the Trustees under Mr Terry’s Will having refused to agree to the nomination of a common trustee, to whom the whole of the allotment could have been granted according to the respective rights and interests of the parties, the Government have consented to divide the allotment and descriptions of the portions allowed respectively to either party have been obtained from the Surveyor General.
The Commissioners, therefore, respectfully Recommend, that Deeds of Grant of the allotment of land included in this said Case No 399 be made- the one portion containing 38 perches and designated as No 22a to Mrs Rosetta Terry of Pitt Street, Sydney, widow, and her heirs, and the other containing 21 perches, and designated as No 22b to Rosetta Terry, John Terry Hughes, Tom White, Melville Winder and James Norton, and to their heirs, upon the trusts of the Will of the late Samuel Terry, bearing date the 25th of October 1824, and several Codicils, thereto, dated respectively 25th Oct 1825, 1st Feb 1834, 5th July 1836.
Dated this 12th day of July 1840
Will Carter
R. Therry
Chas Windeyer

Note the Memorial and descriptions handed to the Commissioners by the Colonial Secretary under blank cover No 39/69 of 26th April are returned herewith and 3 depositions are enclosed viz. John Connell, Rosetta Terry, F. W. Unwin. The letter of the Surveyor General and the two descriptions are likewise forwarded.
Approved G. Gipp - Aug 11, 1840

Original Hand drawn map included in Case 399 file

DOCUMENT 4: explanation and description of the Allotment in question No 23.
___ for part of the allotment No 22 of Section No 37 containing altogether three roods and sixteen and a half perches, a description of which was advertised __ the __ the late Mr Samuel Terry in the Gazette of the 17 December 1834 page 884 but no Deed of Grant has been prepared as stated in my letter of the 20 May 1837 No 37/299 wherein I was likewise represented that a portion of this allotment was already granted to Mr Samuel Terry vide C.L. Register No 2 folio 31. The portion so granted comprehends the Leases of Rosetta Marsh and Thomas Everstaff and takes up 71 perches and is bounded on the North by Skinners lease (and also part of the allotment No 22) and on the South as it is concluded by the lands herein claimed consequently what is required to be done is that the South boundary of the grant of the 71 perches be ascertained and so much of the allotment No. 22 as is situated between that line and Connell’s premises on so much thereof as may form Nos. 6 & 7 be re-measured in order to obtain a description for the Deed of Grant now sought. The Lease to Rosetta Marsh is now claimed by Rosetta Terry by the Memorial No 22 of Mr Unwin and the Lease of Everstaff by Mr Unwin’s Memorial No 5 on behalf of the __  ___ of the late Mr Samuel Terry.
Signed: A Perry __Sur. Gen. Office;
20th Sept 1838; 
O 38/262 fol 24, vol 2

DOCUMENT 5: questioning discrepancies re identities of Mary Ann Butler and Ann Butler
4 of 7029
(Handwritten note attached to document viz. Commissioners Report)
It does not appear certain (___ ___) from this Statement, that Ann Butler and Walter Butler, deceased, have not left Representatives other than Laurence and Mary Ann Butler- ie. the __ of the two last mentioned, to convey to ____, does not appears clear- July 23/40
Refer back to the Comm’s to enquire and whether Mary Ann Butler was the wife of Laurence Butler- July 25

DOCUMENT 6 : explanation of discrepancies re Mary Ann Butler and Walter Butler
Court Claims Office
3rd August 1840
Explanatory of Report 399

In attention to your blank cover memorandum No 40/149 of 27th of July, whereby you return our Report on the Case of No. 399, and, in allusion to that part of the title, which sets forth the transfer from the Butlers to McDougall, esquire, as to their right to sell, and whether Mary Ann Butler was the wife of Lawrence Butler.
We have the honour to state, that Mary Ann Butler was the daughter of Laurence Butler, and, in explanation of the discrepancy in the Report, have to point out that in the probate, the daughter is set forth as Ann Butler, but in the transfer to McDougall, she is designated as Mary Ann and in it she signs herself as Mary Ann.
The mention of Walter Butler, as deceased, was an oversight; it is only the widow, Ann Butler, who was dead at the time of the transfer to McDougall, and, by the Will of Butler, her share vested in the survivors, who sold.
The Report had been adjusted accordingly.
We have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servants
Will Carter
R. Therry
Chas Windeyer
(To)The Honourable the Colonial Secretary.

DOCUMENT 7: John Connell’s Statement re Butler’s purchase of No. 7 Pitt Street:
Case No 399
Friday __ 27th 1838
John Connell of Pitt Street Sydney, Householder being sworn __
I have been in the Colony 38 years. I have lived in Pitt Street for 37 years. My premises adjoin the allotment in dispute- the part of this allotment next to Mr Terry’s House- and which is open to Pitt Street belonged to Mary Barber- the other portion between my premises and Mary Barbers the front of which is occupied by weatherboard cottages, belong originally I believe to one Henry Kenny(?) sold to Goff- Goff then sold the portion next to Mary Barber to one Barnaby Bourne- and the other portion next my premises to one Laurence Butler- Barnaby Bourne then sold his portion to Mr Terry- and then Mr Terry sold to Butler- thus Butler became possessed of the whole allotment between Mary Barbers allotment and my premises- Butler then devised the whole to Trustees who sold to McDougall who sold to Terry Hughes who conveyed to Mr Terry.
John Connell
(To)Willm Carter
R Therry
Chas Windeyer

