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

Newspaper Reports, 1742

Saturday 23 January 1742

We hear from Berwick, that last Saturday, a Man there, found guilty of Sodomitical Practices, stood in the Pillory, and was severely pelted by the Populace. He is to stand there again next Wednesday. (Newcastle Courant) [From a review of Punishments in the Olden Time by William Armstrong, 1881, reviewing the history of the pillory published in the Newcastle Courant on 3 June 1881, we learn that "In January, 1742, John Rule stood in the pillory at Berwick,having been convicted of unantural crimes."]

Thursday 11 March 1742

LONDON, March 9.
On Friday last a Person was committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster, by James Fraser, Esq; for having committed Sodomy on a Boy in the Workhouse belonging to the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields; and is likewise charged with Sodomitical Practices on several other Boys. This Person has been near seven Years in the said Workhouse, and is deem'd an old Offender; this Scene of Iniquity hath been brought to Light by the Diligence and Industry of the present Overseers of the said Parish, who took Care that such Wickedness should not be concealed. (Stamford Mercury)

Saturday 20 March 1742

Yesterday a Man stood in the Pillory at the Royal Exchange, for Sodomitical Practices, and was most severely used by the Populace; particularly by an Amazon, who tore off the greatest Part of his Cloaths, whipp'd him with Rods for a long while, and diverted the Spectators with some extraordinary Discipline. (Ipswich Journal)

20–27 March 1742

Robert Carleton, convicted upon Two Indictments; one for Sodomy, committed with John Lincoln, who was admitted an Evidence against him; and the other for Murder, by Poisoning one Mary Frost, a Single Woman late of Redgrave. . . . I am informed that Rob. Carleton the Tayler, condemned for Murder and Sodomy, is to be Executed at Diss on Monday the 5th of April, and afterwards hanged up in Chains on the Common there. (Norwich Gazette)

Saturday 27 March 1742

At the Assizes at Thetford in Norfolk, the following Persons received Sentence of Death, viz. . . . Robert Carlton, for Sodomy with John Lincoln, and also for Murder, in poisoning Mary Frost, Spinster, by intermixing about a Quarter of an Ounce of Mercury Sublimate with some Salt, which Salt she eat with some boiled Mutton for her Dinner. – Carlton lived at Diss in Norfolk, by Trade a Taylor, and Lincoln was his Lodger, and lodged in his House a considerable Time, lay with him, and was entirely kept by him. At length Lincoln, growing weary of this Way of Life, made Courtship to the above mentioned Mary Frost, which at last was made known to Carlton, and Lincoln brought her two or three Times to his House; Carlton grew angry at this, and often told Lincoln, that if he brought his Whores near him, he would do them some Mischief or other, nay, swore he would poison them, and used all the Means he could to dissuade him from Matrimony, in order to keep him to himself; but finding it to no Purpose, he invited her one Sunday to his House, to eat some Victuals and be merry, which was on the 25th of November, at which Time, having mixed the Mercury Sublimate with the Salt, he put it on her Plate, and entreated her to eat heartily, which she accordingly did; about six Hours after she began to be sick, and swell'd very much; her Friends got Assistance as soon as they could, blistered her, and purged her, but to no Purpose, for she died on the 17th. When the Doctors open'd her they found all her Entrails quite affected with the Poison. The Circumstances were very strong against him, and he is to be hang'd in Chains at Diss aforesaid. (Newcastle Courant)

3–10 April 1742

On Monday last, abouve 3 a Clock in the Afternoon, Robert Carleton was Executed upon a Gallows on Diss Common for Sodomy and Murder: He did not deny the Sodomy, but to the very last denied theMurder; maliciously insinuating, as if it was done by other Persons: After he was dead and cut down, he was carried back to a House, and hung up there upon a Balk in the Middle of the Room, and shewn for Two Pence a Peice [sic]; and on Tuesday he was hung up in Chains on a Gibbet upon Diss Common, near the Wind-Mills, between the Town and Scule-Inn. It was computed, there were at least 10000 People to see him Hanged. (Norwich Gazette)

