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

Newspaper Reports, 1754

25 January – 1 February 1754

Monday . . . Matthew Scott stood on the Pillory in King-street, Covent-Gardent, in Consequence of his Sentence at Hicks's-Hall, for falsely swearing that Mr. William Watson, of Russell-Court, attempted Sodomitical Practices on him. (Derby Mercury)

15–22 February 1754

LONDON, February 16.
Wednesday Mr. Justice Dennison sat in the Court of King's-Bench in Westminster-Hall, in the room of the Lord Chief Justice Lee, who is indisposed, when one Goodwin, a Stage Coachman, was tried for Sodomitical Practices, and the Jury, after withdrawing about ten Minutes, brought him in guilty: He is to be bro't before the Court the first Day of next Term, in order to receive Judgment for the said Offence. (Derby Mercury)

15–22 March 1754

LONDON, March 19. – We are informed that a Physician of some Eminence in Northamptonshire is lately gone off, having been detected in the very Act of Sodomy with a young Barber. (Derby Mercury)

21–23 March 1754

We hear that a Person of Fortune, lately absconded on Account of a Charge being brought against him for Sodomy, has declared his Intentions of appearing to the Indictment and taking his Trial. (Whitehall Evening Post)

17–23 May 1754

LONDON, May 18.
Yesterday a Gang of Soldiers, and others, who had made it their Business for some Time to swear Sodomitical Practices against Persons, in order to extort Money, were taken up, and examined before Justice Lediard, who committed them to the Gatehouse. (Derby Mercury)

Tuesday 28 May 1754

On Saturday last James Bently of the Parish of Croydon in Surrey, was committed to the New Goal [sic], Southwark, by Joseph Willoughby, Esq; charged upon the Oath of Jeremiah Stone, Son of Thomas Stone, of Mitcham in the said County, with assaulting him (in December last) in a violent Manner, with an Intent to commit the detestable Sin of Sodomy on the Body of the said Jeremiah Stone. (Manchester Mercury)

24–31 May 1754

A few Days since a young Fellow of Croydon, lately married, was taken and committed to Prison for the most detestable Sin of Sodomy. (Derby Mercury)

21–28 June 1754

LONDON, June 21.
We hear from Coventry, that on Friday Night last as Mr. Warner, jun. of Willinhall near that City, was returning from Market, he was met in the Wall-Close, near Mr. Inge's, at the Charter-House, by one Joseph Wright (a person who used to hire himself as a Tapster) who attempted to commit Sodomy upon him, but on Mr. Warner's resisting, and threatening to expose him, he drew out a Knife and stabb'd him in the Belly, and wounded him in several other Parts, so that his Life is despaired of. He is since fled from Justice. (Derby Mercury)

Tuesday 2 July 1754

Birmingham, June 24. On Friday Evening last, one Smith, a Servant to Mr Daws of Coventry, attempted to commit the horrid Crime of Sodomy, in a Field near that City, on one Wright a Mason; but he refusing to comply with his brutal Desires, Smith pull'd out a Knife, and ripp'd open his Belly, so that his Bowels were let out, by which he is since dead. (Manchester Mercury)

26 July – 2 August 1754

Monday John Jones, and Brumpton the Soldier, stood in the Pillory near Palace Yard, pursuant to their Sentence, for Sodomitical Practices; and notwithstanding all that the Constables could do, they were severely pelted by the Populace. (Derby Mercury)

2–9 August 1754

At the Assizes at Worcester (which ended on Wednesday,) . . .
          On the Tuesday Morning came on at the Nisi Prius Bar, by Certiorari, a Trial on an Indictment against Mr. B——, a substantial Inhabitant of Worcester, for an Assault with Intent to commit Sodomy; when after a Trial of five Hours, the Jury withdrew, and, in about two Hours Time, brought in their Verdict, Not Guilty. And, to the Credit of the Ladies of Worcester, not one of them appeared in Court during this Trial. – The other Indictment against him is traversed, on which he will be tried next Assizes. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 7 September 1754