DOCUMENT 8: description of the premises on the properties
Case No 399
Friday __ 27th 1839
Rosetta Terry being sworn __
I am the widow of the late Samuel Terry- the House and Yard Mr Terry occupied was originally leased to me- in 1833- adjoining the House is Mary Barbers allotment- this Mr Terry bought 20 years ago- ___ and between Mary Barber’s and Connell’s was Butlers premises which Mr Terry bought in 1833- the first thing he did was to pull down the fence between Butlers and Mary Barbers- and move it so as to shut out the Cottages- we then put the garden into cultivation- the cottages are very old and dilapidated and we were obliged to prop them up and had it not been for the __ state of Mr Terry’s affairs __ his death they would have been pulled down- when Mr Unwin came to make the codicil- Mr Terry said give Mrs Terry this place give Edward his cottages and give Mr Hosking her House Blands House- the middle place- Mr Terry always __ the premises formerly Butlers as a part of those that we occupied.
Since Mr Terry purchased Butlers premises the cottages have been repaired.
(signed) R. Terry
(To) Will Carter
R Therry
Chas Windeyer

The conclusions that can be reached from the above documents are that:
1.    Laurence purchased No. 7 from William Gough in February 1809, at the same time as Barnaby Burn purchased the neighbouring property No 8/6. He may have been renting the property from Gough previously before purchasing. As Byrne paid £280 for No 6/8, Butler would have paid a similar amount for No. 7 Pitt Street.
2.    Laurence paid ₤400 paid for No. 6/8 in 1816, after Samuel Terry had bought it only a few months before for ₤300, Burne having paid ₤280 in 1809.  Laurence must have repaid this loan on time as Terry had a reputation for foreclosing if a borrower defaulted.
    Notably, Samuel Terry, an emancipist, became known as the 'Botany Bay Rothschild' due to his enormous wealth earned from his property and mortgage dealings. At the time of his death in 1838, Terry left an estate, excluding real estate, of  £250,000 and an annual income in excess of £10,000. The value of his total estate was variously estimated at between £500,000 and £1,000,000. 
3.    The combined property was sold to John C. Macdougall by “Indenture of Lease and Release” on 17th October 1833 and that he then resold it to Terry-Hughes on 30th October 1833, who resold it to Samuel Terry on 21st January 1834.
4.    The properties were described as weatherboard cottages, in a state of disrepair by the 1830’s . However, they were repaired and still standing in the 1848 Fowles Streetscape.
5.    The area between the buildings and the Tank Stream, an area of 38 perches, was suitable for cultivation. Advertisements for other properties on the Tanks, often described the large variety of fruit trees that were grown.

Notably, the Butler’s neighbor before selling her property to Terry, Mary Barber, was an emancipated convict who arrived on the ‘Speke” with Laurence’s wife Ann in 1808. Given a 7 year sentence at Ipswich in Suffolk in 1807, Barber received her certificate of freedom  October 1, 1814. According to the documents she sold her allotment to Samuel Terry “20 years before”, however, Terry must have bought Barber’s property before 1816 as, in the Indenture of Sale for No.6/8, he stated that the property was between his and Butler’s.
Butler's cottages No. 7 (L) and No. 6 (R) Pitt Street Sydney
(Fowles Landscapes of Sydney 1848)

The question that must be asked is: how was it possible that the small cottages depicted in the Fowles’ streetscape picture, could contain:  the family residence, the store with considerable stock as described in his advertisements, plus a workshop large enough for several journeymen, several apprentices, incomplete pieces of furniture, tools of the trade, timber etc.

The City of Sydney Assessment Books for 1845[xiv] gives a description of the buildings. Each cottage is described as made of wood with shingled roofs. Each cottage is divided into two premises (hence the two doorways in each building).
Cottage 1 has two rooms, width 16ft depth 25ft;
cottage 2 has three rooms width 19.6ft depth 30ft;
cottage 3 has one room width 18.8ft depth 12ft;
cottage 4 has two rooms width 16.6 ft depth 20ft.
The four cottages were let to R. Tindel for £60 per year, and he sub-letted them:
Cottage 1 (no. 7): £25;
cottage 2 (no. 7): £25;
cottage 3 (no. 6): £10;
cottage 4 (no. 6): £20.
John Connell’s cottage was described as wood, shingle roof, 4 rooms, £75; garden, outhouses, while the Terry’s mansion was described as brick, shingle roof, 9 rooms, £200, extensive gardens, outhouses, stores etc.

Geoffrey Scott wrote in his book, Sydney’s Highways of History, (Georgian House Melbourne, 1958)
Page 76: The construction of Martin Place transformed the section of Pitt Street that the old Metropolitan had once adorned… Just south of Angel Place, for instance, was a mean wooden cottage where one Connell lived for 50 years until the mid-19th century. So attached was he to the ancient hovel, that, when it threatened to fall down from sheer dilapidation, he built a new house around it, completely enclosing the old cottage in a shell.

