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

The Trial of George Kedger

April 1726


This is one of the series of trials in 1726 that followed the raid on Mother Clap's molly house. The informant in this and several other trials is Ned Courtney, who gave evidence against several men in return for immunity from prosecution. Whether or not Courtney's evidence against various men is convincing, Kedger's own testimony in this trial makes it clear that Courtney had sex with men on a regular basis in return for money.

Rictor Norton

GEORGE KEDGER, alias Keger, was indicted for committing Sodomy with Edward Courtney, aged 18 Years, July 15 [1725].

EDWARD COURTNEY. I have known the Prisoner about a Year. I first became acquainted with him when I lived a Servant at the Yorkshire-Grey in Bloomsbury-market. I went from thence to live at a Cook's Shop in St. Martin's-lane, and there the Prisoner follow'd me. One Day in July last, he came there to dine, and sat in a back Room in the Yard. When I went to fetch away the foul [i.e. dirty] Plates, he squeez'd my Hand, and kiss'd me, and took me in his Arms and asked me to let him ——, to which I consented, and he put —— and ——. [i.e. performed anal intercourse]

I went afterwards to live with Thomas Orme, a Silk-Dyer, at the Red-Lyon, in Crown-Court in Knaves-Acre. He kept a Molly-house and sold Drink in private back Rooms to such sort of Company; and there the Prisoner often came after me upon the same Account.

PRISONER [i.e. KEDGER]. Ned Courtney asked me to do it, when he liv'd at the Cooks, but I told him I would not. What, says he, am not I handsome enough for ye? That's not the Case, says I, but I have got an Injury. That's only a Pretence, says he, but, if you don't like me, I have got a pretty younger Brother, and I'll fetch him to oblige ye. — As for my going to Tom Orme's, he was my School-fellow, and sold a Pot of good Drink; and there likewise Ned solicited me to do the Story, and would fain have had me to have gone into the Necessary-House [i.e. toilet] with him, for he said, he could not rest till he had enjoy'd me. And afterwards, when he was turn'd out of his Place, I met him by chance in a very poor and ragged Condition, and he told me, that he had nothing to subsist upon, but what he got by such Things. I advised him to leave off that wicked Course of Life; but he said, he wanted Money, and Money he would have, by hook or by crook; and, if I would not help him to some, he would swear my Life away.

FRANCES CROUCH. I always found the Prisoner to be a very civil Man, and I believe he loved a Girl too well to be concern'd in other Affairs.

Another Woman deposed to the same Purpose.

The Jury found him guilty, and he receiv'd Sentence of Death, but was afterwards reprieved.

SOURCE: Select Trials at the Sessions-House, in the Old-Bailey, London: 1742, vol. 2, pp. 366-7.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial of George Kedger, 1726", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 1 Dec. 1999, updated 20 June 2008 <>.

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