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

Newspaper Reports, 1749

Thursday 12 January 1749

On Monday last a very remarkable Person was taken into Custody, by one of his Majesty's Messengers, for being the Author of the most infamous Book that has been attempted to be published for some Time since. Even the Advertisement bespoke something so bad and unnatural, that he was kicked or turned out of most of the Printers Houses that he offered it to. (Derby Mercury)

Tuesday 21 January 1749

Amongst the several Villanies committed in this Town [i.e. London], that old one, of writing Letters to extort Money, is reviv'd, threatning to Murder, burn Houses, swear Sodomy, &c. if not comply'd with; and one Fossett, commonly called Doll Fossett, an old Offender, is searching for, there being Warrants out to apprehend him. He was concern'd in these Practices with William Carpenter, who was committed to Reading Goal [sic] for the same, and died there, and thomas Emerson, known by the Name of Rugg the Barber, now under Sentence of Death in Newgate. Fossett then escap'd, but it is hoped if he be again taken, he will meet with the Punishment due to his Crimes. (Ipswich Journal)

Thursday 2 March 1749

We hear that a Person was found guilty at Hicks's-Hall for extorting Money from a Gentleman, and swearing Sodomy against him, and was sentenced to stand three Times on the Pillory, to pay a Fine of 50 l. and to suffer four Years Imprisonment. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 17 March 1749

Extract of a Letter from Gosport, dated March 13.
On Saturday last, between the Hours of Twelve and Two, there stood in the Pillory on the Marketplace, Portsmouth, one George Britony, a Sailor, who was convicted at the last Assizes held for this County at Winchester, for attempting to commit on the Body of James Smith, a Boy under Twelve Years of Age, the heinous and detestable Sin of Sodomy: He was pelted so much the first ten Minutes, that the Constables were obliged to get a Guard of Soldiers to prevent him from being killed by the Mob, who were so much exasperated against him, especially the Sailors, who threw Eggs, Turnips, Oranges, Lemons, Apples, and several Stones, besides Mud and other Filth. (Derby Mercury)

28–31 July 1749

On Sunday Evening a Fellow was detected in Sodomitical Practices in a Necessary House in King-street, Westminster; he was carried before a Justice, who committed him to Prison. (Penny London Post)

Saturday 5 August 1749

Yesterday and this Day was held a General Court Martial at the Judge Advocate's in Privy Garden, Whitehall, for divers Crimes and Misdemeanors in the Army; particularly a Major of Dragoons for Sodomy: The Report of which will shortly be made to his Majesty. (Newcastle Courant)

Friday 11 August 1749

For some time past a Fellow who is confined in Newgate for Sodomitical Practices, has greatly alarmed many of the Inhabitants of London and Westminster, by sending Letters to their Houses, giving a general Account that Schemes were formed by a Set of Rogues to break open their Houses, &c. but that if they would come to him, they should be more particularly informed, and instruicted how to prevent it; the Design of which has been only to get Money from unwary People: But we are informed, that proper Application has been made to the Shereiffs, to put a Stop to this new fashioned Roguery. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 9 September 1749

On Saturday Morning last a Man of between 50 and 60 Years of Age, was detected committing Sodomy with a Boy about 11 Years old, in a Saw-pit, near St George's Church in Southwark, and being carried before Justice Hammond, was by him committed to the New Goal, and the Boy sent to Bridewell. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday 16 September 1749

On Saturday last one Elizabeth Hart was convicted at Hicks-Hall, for attempting to extort Money from Mr. Davies, a Stationer, in Newport-Street, near Newport-Market, under Pretence of charging him with Sodomy, and was ordered by the Court to be imprisoned in Newgate for a Twelvemonth, and to stand on the Pillory once within that Time at the End of Gerrard-Street, near Newport-Market. (Ipswich Journal)

23–25 October 1749

On Saturday a Man stood an Hour on the Pillory at Charing Cross, for Sodomitical Pratices, but he was not severely treated by the Mob; and some Persons who threw Dirt, &c. at him, were secur'd by the Constables. (Penny London Post)

Monday 10 November 1749

We hear a Bill will be brought in next Session of Parliament, to make it Felony without Benefit of Clergy, in any Person or Persons attempting to extort Money under Pretence of Swearing that detestable Crime of Sodomy against innocent Persons. This pernicious Practice has long reigned, notwithstanding the frequent Examples made of those who are wicked enough to follow it; and it is Pity even the Laws in being to punish this Offence were not better known, it would prevent the Ruin of many innocent Persons, who from a false Modesty submit themselves a Prey to these dangerous Rascals, rather than openly defend their Innocence in a Court of Justice. But by this Law, it is hoped, this mischievous Practice, a Scandal to all Law and Justice, will be effectually prevented, and innocent Persons for the future, be better secured in their Characters and Fortunes, from the wicked Attempts of such infamous Villains. (Derby Mercury)

19–21 December 1749

Monday Night a well dressed Man was taken up in St. James's-Park by one of the Centinels, for being guilty of Sodomitical Practices. (Whitehall Evening Post)

SOURCE: Newspapers as above, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1749", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 22 November 2011, enlarged 26 Aug. 2014, 5 Dec. 2015, 7 Jan. 2021 <>.

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