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

Newspaper Reports, 1763

11–13 January 1763

Yesterday Thomas Powell, late a gentleman's coachman, was tried at the sessions at Guildhall, for attempting to commit a most unnatural crime on two lads; and being convicted thereof, was, by the court, committed to Newgate for twelve months, and ordered to stand in the pillory twice during that term, and pay a fine of 1s. (London Evening Post)

Saturday 12 March 1763

IPSWICH, March 11.
On Wednesday Rob. Mills, Taylor, was committed to our Goal, by H. Rant, Esq; being charged on the Oath of Samuel Row, an Infant under the Age of 14 Years, with assaulting him with Intent to commit Buggery on the Body of him the said Samuel Row.
. . .
At Chelmsford Assizes, which ended Yesterday, Rd. Rider and Samuel Barker were found guilty of the Murder of Tho. Elliston, and order'd to be executed on Saturday, & afterwards anatomized. Six other Persons were capitally convicted. One for an Attempt to commit Sodomy, was ordered to stand in the Pillory. . . . (The Ipswich Journal

John Culling

Saturday 5 March 1763

On Monday John Culling, Labourer, was committed to our Goal [sic], being charged on the Oath of Tho. Breuster with committing Sodomy on the Body of John Chatten, a Boy of eleven Years of Age. (Ipswich Journal)

25 March – 1 April 1763

LONDON, March 19.

Thursday the Assizes ended at Bury for the County of Suffolk . . . John Culling, convicted of Sodomy, received Sentence of Death. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 26 March 1763

IPSWICH, March 25.
John Culling, Labourer, received Sentence of Death for committing Sodomy on the Body of John Chattin, a Boy of 11 Years of Age. . . .
          Mr. S. Ray of Saxmundham (who was committed to our Goal some time since for sodomitical Practices, and afterwards admitted to Bail) not appearing, his Recognizance was estreated. (The Ipswich Journal)
See letter to the editor dated 7-9 April, below.]

26-29 March 1763

Tuesday, March 29. ... Last Thursday the Assizes ended at Bury in the County of Suffolk, when ... John Culling, convicted of Sodomy, received Sentence of Death. (St. Jamesís Chronicle)

26–28 March 1763

Last Thursday the Assizes ended at Bury for Suffolk, when . . . John Culling, convicted of sodomy, received sentenceof death. Samuel Ray, charged with divers assaults on John Culling, with an intent to commit sodomy, being out on bail, did not appear, but forfeited his recognizance. (Lloyd's Evening Post)

Saturday 2 April 1763

John Culling, who was capitally convicted of Sodomy, lies dangerously ill of the Small Pox at Bury. (Ipswich Journal)

7-9 April 1763

To the Printer of The ST. JAMESís CHRONICLE.
IT is with the utmost Astonishment I see in an Article in your Paper, that John Culling received Sentence of Death at St. Edmundís Bury for Sodomy, and that Samuel Ray, charged with divers Assaults on the said John Culling, with Intent to commit Sodomy, being out on Bail, forfeited his Recognizance. The Deposition of the unfortunate Culling sets forth, that while an Apprentice, and very young, he was deluded and led into this heinous and unnatural Vice by the above Ray, who was at that Time in very opulent Circumstances; and if his Deposition be true (and it has all the Marks of it) his present unfortunate Condition is owing wholely to the Example and most infamous Behaviour of the absconded Ray. These two People were both committed, and within a Day or two of each other, to Ipswich Gaol, and, I believe, both by the same Magistrate admitted the next Day to Bail, on the Consideration of two hundred Pounds on his own Part, and the Sum of one hundred only on his Brother's! So that the unfortunate Culling loses his Life, and the fortunate Mr. Rayís Brother, one hundred Pounds. Why two hundred Pounds Security was taken from the accused, a Man not worth a Shilling, and one hundred Pounds only from a Gentleman of five hundred Pounds a Year, the Non-appearance of the Man will now account for, even to the Discernment of the Worshipful Justice himself.
     I am, Sir, yourís, &c.
          P. THICKNESSE.
P.S. If Cullingís Deposition were to be made public against Ray, I believe a more infamous Offender in this Way could not be produced; and yet, perhaps, when Culling is hanged, this Fellow will appear again, and delude and debauch another unwary Youth, who, for want of Bail, may suffer for the Vices of an old Offender. (St. Jamesís Chronicle)

Saturday 23 April 1763

IPSWICH, April 22. – The Execution of John Culling, convicted of Sodomy, who was brought hither on Sunday from the Pest-House near Bury, is deferred till further Orders. (Ipswich Journal)

