LYNNE MCDONALD from Australia is researching the history of the Dring family. Eight generations of the family in Australia were descended from their ancestor William Dring, who was convicted of a crime in 1784 and later transported to Botany Bay to serve seven years. William was from Hedon and was one of Australia’s ‘First Fleeters’ having arrived in Sydney Cove with the First Fleet on 26th January 1788.
Lynne tells the tale:
“There was a Dring family in Hedon in the 17th and 18th centuries and one William Dring was arrested and pleaded guilty to stealing clothes, books and brandy on the 7th October 1784 and was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Botany Bay. He now has 8 generations of descendants in Australia.
“I have found out a lot about his family there in Hedon. His Great Grandfather Francis Dring was a shoe maker; his Grandfather Thomas was weaver and later owned the New Sun Inn; His father was a Clerk of Customs and apparently ran the customs office from the Inn and he was a Tideswaiter.
“I would love to know more about the story of the theft in which he had an accomplice Joseph Robinson. If anyone knows any thing about this I would love to hear from them on the email below as I writing a book about William but rather than use my imagination as to why he stole what he did I would like some true facts if at all possible.
“I am very curious as to why when he had a job and family support he would steal anything. All I can come up with is that he wanted to become a Sailor as the clothes he stole were Sailors attire and the books were about being a Sailor and how to navigate and a guide to Oxford University. Of course there were 6 bottles of brandy and 3 empty bottles as well. We know why he stole these as there were obviously 9 full bottles to begin with!
“It would be so much fun and very helpful if anyone knows anything about him and his family. I would also love to know if there are still Drings’ living in Hedon.”
If anyone can help Lynne with her research – then she can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org – but please also share your information on the Hedon Blog. It would be fascinating to hear more about Lynne’s book about William, and discover what help and information she receives from people in his ancestral town.
Note: A look in the current KC Hull & East Yorkshire telephone directory shows only two Drings listed – both living in Hull.