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

Newspaper Reports, 1777

Saturday 4 January 1777

A principial tradesman at Sudbury has lately been accused of attempting to commit an unnatural and detestable crime; he had it seems made the same attempt some time since, but on promising never to repeat such behaviour, the affair did not then transpire. (Ipswich Journal)

Wednesday, 15 January 1777

Yesterday the Sessions was held at Guildhall, when a Man was tried for attempting to commit an unnatural Crime in the Temple, and, being found guilty, was sentenced to suffer a Year's imprisonment in Wood-Street Compter, to pay a Fine of 1s. and to give Security for his good Behaviour for two Years. (Daily Advertisere)

3 February 1777

Yesterday the following Convicts under Sentence of Death in Newgate,weretaken from thence to Tyburn, and executed pursuant to their Sentences, viz. Thomas Burrows, for committing an unnatural Crime at a House in a Crout in Drury-Lane, on a Person who, with 14 others, had assembled for the like abominable Purposes; . . . A Scaffolding that was before somenew Houses contiguous tothe Gallows, on which a Number of People were assembled, fell down, by which Accident several were severely bruised, but no Lives lost. – Just before they were turned off (which was about Half after Ten o'Clock) Burrows threw a Paper among the Croud, to the same Purport with the following, which he spoke with an audible Voice: "I am as innocent as the Child unborn of the Crime which I am about to suffer for: However, I hope to receive Mercy from my gracious God. I forgive my Prosecutors, and pray God to do the same." (Aris's Birmingham Gazette)

7–10 March 1777

Thursday night, about ten o'clock, the patroles from the Horse Guards took up a man in the Green-park, charged by three lads with an attempt of an unnatural kind upon one of them; the man charged them with attempting to rob him: he appeared to have two cuts on his forehead, which trickled with blood; they were all secured in the watch-house 'till morning, and taken before a magistrate in Bow-street, who admitted them upon bail for their appearance at the Quarter sessions. (London Packet or New Evening Post)

Saturday, 6 April 1777

Joseph Lean was condemned to stand on the pillory in Leicester-fields once within a week, and to be imprisoned six months, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime on William Lewis, a Butcher, in St. James's Market. (Morning Post)

Wednesday, 9 April 1777

Yesterday a man stood in the pillory, in Leicesterfields, pursuant to his sentence, for an attempt of a sodomitical nature, upon a man in a church at the west end of the town, and was roughly handled by the populace; he is to make his public appearance for the second time in that respectable character the latter end of this week, in St. James's-market. (Morning Post)

Saturday, 12 April 1777

One Jackson, Post-master of Staines, and one Dawson, a boy of fourteen years of age, were tried for an unnatural crime. The evidence against them deposed, that being concealed in a hay-loft, the two prisoners entered the same, where they remained a considerable time, and where he heard them converse in a very indecent manner, and that upon parting the prisoner Jackson told the boy, if he would keep secret he would give him up the post-office, but the witness not being able to prove any visual fact, the prisoners were acquitted. (Morning Post)

Monday 14 April 1777

Thursday, 24 Prisoners were tried at the Old-Bailey, . . . The Trials of a Person of Staines and his Nephew, a young Lad, for Sodomy, came on Yesterday at the Old-Bailey.
          Matthew Tillotson was the only Witness, and, from the Circumstances of his Evidence, Judge Blackstone did not think it necessary the Prisoners should be put on their Defence: They were of course acquitted.

26–18 June 1777

On Tuesday last came on to be tried before Earl Mansfield, at Westminster Hall, the two several prosecutions of the King against Thomas Jackson, Postmaster at Staines, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime, &c. when the defendant, Mr. Jackson, was most honourably acquitted on both indictments, to the entire satisfaction of the Court and every person present. (London Evening Post)

Monday 30 June 1777

On Tuesday last came on to be tried before Earl Mansfield, at Westminster Hall, the two several prosecutions of the King against Thomas Jackson, Postmaster at Staines, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime, &c. when Mr. Jackson was acquitted. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Saturday, 5 July 1777

