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

The Trial of Gilbert Laurence

Gilbert Laurence, of the Precinct of St. Brides, was indicted, for that on the 11th Day of July last, not having the fear of God before his Eyes, but moved by the Instigation of the Devil, he did on the Body of Paul Oliver, a Male Infant, of the Age of fourteen Years, make an Assault, and violently and wickedly, and against Nature, did Bugger the said Paul Oliver.

Paul Oliver depos'd, That he was an Apprentice to the Prisoner, who was by his Trade a Gilder, that he had been with him about six Weeks, that at the time mentioned in the Indictment, being Saturday Night, they went to Bed, and about Two o'Clock in the Morning he jump'd upon him, and held him down, that he was almost stifled, his Breath being almost gone; that he strove what he could, but he kept him down; that he cry'd out what he could, but though there were People in the House, they were so far off they could not hear him; and that he hurt him so much, he thought he would have killed him. He being ask'd, what he did to him? He answer'd, He put his Privy Member into his Fundament a great way. Being ask'd, If he perceiv'd any Thing to come from him? He reply'd, Yes; there was Wet and Nastiness which he wip'd off with the Sheet, and what he was ashamed to tell; that he had tore him so, that he could not tell what to do, and could not do his Needs [i.e. go to the toilet]. Being ask'd, If he had use'd him so before? He said, No; he had made offers two or three Nights before, but did not put it in. He being ask'd, How his Master us'd him otherwise, if he had us'd him severely in any Thing before? He reply'd, No. Being ask'd, When he complained of this Usage? He reply'd, The next Day, as soon as he could get out, he went Home to his Mother, and made his Complaint to her.

—— Oliver, his Mother, depos'd, That the Sunday following, her Son, Paul Oliver, came to her, complained he was very sore, and said his Master had used him very barbarously, and he was afraid to go Home to him again; that on Monday Morning she took him to Justice Blaney, and he sent for a Surgeon, and examined him.

This was confirm'd by Justice Blaney.

Jean Barbat, the Surgeon, depos'd, That upon examining the Lad, he found his Fundament quite open; that it had been penetrated above an Inch, and much lacerated; that there was a Hole, in which a Finger and Thumb might be put, and that the Fundament was Black all round, and appear'd like that of a Hen after laying an Egg.

The Prisoner having nothing to say in his Defence, but that he was elsewhere at that time, and could prove it, but never call'd any one Witness to that nor any Thing else; and the Fact being substantially proved, the Jury found him Guilty of the Indictment.


[Gilbert Laurence was hanged at Tyburn on Wednesday 7 October, according to a news report printed in the Grub-street Journal for 15 October.]

SOURCE: The Proceedings at the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London, and County of Middlesex; on Friday the 28th, Saturday the 29th, and Monday the 31st of Angust, and Tuesday the 1st of September 1730, ... No. VII for the said Year. London: Printed for T. Payne, at the Crown in Ivy-Lane, near Pater-noster-Row, 1730, pp. 6-7
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial of Gilbert Laurence, 1730," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 5 January 2001, updated 4 March 2004 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England