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

Newspaper Reports, 1739


Saturday, 17 February 1739

Thursday a Man of about Threescore was committed to the Poultry Compter, by the Sitting Alderman at Guild-Hall, for Sodomy. (The Country Journal: or, The Craftsman)

Saturday, 10 March 1739

On Friday 7-Night the Corpse of – Curtis, Esq; was carry’d in great Pomp from Warwick-Court, Holbourn, and interr’d in Nelson’s Burial Ground in Red-Lion-Fields. This Gentleman left handsome Legacies to all his Servants, particularly his Valet, who had been with him many Years, 40l. per Annum. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 17 March 1739

Dr. Thistlethwaite is arrived at Diep [sic] in France. (Read’s Weekly Journal) [See The State of Rome, 1739]

Friday, 6 April 1739

[Advertisement]
A Complete course of Experimental Love. In which the whole nature and mechanism of that passion (consisting of its general and special properties, and its general and special effects) will be explained, in a manner entirely new, proper and useful. . . .
          Lastly will be exhibited, a hasty sketch of Unnatural Love; taken from an Italian original, and now published for the consolation of W––m Col––.
          All for love.
                    Vivat Rex
.
                              (The Scots Magazine, p. 156)

Saturday, 14 April 1739

[Advertisement]
WHEREAS I DAVY COOPER, Son of Daniel Cooper, have rais’d a Report, that Mr. JOHN DYMOCKS, Jun. hath been guilty of Sodomy; I do declare that what I said of him is false, and I humbly beg his Pardon,
                    DAVY COOPER.
(Ipswich Journal)

Saturday, 28 April 1739

IPSWICH, April 28. At the Sessions held for this Town, on Tuesday and Wednesday last, three Persons were indicted for Sodomitical Practices. The Grand Jury found the Bills against all of them; but only one of them, viz. Samuel Sherman, appear’d; who, being tried and found Guilty, was ordered to stand in the Pillory, and to be committed to Bridewell for 3 Months; the former Part of which Sentence was executed on Wednesday. The other two, not thinking it proper to stand a Trial, withdrew themselves some Time ago; One of them, the day before Information was made agaisnt him; The other, after Recognizances were enter’d into for his Appearance at the Sessions; which being forfeited, were order’d to be estreated, by the Court.
          We hear two others who were threaten’d with Prosecutions for the same Crime, have left the Town. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday, 5 May 1739

[Advertisement]
WEREAS I Edmund Goymer, did scandalously affirm before divers Persons, at the Duck and Mallard in Framlingham, that Stephen Kirby, at the Griffin in Ipswich, had been taxed, and carried before a Magistrate for Sodomitical Practices; I now in this publick Manner declare, that what I then said I had no Foundation for, (having never known, nor heard any such Report) and therefore most humbly beg his Pardon,
                    Edmund Goymer
                              (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday, 12 May 1739

Ipswich, April 26.   On Wednesday last our Sessions ended, when one Sherman was set in the Pillory for Sodomitical Practices: It is said that three other Persons have left the Town for the like Facts. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 12 May 1739

Tuesday John Hanna, Capt. Longden’s Boy, was try’d at Guildhall for Perjury, and acquitted. ...
      At the same Time one Devenish, alias Devonshire, was tried for an Attempt to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy, which being clearly prov’d by four Evidences, he was sentenced to suffer six Months Imprisonment, and stand in the Pillory at the Royal Exchange. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 19 May 1739

One Devenish, alias Devonshire, was try’d at the said Sessions [Guildhall], for an Attempt to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy, which being clearly proved by four Evidences, he was sentenced to suffer six Months Imprisonment, and stand on the Pillory at the Royal-Exchange. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday 19 May 1739

Ipswich, April 26. On Wednesday last our Sessions ended, when one Sherman was set in the Pillory for Sodomitical Practices: It is said that three other Persons have left the Town for the like Facts. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday, 26 May 1739

This Day one Devenish, who was convicted a few Days since at Guildhall for Sodomitical Practices, stood on the Pillory at the Royal Exchange, in pursuance of the Sentence pass’d on him for the said Offence. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 2 June 1739

On Saturday Morning one Davenish the Taylor, an old Fellow near 60, who was convicted at the Quarter-Sessions at Guildhall for an Attempt to commit Sodomy on a young Man, stood in the Pillory before the Royal Exchange and was severely pelted. Just before his Time was expir’d, a bold Amazon mounted the Pillory, cut his Breeches off, and flogg’d him ‘till the Blood came, and his Head was broke in several Places. The Pickpockets were very busy among the Croud, some of whom were taken and committed to the Compter; but two went through the Horse-pond Law. (The Country Journal: or, The Craftsman)

Saturday, 2 June 1739

On Saturday Devnish the Taylor, aged 60, who was convicted at the last Quarter Sessions at Guildhall for an Attempt to commit Sodomy on some young Lads, stood upon the Pillory at the Royal Exchange, and was severely pelted by the Populace. Just before his Time was expired, a Woman got on the Pillory, cut his Breeches off, and whipp’d him till the Blood came, and his Head was broke in several Places. During the time of his Standing the Pickpockets were very busy amongst the Crowd, several of whom were taken in the Fact, and went through the Discipline of being well duck’d in the River Thames. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 2 June 1739