Wednesday last, the sessions began at the Old Bailey, when 21 prisoners were tried, of whom the following seven were capitally convicted, viz. . . . James Stride, Samuel Rudd, and Wm. Miles were convicted of robbing Joseph Warin, a Frenchman in St. James's-park. Mr. Warin, by means of an intepreter, deposed, that going through St. James's-park to his lodgings in Westminster, about 11 o'clock at night of the 1st ult. being rather intoxicated with liquor, he sat down in one of the seats in the Park, where he fell asleep; that he was awakened by the prisoner, Stride, who had taken hold of his hand, and put it into his (Stride's) breeches; upon this he arose to go home, when Stride askied him to give some halfpence to buy some gin. The prosecutor felt in his pocket to give him some halfpence, but not finding any, he pulled out his purse to see if there was any in that: Stride seeing the purse in Warin's hand, struck him a knock in the face, snatched the purse from him, and ran away. The prosecutor pursued him, and at the distance of ten yards came up with, and knocked him down. The other prisoners, Rudd and Miles, now made their appearance; they fell on Warin, and beat hm until the blood ran out of his nose and ears. In this condition he went to the guards-room at St. James's, and acquainted the serjeant, as well as he was able, that he had been robbed by a drummer, who had been rescued by two other men. The serjeant immediately ordered the guard-house, to be shut, and the roll called, when it was proved that Stride was missing. In a few minutes after this Stride came to the guaard-house, when the serjeant seized him, and Warin immediately declared that he was the man that stole his purse. Stride was secured that night, and on the serjeant going to him next morning to take him before Sir John Fielding, he confessed he committed the robbery, assisted by the other prisoners. On this information the serjeant went to secure Rudd, who was a drummer in the Coldstream regiment, and whom he found on duty in the Park. Rudd after a few minutes, confessed that he was present with Stride and Miles when the robbery was committed, but that he had not received any of the money, the whole of which Miles had got. The serjeant now went in pursuit of Miles, whom he found at his lodgings in Dartmouth-street, Westminster. Miles, at first, denied any knowledge of the matter, but on the serjeant telling him it would be better for him if he returned the prosecutor his money, he went and took five guineas from under an old chest, which he gave the serjeant, (out of the 13 guineas taken from the prosecutor) who took him also into custody. This was the whole of the evidence for the prosecution. Stride, on being called on for his defence, attempted to establish a most infamous story of the prosecutor having giving him the money to prevent him taking him to the watch-house for making an unnatural attempt on him. The Judges, Willes and Nares, both cautioned him not to add to the enormity of his crime by charging an innocent and an injured man with the most abominable of all crimes. The other two made no other defence than they knew nothing of the matter. (Westminster Journal)

Saturday 5 July 1777

BURY, July 4.
Saturday was committed to our gaol James Bulbrook, woolcomber, of Chevington, aged near 60, charged with violently attempting the crime of sodomy on John Kemp, labourer; and further charged with wounding and maiming the said Kemp in the face with a knife, on account of resisting his unnatural attempt. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 5 July 1777

Monday last . . . James Bulbrook, of Chevington, near 60 years of age, was committed to our goal, charged on the oath of John Kemp with assaulting, cutting and maiming him in the face and underlip, with a knife; also with attempting sodomy on the said John Kemp. (Norfolk Chronicle)

Saturday, 7 August 1777

Yesterday Morning the followng Malefactors were carried in three Carts from Newgate to be executed at Tyburn, viz. James Stride and William Miles, for robbing Jean Joseph Warin in St. James's Park of 13 Guieas and some Silver; . . . (Daily Advertiser)

Thursday, 11 September 1777

Proceedings Yesterday at the Public Office in Bow-street.
          Joseph Hemings charged James Barrett with an Attempt to commit an unnatural Crime. It appeared that the Prisoner had casually met the Prosecutor, treated him, appointed to meet him again at a Public-house, where he gave him Brandy and Water, and a Pair of Plated Buckles, and enticed him to walk in the Fields behind Bedford-house, where he made some indecent Advances. The Prosecutor (who is a raw Country Youth) now comprehended his Drift, and gave Information at Bow-street, in Consequence of which the Prisoner was apprehended, and is committed to be tried for an Assault, at the Westminster Sessions. (Public Advertiser)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1777", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 16 June 2005; updated 22 Feb. 2021, 8 Aug. 2022 <>.

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