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

Newspaper Reports, 1773

Saturday 9 January 1773

                                    JANUARY 3, 1773.
WHEREAS I, FRANCIS WOODS, Bargeman, of the City of Oxford, have unlawfully scandalized John Betteris, of the same Place, by profanely swearing, and accusing him in a sinister Manner of an unnatural Crime; This is to certify to the Public, that the Accusation is as false as it is scandalous and that I think myself obliged to the said John Betteris, for his stopping a Prosecution at Law, on Condition of my asking his Pardon in this Public and Humble Manner.
                        The X Mark of FRANCIS WOODS.
Witness, JOHN KING.
                        (Oxford Journal)

13-15 January 1773

INTELLIGENCE from the PUBLIC OFFICE, BOW STREET. Wednesday, Jan. 13. . . . One Holland, a Soldier, was accused by his son-in-law, a poor little boy about twelve years of age, with having committed a crime upon him of the most detestable nature. The boy appeared to have been injured in the most shocking manner, and infected with the venereal disease; he seemed very unwilling to complain of the wretch who was charged with this horrid offence, and greatly intimidated at the future treatment he should receive for declaring the truth. As the Surgeon who attended the boy could not appear, the matter was postponed to a further hearing. (Lloyd’s Evening Post) [The identical report appeared in the London Evening Post for 12-14 January. A very brief report appeared in the London Chronicle for 12-14 January.]

14 January 1773

Inteligence from the Public-Office in Bow-street.
A little boy of twelve years of age, a fifer, named Carrol, charged James Holland, (a soldier) his father in-law, with having attempted to commit sodomy upon his body, and injuring him with the foul distemper, the father-in-law cried bitterly, and protested his innocence. The matter was ordered for further examination, when the surgeon who dressed the boy in the hospital, could attend and give evidence. (Morning Chronicle)

16-19 January 1773

Tuesday, January 19. Stamford, who sent several letters to Mr. Church of Gray’s Inn, with a view to extort money, on pretence of not charging him with a destable crime, was on Saturday tried at Hicks’s-hall, convicted, and sentenced to transportation for seven years. (London Evening Post. The identical report appeared in the Morning Chronicle for 19 January.)

26 January 1773

Sunday evening a woman dressed in mens cloaths got into a gentleman's house at Kensington, where there was only a maid servant at home, whom she knocked down with the key of the street door, but her cries alarmed the neighbours, and the female adventurer was secured by Mr. Powel and others, who forced their entry into the house on hearing the cry of murder and thieves, &c. It is said that the person in custody is the wife of a Barber in Kensington, and that she was dressed in a suit of her husband's cloaths. (Morning Chronicle)

Tuesday 23 February 1773

Tuesday Mr. Williams, High Constable, attended by several Peace Officers, apprehended a number of gamesters, vagrants, common prostitutes, and other loose, idle, and disorderly persons in St. James's Park, who were all broughtr to Bow-street and dealt with according to law. Among the nuisances detected that night in the Park, was one of those detestable wretches called Sodomites, who frequent the Bird-cage-walk: This fellow had the assurance to pick up the High Constable, who immediately seized him by the collar and delivered him up to Justice; he was bound over to prosecute him. (Leeds Intelligencer)

Friday 18 June 1773

The 19th of October, 1767, Simon Stratford was committed to Clerkenwell Bridewell for an unnatural Crime, and the 9th of November escaped from the said Prison, and last Week was taken at Hoxton; a Reward of 50l. was offered by the Parish, and 20 Guineas by the late Keeper, who was murdered, for his apprehension. (Derby Mercury)

Saturday 19 June 1773

The 19th of October, 1767, Simon Stratford was committed to Clerkenwall Bridewell, for an unnatural crime, and the 9th of November escaped from the said prison, and last week was taken at Hoxton; a reward of fifty pounds was offered by the parish, and twenty guineas by the late keeper, who was murdered[,] for his apprehension. (Oxford Journal)

17-20 July 1773

Tuesday, July 20. Yesterday one John Smith was committed to the Poultry Compter by Sir William Stephenson, on the oath of Joseph Bridgeman, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime on him, at the Plough, in Fore-street. (London Evening Post)

Monday 19 July 1773

DIED. . . . Friday, . . . in Newgate, Leonard Gillet, charged with an unnatural crime, for which he was to have been tried yesterday. (Reading Mercury)

20-22 July 1773

Thursday, July 22. Died. ... Tuesday ... The same day, in Clerkenwell Bridewell, Mr. Stratford, the apothecary, formerly committed for an unnatural crime, but had made his escape, and was lately retaken. (London Evening Post)

Friday 30 July 1773

Tuesday Night died at his Apartment in Clerkenwell Bridewell, Mr. Stratford, an Apothecary, who was committed to that Prison formerly, charged with an unnatural Crime, but made his Escape and has since been re-taken; and Yesterday his Body was removed from thence in a Hearse. (Derby Mercuiry)

Wednesday 4 August 1773

At Huntingdon assizes, . . . Francis Rawlin, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, was ordered to stand in the pillory, and suffer three months imprisonment. (Kentish Gazette)

25-28 September 1773

Tuesday, Sept. 28. Yesterday a man was committed to the Poultry Compter by the Lord Mayor, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime in a meeting-house in this city; the clergyman belonging to the meeting was a material evidence against him. (London Evening Post)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1773", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 3 March 2005, updated 16 June 2005, enlarged 7 Dec. 2015, 2 Feb. 2016 <>.

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