6 August 1763

IPSWICH, Aug. 5.
We hear that at the Assizes at Bury St. Edmund's Philip Thicknesse, Esq; Lieutenant-Governor of Landguard--Fort, was convicted, by a Special Jury of the County, on an Information granted by the Court of King's Bench, for writing and publishing a false and scandalous Libel, reflecting on the Right Hon. Lord Orwell.
          At the same Assizes John Culling, convicted of Sodomy at the last Lent Assizes, receiv'd his Majesty's free Pardon. (Ipswich Journal)

29–31 March 1763

At the Assizes at Warwick came on the remarkable Trial of a Clergyman, for an Attempt to commit an unnatural and detestable Crime; when, after a Hearing of six Hours, the Jury brought in their Verdict, Not Guilty, which they did immediately without going out of Court; after which the Evidence was committed to Prison to be tried at the next Assizes for Perjury. (St. Jamesís Chronicle)

Daniel Lobley

3 April 1763

A man, who stood on the pillory at Bow, for sodomy, was killed by the mob. The coroner's jury brought in their verdict, wilful murder; and some persons were taken into custody for it. (Annual Register)

Sunday 3 April 1763

A man stood in the pillory at Stratford for sodomy, and was killed by the populace. The coronerís jury brought in their verdict, wilful murder, against some persons now in custody. (Gentlemanís Magazine, Historical Chronicle for 1763)

Tuesday, April 5

Yesterday a Man stood on the Pillory at Stratford for Sodomy, when he was so severely handled by the Populace, that he expired soon after he was taken out. (St Jamesís Chronicle, 2-5 April 1763)

Wednesday, April 6.

On Friday a man stood on the pillory at Stratford in Essex for an unnatural crime, and was so severely handled by the populace, that he expired before the people could carry him from the pillory into a house. He was a young fellow, who formerly worked in the bleaching ground. Yesterday the Coronerís Inquest sat on the body, and brought in their verdict Wilful Murder, against some person now in custody. (Lloydís Evening Post, 4-6 April 1763)

5-7 April 1763

Informations are said to be lodged against eleven Labourers in the Neighbourhood of Stratford, and West-Ham, &c. on Suspicion of murdering the Man who stood lately in the Pillory at the former of these two Places. (St. Jamesís Chronicle)

Tuesday, 12 April 1763

Chelmsford, April 7. Last Monday Daniel Lobley, was conveyed to Stratford, to stand on the Pillory there (for an Attempt to commit Sodomy) according to his Sentence at last Assizes, but before he had stood half the Time appointed, he was killed by the Mob. The Coroner's Inquest brought in their Verdict Wilful Murder, and one Person is now in Custody, and Warrants are issued out against several others. (Public Advertiser)

Tuesday 12 April 1763

Friday's and Saturday's Posts. From the Daily Papers, &c. April 6 and 7. – Friday a man stood on the pillory at Stratford in Essex for an unnatural crime, and was so severely handled by the populace, that he expired before the people could carry him from the pillory into a house. He was a young fellow who formerly worked in the bleaching-ground. Yesterday the Coroners Inquest brought in their verdict, Wilful Murder, against some persons now in custody. (Leeds Intelligencer)

Tuesday 24 May 1763

LONDON, May 19. – Yesterday a Gentleman near Bishopsgate-street within, was committed to New Prison, Clerkenwell, by Benjamin Cowley, Esq; charged with an unnatural Attempt on a Lad of twelve Years of Age. (Manchester Mercury)

Saturday 25 June 1763

LONDON, June 24. – This Morning one Philips a Butcher in Carnaby Market, who was convicted at the last Sessions at the New Guildhall, Westminster, for an Attempt of an unnatural Kind, stood in the Pillory at Charing Cross, dressed in a Soldier's Habit in order to disguise himself; but was so pelted by the Populace that he very narrowly escaped with his Life. (Oxford Journal)

Thursday 30 June 1763

Philips, who stood on the Pillory at Charing-Cross for an unnatural Attempt, on Thursday last, in being conveyed back to the Gatehouse was forced from the Constables by the Populace, assisted by some Soldiers who were incensed against him for appearing in a Regimental, and was severely flogged by them all the Way 'till he came to his old Quarters; a Corporal, however, has been since committed to the Gatehouse for striking him. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Samuel Bickley

Monday July 18, 1763

Samuel Bickley, Bart. also Samuel Bickley Clerk is Convicted of an Assault with an attempt to commit Sodomy on John Austen. Let him remain in Gaol for the space of three Months and during that time Let him be placed twice in and upon the pillory for the space of one hour each time between the hours of twelve and two at Sittingburn in this County and then be Discharged. (The records of the ad hoc summer assizes at Maidstone, ASSI 94/974, which say that Austen was from Murston, a small village in Kent, and that he was a cordwainer, or a shoemaker.)

