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

Newspaper Reports, 1750

18–20 January 1750

On Wednesday Night two Men were taken on Suspicion of Sodomitical Practices, at a House in George-Street, Westminster, for whch they were committed to Prison. (Whitehall Evening Post)

Monday, 22 January 1750

We have the following Account from Gloucester, viz. A few Days since Informations were made before the Mayor of that City, against several Persons there, for Sodomitical Practices, who were all thereupon apprehended; among them is a Person of Dignity, and several reputable Tradesmen. Those who were able to give Bail were released, and the rest were sent to the City Goal, in order to take their Trials at the next Lent Assizes. (General Advertiser)

24–27 February 1750

Last Week one Johnson, a Dancing-Master, was committed to Hereford Gaol, for Sodomitical Practices at Bromyard. (London Evening Post)

Monday, 12 March 1750

On Sunday Evening a Man very genteely dress'd attempted to commit Sodomy upon a Soldier in St. James's Park; but the Soldier had him secured, and he was confined in the Round-house, and in the Morning he was found dead, having hang'd himself in his Handkerchief. (General Advertiser)

28 April – 1 May 1750

On Saturday last Robert Fawcet stood in the Pillory at Charing-Cross, pursuant to his Sentence at Hicks's Hall, for attempting to commit Sodomy on a Gentleman. (Whitehall Evening Post)

Saturday, 23 June 1750

On Wednesday Evening, wo Men well dress'd, were detected in the Act of Sodomy, in St. James's Park, by a Centinel on Duty, who in attempting to secure them, was dangerously wounded; and the Fellows escaped. (Read's Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer)

23–16 July 1750

Worcester, July 19. Last Monday one of the Hostlers belonging to the Crown Inn, in this City, was committed to Goal, being charged with a Sodomitical Attempt. He made a very stout Defence before he could be secured. (Penny London Post)

27 July – 3 August 1750

On Thursday Night . . . a Soldier of the Guards was committed to Prison, for endeavouring to extort a Sum of Money from a Gentleman, by threatening to swear Sodomy against him. (Derby Mercury)

Monday, 30 July 1750

They write from Paris, that two Men were burnt alive in the Place of the Greve, pursuant to the Sentence of the Parliament, for that unnatural Crime which brought down the immediate Vengeance of Heaven on the five Cities where it had erected its Theatre. (Caledonian Mercury)

4–7 August 1750

On Thursday a Man was taken at a Public-House in Goodman's Fields, charged with Sodomitical Practices. (Whitehall Evening Post)

17–20 August 1750

Thursday Morning a lusty young Fellow was committed to Clerkenwell Bridewell, for attemting to commit Sodomy on Wednesday on a Country Lad near Tower Hill. (Penny London Post)

3–10 August 1750

On Friday last stood in the Pillory, for the second Time, Robert Fawcet, an old Offender, pursuant to a Sentence pass'd upon him at Hick's-Hall, for extorting Money and swearing Sodomy against a Gentleman: He was farther condemned to suffer three Years Imprisonment, and afterwards to find Security for his future good Behaviour. (Derby Mercury)

7–14 September 1750

LONDON, September 11.   Last Friday a Dancing-Master, and a Fellow, formerly a Soldier, were committed to the Gatehouse by Thomas Lediard, Esq; for Sodomitical Practices; ;they were found in a bye Place in the Green-Park by one of the Keepers. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 22 September 1750

On Saturday came on at Hicks's-Hall the Trial of Alexander Staples, for attempting to commit Sodomy on John Smith, a young Lad. About six Weeks ago as Smith was going over Tower-Hill he was met by Staples, who asked him, if he would go and sup with him at his Lodgings, which Smith readily agreed to; soon after they were in the Room, Staples began to behave very indecently, on which the Boy insisted on his letting him go, which he refused to do, 'till the Boy began to make a Noise, whereupon Staples went out to the Swan Alehouse in Mansfield Street, and called for a Pint of Beer, where the Boy, who had followed him, began to tell the Company in what manner he had been treated, which frightened Staples, who then asked the Landlord for a private Room, that he might talk with the Boy, which being denied, he asked if there was a Back-Door; but the Affair getting Wind, he was presently taken hold of, and carried before Justice Rickets, who committed him to Clerkenwell Bridewell. – The Attempt was so plainly proved to the Court and the Jury, that he was sentenced to suffer one Year's Imprisonment in Newgate, and to stand on the Pillory on Little Tower-Hill, some time within a Month. (Ipswich Journal)