Saturday 10 April 1742

Extract of a Letter from DISS, dated April 8.
Last Saturday Robert Carlton (who was condemn'd at the last Thetford Assizes for Sodomy, and the Murder of a young Woman by Poison) was brought hither from Norwich Castle. Sunday in the Afternoon he was carried to Church, where an excellent Sermon, applicable to the Criminal's Condition, was preached before the largest Congregation ever seen here. The next Day he was executed upon our Common, and afterwards hanged in Chains. He behaved to the last with very little shew of Remorse; and altho' he acknowledged the Sodomy, yet, when the Rope was about his Neck at the Gallows, he denied that he was guilty of the Murder. The People present at the Execution were computed by some at 15,000, and by others at 20,000. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 17 April 1742

Norwich, April 10. Last Sunday, Carlton (who was condemn'd at Thetford Assizes for Sodomy, and the Murder of a young Woman by Poison) was carried to Diss Church, and put into the Seat he us'd to sit in; 'tis said there were above 2000 People present. And on Monday, about Six o'Clock in the Afternoon, he was hang'd on Diss Common. He confess'd the Sodomy, but deny'd poisoning the Woman, and complain'd very much against one Full–r. Before his Execution he sent for Lincoln, the chief Evidence against him, and they drank two Pints of Ale together, and parted Friends. – On Tuesday he was hung up in Chains on the Gibbet on Diss Common. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday 23 October 1742

On Sunday Night last, . . . one of the Watchmen in St. Paul's Church-Yard observed two Men to be Particularly familiar with each other, at some Distance from his Stand, for some Time, and then saw them go together into the Passage behind the Chapter-house, which gave him Cause to suspect they were Sodomites, on which he inform'd the next Watchman to him of what he had seen, and they both rush'd on the two Men at once, and by the Posture they found them in were confirm'd in the Opinion the Watchmen had conceiv'd; they were then carried before the Constable of the Night, who sent one to the Poultry, and the other to Woodstreet-Compter; and Yesterday they were examined before Mr. Alderman Calvert, who committed them to the said Goals [sic]; one by the Name of Thomas Blare [i.e. Blair], and the other John Deacon. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 30 October 1742

LONDON, October 26.
On Saturday last two Fellows went into a Baker's Shop in Bearbinder-Lane, and demanded Five Pounds of the Master of the House, threatening, in case of Refusal, to swear Sodomy against him; upon which he laid hold of one of them, and call'd out for Assistance to secure the other, but he got off; the Fellow he seized was secured till yesterday Morning, when he was carried before the Sitting-Alderman at Guild Hall, who committed him to the Poultry-Compter. (Ipswich Journal)

Sunday 25 November 1742

Extract of a Letter from Plymouth, Nov. 10.
A very extraordinary kind of Sea Discipline having been put in Practice in this Port, on board the Princess Amelia, I cannot avoid making it publick. Two Men on board the said Ship being caught together, and supposed to be guilty of that notorious and detestable Sin Sodomy, the Captain, in order to reclaim and bring them to Shame, (the real Fact not being fully proved) ordered Declaration to be made among the Women on board, that they should have the Correction of those Fellows; whereupon near twenty of the Amazonian Kind jumpt on Deck, with Cat-o-Nine-Tails in Hand, the Men being seiz'd and stript, did lay on the Stripes so close, and with such heavy Resentment at the Crime, that, if they had not soon been taken off, they would have died under their Discipline. (Caledonian Mercury

Thursday 9 December 1742

On Thursday two Persons were committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster, for Sodomitical Practices, by Justice Trent. It is said there is a Gang of near Thirty belonging to them. (Stamford Mercury)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1742", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 22 Nov. 2011, enlarged 26 Aug. 2014 and 3 Dec. 2015, updated 9 July 2019, 27 Dec. 2020 <>.

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