21–23 July 1763

Amongst the prisoners which were tried at Maidstone assizes, there were two for unnatural crimes; one of whom by this act is a disgrace to a profession from which only good examples might be expected; the other was an old pensioner belonging to Greenwich Hospital: They were both found guilty; the former was sentenced to stand twice on the pillory at Sittingburn, and to suffer three months imprisonment; the latter to stand twice on the pillory at Greenwich, and also to suffer three months imprisonment. (London Chronicle)

30 July 1763

At Maidstone 8 prisoners were capitally convicted, all for the highway; and the Rev. Mr. B——, a baronet, was sentenced to stand twice in and upon the pillory at Sittingbourne for the detestable sin of sodomy. (Gentleman's Magazine, Historical Chronicle for October 1763, p. 409)

Saturday, July 30 to Tuesday, August 2, 1763

A Baronet, convicted of an attempt of a detestable crime, is sentenced to be imprisoned three months in the common gaol for Kent, and to stand twice in and upon the pillory at Sittingbourne. (London Chronicle)

Samuel Bickley died (either by starvation or by suicide) ten years later:

27 August 1773

Deaths – At the King's-head Inn, Enfield, the Rev. Samuel Bickley, who came hither the Saturday before, in great distress. In his pockets were found three manuscript sermons, and a petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, dated February 18, 1773. The prayer of the petitioner is as follows: – "Your petitioner, therefore, most humbly prays, that, if an audience from your Grace should be deemed too great a favour, that you will, at the least, grant him some relief, tho' it be only a temporary one, in his deplorable necessity and distress; and let your Grace's charity cover the multitude of his sins there never yet was any one in England doomed to starve; but I am nearly, if not altogether, so; denied the exercise the sacred function wherein I was educated; driven from the doors of the rich laymen to the clergy for relief; by the clergy denied; so that I may justly take up the speech of the Gospel Prodigal, and say, "How many hired servants of my father have bread enough, and to spare, while I perish with hunger." (The Gentleman's Magazine, August 1773)

(According to Cockayne's Complete Baronetage, Vol. 5, p. 230, Bickley was a gradulate of Cambridge, and had assumed the Baronetage in 1754 and was the Vicar of Bapchild, a smalll village in Kent, from 1759 to 1764. "He dishonoured a respectable family by crimes which involved him in distress and infamy and for which he suffered a disgraceful punishment at Lincoln." He was deprived of his title after his conviction and he died childless "in great poverty at the King's Head Inn, Enfield.")

17–20 September 1763

On Saturday the following Convicts were capitally convicted at the Old Bailey, viz. William Higgins and Dennis Buckley, for robbing Edward Biffin of his Watch, in the Road leading from Ratcliff Highway to Mile-End; and James Brown, for robbing Ralph Hodson, in the Middle-Temple Lane, of his Watch, and Silver Shoe and Knee Buckles; and afterwards by Threats of a most vile Nature, extorting from his several Sums of Money and Notes of Hand, on one of which he arrested him, and took him to a Spunging-House, from whence he was released by —— Arbuthnot, Esq; who by Accident came to the Knowledge of the Affair, and who by a most benevolent and spirited Conduct, (being a mere Stranger to the Parties) brought this Villian to his deserved Fate. The poor Fellow was Servant to Mr. Townsend, Woollen-draper, in the Strand, and has a msot excellent Character. The other had been a Soldier, and, as appeared on the Trial, cast for his Life about three Years since; for robbing a Person in St. James's Park, and threatening him (in like Manner) to accuse him of Sodomitical Practices, but afterwards obtained a Pardon. (St. James's Chronicle)

Thursday 29 September 1763

London, September 27. – Last Night, on an Information given to Sir John Fielding, seven Men were taken up at a Public House near Saffron Hill, on Suspicion of being guilty of a certain unnatural Crime, and committed to New-Prison, for further Examination before the above worthy Magistrate; one of them is a Teacher amongst the present godly Set of Sectaries. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Thursday 29 December 1763

One Day last Week a Miller, of the Parish of Elme, near Frome, having been detected in Sodomitical Practices, hung himself. The Jury brought in their Verdict Self-Murder; and he was buried in the Cross-Road on Thursday last. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette

SOURCES: Newspapers, as cited. For some information about Samuel Bickley I am indebted to Thomas V. Kenney, Shandymania: Class, Religion, and Constupration in the Pamphlet Responses to "Tristram Shandy", Ph.D. dissertation, Fordham University, 2008.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1763", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 7 April 2004, updated 24 Feb. 2005, 19 Jan. 2012, 22 Oct. 2012, 29 Dec. 2015, 20 Jan. 2021 <>.

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