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

Newspaper Reports, 1752

Saturday, 4 January 1752

Thursday two Fellows, catch'd in the infamous Act of Sodomy, were committed to the Gatehouse by Mr. Justice Cox; one of them was a well dress'd genteel Fellow, and had the Appearance of a Gentleman; the other was in a ragged Condition, and seem'd to have been hired for that Purpose. They were catch'd in a dark Alley; and it is very remarkable, that they who are guilty of this beastial Crime, are seldom cautious enough to choose a Privacy to prevent a Discovery. (Read's Weekly Journal)

17–24 January 1752

Tuesday the Quarter Sessions began at Guildhall, when Richard Noke was indicted, for that he, together with another Person, assaulted a Servant belonging to Mr. Wilson, in Cannon-Street, as he was coming through Exchange-Alley, with a View of extorting Money from him, on Pretence of having been guilty of Sodomitical Practices; when the Court passed Sentence upon Noke, that he should suffer Twelve Months Imprisonment in Newgate. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 25 May 1752

We hear from Dublin, that a Personage of great Distinction in the British Nation, has lately suffered an Amputation of both his Ears, by a Gentleman, on whom he had the Impudence, as well as the enormous Baseness, to attempt the Commission of Sodomy. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Tuesday, 26 May 1752

On Sunday Night a Footman belonging to a Lady of Distinction in St. James's-Street, was committed to Newgate for committing Sodomy on Tuesday last, on a young Lad of 15 Years of Age. (General Advertiser)

Tuesday 26 May 1752

The many Instances of the horrid Crime of Sodomy being committed, or attempted to be committed of late, calls aloud to those in Power to exert all the Influence Dominion gives them to extripate (sic) the enormous Baseness, and to drive from the Society of Men those who are guilty of it. The Romans of old, even in the polite Age of Augustus, addicted themselves to that Vice; it was as fashionable in that Reign, as the promiscuous Use of Women is in our Age, and we are told, that Virgil and Horace used to retire, with their chosen Alexis, to Country Seats, as frequently as modern Gallants retire with their chosen Fair Ones: But how great is the Disproportion between the Vices! Man and Woman were made for social Endearments and gentle Intercourses, under proper Restrictions. It is not many Years since this Vice was known in England, and it is but very few Years since it was committed frequently. Ought not all the Thunder of the Legislature to be directed against it? It may grow, (But O Heaen forbid,) and it may grow fashionable, to the Scandal of the Christian Name. – Nothing could be so natural, in order to suppress it, as to make the very attempt Capital, and expose the Culprit to Shame, to the most overwhelming Shame, before he suffers; he ought to be dragg'd thro' the Streets with Marks of Infamy denoting his Crime, fixed upon him, and then suffer the Infliction of the severest Tortures. These Severities would raise Terror, and are certainly necessary to extripate a Crime that disgraces Human Nature. (Manchester Mercury)

10–17 July 1752

On Saturday Morning was found drown'd in a River near Coleshill, one Mr. Fullwood, who formerly lived there, but some few Years since removed to this Town. He is said to have been found the Day before in a Sodomitical Posture, with a Boy, of which Practice he has often been accused. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 13 July 1752

Sarum, July 13.
On Friday last Joseph Rickets, of Chippenham, was committed to Fisherton-Goal, for aiding and assisting Robert Ladd to commit the detestable Crime of Sodomy, on the Body of Benjamin Ash. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

17–24 July 1752

And on Friday the Assizes ended at Oxford, which proved a Maiden one, no Person being capitally convicted. Richard Minchin, for Sodomitical Practices, was ordered to be pilloried, imprisoned one Year, and to find Sureties for his good Behaviour for three Years. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday, 25 July 1752

Last Sunday Night two Men charged with Sodomy were taken in Black Boy Alley; and on Monday one was committed to the Gatehouse, the other to New Prison. (Read's Weekly Journal)

Saturday 15 August 1752

On Thursday Evening last a Barber and Peruke-maker was committed to the Gatehouse for Sodomitical Practices. (General Advertiser) [See report for 14 October.]

Thursday, 20 August 1752

Yesterday a Master Painter was committed to the Gatehouse, by Justice Fielding, for attempting to commit Sodomy with a Foot Soldier. (General Advertiser)

Friday, 21 August 1752

We hear from South Wales, that an eminent Chinaman not far from St. James’s, was tried there for attempting to commit Sodomy on a Country Farmer; for which he was sentenced to stand in the Pillory. (General Advertiser)

Monday, 24 August 1752

On Wednesday last ... a Man was committed to the Gatehouse by the said Justice [Fielding], being charged with Sodomitical Practices. (General Advertiser)

