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

Newspaper Reports


26 February 1726

One Whittle, a Victualler in Pall-Mall, is committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster, by five Justices, being charg'd with Sodomy. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

5 March 1726

Last Week seven small-siz'd Rogues were seiz'd at an House of evil Repute in White-Cross-Streeet, by Mr. Jones, the High Constable, and other Officers belonging to the Societies for Reformation of Manners.
      A Gang of Haunchmen, alias Endorsers, have likewise been take up by the said Officers in the Liberty of Westminster, some whereof have been committed to the Gatehouse, and others to Bridewell, &c. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

12 March 1726

From Mr. Mist's Journal, March 5.
Seventeen Persons charged with Sodomy, have been taken up lately, and on Monday last were examined at Bell Tavern in Westminster, by several Justices of the Peace, who committed some of them to Newgate, some to the Gatehouse, and others to Bridewell. (Newcastle Courant)

12 March 1726

Two Indictments were found against a Victualler [i.e. Whittle, see 26 February above] and a Footman for Sodomy, for which they are to be try'd next Term. (The London Journal)

26 March 1726

Monday last a Man was committed by Sir John Fryer to Newgate for Sodomitical Practices. (The London Journal)

9 April 1726

One Gabriel Lawrence was lately committed to Newgate, on the Oath of Thomas Newton for Sodomy committed on the Deponent's Body.(Ipswich Journal)

16 April 1726

LONDON, April 12.
Indictments were also found against William Gent, alilas Mademoiselle Gent, and John Whale, alias Margaret, alias Peggy Whale, for Sodomitical Practices.
. . . On Saturday following on George Reger was committed to the said Jail by several of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Westminster, being charged on Oath with the detstable Crime of Sodomy. (Ipswich Journal)

23 April 1726

Thursday was Se'nnight one Antonio Maria Vechiotti, said to be an Italian Capuchin, was seized in Albemarle Street, and committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster, being charged with uttering treasonable Words against his Majesty's Person and Government.
      Two Days after one George Reger was committed to the same Jail by several of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, being charged on Oath with Sodomy.
      Bills of Indictment have been found for the same Crime against William Gent, alias Madamoiselle Gent, a Tradesman in the Liberty of Westminster; and also against John Whale, Alias Margaret, alias Peggy Whale.
      Besides the Persons mentioned in our last, Four Men were Yesterday Se'nnight convicted at the Old-Baily, of the detestable Sin of Sodomy. (The London Journal)

23 April 1726

Yesterday ... Gabriel Lawrence and William Grifin were cast for Sodomy; and some others were to be brought to their Trial for that unnatural Crime. (Mistís Weekly Journal)

30 April 1726

The Person who keeps the Royal Oak Alehouse in Pall Mall, was also try'd for the same Offence, and acquitted. . . .
      On Saturday Night, (when the Sessions adjourned) Sixteen Persons were Capitally convicted; but one of them, viz. John Morrel, for Horse-stealing, dying that Day in the Sessions House, only Fifteen received Sentence of Death, viz. John Gillingham, convicted upon the Black Act, and also of a Robbery upon the Highway; Joseph Treen, for Horse-stealing; John Map and Henry Vigus, for [stealing on] the Highway; James Dupree, Jan Vanwick and James Cotterel, for Burglary; Mary Schuffham, for Felony; Thomas Wright, George Reger, Gabriel Laurence and William Griffin, for Sodomy; Thomas Billings and Thomas Wood, for the barbarous Murder of Mr. John Hayes; as also Katherine Hayes, the Wife of the Deceased, for the same Fact. The latter was sentenced to be burnt alive. (The London Journal)

On Saturday last, the Sessions ended at the Old-Baily, when the 15 following Malefactors received Sentence of Death; viz. Catharine Hayes, Thomas Wood, and Thomas Billings, for Murder; the former to be drawn on an Hurdle to Tyburn, and there burnt alive. Thomas Wright, Gabriel Lawrence, George Reger, William Griffin for Sodomy; Mary Schuffman, Jane Vanvick, for Felony; John Mapp, John Gillingham, and Henry Vigus, for Robberies on the Highway; John Cotterell and another Man for Burglary; and Joseph Treen for Horse-stealing. Wood and Billings, begg'd hard that they might not be hang'd in Chains; and Catharine Hayes, receiv'd her particular Sentence with the utmost Terror. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

7 May 1726

Wednesday a Dozen more Sodomites were taken and committed. (Mist's Weekly Journal)