Two surveyed maps of Butler’s allotment held by the Titles Office, viz. Map of City Section 37 Plan, Parish St James, Town of Sydney [xv], has the outline of the buildings on this part of Allotment 22, that extends to the rear of the building towards the Tank Stream. It appears to extend from the original ‘No. 7’ premises, and was quite sizeable. The central window of the building on the left (viz. No. 7) appears to be a shop display window, and there appears to be a sign on the roof above the right hand door. Therefore, this would indicate that the original family residence was on the left and the store to the right of the first door. The map indicates that the family residence also extends backwards into the rear of the allotment. When the adjacent building was purchased in 1816, the family may have moved their residence into that building, or it may have been used for their expanding business as Laurence’s advertisements stated that “his warerooms are constantly supplied with every article of household furniture in three branches. (The third referring to Elizabeth Street.)

Titles office plan dated 9 March 1839     

Titles Office plan dated 20 June 1840
(re-surveyed by Mr Gordon cancelling all former surveys

City Section 37 Plans - Part of Allotment 22, purchased by the Terry family from Laurence Butler in 1833, John Connell’s allotment 21 on the left and Samuel Terry’s allotment (viz. the remainder of Allotment 22) on the right.

The allotment shown in the maps comprised Butler’s No. 7 and No. 6 properties combined. In the first map, surveyed in 1839, the outline of the allotment appears to have the same dimensions as the second map, however, the position and shape of the buildings in the two surveys differs markedly. The 1840 map was a new survey ordered by the Court in Case 399 which cancelled all previous surveys. This map includes the strip of land that once belonged to Mary Barber purchased by Samuel Terry about 1816, between the Butler buildings and Samuel Terry’s house, the outline of which is clearly drawn. The buildings on the second map appear to have been drawn in more detail than the 1839 map. However, both maps clearly show a number of outbuildings at the rear of the main premises. The area shaded pink on the second map indicates the area under cultivation and gardens.

The 1840 map shows the outline of two fences dividing the property into three sections. The long outbuilding depicted on the left fence-line has been fenced off as a separate property and was probably the cabinet making workshop with a narrow laneway leading to it. A coach builder was renting this property in 1835.

The long extension at the rear of the premises of No. 7 depicted in the second map, is missing from the 1839 map, although a smaller detached building is depicted. Whether this was an extension built between 1839 and 1840 is unknown, although given the Court case was being held at this time, it would seem unlikely that improvements would have been carried out until the ownership issue had been clearly determined by the court, which was held in July 1840. As the 1840 map is far more detailed and includes the outline of the Terry house including the detail of what looks like a verandah, plus the Barber property (now gardens), one could conclude that this map was more accurate than the preceding one. The premises on the right (No. 6) was occupied by Edwards the bookbinder.

These surveys should also be compared with Harper’s Survey Plan [xvi] of 1823. In Harper’s survey, the only buildings shown were the buildings facing the street shaped in a rectangular block. No outbuildings were shown, nor were the rear extensions to the main premises. This may indicate that Butler’s original buildings were extended sometime after his death. However, the outbuilding containing the cabinet making workshop, and probably the tannery previously, must have been there during Laurence’s life-time, but not included by Harper in his survey, who may have only surveyed habitable buildings.

The sale of property at ‘No. 7’ Pitt Street is not in the Old Registers, so therefore there is no official record indicating when Laurence bought the property, only Connell’s statement to the Claims Court in Case No.399. Obviously Connell’s statement was accepted as truth. Connell, a free settler from England, had lived in the adjacent property (viz. allotment 21) since his arrival in 1801, and as witness to Laurence’s will and then trustee to Butler’s estate, he would therefore have had intimate knowledge of the property’s history. The property was originally known as being situated in ‘Pitt’s Row’, until October 1810, when Macquarie renamed the streets of Sydney, and Pitt’s Row which was realigned, became known as Pitt Street.
Connell stated that Goff sold the portion next to Mary Barber (viz No.6) to one Barnaby Bourne and the other portion next to my premises (viz. No. 7) to one Laurence Butler. Barnaby Bourne then sold his portion to Mr Terry and then Mr Terry sold to Butler, thus Butler became possessed of the whole allotment.”
As the Indenture for the sale of this property by Barnaby Bourne/Burne in 1816 reveals, he had originally purchased the property known as No.6 (but originally No.8 Pitts Row) from William Gough/Goff  in February 1809 for £280. Therefore the property described as No.7 was William Gough’s second property as the Old Registers and Gough’s advertisements indicate. As in the Barnaby Burne case, Laurence may have purchased the property in an Article of Agreement with William Gough which was never legally registered as in the case of B. Burne who eventually registered his property in 1816 as he wished to sell it.

Registering of property sales at that time was not compulsory. The 1805 advertisement by Gough notably advertised two properties- Nos. 7 and 8. Gough’s tannery was located at No. 8 in all of his advertisements. It is then possible that Laurence rented the premises at No .7 from his friend William Gough sometime before 1809. This may have followed the confusing deal made in October 1806 whereby Wm Holness, who appears to have bought both properties from William Gough in June, assigned the house and premises No 7 Pitts Row back to Gough, and No.8 Pitts Row must have also been re-assigned back to Gough. The original transfer was probably due to non-payment of a debt by Gough, which was then settled.

