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

Newspaper Reports, 1751

Saturday, 19 January 1751

Last Week at the Quarter Sessions of the Peace for Westminster, a Dancing Master, who was taken into Custody about three Months ago, was tried for Sodomitical Practices in St. James's Park. He was sentenced to pay One Shilling Fine, to stand one Hour in the Pillory, and to be imprisoned three Months. (Old England)

Saturday 26 January 1751

We have an Account from Gloucester, that a [series of] Informations were made before the Mayor of that City, against several Persons there, for Sodomitical Practices, who were all thereupon apprehended; among whom is a Person of Dignity, and several respectable 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. (Ipswich Journal)

Monday 28 January 1751

On Tuesday Night a Man, genteely dressed, picked up a young Lad, Apprentice to a Working silvesmith in the Strand, and began to exercise some Sodomitical Practices; but the Boy being better inclined called out, and caused him to be taken. He was carried before a Justice, and gave Bail in 1000 l. for his Appearance. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

31 January – 2 February 1751

Extract of a Letter from Gloucester, Jan. 31.
"In the News-Papers of last Week was publish'd a Paragraph from Bristol highly injurious to this City.
          "That Informations have been taken before the Mayor, against several Persons for Sodomitical Practices is very true, and some of those Persons have been confined and tried for it, and such as have been tried were honourably acquitted; there are others in Confinement, against whom the Informations are more strong and circumstantial, who are to be tried at the next Assize; but not one Person of any Rank or Figure, thought they were asserted to be Persons of Dignity and reputable Tradesmen." (London Evening Post)

Saturday 2 February 1751

Last Saturday one Steuart stood on the Pillory at Chairing-Cross for Sodomitical Practices, with one Stringer, who died in Newgate some Time since. (Ipswich Journal)

Tuesday, 12 March 1751

On Sunday Night last a Gentleman stopped a Soldier in St. James's Park, and desired he would see him safe to Chelsea, and he would reward him for his Trouble. The Soldier accepted the Offer; but in going thither, the Gentleman made use of several Sodomitical Practices; which he resenting, seized the Gentleman, and charged him therewith: Some Persons coming by at that Instant, took care that neither should escape, but conducted them both late last Night to St. James's Round-house, where they were confined all Night; and this Morning, about nine o'Clock the Keeper of the Round-house going in to the Gentleman, found he had hanged himself in his Handkerchief; and though all proper Means were made use of to recover him (some Signs of Life remaining) it was too late. (London Advertiser and Literary Gazette) [This story was previously reported a year earlier, in the General Advertiser for 12 March 1750.]

Saturday 16 March 1751

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

Friday, 29 March 1751

Yesterday two Men were committed to New Prison for Sodomitical Practices. (London Advertiser and Literary Gazette)

Thursday, 11 April 1751

The Grand-Jury for this City [Gloucester] found likewise on Tuesday, two Bills against a Journeyman Pinmaker and an Ostler, for an Assault with an Intent to commit Buggery; but they both travers'd till next Assizes. The Prosecution is carried on at the Expence of the Corporation. (General Advertiser)

Saturday, 13 April 1751

Sunday Morning two young Men were detected in Kent-street, in Sodomitical Practices, and taken into Custody. (Remembrancer)

21–23 May 1751

On Wednesday a Jew who lived near Turnstile, Holborn, was committed to Newgate, being charged with Sodomitical Practices. (General Evening Post)

23–25 May 1751

The Jew that was committed to Newgate last Week for Sodomitical Practices, was this Afternoon capitally convicted for the same at the Old-Baily. (General Evening Post)

26–28 May 1751

On Saturday seventeen Prisoners were tried at the Old Baily; two were capitaly convicted, viz. Robert Damsel, for a Robbery on the Highway, near Hounslow-Heath, and Michael Levi, a Jew, who kept a Toyshop near the Baptist-Head in Holborn, for Sodomy; there were four Boys about thirteen or fourteen Years of Age, appeared in Court, upon which he had made Attempts. (Whitehall Evening Post)

