Newspaper Reports, 1770–1771

20–23 January 1770

Tuesday, January 23.   Last night three men were committed to New-prison, Clerkenwell and Tothil-fields bridewell by John Spinnage, Esq; charged upon the information and oath of a gentleman's butler for unlawfully conspiring, combining and confederating to cheat and defraud him of large sums of money, and actually extorting from him sums of money at several times, to the amount of near 20l. by false pretences, threats, menaces, that (unless he would from time to time furnish them with money) they would swear sodomy against him. One of them has already stood in the pillory for the practice of the like kind, and was imprisoned four years. (General Evening Post)

Monday 26 February 1770

On Saturday two fellows named Rook, were convicted at Hick's-Hall, on the prosecution of a person whom they charged with an attempt of the worst sort, in order to extort money from him; and received sentence of imprisonment in Newgate for three years, and are to be put three times in the pillory. (Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser)

Monday, 19 March 1770

Saturday forenoon two fellows, brothers, stood in the pillory in Argyle-buildings, for extorting at various times several sums of money from a Nobleman's butler, under pretence of accusing him of being guilty of an unnatural crime. They were roughly handled. (Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser)

16–19 March 1770

On Saturday two young fellows, brohers, stood in the pillory near Argyle Buildings, for wilful perjury, in swearing an unnatural crime against a Gentleman, in order to extort money from him. They are to stand twice more, and to suffer three years imprisonment. They were handled roughly by the populace. (Lloyd's Evening Post)

Saturday, 12 October 1771

Henry Rook, who, about a year and a half since [see report for 26 February 1770], was convicted at Hicks's-Hall of extorting money from a gentleman, by threats of accusing him of an unnatural crime, and sentenced to be imprisoned three years in Newgate, and stand thrice in the pillory, was yesterday discharged thereout; his Majesty having been pleased to grant him his pardon, and a remission of the remainder of his imprisonment. It is said Henry Rook has a brother at Guildford, who voted for Mr. Nash. (Craftsman or Say's Weekly Journal) [See later reports for 26 May 1774 and 9 June 1774.]

Saturday 24 March 1770

NORWICH, March 21.
At Thetford assizes, . . . Thomas Dunn, a shopkeeper, at East Dereham, was sentenced to stand in the pillory there, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, and to suffer 6 months imprisonment. (Ipswich Journal)

14–16 June 1770

On Monday night, about twelve o'clock, a tradesman was attacked in Fleet-street, by a person genteelly dressed, who followed him through the Fleet-market, proposing to perpetrate an unnatural crime. They were met by another of the same kidney, who talked with the first in a most unbecoming manner; but a butcher coming up, relieved the tradesman from his disagreeable situation, by assisting him to drub the delinquents, who were glad to make their escape by the lightness of their heels. (Middlesex Journal)

14–16 June 1770

This morning a man was detected committing an unnatural crime in the Bird-cage-walk, St. James's-park, he was surprized by a centinel, and to avoid being apprehended, he plunged himself into Rosamond's pond, and was drowned. (Middlesex Journal)

Saturday 21 July 1770

CHELMSFORD, Essex, July 19, 1770.
WHEREAS JOHN CHILDHOUSE, otherwise CHILDERS, who was admitted an Evidence against Caleb Howard for an unnatural & detestable Crime, broke out of the House of Correction at Chelmsford, Jan. 22d, in the Night: Whoever will apprehend the said Childhouse, and deliver him at the said Prison on or before Wednesday the 25th of July instant, shall be well rewarded for their Trouble, and be allowed all reasonable Charges.
                                        NATH. STOCK.
          John Childhouse is about 19 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 Inches high, fair Complexion, effeminate Voice, dark-brown Hair tied up behind; had on a brown Fustian Frock and Breeches, and a striped Waistcoat; was born at Wangford in Suffolk, bound Apprentice to a Taylor there, and ran away from his Apprenticeship.
          As Childhouse will certainly be discharged without any Punishment or Imprisonment as soon as he has given his Evidence, if he will surrender himself as above he shall be allowed his Expences of coming to the Assizes.
                    (Ipswich Journal)

Friday 17 August 1770

For some Time past, divers persons at Worksop in Nottinghamshire, have been strongly suspected of assembling together, to perpetrate with each other, unnatural Crimes, to the Dishonour of human Nature, and the Laws of God and Man. Last Friday, a Discovery of these Practices was made in a Barn, in the Neighbourhood of Worksop, which gave so great an Alarm to these Sons of Sodom, that they broke up, and fled their Country; two however were taken in the fact, Luke Bottom, Wheelmaker, and Joseph Mellers, Labourer, and being carried before Richard Sutton, Esq; one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace at Retford, were committed to our County Goal at 12 o'Clock last Tuesday Evening, where they are strongly ironed, there to remain till the next Assizes. – One of the Persons absconded is a Man of Property, being worth near Three Thousand Pounds, and lived in a very genteel Manner. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 20 August 1770