William Gough’s final notices advertised his imminent departure, along with Fr. Dixon, in October 1809.
Sydney Gazette 8 October 1809 p2- Notice is hereby given, that the undermentioned Persons have obtained His Honor the Lieutenant Governor’s Permission to go as Passengers in the ‘Mary Ann’:-
Mr  William Gough, Mary Gough, Sarah Hensley (his housekeeper), John Doyle (his servant), Mr James Dixon, etc [xvii]
Gough finally left the Colony in October 1809 with Fr. Dixon, and returned to Wexford, from whence he regularly wrote letters to his friends in Sydney, as mentioned by Michael Hayes in his letters home.[xviii]
Laurence engaged his apprentice James Ezzy the following month, which implies his cabinet making business was established.

The exact location of the properties today:[XIX a]

The current Cadastral Records Plan for Section 37, Lands Titles Office:
Shows Laurence Butler’s allotment divided into 22A and 22B (marked in blue) as per Case 399,  divided by the lane designated Martin Lane which joins Angel Place,  leading to George Street . The section marked in pink was the original section belonging to Samuel Terry. 
Note: Martin Place on Saul Lyons allotment 20, between the GPO and John Connell’s allotment 21.

The General Post Office (Approaches Improvement) Act Amendment Act 1892, describes the formation of Martin Lane:
Martin Lane to be formed etc..
The portion of land lying between Pitt and George Street in the city of Sydney … is hereby, to be dedicated to public use as a public thoroughfare or lane connecting Pitt and George street, and to be in substitution of the lane connecting Chisholm-lane and Angel Place, formerly called Terry-Place.
2nd Schedule Description of a portion of land resumed for Martin Lane.
All that piece or parcel of land situated in the city of Sydney etc., containing, and comprising the strip two feet wide reserved at the southern extremey of Terry-place now called Angel Place, in the subdivision of allotment 22B of section 37, grant to the executors and trustees of the late Samuel Terry: Commencing at the SE corner of land now under certificate of title, volume one, folio 58, Lands Title Office, being also the SE corner of lot 9 of the subdivision aforesaid etc.


 NSW Dept of  Lands MN05-14029902- showing Martin Place, the GPO, Angel Place and Martin Lane (dividing Allotments 22A and 22B), between George St and Pitt St

  Lands Title Office- Registrar Generals Dept Map DP61607 dated 24 November 1889
showing Allotments 22A and 22B (Butler's property) divided by Martin Lane, renamed Angel Place.

The following description of Samuel Terry’s property came from the book “Samuel Terry ” by G. M. Dow, and confirms that Laurence’s Pitt street property is now on the neighbouring properties to Martin Place, intersected by Angel Place previously known as Martin Lane.
“(The Terry’s) land, on the west side of Pitt Street, was an irregular lot running west to the Tank Stream for 133 feet on the one side and 154 on the other. Its frontage of 142 feet ran south to be bounded by what is now Martin Place.
In the 1860’s the Government sought to give the General Post Office a northern frontage (along what is now Martin Place) and to build a thoroughfare running between George Street and Pitt Streets. The only access to the Post Office was from an 82 foot frontage onto George Street. Esther Hughes (Terry’s step-daughter) and other Terry heirs owned the land North of the Post Office from the Tank Stream to Pitt Street. In 1865 the Government bought 31 ¼ perches of that land for £2900. Esther Hughes owned the land north of the Post Office from the Tank Stream to George Street. In the same year, 1865, she sold apportion of it (10 ¼ perches) for £1600. The land was only 16 feet wide. The Government added 16 feet from the Post Office land thus making 32 feet available for a colonnade or arcade along the north side and a 22 ft thoroughfare. An agreement was drawn up between Her Majesty and Esther Hughes to ‘keep open a roadway or passage to be used by foot passengers and by horses and vehicles connected with the General Post Office. Today’s Martin Place began from the thoroughfare that resulted from the purchase of Esther Hughes’s land and the new GPO opened in 1874. Angel Place is now on the site of the old Terry house and a plaque outside on Pitt Street records the Terry origins.” [xix]

Rosetta Marsh had been granted a 14 year lease for land in Pitt Street in 1804 [xx]. Properties in Sydney in those days remained the property of the Crown, and were granted to residents as long term leases, usually 14 years. Advertisements for Houses for sale, often highlighted that there was a considerable time left on the lease, eg. Ten years left on a 14 year lease.
In 1810, Rosetta married emancipist Samuel Terry (who became one of the richest men in the Colony, worth around £200,000- in the book “The All Time Australian 200 Rich List” compiled by William D. Rubinstein, Samuel Terry, who died in 1838, is listed as Australia’s all-time richest citizen, and his estate in 2004 would have been worth $24.37 billion and 3.395% of GDP [xxi]). Terry took up residence with Rosetta in her Pitt Street home, which was two blocks up from Laurence’s home. Samuel Terry was granted the allotment of land in 1817, ie Number 22, on condition that a two- story house measuring at least 50 feet by 16 feet was built [xxii]. Terry built a larger two story house on the Tank Stream property where Angel Place is now situated. Paul McGuire’s book “Inns of Australia”, described: “The Terry’s built on Rosetta’s lease a formidable mansion composed in a hollow square, with stables, coach house, servant’s quarters, and a celebrated pigeon loft in the yard.”[xxiii]

The building and entrance to Angel Place, now sitting on
Laurence Butler's Pitt Street properties. (2012)

Angel Place off Pitt Street

The 'birdcages' display hanging above Angel Place 2012

Description of the Streets of Old Sydney- Old Pitt Row

In 1882, the Sydney Morning Herald began a series of articles on Old and New Sydney, written by an old resident, Obed West, born in Pitt Street in 1807. 

