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

Newspaper Reports, 1737

NOTE: See also numerous reports from Bristol

Monday 17 January 1737

A house in Black-Friars much suspected of being frequented by an infamous Gang of Sodomites, Mr. Jones City Marshal has often of late visited the home, particularly last Night; but before he came out, that execrable Crew found means to escape but narrowly. (Caledonian Mercury)

Saturday 22 January 1737

On Thursday Night last, Mr. Jones, the City-Marshal, was call’d upon to suppress a House in Black-Fryars, who harbour’d those abominable Wretches called Sodomites. He accordingly went thither with an Assistant; but, tho’ the utmost Caution was taken of its coming to the Knowledge of the People of the House, their guests found Means of making their Escapes, some with Handkerchiefs about their Shoulders like Night-Rails, before Mr. Jones’s Arrival: However, his going there, will, it is hoped, prevent their meeting there more, to the great Joy of the Neighbours. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday 5 February 1737

Bristol, Jan. 22. . . . We have been a pretty while quiet from hearing of the detestable Actions of those Black Gang of Vermin the Sodomites, till last Week an Instance happened in this City, at an Inn in Thomas-street, where one of Lucifer’s Tribe was discovered in a Diabolical Attempt with a Soldier: It seems he deceived the honest Soldier with specious Pretences, and treating him pretty freely with Liquor, had Leave to a Part of his Bed, which he was no sooner in, but he began his brutish Attempts, and being overheard by the Chamber-maid, she immediately inform’d some Gentlemen in the House of the Affair, who presently turn’d the He-Lady out of the Inn, and being well mobb’d, was severely pelted thro’ the Streets: The Butchers too got him into their common Beast-Penn, and dragg’d him thro’ the Filth till the Wretch was almost suffocated. (Newcastle Courant)

Wednesday 2 March 1737

Friday the said Sessions [of the Old Bailey] 25 Prisoners were try’d three of whom were capitally convicted, viz. Nathaniel Hillyard for murdering Mr. Minegan, a Marshall’s Court Officer in the Haymarket in the Year 1733.
          Samuel Taylor and John Barry for committing the detestale Sin of Sodomy. (Derby Mercury)

2 March 1737

Thursday at the Sessions at the Old-Bailey . . . Nine were cast for Transportation and fourteen acquitted; among the former was John Stevens, known by the Name of Miss Molly Stevens, for stealing five Silver Seals from Mr. Holland, a Goldsmith.
          . . . Samuel Taylor and John Barry for committing the detestable Sin of Sodomy. (Derby Mercury)

Thursday 22 September 1737

They write from Bristol, that Thomas Hull the Sodomite was so severely pelted in the Pillory, that he died upon the Spot. (Stamford Mercury)

24 September 1737

Thomas Hull, an old grey-headed Leacher, who has infested this Country upwards of five Years, lurking for his Prey under the different Characters and Disguises of a Solicitor, a Gentleman of an Estate, a Steward to a Nobleman, a Cook, a Tapster, and other Shapes; among the rest, he personated a Lady's Footman at one of our Fairs, to decoy a Jew from his Standing, under Pretence that a beautiful rich young Lady, his Mistress, was enamour'd with his Person; he got the Jew to a Public House, where the told him that he could not divulge the entire Secret, as to the Lady's Name, where she lived, &c. unless he would lie with him that Night at his Lodgings at the King David on St. Michael's Hill, and to make his Story more plausible, he pull'd out a Handful of Money, as if the Lady has sent it for the Purpose of his Commission, and making several other strange Offers, the Jew began to suspect him for a Villain, but old Reynard (well-known at Leicester, the Place of his Nativity) was at length catch'd in Sodomitical Practices with one Robert Rawlins, a young Soldier, at a Publick Inn in this City, who is to stand in the Pillory with this old Badger, according to their Sentence. (Newcastle Courant)

1 October 1737

Bristol, Sept. 17. Last Saturday Thomas Hull and Robert Rawlins stood in the Pillory in Wine-street, pursuant to their sentence, for Sodomitical Practices; but never were two Wretches worse pelted, especially old Hull, who was stunn'd several times, and so depriv'd of his Senses, that he hung some time by the Wrists in the Iron Handcuffs of the Pillory; after which the Mobb pull'd down his Breeches, and continued pelting with such Fury, that had not the Pillory broke down, tumbling him over head and Heels on the Street, and the Magistrates with some Constables interven'd, they certainly would have been kill'd on the Spot. Hull was carried away on a Man's Back to Newgate, where he lay speechless some Time, and was thought past Recovery till the Monday following. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday, 1 October 1737

On Monday . . . at three Quarters after Eleven, Jones was put a second time in the Pillory at Charing-Cross, for extorting of Money from Mr. Lenne, under Pretence of swearing Sodomy against him, and he was severely pelted by the Populace: he was afterwards carried back to Newgate, to suffer three Months Imprisonment. (Common Sense; or, The Englishman's Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1737", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 17 Feb. 2015, updated 7 July 2022 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England