Extract of a Letter from Lincoln, Sept. 1.
On Friday the 16th of Aug. last was executed here, pursuant to his Sentence, Timothy Raven, for suffering, by his own Confession, the horrid Crime of Sodomy to be committed upon his Body by John Walton, commonly called Dr. Walton. This poor unhappy Criminal, not much above twenty one Years of Age, being seduced through Ignorance by the Doctor, (for he could neither write nor read) was extremely pitied by the Spectators, who were very numerous, well-knowng Walton to be the Cause of his Ruin; and upon that Account, every one wishing he might some Time or other meet with his deserved Punishment: But what Punishment is adequate to the Crimes of such a Monster, being at once guilty both of Sodomy and Murder? Walton had no regular Education that any one knows of in the Neighbourhood, but was dubbed Doctor by a Diploma from some foreign University; notwithstanding he got acquainted with Gentlemen of Chracter here. – The Sodomitical Doctor made his Escape the same Day that Raven was committed to the Castle; and though several Attempts have been made to apprehend him, in order to have him brought to Justice, yet no one could ever discover, with any Certainty, where he is absconded to. Some say, that Walton was lately seen at a certain great Metropolis, at the sign of the naked Breech in Catamite-Alley; others with more Probability report, that the Windward Passage Doctor is set Sail for Italy along with my Lord —. The Baron of Gomorrah's disconsolate Lady was attended on, and her condemned Sermon preached by the Rev. Thomas Simpson, A. B. whose remarkable Modesty would not allow him Resolution enough to dwell in the least upon the Crime for which her Ladyship suffered. (Oxford Journal)

Saturday, 14 September 1754

Yesterday George Cullum Butts and Josiah Partridge were tried at Hicks Hall, for a Conspiracy to charge the Crime of Sodomy on a reputable Tradesman to extort Money, and were sentenced to be confined in Newgate for the Space of twelve Months, and during that Time to stand in the Pillory twice. (Public Advertiser)

Saturday 21 September 1754

Neme repente suit turpissimus ['no-one becomes thoroughly evil overnight'], is a Saying of Phaedrus, which is verified in the Case of George Cullum Butts, a poor unhappy young Fellow, who was convicted last Friday of a Conspiracy to extort Money from a Person, by threatening to swear Sodomy against him, and was very justly sentenced to stand twice in the Pillory, and to be imprisoned twelve Months in Newgate. This young Fellow was the Son of a worthy Clergyman, who put him Apprentice to a Bookseller, where he was unfortunately taken Notice of for his smooth Face, by a Person now in very high Life, being possessed of Posts little less than 3000l. a Year, and very much esteemed (by those who do not know him) in the literary World. This great Man, or rather Brute, for he does not deserve the Name of a Man, first initiated him in these abominable Practices, from whence he proceeded by Degrees to the Crime for which he is to suffer. When he is exalted to his Rostrum, we hope he will make a Discovery of this great, this abominable Catamite, whose Name is too great for us to dare to mention, and by that Means make some Atonement for his Offence, by bringing to publick Knowledge a Wretch who is too Great to be brought to publick Justice. (Oxford Journal)

Saturday 12 October 1754

London – Several of our Readers having been very importunate to find out the Wretch who first initiated an unfortunate young Fellow, mention'd in this Paper a few Days since, in Sodomitical Practices, to satisfy their earnest Curiosity we recommend them to pursue the high Northern Road 'till they come to St. Albans, then turn about to the West, and the first smooth-faced Jemmy they meet with may probably inform them. Lond. Ev. Post. (Oxford Journal)

Saturday 9 November 1754

OXFORD, Nov. 9.
Last Saturday Morning Henry Gadfield, Cook at the Talbot Inn at Chipping-Norton in this County, was found hanging on a Side-beam in one of the Hay-Lofts: The same Day an Inquest was taken on the Body, by James Du Bois, Gent. Coroner, the Substance of which was, that he returned from Oxford the Thursday before, where he had been by his Master's Consent to visit his Acquaintance; that on Friday Forenoon he appeared unusually dull, was missing in the Afternoon, and was not seen afterwards till he was found dead; and no Cause appearing that could induce him to be guilty of so heinous an Offence, the Jury brought in their Verdict Lunacy but a Letter was afterwards received, and it is since rumour'd that he had been detected, whilst he was abroad, in the abominable Crime of Sodomy. (Oxford Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1754", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 17 Jan. 2012; updated 25 Aug. 2014; enlarged 16 Dec. 2015, 15 Jan. 2021 <>.

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