24–26 September 1750

Last Sunday Night two Persons were detected committing Sodomitical Practices in St. James's Park, and were both put into the Hole there. (Penny London Post)

13–16 October 1750

On Saturday one Charles Stewart was tried at the Quarter-Sessions at Westminster, for Sodomitical Practices, and fined one Shilling, order'd to be imprisoned for twelve Months, stand in the Pillory once at Charing-Cross, and find Security for his good Behaviour. (General Evening Post)

31 October – 3 November 1750

On Tuesday one Cuddy Stevens, very well known in Newgate, was committed by Sir John Barard to the Compter, for Sodomitical Practices. (Penny London Post)

Thursday, 1 November 1750

On Tuesday last . . . was brought before [Sir John Barnard, sitting Alderman at Guild-hall] one William Chumley, charged on the Oath of a Merchant of this City, for being found in a most indecent Action on Ludgate-hill, on Sunday Night last, tending to Sodomitical Pratices. And one Joseph Stevens, a most notorious Fellow for such Practices, appearing to give the said Chumley a Character, there happened to be present a Gentleman who charged him with the like Offence; whereupon they were both committed, one to each of the Compters; and the Gentleman voluntarily entered into a Recognizance to prosecute them. – Chumley appears to be a noted Pickpocket; and Stevens for a great many Years past has followed these Beastly Practices; making it his usual Method to dress in Womens Cloaths, and under that Disguise to wait upon some sort of Gentry at their Chambers. – Upon being ask'd, how he accounted for being found in such a Posture with the other Fellow, he said he was only taking care of his Gold Watch and Diamond Ring; and whilst before the Magistrate behav'd with great Impudence. It is said, about five Years ago he was taken up and tried as a common Pickpocket, and had no less than 30 Handkerchiefs found upon him, when apprehended. (General Advertiser)

[Earlier in the Michelmas term of 1750 "William Chumley late of London Yeoman & John Stevens late of London Yeoman" were jointly charged with "certain Trespasses Contempts Assaults & Misdemeanours", but they were discharged on 4 March 1750 because the prosecutor failed to appear to testify against them. (London Metropolitan Archives, Sessions Papers, CLA/047/LJ/13/1751) I can't trace the outcome of the December 1750 trial at the Guildhall.]

14–21 December 1750

From Cremona in Italy we have an Account, of a tragical Affair that lately happened at Soncino, the Particulars of which are as follows. A young Lady of noble Extraction, but, it seems, not of noble Sentiments, forgot her Rank so far as to fall in Love with one of her Footmen; and the Laws of the Country not being quite so arbitrary as in some other Parts of Italy, to warrant the confining her to a Cloyster, in order to effect a Cure, the Lady gave Way to her Inclinations so far as to resolve to marry her Servant; than which there cannot be a greater Crime in Italy, it being better to commit Fornication, Sodomy or Bestiality, than to match beneath one's Birth. But the Day before the intended Wedding, the Object of her Love was found murdered in a Ditch; and the young Lady, who seem'd in good Health, died about the same Hour, suddenly, as is supposed, no Marks of Violence being found on her Body. However, as there was sufficient Cause for Suspicion, the Episcopal Court took Cognizance of the Affair, and ordered Enquiry to be made after the Assassins, who are supposed to be some of the Lady's Kindred; but all Informations were quickly stifled, and in less than a Week there was no more Noise made about the Murder of the Footman, nor of the sudden Death of his intended Bride, who is supposed to have been poisoned, lest she should have brought the Assassins to Justice, or at least cut them off from any Expectations they might have in her Fortune, which was very considerable. (Derby Mercury)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1750", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 31 Aug. 2014, enlarged 7 Dec. 2015, 10 Jan. 2021 <>.

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