24–31 May 1751

LONDON, May 28.
On Saturday Seventeen Prisoners were tried at the Old Bailey; two were capitally convicted, viz. Robert Damsel, for a Robbery on the Highway, near Hounslow Heath, and Michael Levi, a Jew, who kept a Toyshop near the Baptist-Head in Holborn, for Sodomy; there were four Boys about thirteen or fourteen Years of Age, appeared in Court, upon whom he had made Attempts. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 25 May 1751

The Jew that was committed to Newgate last Week for Sodomitical Practices, was this Afternoon capitally convicted for the same at the Old Bailey. (Newcastle Courant)

Saturday, 25 May 1751

Tuesday . . . was also committed to to [Newgate] one Michael Levy a Jew, for enticing into his own Room Thomas Lambourn, a Boy of about 13 Years of Age, for Sodomitical Practices. This Villain is also detained for the same Crime on the Confession of Samuel Tidmarsh, another Boy of the same Age. (Old England or The National Gazette)

Saturday 15 June 1751

His Majesty was pleased to pardon Capt. Henry Byton, for Forgery; . . . The Report of Michael Levi, a Jew, for Sodomy, was suspended. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday, 5 October 1751

Levy the Jew, condemned some Time since for Sodomy, received on Monday his Majesty's Free Pardon. (Old England or The National Gazette)

Saturday, 15 June 1751

Sarum, June 8. . . . On Thursday last was committed to the Town Goal by H. Brown, Esq; Mayor of this City; one James Wall, a Weaver, lately from Bristol, for a Sodomitical Attempt on a Man who was his Bed-fellow, at a Publick House in this City. (Read's Weekly Journal)

Friday, 21 June 1751

Yesterday . . . J. Purser, the Printer of a late infamous Pamphlet, wrote in Vindication of the detestable Sin of Sodomy, received Sentence of the above-mentioned Court [of King's Bench] , to stand twice in the Pillory, once at the Royal-Exchange, and once at Charing-Cross, to suffer one Month's Imprisonment, and to find Sureties for his good Behaviour for seven Years, to be bound himself in a Bond of 300 l. and his Sureties in 150 l. each. (London Daily Advertiser)

Monday 24 June 1751

On Tuesday Night one Lambeth, a Prisoner in the Fleet, prevail'd on one Isted, a Farmer, who was likewise a Prisoner there for Smuggling, after drinking to great Excess, to commit the Act of Sodomy, in which they were detected by another Prisoner, and taken into Custody; and about Three o'Clock Yesterday Morning, the Farmer reflecting on the Heinousness of his Crime, cut his Throat, and died in about two Hours, after acknowledging the Fact. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Monday, 24 June 1751

On Saturday Night two Men were taken up in the Park for some Sodomitical Practices, and were carried to the Guard Room, but as no Act of that kind could be prov'd, they were discharged. (London Daily Advertiser)

5–12 July 1751

LONDON, July 6.
Yesterday came on at the Court of King's-Bench in Westminster-Hall, before the Lord Chief Justice Lee, a Trial against Mess. Alexander, Dixon, and two others, for a Conspiracy in swearing Sodomy against the Hon. Edward Walpole, Esq; in order to extort Money from him; when, after a long Hearing, they were all four found guilty. Alexander, who acted as Attorney for the others, was committed Prisoner to the King's-Bench, and is to receive his Sentence next Term. Dixon absconded before the Jury brought in their Verdict, and the two others never appeared. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 20 July 1751