1836 Map of Sydney- * marks Butler's property-     NORTH ---->

Obed West recalls the residents who were living in Pitt Street as he knew it about 1816 or 1817:
"I remember my father's cottage and where it stood on the western side of Pitt Row, about half way between King Street and what became Martin Place. I can recall many of our neighbours of the time. On the one side there were Mrs Dean; Joseph Inch with his two-storied dwelling house combined with a general store; Dr White; and last before the extension of the Post Office now going on, a house occupied by a person named Kearns who carried on a dual business of butcher and publican. He called his hotel 'The Faithful Irishman'...
In the opposite direction, our next-door neighbour was Mr Holdness who, like many people, had  a garden in front of his cottage. Unfortunately, this was later to be the scene of his own cruel murder, at his very door. I believe the murderers were two army officers but I forget the details.
Next door was one of the principal bakeries of the town. I have been told that at one time bread was so scarce in the settlement that people rushed the bakery when the bread was in the oven, and the owner, Mr Coleman, had to get the Police to protect his place. The price of bread at that time was 5 shillings for a 2-pound loaf. The precautions however did not protect Mr Coleman as the bakery backed onto the Tank Stream, in which way the crowd was able to force an entry and steal the bread.
As you know, the Tank Stream ran between Pitt Row and George Street, and formed the common boundary for the backyards in both streets.
The corner of Pitt and King Streets was occupied by Mr M. Byrne with a large block of land on which he had a brewery and subsequently built a weatherboard public house which he called 'Three Legs o'Man'.
The waters of the Cove at high tide came up as far as the mouth of the Tank Stream at Bridge Street. At that time, Pitt Street presented the appearance of a road in one of our distant suburbs, all the houses being detached and usually occupying a large block of ground with gardens.
The south-east corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets- now the site of the Union Bank- was taken up by a low cottage in the occupancy of Captain Brookes, and adjoining was a shop in which he carried on the business of a shipping butcher. A large allotment of land, about where the last of Vickery's buildings stands, came next, and in the centre was a cottage occupied by Mr Tuckwell. On the upper portion of Vickery's property was a large stone house, the residence of Mr Eager. From there on to what is now Moore street, there were only four dwellings- a weatherboard cottage where Mr Terry's buildings are now, standing a considerable distance back from the line of the street; a brick house in the centre of a large block, and belonging to Mr Connell; another brick house which was afterwards the old Metropolitan Hotel; and in the corner now occupied by the City Bank, was a weatherboard house. Both of these belonged to Mr Crossley, a solicitor. At that time however, Moore Street had not been opened (later made into an extension of Martin Place), nor was there any other cross street in the locality. In that space was the residence of the late Mr Bland and Packer's Hotel- a great resort for the settlers who had removed outside the boundaries of the town.
On the southwest corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets stood the large two-storey house of Mr Jones of the firm Jones and Walker. This house fronted on to Hunter Street and at the time was the only house in the block. At the back there was a large stone store, and then Dalton Brothers' warehouses. From this to the present entrance to the Post Office, there were five buildings. The first was Mr Skinner's brick cottage; then Samual Terry's property which took in the present Angel Inn; and on the site of the present Bell's Chambers was a cabinetmaker, Lawrence Butler's weatherboard house; Mr Connel's dilapidated weatherboard house where he carried on his business; and at the corner of the Post Office a carpenter named Chisholm."
West then continues to describe Pitt Street between King and Market, and Market to Park Streets.
" A barbarous practice of the old days, and one which has happily been abolished, might be mentioned in connection with Pitt Row. The executions took place in public on the site of the old burying ground in Elizabeth Street, and the criminals, when on their way to suffer the extreme penalty of the Law, were sometimes brought along Pitt Row for the public to gaze upon. I have seen men taken along this street with a cart in front of them on which their coffins were carried and exposed to view. Sometimes the criminals were made to ride in the cart, sitting on the top of the coffin which an hour or  afterwards would contain their lifeless bodies.
Pitt Row at that time virtually terminated at Bathurst Street, ending in what is termed a 'dead road'. Beyond this point was what might be said to be the country, for there were only a few dwellings dotting the slope down to the Haymarket. The Haymarket was taken up by the Government brickyards.

Near the corner of Hunter and George Streets- on the opposite side of which were a number of tanks cut out of the solid rock, and in which the wives of the soldiers used to wash their clothes. It was from these tanks that the stream took its well known name. At this point there was a fall in the stream towards Sydney Cove, so that the salt water never reached beyond the tanks.
I may state that the tanks as they were always called, were holes about 12x15 feet or 20x14 feet and eight to twelve feet deep, cut out of the solid rock for a water supply. They were situated about where Hamilton Street (north of Hunter Street) now is. A small stream about a foot wide and a few inches deep ran down midway between George and Pitt Streets into the Cove. The tide came up as far as the south side of the old bridge, situated where Pitt Street now crosses Bridge Street; but there never was deep water there.