Tuesday, 25 August 1752

Last Week one Samuel Hill of Debenham was committed to Ipswich Goal, for stealing 20 Ewe Lambs from Mr. John Carter of Occold. And John Griggs, an old Man, who stood in the Pillory five Years ago in Ipswich, for an Attempt to commit Sodomy, was also committed to the said Goal for the like Crime. (General Advertiser)

Wednesday, 2 September 1752

On Saturday Evening a Person was taken into Custody of a Peace Officer, for Sodomitical Practices, near the Tower, but being admitted to Bail hanged himself. (General Advertisere)

15–22 September 1752

Saturday Evening a Person was taken into Custody of a Peace Officer, for Sodomitical Practices, near the Tower, but being admitted to Bail, hang'd himself. (Derby Mercury)

Tuesday, 19 September 1752

Bristol ... On Saturday last, about Ten o’Clock in the Morning, Richard Arnold (near sixty Years of Age, who formerly kept the Lamb and Flag-Alehouse in Tucker-street, and since the Lamb and Flag in Temple-streeet) and William Pritchard, a Footman to a Gentleman of this City, aged about 20, were apprehended in a back Room at the Swan Alehouse in Broad-street by the Landlord, on a violent Suspicion of having committed the detestable Crime of Sodomy; and being carried before Mr. Alderman Day, were by him committed to Newgate. (General Advertiser) [In August 1753 they were both sentenced to be hanged. See also Bristol Gaol Delivery Fiats. And see report on their hanging.]

12 October 1752

May 21.   We hear from Dublin, that a Personage of great Distinction in the British Nation has lately suffered an Amputation of both his Ears, by a Gentleman on whom he had the Impudence, as well as the enormous Baseness, to attempt the Commission of Sodomy; and indeed it is a Pity that some other of his Members had not undergone the same Fate. (The Virginia Gazette, American Colonies; see also report for 27 October.)

Friday, 13 October 1752

Yesterday was held a Court of Common-Council at Guildhal, when, amongst many other Reports from the Committee of City-Lands, one concerening pulling down the Wall, that parts the Upper from Middle Moorfields, was read and agreed to; (this Wall has been a long Time a great Nusance [sic] to the Neighbourhood, as it was a Screen for Thieves and the most obnoxious persons.) (General Advertiser) [See also the report for 28 October. The path along this wall was famous as ‘the Sodomites Walk’ in the 1720s.]

Saturday, 14 October 1752

On Tuesday Night Mr. Banks, a Barber and Peruke-maker in Earl-street, near the Seven Dials, found Means to hang himself in his Room. And on Wednesday evening the Coroner’s Inquest sat on the Body, and brought in their Verdict Lunacy. (General Advertiser) [It seems likely that this is the barber arrested for sodomy on 15 August.]

Tuesday, 24 October 1752

On Sunday Night two Men were detected in Sodomitical Practices in the Temple Boghouse, one of whom underwent the Discipline of the Thames. (General Advertiser)

27 October 1752

Extract of a Letter from Dublin, of May 19.
"Some of your London News-Papers are fill’d with cursed Falshoods, said to be transmitted from Dublin, concerning a great Person’s having his Ears cut off for an Attempt to commit S—y; that horrid Vice (God be praised) not being known in this Island." (The Virginia Gazette)

Saturday, 28 October 1752

Several Workmen are daily employed in puling down the Wall that separates Lower from Upper Moorfields, in order to level the Ground, make it more agreeable to the View; and also to prevent the daily Assemblies of idle Fellows the Thieves, who have frequented that Place for many Years, and debauch’d the Morals of ’Prentices and other unguarded Youth. (General Advertiser) [See also the report for 13 October.]

3–10 November 1752

From the WHITEHALL and the GENERAL Evening Post, &c. November 4.
Lisbon, (the Capital City of Portugal) Sept. 26.
THE unhappy Persons who suffered last Sunday at the Auto da Fe, consisted of thirty-three Men, and twenty-nine Women: They were not all new Christians, which is the Term generally made Use of by Way of Distinction, but there were several old ones among them: Of the latter were, 1st, A Portuguese, brought here from the Brazils, who was condemned to be whipt, and banished ten Years, for the detestable Crime of Sodomy. 2d, Two others, who were convicted of having each of them two Wives at one Time. . . . 4thly, Five Women accused of Witchcraft, and holding an intimate Correspondence with the Devil, publicly abjured the Covenant which they imagined they had made with him. . . . Amongst those who are termed New Christians, three Men and one Woman, who return'd to Judaism, were delivered to the secular Power to be strangled and burnt. The Woman and two of the Men underwent their Fate couragiously, but the other obtained his Pardon by asking Forgiveness of the holy Inquisition, and promising to abjure his Errors, and firmly embrace the Truths of Christianity. (Derby Mercury)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1752", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 14 Aug. 2002, updated 17 Jan. 2012, 22 Feb. 2015, 7 Dec. 2015, 15 Jan. 2021 <>.

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