About a Week ago, a young Gentleman, in order to avoid the Shame consequent on an enormous Crime, found Means to put an End to his Life by hanging himself. He was detected, it seems, in a Tavern in the Strand, as he was about to commit the beastly Sin of Sodomy, was carried to the Round-House, and from thence before a Justice; but the Evidence not being clear he was dismissed, not without the strongest Suspicion of his being guilty. Whether stung by a Consciousness of the Enormity of his Offence, or shocked by the Conduct of those towards him, who believed him guilty, it cannot be determined; but it is certain, that he thought Existence under such a Load of Infamy, not worth holding, and committed Violence on his own Life; a Punishment not unnatural for such a Crime, for they who can thus debase their Nature, ought not to be allowed to mix in the Society of Men. (Ipswich Journal)

Monday 22 July 1751

A few Days since a young Gentleman, in order to avoid the Shame consequient on an enormous Crime found Means to put an End to his Existence by a Rope. He was detected it seems, at a Tavern in the Strand, as he was about to commit the bestial Sin of Sodomy, and being carried to the Round-House, was from thence convey'd before a Justice; but the Evidence not being clear he was dismissed, not without the strongest Suspicion, however, of his being guilty. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

3–5 October 1751

On Wednesday two Men were detected in Sodomitical Practices in a Stable near Hyde-Park, one of whom was committed to the Gatehouse, and the other to New Prison. (Whitehall Evening Post)

Monday, 21 October 1751

Last Friday Night a Fellow was detected in attempting to commit Sodomitical Practices on a Gentleman's Servant in a Stair-Case in the Temple; for which he was conducted to the Water-Side, and fasten'd to the Stern of a Boat, and drawn through the Water to the opposite Shore. (General Advertiser)

22–29 November 1751

On Friday Night a Servant to Mr. Wilson of Crooked Lane, was accosted at the End of Birchin-Lane in Lombard-street, one of whom d—n'd him, and said he would take him before Mr. Alderman Ironside, and charge him with Sodomy, if he did not give them his Money; which the Man refusing, he was knocked down; but a Person passing by, secured one of them, and carried him before the Lord Mayor, who committed him to Newgate.
          He proved to be one Richard Noke, a notorious Miscreant, who stood in the Pillory some Time ago for Perjury. He had the Impudence, when taken for this new Fact, to declare, that many reputable Tentlemen near the Royal Exchange would give him a good Character; but it unfortunately happened, that the only one to whom he then referred, assured the Person who took him, that he was a dangerous Villain, capable of any Wickedness, and that it would be doing great Service to Society to punish him according to her Deserts. (Derby Mercury)

29 November – 5 December 1751

Thursday last John Cather, Patrick Kane, and Daniel Alexander the Attorney, were brought into the Court of King's-Bench in Westminster-Hall, and received Judgment for being concerned in a most wicked Conspiracy against the Hon. Edward Walpole, Esq; in endeavouring to extort a large Sum of Money under Pretence of swearing Sodomy; when Cather was ordered to stand three times on the Pillory, viz. once at charing-Cross, once at the End of Chancery-Lane, and the third Time at the Royal-Exchange; after which he is to be sent to Clerkenwell Bridewell for four Years, there to be kept to hard Labour; then to give Security himself, in 40l. and two Securities in 20l. each, for his good Behaviour for three Years more. Kane was sentenced to stand on the Pillory once at Charing-Cross, and afterwards to be sent to Clerkenwell Bridewell to hard Labour for two Years, and to give Security for his good Behaviour for five Years, himself in 40l. and two Securities in 20l. each. And Alexander was sentenced to stand once on the Pillory at Charing-Cross, to pay a Fine of 50l. to suffer two Years Imprisonment in the King's-Bench Prison, and to give Security for his good Behaviour for three Years more, himself in 200l. and two Securities in 100l. each. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 7 December 1751

On Monday two Bills of Indictment were preferred by the Grand Jury at Guildhall against Richard Noke, who was committed to Newgate a few Days since, for assaulting a Man at the End of Birchin Lane in Lombard street, under the Pretence of charging him with Sodomy: and this Day it is expected his Trial will come on at the Old Baily. (Ipswich Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1751", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 17 Jan. 2012, enlarged 31 Aug. 2014, 7 Dec. 2015, 13 Jan. 2021 <>.

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