I think it right to mention here that no doubt some persons who peruse these pages will say that some of the individuals I have mentioned never owned the properties I have ascribed to them for the reason that their names do not appear in any of the abstracts of titles, which are now held in connection wit these properties. This is a matter which is, however, easily explained. these abstracts do not disclose all the names of previous owners for two reasons. First there were very few lawyers in the colony to attend to the proper registration of title deed; and second, there was so much vacant land available that it was cheap. In later years when property acquired more value, it became necessary to introduce a system of conveyance. To occupy a site, one needed a letter from the governor, and to sell that site one  needed to produce the letter from the Governor, and issue a receipt as with any other piece of merchandise. The process of sale was repeated in the same way and worked satisfactorily so long as no receipt was lost or forged. Registration of title deeds was not obligatory and in fact was seldom practised. This system in time became very confused and insecure, and at last the Government stepped in and appointed a Commission to enquire into all the claims of land titles. The grant was then made out in the name of the person who could prove his claim and not necessarily the first occupant. The work done by the Commission was of a very substantial character, and has done much to simplify the transfer of property.
Turning from Castlereagh Street into Elizabeth Street, the property was very little built upon and it is unnecessary that I should particularize it.
(ref: Memoirs of Obed West: A portrait of Early Sydney, by Edward West Marriott, Barcom Press 1988- taken from the Sydney Morning Herald articles in 1882)

Obed West mentioned that Lawrence Butler's property became Bell's Chambers by the 1880's. The property description was in the will of Henry Bell, dated 1 Feb 1881, in which his properties were left to his trustees- his wife Elizabeth Bell and Richard Holdsworth:
Bell's Chambers Property (Schedule A)
All that parcel of land situate in the city of Sydney parish of Saint James in the county of Cumberland and Colony of New South Wales being lots one two three and part of lot four as shown on the plan annexed to a certain indenture dated the sixth day of June one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and registered No 449 book 73 bounded on the east by Pitt Street. Commencing  at a point on the west side thereof being the north-eastern corner of Laycock's property (then in the occupation of Messrs Mort and Co.) and bearing north three degrees thirty minutes west seventy-one feet three inches on the north by a line bearing westerly sixty-six feet dividing it from other portion of lot four to a lane on the west by that lane bearing southerly sixty-five feet three inches to the northern boundary of Laycock's property aforesaid and on the south by that boundary bearing easterly to the point of commencement.
Also all that parcel of land situate as aforesaid being portion of lot number four as shown on the plan annexed to a certain indenture dated the thirtieth day of May one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one and registered No 187 book 73 bounded on the east by Pitt Street. Commencing at a point on the west side thereof distant seventy-one feet three inches northerly from the north-eastern corner of Laycock's property (then in the occupation of Mort and Co) and bearing north three degrees thirty minutes west six feet nine inches to Terry-place on the north by Terry-place westerly sixty-six feet to its junction with a lane on the west by the said lane (twenty feet wide) bearing southerly six feet nine inches and on the south by a line bearing easterly dividing it from other portion of lot number four to the point of commencement.

Geoffrey Scott wrote about Pitt Street and Samuel Terry in his Sydney’s Highways of History, (Georgian House Melbourne, 1958)
Page 60: "Pitt Street, from Bridge Street to Circular Quay, is all reclaimed land. Sailing ships once warped up the Tank Stream as far as Bridge Street to unload their cargoes. It was not until the 1850’s that Pitt Street took the shape we now know and was extended north along the filled-in Tank Stream valley to the new quay.

P62: In the early days. After it had begun its career as a squalid line of convict huts, Pitt Street developed a somewhat unsavoury reputation. When Governor Bligh offered John Macarthur land at the southern end of the street in exchange for his plot on Church Hill, the imperious magnate retorted that the neighbourhood was the haunt of all the vile and atrocious characters in the settlement, including “prostitutes of the lowest class”. Things improved after 1810, when Governor Macquarie issued a General Order “deeming it expedient and highly necessary for the improvement and ornament of the town of Sydney to enlarge the streets and avenues thereof..” Macquarie ordered that the streets should be fifty feet wide, and trusted that the inhabitants would “yield ready and cheerful obedience”. If they were refractory, however, they were liable to have their cottages pulled down round their ears. The Sydney Gazette soon recorded that “the vast addition given to the appearance of the town by the widening of the streets daily becomes more obvious. The improvement is nowhere more conspicuous than in Pitt’s Row”, which the Governor’s order before long turned into a “fine level causeway”.
By January 1821, Pitt Street had one stone house, 36 brick and 87 weatherboard buildings. Three years later, the young French naval surgeon, Pierre Lesson, found the street full of cottages “which the English love so much”, with flower gardens in the front and a vegetable garden or orchard behind. They were “pretty houses of friable sandstone or baked brick, roofed with wooden lathes painted blue, or more rarely, with tiles- only one story high in order to brave the violence of the boisterous winter gales”.

P64: The Tank Stream itself eventually lost its old importance as a shipping and dockside area, and shrank to a foul-smelling channel, little more than an open sewer.