We hear that near 20 Houses have been discover'd, which entertain'd Sodomitical Clubs; besides the nocturnal Assemblies of great Numbers of the like vile Persons at what they call the Markets, which are the Royal-Exchange, Moorfields, Lincolns-Inn Bog-houses, the South Side of St. James's Park and the Piazza's of Covent-Garden, where they make their Bargains, and then with draw into some dark Corners to indorse, as they call it, but in plain English to commit Sodomy. However the Government having undertaken the Prosecution of them, 'tis not doubted, but strict Care will be taken to detect them in order to avert from these Cities those just Judgments, which fell from Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, whose Sons of Perdition, so much resembled by our English Sodomites in their Aversion to the Female Sex, rejected Lot's Daughters and lusted after the Angels, believing them to be Men. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

On Thursday Mr. Serjeant Raby, Deputy Recorder of this City, made his Report of the Malefactors under Sentence of Death in Newgate, to His Majesty in Council, when the Ten following were ordered for Execution, viz. . . . Thomas Wright, Gabriel Laurence, and William Griffin, for Sodomy; Thomas Billings and Katherine Hayes for Murder; the latter to be burnt: But Joseph Treen convicted of Horse-stealing, Mary Scuffham of Felony, and George Kedger, alias Reger, of Sodomy, are reprieved. (The London Journal)

14 May 1726

Catharine Hays and Thomas Billings are to be executed next Monday for the Murther of Mr. Hays; as also three other Persons for the detestable Sin of Sodomy, and three for the Highway. (Newcastle Courant)

Monday the following Malefactors were executed at Tyburn, viz. Gabriel Lawrence, William Griffin, Thomas Wright, the three Sodomites, who were conveyed together in one Cart to the Tree; John Gillingham, John Map and Henry Vigous, the three Highway-Robbers, together in another; and John Cotterell and James Dupress, two House-Breakers, together with Thomas Billings, one of the Murderers of Mr. Hayes, in a third Cart: Catharine Hayes being drawn thither on an Hurdle. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

The latter [Catharine Hayes] was drawn to Tyburn on a Hurdle, and there burnt alive, without the Indulgence of being first strangled, as has been customary in like Cases. But, to strike a proper Terror in the Spectators of so horrid a Crime, a special Order was sent to the Sheriff to the contrary. She was fasten'd to the Stake by an iron Collar round her Neck, and an iron Chain round her Body, having an Halter also about her Neck, (running through the Stake) which the Executioner pulled when she began to shriek: In about an Hour's Time she was reduced to Ashes. She affirmed in Newgate, that Billings was her own Son, got by Mr. Hayes's Father, when she lived with him as a Servant. So that Billings murder'd his own Brother, assisted in quartering him, and then lay with his own Mother, while his Brother's mangled Limbs were under the Bed. Billings was hanged in Chains near Tyburn in the Road to Padington. (The London Journal)

Catharine Hayes, as soon as the others were executed, was, pursuant to a Special Order, made fast to a Stake, with a Chain round her Waste, her Feet on the Ground, and an Halter round her Neck, the End whereof went through an Hole made in the Stake for that Purpose: The Fuel being placed round her, and lighted with a Torch, she begg'd for the Sake of Jesus, to be strangled first: whereupon the Executioner drew tight the Halter, but the Flame coming to his Hand in the Space of a Second, he let it go, when she gave three dreadful Shrieks; but the Flames taking her on all Sides, she was heard no more; and the Executioner throwing a Piece of Timber into the Fire, it broke her Skull, when her Brains came plentifully out; and in about an Hour more she was entirely reduced to Ashes. She confess'd herself guilty in part of the Murder of her Husband Mr. John Hayes, for which she beg'd God and the World Pardon, and declar'd she repenter herself heartily for being concern'd in it: She had a great Confidence of an happy State, becasue she said she was caritable and just in her Dealings. She own'd Billings to be her Son, and that his true Name was Thomas Hayes. She was somewhat confus'd in her Thoughts, and dyed in the Communion of the Church of England.
Thomas Billings was the same Day hang'd in Chains within 100 Yards of the Gallows. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

A little before the above-named Criminals were turned off, John Map and Henry Vigus attempted to escape. The former having slipt off his Halter and Hand-Strings, leaped out of the Cart, and the latter had likewise got off his Halter, but was prevented from getting out of the Cart. Map was immediately seized, and they both submitted to the Fate of their Fellow-Sufferers. (The London Journal)

Just before the Execution, a Scaffold [i.e. benches for the spectators] that had been built near Tyburn, and had about 150 People upon it, fell down. A Snuff Box Maker in Castle-Street, and a Gentleman then not known, were, as 'tis believ'd, mortally wounded; and about 12 other Men and Women, maimed and wounded in a most cruel Manner: Some having their Legs, others their Arms, &c. broke. Some part of the Scaffold being left standing, the Mob gathered upon it again in Numbers; and in about Half and Hour more, that also fell down, and several were hurt. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

