The Trial of Emanuel Rose



I include this trial as an example of the common practice of apprentices sleeping together. It is not clear whether or not Rose was "guilty". He was acquitted. It seems possible that the boy who prosecuted him may have been the one who actually desired physical sex, rather than Rose. The master, John Brasset, was a watch-maker who employed many journeymen and apprentices. He and another one of his apprentices, Charles Horn, had previously appeared in court, in the proceedings of 30 May to 1 June 1759, to testify against an apprentice named Douglas Wyre who was accused of stealing twelve pieces of brass from Brasset (and who was acquitted).

Rictor Norton

EMANUEL ROSE was indicted for having committed that detestable crime called buggary, on the person of Joseph Churchill, January 20.

The prisoner pretending he could not talk English, an interpreter was sworn, but it appeared he could speak English very well.

Joseph Churchill. I am an apprentice to Mr. Brasset, a watch maker, in East-Smithfield, and my fellow apprentice (Charles Horn) and I used to lay together. We had some words, and he struck me on the 20th of January. Then my master came and ordered us to bed. Horn bid me to make the bed, but I would not because he had beat me. Then he tuck'd up the bed as small as he could, for only himself to lay in it, went to bed, and would not let me lay with him. I was sitting on the prisoner's bed in the same room. The prisoner said, here is room enough in my bed, so I went to bed to him, and in about a quarter of an hour he got my legs between his, and his arm round my neck; here he proved the fact laid in the indictment, which is too indecent a subject to be particular upon. I struggled to get away, but could not. I called to Horn several times, and he answered me but once, saying, he would not get out of bed for me. I told Horn how he had used me the next morning.

Q. Did any body lay near you?

Churchill. If I had made a very great noise, nobody could hear me besides Horn, the family laying two pair of stairs lower.

Q. When you called to Horn, did not you tell him the reason of your calling?

Churchill. I said, let me come into that bed, for I do not know what he will do with me; I believe he will ruin me if you do not come to help me out. This was on the Sunday night, and on the next morning I told Horn of it. On the Friday following I told my mother of it, which was as soon as I saw her; she lives in the Fleet Market.

Q. Did not you tell your master of it?

Churchill. No, I did not, for I was afraid he would make a noise about it. I had went once before with an intent to tell my mother, but she was not at home.

Q. Did the prisoner ever ask you to go to bed afterwards?

Churchill. No. He is a sailor, and was going on board the next morning, but the captain would not take him, so he came back again.

Charles Horn. I am twenty years of age next June. After the boy had been in bed with the prisoner about a quarter of an hour, I heard him cry out, be easy, old Bell; a name the prisoner went by among his countrymen.

Q. Did you hear him call out in any other words?

Horn. I heard him repeat that twice: I heard him say no more than those words all that night.

Q. How long had the prisoner lived in the house?

Horn. About six or seven weeks. The next morning Churchill told me that the prisoner offered him a silk handkerchief to lay still, and that the old man (meaning the prisoner) had had to do with him. I asked him how. He said he was ashamed to tell me, and he never told me any farther.

Q. How near did your bed stand to the prisoner's bed?

Horn. From the side of my bed to the feet of the prisoner's bed, is about four feet.

Q. How came you to keep the boy out of your bed?

Horn. He heaved a bit of a tobacco pipe at me, so I gave him a blow, and the bed not being made, he said he would not make it, and I said, then he should not lay in it.

Q. Upon your oath, whether the boy did not call upon you several times, complain, and desire your assistance?

Horn. I heard him say no more than the words I have mentioned.

Q. Did you make him no answer at all?

Horn. I don't remember that I did; there was a countryman of the prisoner's in the same bed with them.

Q. to Churchill. Was there another man in bed with the prisoner and you?

Churchill. There was; it was one of his countrymen; he lay on the other side of the bed, and the prisoner in the middle.

Q. Where is he?

Churchill. I do not know.

Q. to Horn. How did you understand that of the old man's having had to do with him?

Horn. I understood it was something of this nature.

Q. How long was it after this before the prisoner was taken up?

Horn. He was taken up on the Sunday morning following.

Q. Did your master do nothing in it?

Horn. I believe he knew nothing of it till the constable came to take the prisoner up.

Ann Churchill, the boy's mother, deposed, That the boy told her of this affair on the 26th of January, mentioning the several circumstances, which, for decency sake, we omit; and that Martha Williams and Mary Amphlet were with her at the time; they were called in separate, and all gave one and the same account.

Prisoner's Defence.

There was another man lay in bed with me, and he is gone I know not where. The boy came into bed to us, and I lay in the middle. I used to beat the boy for being saucy, and this, I imagine, is done out of spite against me.

For the Prisoner:

John Brasset. The prisoner lodged at my house; he went to bed drunk on the Sunday night, and another of his countrymen lay with him. My two apprentices lay in the same room, in another bed. I examined the boy, and heard nothing of this till the Sunday following. When the prisoner was taken up, the boy went out of my house every day of his life, and he never went out but he would call upon his mother, and would stay a long time on errands. I sent him that day on which he says he told his mother, at half an hour after three, and he never came home till nine in the evening. He went every day that week to a finisher at Westminster; he has been with me about six months, and is a very silly, empty boy.

Q. What is Horn?

Brasset. He is a good civil lad enough; he has made complaints to me that he did not chuse to lay with Churchill, because he used to be always hugging and bussing [kissing] him, and that the boy once said to him, you are very rankey, it is a wonder you do not love me as old Bell, taking hold of his private parts, using an obscene word. I have seen the boy hang over him in the kitchen and kiss him, and the other would knock his head away. The prisoner has got the foul disease [venereal disease] now, and he had it then.

Q. What reason have you to think so?

Brasset. Because he cannot go to the whores our way but what he must get it immediately.

Charles Tompson [sic] The boy told it in my hearing, and that it was done on a Monday night.

Q. How did he say he knew it was on a Monday?

Thomson. [sic] He said he asked his fellow apprentice what day it was, and he said it was on a Monday, on which account I went and brought several people to prove him on board a ship; he went also a whoreing that Monday night.

Brasset. There were five Portuguese lay in the next room to them, who could all speak English; and if the boy had made a noise I could easily have heard him, and I would have gone up with my sword and ran him through the body.

Q. How long had the prisoner lodged with you?

Brasset. He had lodged with me about two months before this affair.

Q. Does the prisoner owe you any money?

Brasset. Yes, about two or three and thirty shillings.

Q. to Horn. Did you hear what your master has said about the boy's talking to you, and taking hold of your private parts?

Horn. He never touched my private parts.


SOURCE: The Proceedings on the King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the City of London, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex, held at Justicie-Hall in the Old-Bailey, On Wednesday the 27th, Thursday the 28th, and Friday the 29th of February, No. 3, Part 2, London: Printed, and sold by G. Kearsly, 1760, pp. 121-3.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial of Emanuel Rose, 1760," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. Updated 25 April 2000 <>.

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