This Morning at Eleven o’Clock, one Davenant a Taylor, an old Fellow near sixty Years of Age, who was convicted at the Quarter Sessions at Guild-hall on Tuesday last, for an attempt to commit Sodomy on a young Man, stood in the Pillory before the Royal Exchange, pursuant to his Sentence, and was severely pelted by the Populace. Just before his Time was expired, a Woman got upon the Pillory and cut his Breeches off, and whipped him till the Blood came; and his Head was broke in several Places. During the time the Fellow stood, the Pickpockets were very busy amongst the Crowd; several of them were taken up and carried before a Magistrate, who committed them to the Compter; two went thro’ the Horsepond Law. (Ipswich Journal)

Sunday, 7 June 1739

COUNTRY NEWS.
Bristol, June 2. Thursday last, at an Adjournment of the Quarter-Sessions for the City of Bath, came on the Trial of one Cousens, a Heel-maker, of Westbury, under the Plain, for attempting to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy, on the Body of a young Man, Son of the Sexton of the Parish Church of St. James in that City, and the Assault even made in the Body of the very Church while he was sweeping it; of which he was found Guilty, and sentenced to stand in the Pillory one Hour next Monday: when ’tis expected this Monster will meet with the usual Discipline from the People.
       On Saturday last the Rev. Mr. Swinton, Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, mov’d his Majesty’s Court of King’s-Bench for an Information against the Printers of the Pamphlet lately publish’d, entitled, A Faithful Narrative of the Prodceedings in a late Affair, &c. and the court made a Rule to shew Cause next Term. (Derby Mercury) [See The State of Rome, 1739]

Thursday, 7 June 1739

Bristol, June 2. Thursday last, at an Adjournment of the Quarter-Sessions for the City of Bath, came on the Trial of one Cousens, a Heel-maker, of Westbury, under the Plain, for attempting to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy, on the Body of a young Man, Son of the Sexton of the Parish Church of St. James in that City, and the Assault even made in the Body of the very Church while he was sweeping it; of which he was found Guilty, and sentenced to stand in the Pillory one Hour next Monday; when ’tis expected this Monster will meet with the usual Discipline from the People. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday, 9 June 1739

Saturday Night last two Fellows were seized in the Upper St. James’s Park, and carried to the Guard Room, being charged with Sodomitical Practices. (Read’s Weekly Journal)

Saturday, 9 June 1739

On Saturday last the Rev. Mr. Swinton, Fellow of Wadham-College, Oxford, mov’d his Majesty’s Court of King’s Bench for an Information against the Printer of a Pamphlet lately publish’d, entitled, A Faithful Narrative of the Proceedings in a late Affair, &c. and the Court made a Rule to shew Cause next Term. (Read’s Weekly Journal) [See The State of Rome, 1739]

Saturday, 18 August 1739

On Saturday last the Assizes ended at Chelmsford, when George Gray, a Plumber and Glazier, and one Francis, a Barber, both of Colchester, were convicted of Sodomitical Practices. (London Evening Post)

Saturday 18 August 1739

From London Evening Post. On Saturday last the Assizes ended at Chelmsford, when George Gray, a Plumber and Glazier, and one Francis, a Barber, both of Colchester, were convicted of Sodomitical Practices. (Ipswich Journal)

Tuesday, 28 August 1739

From Colchester we hear, that a certain Alderman of that Town, who was convicted last Assizes at Colchester of Sodomitical Practices, will be divested of his Gown, to the great Prejudice of an Interest that he was always very industrious to support. (Caledonian Mercury)

7 September 1739

London, May 29   On Saturday Morning Devenish the Taylor, an old Fellow near 60, who was convicted at the Quarter Sessions at Guildhall, for an Attempt to commit Sodomy on a young Man, stood in the Pillory on the Royal Exchange, and was severely pelted. Just before his Time was expired, a bold Amazon mounted the Pillory, cut his Breeches off, and flogg’d him till the Blood came, and his Head was broke in several Places. The Pickpockets were very busy among the Crowd, some of whom were taken and committed to the Compter; but two went through the Horsepond Law. (The Virginia Gazette)

Saturday, 17 November 1739

Friday 7-Night died, at his House in Grub-street, Mr. Thomas Willis, well known for his Informations, and his Services to the Society for Reformation of Manners. (Read’s Weekly Journal, or, British-Gazetteer) [Constable Willis appears in several of the trials of sodomites in 1726.]

Saturday, 17 November 1739

We have the following Account of an odd Affair which lately happened on board the Resolution, Captain Bestwick, who sailed from London for Jamaica about ten Months ago, viz. A Man (as was then supposed) was hired, by the Name of John Roberts, to officiate as a common Servant, and the Ship proceeded on her Voyage; but before the arrived at Jamaica, the Cabin-Boy saw something that gave him a Suspicion of his Mate being a Woman, whereupon he acquainted the Captain with his Discovery, who order’d John Roberts to be called, and tax’d him with the Affair, and had for Answer, That she was a Hermaphrodite: The Captain (not hearing of such a Creature before,) to satisfy his Curiosity, searched her himself, and, to his agreeable Surprize, found his Servant to be of the Female Kind, and about 24 Years of Age. Capt. Bestwick has brought her back to England, and made her his Cook; and she swears never more to wear Petticoats, but instead thereof to spend the rest of her Days in a tarr’d Pea-Jacket and Trowsers. (Read’s Weekly Journal, or, British-Gazetteer)


CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1739", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 30 Dec. 2005, expanded 27 Jan. 2006, updated 22 Nov. 2011, expanded 16 Feb. 2015 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1739news.htm>.


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