The Scaffolding broke down Two or Three Times near the Place of Execution, by which much Damage was done; Five or Six Persons were either killed on the Spot, or are since dead; and several Persons had their Legs and Arms broken. (The London Journal)

Several Persons have been committed to New-Prison for Sodomitical Practices. (The London Journal)

Tuesday last the Body of Gabriel Lawrence, one of the Sodomites executed at Tyburn, was dissected at Surgeon's-Hall.(The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

21 May 1726

The Sodomites lately convicted at the Chatelet in Paris, received Sentence the 24th to be burnt Alive in the Place de Greve, and their Ashes to be thrown into the Air, which was executed the same Day. (Ipswich Journal)

Friday 31 May 1726

From the Evening Post, May 24.

Paris, May 29.
A Person convicted of Sodomy was on the 4th Inst. burnt alive, by virtue of the Sentence pass'd upon him by the Judge of Chastelet. (Caledonian Mercury)

4 June 1726

A Fellow is bound over to the Sessions for coming into a Shop and threatning the Master, that unless he gave him so much Money he would swear Sodomy against him; a Practise that may grow in Fashion amongst these Villains, if not timely prevented. (The London Journal) [Identified as a hosier's shop in The Weekly Journal]

11 June 1726

James Oviatt, who had been Prisoner in Newgate for some Months past, was, on Thursday last, convicted of a Conspiracy, falsly to charge an innocent Person with attempting to commit Sodomy with him; and received Sentence to stand in the Pillory at the Royal-Exchange, to pay a Fine of 20 l. and to suffer Six Months Imprisonment. (The London Journal) [The blackmail victim is identified as "one D. C." in Mist's Weekly Journal for 11 June.]

25 June 1726

One Patrick Markham and John Pokyn were a few Days since committed to newgate, on Suspicion of Sodomitical Practices. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

2 July 1726

Yesterday at the King's Bench Bar at Westminster, . . . Robert Whale and York Horner were convicted upon an Indictment for keeping at House in King-street, Westminster, with Conveniences for Persons to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy; a Crime, as Mr. Attorney-General observ'd to the Court, that was new even in this Age. They are likewise to be sentenced next Term. (Ipswich Journal) (Repeated in the London Journal and the British Journal for 9 July.) [See also 26 Nov below, 3 Dec below, 7 Jan 1727 and 14 Jan 1727.]

16 July 1726

On Monday at the Sessions at Guild-hall, (which began there and at Hickes's-Hall that Day) one Joseph Cuttler was try'd and convicted of a Misdemeanor, for attempting to extort Money from a Shopkeeper in Fleetstreet, threatning, in case of refusal, to swear Sodomy against him. He was sentenced to pay a Fine of 10 Marks, to suffer half a Year's Imprisonment, and to stand in the Pillory in Fleetstreet, over-against Shooe-Lane End. (The London Journal)

23 July 1726

On Saturday last the Sessions ended at the Old Baily, where eight Men and one Woman receivíd Sentence of Death, viz. Peter Piercy for Murther; Edward Reynolds and Thomas Smith for Robbereies on the Highway; Richard Hinton, Thomas West, John Beakes and William Flowers for Horse-stealing; John Claxton for returning from Transportation, and Mary Standford for privately stealing. – Muckleston, an Attorney to stand in the Pillory for Perjury; Thomas Brown, Benjamin Mackintosh and Margaret Clap, ditto, for Sodomitical Practices. (Mistís Weekly Journal)

23 July 1726

Margaret Clap, convicted of keeping a Disorderly House in Chick-lane for the Entertainment of Sodomites, was sentenced to stand in the Pillory in West-Smithfield, to pay a Fine of 20 Marks, and to suffer two Years Imprisonment.
      James Mackintosh and William Brown being convicted of Sodomitical Practices, they were sentenced to stand in the Pillory; the former in Moorfields, and the latter in Broad St. Giles's, each to pay a Fine of 10 Marks, and to sufer a Years Imprisonment.
      Adam White, late a Victualler in St. Giles's Parish, was tried for a Rape upon his own Daughter, a Girl of 11 Years of Age, and acquitted. (The London Journal)

30 July 1726

Thursday last, several Peace Officers were in quest of a Gang of Sodomites, who frequent Moorfields, but missed of them narrowly, they being just gone off before they could come up with them; however, 'tis not doubted but by the Vigilance of the Society for the Reformation of Manners, they will soon be detected. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

