Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Early Newspaper Reports


18 February – 2 March 1699

This day is publish'd, The Trial and Condemnation of Mervyn Lord Audley, Earl of Castle Haven ... (The Post Boy)

21-23 October 1700

Yesterday a Man was whipt from Temple-bar to Charing-Cross, for falsly accusing one Johnson of Sodomy. (The English Post)

5-7 March 1701

The Parish Clerk of St. Dunstans in the East, being turned out of his Place upon Suspicion of an unnatural Crime &c. Cut his Throat on Wednesday Night almost from Ear to Ear. (The English Post)

20-23 June 1701

On Thursday between 10 and 11 at Night, a Person sitting in Lincolns-Inn House of Office [bog-house], a Young Man happen'd to go into the same Box, whom the other Welcomed, and afterwards entred into a discourse with him, pretending great kindness for him, &c. But at last discovered to him his Inclination, to Commit the filthy Sin of Sodomy, with him, and made an Attempt to force him: But the Young Man crying out, some of the Porters and Watchmen of the Inn, as well as some of the Young Gentlemen came to his Assistance; and soon Cooled the Sparks Courage, by Ducking him in the said House of Office, and afterwards left him to shift for himself. (The London Post)

9-11 July 1701

A Woman in the Habit of a Man, was lately seized at Soho in the Act of Coining and was sent to Newgate. (The English Post)


All the accounts for 1707, which relate to a major round-up of homosexuals, are listed on a separate page in Newspaper Reports for 1707.

Saturday 6 December 1718

One Mr. B—u, who formerly kept a Linnen-Draper’s Shop in the Pall-Mall, and one R—y, an Irish Man, have been committed to Newgate, in order to be try’d this Sessions for the foul Sin of Sodomy; they were taken in the very Act; and, we hear, there is such strong Proof against ’em, as ’tis not doubted but they will meet with their Deserts. (Original Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 18 April 1719


Whereas Information hath been given upon Oath, to Lawrence Saintloe, Esq; one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, that Stephen Margrave, John Furdiford, John Wood, Richard Williams and Thomas Harris, have together with several others for some time past made it their Business to walk in St. James's Park, Covent Garden, and other parts of the Town to pick up Men and threaten to swear that they have been guilty of Sodomy, and by that means have got several Sums of Money from several Persons; therefore if any Person or Persons who hath met with such Treatment, may repair to the Gate-house Prison, and see the Persons above mentioned, and if they have any thing to Charge them or any of them, they are desired to come and give such Evidence and the Offenders may be punish'd according to Law.
          (Applebee's Original Weekly Journal)

20 June 1719

Last Week a Gentleman, and his Servant, coming late to Wimbledon in Surry, were oblig’d to lodge all Night at an Ale-House there; and the Man being in Bed was surprizingly awaked with the Impudence of a Fellow, who stole into the Bed to him, and was committing the abominable Crime of Sodomy on his Body; the Servant fir’d his Pistols, and alarming the House, his Master came down and seiz’d the Buggerer, who was committed to the Marshalsea, and is the Son of a Baker in London. (Original Weekly Journal)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, as noted above. Most of these newspapers were published once a week, on Saturdays, but some were published three times a week.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Early Newspaper Reports, 1700-1720," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 9 August 2000; updated 15 June 2008 <>.

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