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

Newspaper Reports

13 January 1728

Last Monday one James Oviat was committed to Newgate by Justice Gore and Justice Harper, for extorting Money from a Person on Pretence of his being guilty of Sodomitical Practices: We hear this is the third Time the said Oviat hath been committed to that Jail on the like Account, and about twelve Months ago he stood in the Pillory for that vile and villainous Practice. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

27 January 1728

The Trials of Mr. John Burleigh of Clare-Market, indicted for Perjury; of James Oviatt, for Sodomitical Practices; and John Elliott, for several notorious Cheats and Frauds, were put off till the next Sessions, which begins the 28th of February. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

23 March 1728

Some Days since, two Sodomites were taken up in the Hay-Market, and committed to Goal. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

4 May 1728

We hear that strict Search is making after several notorious Sodomites, occasionally taken Notice of in a Narrative lately published by James Dalton, who is an Evidence against the Street-Robbers to be try’d this Sessions. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

18 May 1728

On Tuesday last, a Man was committed to Newgate by Justice Gifford, for attempting to commit Sodomy. (The Weekly Journal)

Sunday 25 July 1728

LONDON, July 20.

Thursday at the Sittings of the King's Bench, Westminster, one John Bennett was found guilty of an Attempt to commit Sodomy in the Bog-House at Lincoln's-Inn. (Derby Mercury)

17 August 1728

Thursday last a Man was committed to Newgate, for endeavouring to extort Money from a Gentleman, by threatning to swear Sodomy against him. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

24 August 1728

Last Tuesday ... Julius-Cæsar Taylor, and one Oakeley, were committed to said jail [the County Jail in Southwark] by Justice Ellis, for Sodomitical Practices. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

On Monday Night one John Burgess was committed to Newgate by two of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for Westminster, being charg’d with Sodomitical Practices.

31 August 1728

Tuesday at the Sessions of the Peace at Guildhall, two little Boys were convicted of a Misdemeanor for extorting Money from a Person, by threatning falsly to charge him with Sodomitical Practices, and were fined three Marks each, and order’d to be sent to the House of Correction for three Months. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

5 October 1728

On Sunday Night last a Constable with proper Assistants, searched the House of Jonathan Muff, alias Miss Muff, in Black-Lyon Yard, near Whitechapel Church, where they apprehended nine male Ladies, including the Man of the House. They were secured that Night in New Prison, and Monday Morning they were examined before Justice Jackson, in Ayliff-streeet; John Bleak Cawlend was committed to Newgate, he being charged on Oath with committing the detestable Sin of Sodomy. One of them was committed to Bridewell, and Miss Muff, with the other Six were committed to New Prison for Misdemeanors. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

5 October 1728

Jonathan alias Miss Muff, and nine Male Ladies were all apprehended last Sunday Night at his House in Black Lyon Yard near White Chapel Church, carried to New Prison, and examin’d next Day before a Magistrate, when J. Bleak Cawland charged on Oath with committing the detestable Sin of Sodomy, was committed to Newgate, another to Bridewell, and Miss Muff with the other six to Newgate: Two Persons were also catch’d in that horrid Act last Week at Redding [i.e. Reading, Berkshire]; one of whom was immediately pump’d, thrown into a Bog-House, and then rinsed in stinking Ditches; what will come of the other Beast is not said. (The Flying-Post: or, The Weekly Medley)

Sunday 24 October 1728

Wye's Letter, verbatim, London, Oct. 19.

This Evening 4 Persons were convicted at the Old Bailey of the detestable Sin of Sodomy, upon the Evidence of one Jonathan Perry, who confessed he had committed that Crime with some of them several times; who had a Custom among 'em of Christening by the Names of Nell Gwyn, Geneva, &c. after which Ceremony they are call'd Husband and Wife. The other Particulars are not fit to be mentioned. (Caledonian Mercury)

19 October 1728

On Thursday ... a Bill of Indictment was found at the Old Baily, against one Cowland, for Sodomy.

The same Morning, two Persons were taken in the Act of Sodomy, in the little Cloisters at Westminster-Abbey, and committed to Prison.

And other Bills are found at Hick’s Hall, against divers other Persons, for Sodomitical Practices. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

26 October 1728

Monday the Sessions ended at the Old Baily, when, with what received Sentence of Death last Saturday, there are 16 Capitally convicted, viz. ... John Bleak Cowland for Sodomy ...

John Burgess, for Sodomitical Practices, was fin’d five Marks, and order’d to find Sureties for his Good Behaviour for six Months.

Two others indicted for Sodomitical Practices were acquitted. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

9 November 1728

Saturday last ... one John Mitchel stood in the Pillory in Little Britain, pursuant to his Sentence at Guild-Hall, for threatning to swear Sodomy against a Person, in order to extort Money from him; he is also to suffer three Months Imprisonment. (Weekly Journal, or the British Gazetteer) [This was also reported in The Flying-Post: or, The Weekly Medley.]

9 November 1728

Last Wednesday Night the dead Warrant came to Newgate for the Execution of thirteen Malefactors condemned last Sessions at the Old-Bailey, on Monday next at Tyburn, ...

But John Bleake Cowland, Samuel Lewis, and John Taylor, are respited ’till his Majesty’s Pleasure, touching them, be further known. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer) [The Flying-Post on this day also reported that although John Bleak Cowland was condemned for sodomy, he was reprieved and not executed.]

14 December 1728

On Friday last Week a Bill of Indictment was found by the Grand Jury of London against Thomas Mitchell, late of Red-Lyon-Street, Upholsterer, for the heinous and detestable Sin of Sodomy, and on Saturday he was convey’d from his Majesty’s Prison of the Fleet to Newgate; when he was detected of the abominable Fact he attempted, and had near accomplish’d, destroying himself, in cutting the great Artery of his Left Arm almost asunder; but by the immediate Help of some eminent Surgeons he was preserv’d, tho’ at the Point of Death thro’ the great Effusion of Blood. (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer. Also reported in the Ipswich Journal)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, as noted above, throughout the year 1728. Most of these newspapers were published once a week, on Saturdays.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1728," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 10 August 2002, updated 16 November 2011 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England