Last Monday, one Joseph Cutler stood in the Pillory at the End of Shoe-Lane, in Fleet-Street, pursuant to his Sentence at the last Sessions of the Peace at Guild-Hall; for endeavouring to extort Money from a Shopkeeper in the said Street, threatning, in case of Refusal, to swear Sodomy against him. The Populace express'd an uncommon Abhorrence of the Crime, by pelting him with Stones and Filth, that he bled plentifully, and fainted away on the Pillory, and was carried off for dead. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

Margaret Clap stood in the Pillory last Tuesday in Smithfield, for keeping an House for the Entertainment of Sodomites. The Populace treated her with so much Severity that she fell once off of the Pillory, and fainted upon it several times. (The London Journal) Being unable to bear the Salutes of the Rabble, she swooned away twice, and was carried off in Convulsion Fits to Newgate. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

Last Monday a Lawyer's Clerk in Cliford's-Inn, was carried before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor for sodomitical Practices, and committed to Wood-Street Compter. (The British Journal)

On Thursday last one William Brown stood in the Pillory in Moorfields, for Sodomy. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

1 August 1726

One Mugg, a notorious Sodomite, who kept a House in Windmill-Street near Piccadilly, for the Entertainment of Persons to commit that detestable Crime, is committed to Tothill-fields-Bridewell; as are also many others, to several other Prisons, to answer for the same Crime.(The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

6 August 1726

A noted Tradesman in Fleetstreet is taken up on Suspicion of Sodomitical Practices. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

Thursday 15 August 1726

We still hear of Persons being taken up and committed to Prison for the detestable Sin of Sodomy, amongst whom is one Mugg, who kept a House near Piccadilly for Entertainment of Persons to commit that abominable Crime. We do not know what some People mean by their Remarks, as that certain Persons make a great appearance now who not very long ago were in no better Rank than that of Footmen. (Caledonian Mercury)

3 September 1726

One Night last Week two Persons were seized by the Patrole in St James's Park for Sodomi[t]ical Practices, and being carried before a Magistrate, were committed to the Gatehouse. (The London Journal)

10 September 1726

Thomas Doulton, convicted of Sodomitical Practices, was sentenced to stand on the Pillory at Charing-Cross; to pay a Fine of 20 Marks, and to suffer six Months Imprisonment. (The London Journal) [See 1 Oct below.]

1 October 1726

Monday one Thomas Doulton stood upon the Pillory at Charing-Cross, pursuant to his Sentence at the last Sessions at the Old Bailey, for endeavouring (according to the Canting Term) to discover the Windward Passage upon one Joseph Yates, a Seafaring Person, whom he pick'd up in St. James's Park, and carried to an Ale-House in the Strand. Not only the Men, but the Women express'd their Abhorrence of the Fact, by pelting the Criminal with Dirt. (The Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer) [See 10 Sept above.]

22 October 1726

[Last Monday] at Guildhall, at the Sessions of Oyer and Terminer held by Adjournment from the Old-Baily, one Thomas Coleman, and John Irons alias Hihon [according to The British Journal, William Coleman and John Hyons] (who used to go among the Sodomites by the Name of Queen Irons) were severally tryed and convicted for an Assault with Intent to commit Sodomy; the former was sentenc'd to stand upon the Pillory in West-Smithfield, to pay a Fine of five Marks, and to suffer three Months Imprisonment; and the latter to stand upon the Pillory in the broad Way of the Minories, to pay a Fine of 5 Marks, and also to suffer three Months Imprisonment.
     At the same Time, John Harwood and Mary his Wife, were tryed upon an Indictment for keeping a disorderly House in entertaining Sodomites, and knowingly and willfully permitting them to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy. It was fully prov'd by four or five unexceptionable Witnesses that Sodomites used to meet there, and practised divers Sodomitical Obscenities, and sometimes in Mrs. Harwood's Presence, and that she abetted such Practices. Their Defence consisted in producing many Persons to their Reputation, but the only material Circumstance in their Favour was, that there was no Proof of the latter Part of the Indictment, viz. the Commission of the gross Act of Sodomy: And thereupon they were both acquitted, but were admonished by the court to reform their Behaviour, and not suffer such Practices in their House for the future.(The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

12 November 1726

[Last Wednesday] one John Highons, alias Hyons, stood on the Pillory in Smithfield, pursuant to his Sentence at the Old-Baily, for Sodomitical Practices. (The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer)

12 November 1726

Two persons stood in the Pillory this Week for Sodomy, and were sadly maulíd. [Presumably these were Hyons and Coleman.] (Mistís Weekly Journal)