We have an Account from Nottingham, that a Gang of those Infernals called Sodomites were lately detected in a Barn at Worksop, in that County, two of whom are committed to Nottingham Goal, where they are strongly iron'd; the rest have absconded, one of whom is said to be worth near 3000l. (Northampton Mercury)

Friday 15 March 1771

DERBY, March 14.
Tuesday last, about Twelve o'Clock, the Assizes ended for the Town and County of Nottingham, at the Guildhall, . . . which proved a Maiden one, none being capitally convicted.
          . . . In the County, Joseph Mellars and Thomas Stanley, were indicted for committing the detestable Crime of Sodomy with each other, at Worksop, the 30th of July last, in which Mellar was the Agent and Stanley the Patient; but as the Evidence varied in several material Points, after a short Trial they were both acquitted. Luke Bottam, indicted for Sodomitical Practices at Worksop, the 25th of July, with William Champion of that Place, who is fled for the same, was found guilty, and ordered to be imprisoned for two Years. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 25 March 1771

At Nottingham Assizes, Luke Bottam was tried for Sodomitical Practices with William Champion (who has fled) in a Barn near Worksop; and being found guilty on undoubted Evidence, was ordered to be closely confined for two Years.
          The following Persons are to be try'd at our Assizes, which begin To-morrow, viz. Richard Seaby, charged upon Oath with Sodomitical Practices. . . . (Northampton Mercury)

Monday 17 June 1771

To the PUBLIC.
WHEREAS the sinful and detestable Practice of Sodomy, or Buggery, has been represented to the Magistrates of this County, as creeping into various Parts thereof, and that many of his Majesty's well-disposed Subjects have been deterred from stopping the rapid Progress of the infectious and growing Evil, on account of the Charge of Prosecution: It has been unanimously determined by Eight of his said Majesty's Justices, assembled this Day, at the George Inn in Huntingdon, in the said County, that, for the more speedy and effectual Extirpation of this unnatural and depopulating Vice, all Prosecutions against such Delinquents, from the Date hereof, shall be encouraged and carried on, in the most spirited Manner, at the Expence of the said County.
                  June 8, 1771.
                      (Northampton Mercury)

Saturday, 22 June 1771

                              Public Office, Box-street, June 20.
WHEREAS Abraham Triston stands charged upon Oath with being guilty of the unnatural Crime of Sodomy at St. Neots in the County of Huntingdon: Whoever will apprehend and bring him before Sir John Fielding, or give such Notice to that Magistrate as may cause him to be apprehended, shall received a Reward of Three Guinease.
          The said Abraham Triston is about 5 Feet 6 or 7 Inches high, a thin Man, black-bearded, swarthy-complexion'd, long-vizaged, very pockfretten, and speaks thick; his Upper Teeth very black and rotten; dressed in a light Drab Coat with white Buttons, and a Brickdest Surtout Coat; and wears a brown Cut Wig.
          N.B. He kept a Peruke-maker's Shop in Clifford's Inn about seven Years ago. (Public Advertiser)

13–20 July 1771

Wednesday morning, about two o'clock, a shopkeeper in Leadenhall-street, was detected in committing an unnatural crime upon a poor boy, in St. Peter's-alley, Cornhill; they were both conducted to the watch-house, where the boy confessed that the gentleman had given him half a guinea if he would comply with his beastly desires. (Westminster Journal and London Political Miscellany)

Tuesday, 21 July 1771

Canterbury, July 20. . . . John Gowen, for assaulting James Carter, on the 29th of March last, in the Cloysters within the Precincts of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, and attempting to commit Sodomy on him, was cleared by Proclamation. Three othes were likewise cleared by Proclamation. (Public Advertiser)

20–25 July 1771

On Tuesday night a man, charged with an unnatural crime in Pemberton-row, Gough-square, was delivered up to the fury of the populace, who treated the miscreant with great severity; and, after beating him heartily with sticks, dragged him to the Thames, where they ducked him, till he was almost dead, and then suffered him to crawl towards his own habitation. (General Evening Post)

Saturday, 10 August 1771

Last week an old man of sixty was apprehended and brought before Justice Sherwood, of Shadwell, and by him committed to New Prison on the oath of Thomas Bradford, a waterman's boy, for assaulting him in a necessary house at Blackwall, and attempting to commit a most unnatural crime. (Craftsman or Say's Weekly Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1770–1771", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 22 July 2004, enlarged 29 August 2014, 3 Jan. 2016, 10 Feb. 2021 <>.

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