P68: The middle section of Pitt Street was already notorious for its general atmosphere of immorality. In 1839, the Sydney Gazette was fulminating about “the veiled ladies of the pavement, some genteely, nay splendidly, dressed, who are principally instrumental in seducing our young clerks and apprentices to commit robberies and other dishonest crimes”.
Years before the Currency Lass was established on the Hunter Street corner, the adjoining site was occupied by one of the settlement’s first craftsmen, the potter Samuel Skinner. He may not have been Sydney’s first potter, but in August 1804, Skinner advertised for four apprentices, and announced that he had made considerable additions to his manufactory. D.D. Mann’s ‘Picture of New South Wales (1811) describes him as “lately died”, and says that his “plates, basins, covers, cups, saucers, teapots and chimney ornaments, and other useful articles equally handsome”.
P69: Skinner and his fellow tradesmen, however, were very small fry compared with the figure who bestrode this end of Pitt Street like a mercantile colossus- Samuel Terry, the “Botany Bay Rothschild”.
Terry was the most sensational example in early Sydney history of the emancipist who made good. Uncouth, miserly, semi-literate, he was at one time credited with an income of almost £100,000 a year, an almost unbelievable fortune for the times in which he lived. He owned a large slice of Pitt Street, he had 19,000 rich acres in the country, and he was reputed to be discounting £300,000 worth of bills a year- at a discount of 10%. He was both envied and hated by many of his contemporaries; moralists pointed the finger of scorn at his business methods, or jeered at his penny-pinching mode of living. But he lived to overawe all opposition by his enormous wealth, and when he died in 1838, a military band led the procession down a crowd-lined Pitt Street to the old cemetery at Sandhills.
Sam Terry was a mere lad when he was transported from England about 1795 for some trivial offence. According to one story he was convicted of stealing geese, but there was a vague tradition among his descendants that he was a political offender. He began his colonial career humbly enough by breaking stones with the road gang at Parramatta. When he was emancipated, he set up a small store or pawnbroker’s shop in the town, became a respected citizen and enrolled as a private in the Parramatta Loyal Association, formed to protect the law-abiding from outbreaks by the wild Irish convicts.
The turning point in Sam Terry’s fortunes came when he shifted his operations to Sydney, where he wooed and won the widowed Rosetta (or Rosella) Marsh, who brought him, apart from any personal attractions and four young children, a valuable plot of land on the west side of Pitt Street, near the present corner of Angel Place. Rosetta conducted a tavern on (p70) the site, which Terry was to make the nucleus of his bounding fortune. On the property he built a cast, rambling mansion in the shape of a hollow square, with another wind 180 feet long running right down to the Tank Stream and containing stables, coach-house, harness rooms, and servant’s quarters. In the centre of the yard he planted a tall pole, with a cask set on top as a pigeon loft. In this large and gloomy donjon Sam Terry lived till the day of his death, sober and frugal in habits, counting every penny of his vast riches, and keeping much of his ready cash locked up in a stout iron-bound chest that became proverbial in Sydney. According to the anonymous and unfriendly “A.I.F.” who published his pamphlet ‘History of Samuel Terry in Botany Bay’ in London in 1838, Terry “rode a clumsy charger, and passed many hours on the day in salting beef in his shirt sleeves.” The widowed Rosetta whom Terry had married fared no better. Mrs Terry was allowed no female servant, but “dressed in the most simple, nay course manner, was seen every Saturday on her knees, scrubbing out the whole premises”.
Terry laid the basis of his wealth by cheating drunken farmers and small property owners out of their estates, a process graphically described by the Rev. T. Atkins in his ‘Wanderings of the Clerical Ulysses’: “His (Terry’s) public house in Sydney was the resort of small settlers who occupied farms in the agricultural districts of the colony; and during a stay of several days at his house they would run up a score of from £5 to £50; for, under the influence of Bacchus, they would proceed from the drinking of beer to brandy, from brandy to port, from port to champagne; and, prompted by the social and jovial god, would invite all persons in the house to participate in their potations.” Confronted with the bill, and full to the ears with drink from champagne downwards, the reckless farmers would assign their properties to Terry in settlement, the landlord having a large supply of the necessary legal documents readily on hand.

 (p71) By these and “other more diabolical means”, Terry found himself owner not only of countless farms but much property in the town of Sydney itself. In later years, as the town grew in wealth and population, he discovered that “those acres of his in or near Sydney, hitherto covered with filth and rubbish, were now worth as much as if they were pasted all over with bank notes”. Eventually the rents from his Pitt Street holdings alone were reputed to be £10,000 a year. He had 100 convicts working on his 19,000 acres of rural estates. The produce of his farms was reckoned at about £50,000 a year, and on top of it all he was discounting bills of £300,000 a year from his fellow merchants and shopkeepers of Sydney. About 1834, “this hitherto strong and healthy man was seized with a paralytic stroke, which at once deprived him of the use of his right limbs”. After his death in 1838, the Terry fortune was divided between his son and a daughter by his first marriage, and Rosetta’s daughter by her first husband."

© B.A. Butler

Contact email address:  butler1802  (NB. no spaces)

My grateful thanks to Mr M. Reymond who spent many hours researching and finding the documents to prove the exact location of the Pitt Street properties.

