William Cowmeadow was born in 1820. He lived in Ruardean and worked as a collier. On 9 November 1835, at the age of 14, he was sentenced to three months at Littledean House of Correction for stealing apples. On 16 October 1838, at the age of 17, he was sentenced to three weeks imprisonment and flogged (12 lashes) for stealing a bag, a dish and a cloth. On 27 July 1840, he was sentenced to one month in prison for stealing potatoes with his sister Hannah.
On 30 October 1840, at the age of 19, Cowmeadow was sentenced to 21 years transportation for stealing the hat of John Jones, a local farmer, in St Briavels with his brothers Cornelius (17) who was sentenced to two years in prison and Cater (13) who was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The boys stole the hat from Jones while he was walking down a road and so they were charged with highway robbery. After a spell on a hulk, he was transferred to the Somerset and set sail for Van Diemen’s Land on 20 December 1841 and arrived on 30 May 1842.
He received a conditional pardon on 26 Nov 1852. He married Ann Needham in January 1856 and went on to have four children and many grandchildren. Ann Needham, who was born in Wiltshire and moved to Middlesex, was also a convict who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1856. Cowmeadow settled in Franklin and worked as a bushman, splitter and gardener. The couple moved to Hobart in 1885. William Cowmeadow died in 1906 at the age of 87.