Monday 14 November 1726

London, Nov. 5. . . . On Monday next one Coleman is to stand upon the Pillory at the lower End of the Minories, pursuant to his Sentence at the late Sessions at Guildhall, for Sodomitical Practices.
          And the next Day one Hyons is to suffer the same Punishment in Smithfield, for the like Crime. (Caledonian Mercury)

26 November 1726

On Wednesday Horner and Whale were brought to the Court of King's-Bench to receive Judgment, for keeping a Publick House for the Accommodation of Persons committing sodomitical Practices, which being a Crime of an extraordinary Nature, the Court have taken Time till Monday next, the last Day of Term, to consider of some exemplary Punishment proper for the Offence, and the Convicts, who are in the mean time remanded to Prison, are then to be brought down again to receive Sentence. (The British Journal) [See also 9 July above, 3 Dec below, 7 Jan 1727, and 14 Jan 1727.]

3 December

Monday being the last Day of the Term, York Horner and Robert Whale, two Persons lately convicted of keeping a disorderly House for the Entertainment of Sodomites, (as mentioned in our former,) were brought to the King's Bench Bar, Westminster, to receive Judgment, and each of them were sentenced to stand twice in the Pillory, viz. at Charing-Cross and the Royal-Exchange, to suffer six Months Imprisonment, and to find Security for their good Behaviour for seven Years. (The British Journal) [See also 9 July above, 26 Nov above, 7 Jan 1727, and 14 Jan 1727.]
[NOTE: According to The Weekly Journal: or, The British Gazetteer, their names were Hornby and Whaley, and their molly house was in King-Street, Westminster.]

10–17 December 1726

LONDON, December 13.
James Williams, alias Settlement Mary, an Irishman, was try'd and convicted at the Old-Baily, upon an Indictment for assaulting one of the Youths, who are called the Children of the King's Chapel, with Intent to commit the detestable Crime of Sodomy. It appeared that on Sunday the 16th of Oct. last the said Williams came to the Chapel, and addressing himself to the Youth, pretended that he knew his Friends, and had a great Kindness for him; and after the Divine Service was over, he desired to speak with him in the Park; and when they were there, it being darkish, Williams acted several Indecencies, and prepared himself to perpetrate the abominable Crime, but the Youth run away, and acquainted Dr. Crofts with what had happened. The Doctor being apprehensive that a second Attempt might be made, appointed a Person to watch next Chapel Day, whether any Body would address himself to the Youth, and go away with him, and in such Case to dodge them, that proper Measures might be taken to apprehend the Offender, and bring him to just Punishment. Williams came accordingly to the Chapel on St. Luke's Day, and took the Youth from thence to a Tavern, where he was discover'd in the manner directed by the Doctor. He is said to have such an Attempt once upon a young Lad of the Charter-House, and to have stood in the Pillory for the like Crime about 12 Years ago. (Ipswich Journal)

17 December 1726

James Williams, convicted of attempting to commit Sodomy with Henry Lloyd, one of the Children of the King's Chappel, was sentenced to stand on the Pillory at Charing Cross, and is also to be transported, being convicted of a Felony. . . .
      Samuel Roper, alias Plump Nelly, who was under Prosecution for Sodomitical Practices, and for keeping a disorderly House in Giltspur-street, died last Week in the Poultry-Compter. (The London Journal)

17 December 1726

Casualties. ...Roper a Sodomite died in the Compter. (Mistís Weekly Journal)

31 December 1726

Reading, Dec. 24. One Elliot, Jun. of this Place, being charged on Oath with the detestable Crime of Sodomy, has made his Escape, and ten Guineas has been offered by our Magistrates for apprehending him. (Mistís Weekly Journal)

7–14 January 1727

LONDON, January 10.
On Friday last York Horner, and Robert Whale, stood in the Pillory at Charing Cross, for keeping a House for the Entertainment of Sodomites, and also James Williams stood in the Pillory at the same Place, for attempting to commit Sodomy upon one of the Youths belonging to his Majesty's Royal Chapel at St. James's. They were so loaded with Dung and Dirt, that they appeared like Bears; in short if the Populace had been suffered to exert their desired Resenments the vile Criminals must have made their Exit upon the spot; buit they are reserved for further Punishment, viz. the two former to stand in the Pillory again the Monday following at the Royal Exchange, and the latter to be transported for Felony. (Ipswich Journal)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, as noted above, throughout the year 1726.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1726," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 27 July 2000; expanded 5 Sept. 2002, updated 21 July 2018 and 1 September 2020 <>.

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