Link back to Introduction:

Links to all the chapters in this blog:

The 1798 rebellion
Laurence Butler's trial for his role in the Rebellion
Analysis of Butler's trial
Laurence Butler at the Battle of Tubberneering
Laurence Butler's imprisonment
Butler's life and family in Wexford
Laurence Butler's transportation to Sydney in 1802 on the Atlas 2
Conditions on Convict Ships
Life as a convict in Sydney
Laurence Butler's property investments in Pitt Street Sydney
Sydney Town in 1800-1810
Laurence Butler's petitions to the Governor
Laurence Butler's 100 acre land grant in District of Petersham
Butler's membership of the Commercial Society of Sydney
Laurence Butler's court cases
Laurence Butler's business interests in Sydney
Laurence Butler's cabinet making business
Laurence Butler's property investments in Sydney
Laurence Butler's colonial family
Laurence Butler's death in 1820
Laurence Butler's issue- Walter, Lawrence Junior and Mary Ann
The Catholic Community of Sydney up until 1820
Genealogy- Butler's possible ancestry and possible descendants in Ireland, and BDM records
Butler's fellow Irish rebels transported to Sydney
Conclusion about the life of Laurence Butler

[i] The Tank Stream was so named after several holding tanks were carved into the sandstone floor by convicts, to hold fresh water for the colony. However, it soon became too polluted to drink. It continues to flow under the present buildings, between George and Pitt Streets, and empties into the Cove.
[ii] Joseph Fowles, Sydney in 1848, Illustrated by copper-plate engravings of the Principal Streets, Public Buildings, Churches, Chapels, etc, From Drawings by Joseph Fowles, Pub by J. Fowles, 5 Harrington Street Sydney, 1848. (“An endeavour to represent Sydney as it really is, and remove the erroneous and discreditable notions current in England concenring this City. Sydney July 14 1848.”)- Project Gutenberg of Australia- eBook
[iii] Council of the City of Sydney Archives- City Section 37 Plan
[iv]  Sydney Gazette,  13 October 1805 (p1)
[v] SRNSW: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 1 page 135 No 1055; Book 1 page 142 No 1101; op.cit
[vi] Sydney Gazette, 25 Dec 1803 (p2)
[vii] Sydney Gazette, 6 November 1808 (p2)
[viii] SRNSW: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 6 page 179 No 59, op.cit
[ix] SRNSW: Old registers One to Nine, Book 6 page 158 No 39, op.cit
[x] SRNSW: Old Registers One to Nine, Book 6 page 222 no. 16, op.cit
[xi]  NSW Government Gazettes 1833-1850: Dec 1834- p884
[xii] Government Gazettes NSW, May 1839, page 589, Court of Claims Case No 399 Rosetta Terry
[xiii] SRNSW: NRS 8451, Lands: Register of Court of Claims case papers with registered correspondence, [2/2372]; with reference to the Court of Claims Case No. 399 sent to the Lands Department and filed at 86/1319, [10/35298]. The Commissioner of Claims process was undertaken in 1834/35 to formally establish title over NSW property holdings to satisfy the NSW Supreme Court as to the legal entitlement to occupancy and ownership.
[xiv] The Assessment Books 1845-1948, City of Sydney Archives, Volume: CSA027141 Page: 25, No. of Assessment Book: 596-599, record details of ownership, occupation, construction, and value for buildings in the city of Sydney between 1845 and 1949
[xv] NSW Titles Office Plan Allotment 22, 112.858, date 9 March 1839; NSW Titles Office Plan Allotment 22, 117.858 date 20 June 1840.
[xvi] Harpers Survey Map of Sydney 1823, Mitchell Library; MT2811.16/1823/1; pub. Sydney Dept. of Lands; author Selkirk, Henry 1857-1930
[xvii] Sydney Gazette, 8 October 1809 p2
[xviii] Michael Hayes, Letters, op.cit, letter 25 Nov 1812
[xix a] My grateful thanks to Mr M. Reymond who spent many hours researching and finding the documents to prove the exact location of the Pitt Street properties.
[xix]  G.M. Gow, Samuel Terry, Sydney, 1975,  Pp 119-120  (Author’s reference: 96/764 and 96/765 R.G.; See also William Lee ‘Martin Place, Sydney’ and JRAHS Vol. VIII 1927-8, pp4-8; Isadora Brodsky ‘Sydney Looks Back’, Sydney 1957 pp1-2.)
[xx] SRNSW: Colonial Secretary; Registers of  Land Grants & Leases; Reel 2560, p.133; Rosetta Marsh, Grant 1193, Pitt St Sydney, 1804,14 year lease.
[xxi] William D. Rubinstein in assoc. with BRW, The All-Time Australian 200 Rich List From Samuel Terry ‘The Convict Rothschild’ to Kerry Packer, 2004, pages xv, 4, 11.
[xxii] SRNSW: Colonial Secretary; Registers of Land Grants & Leases; Reel 2561, p129; Samuel Terry, Grant 1157 & 1158 Sydney ,1817, comprehending leases made to R. Marsh and Thos Everstaff.
[xxiii]  Paul McGuire, Inns of Australia, William Heinemann Ltd, 1952