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

Newspaper Reports, 1788–89

Friday 4 July 1788

The following prisoners are to take their trials at Oakham this day:– William Walker, aged 31, charged with stealing a quantity of lead from the parish church at Liddington, in that county; John Barnard, aged 41, and Watts Atkins, aged 17, for unnatural crimes, committed at Uppingham. (Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury)

from Thursday 10 July to Thursday 17 July 1788

At the Assizes for the County of Rutland, . . . No Bills were found against John Barnard and Watts Atkins, for being concerned in unnatural Crimes. (Derby Mercury)

Monday 21 July 1788

At the quarter sessions for this county, held last week at Warminster, . . . Silas Brown, for an attempt to commit sodomy, to be imprisoned 12 months in the cells, and find sureties for three years. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Tuesday, 14 October 1788

WHEREAS I, GRIFFITH PRICE, of Hammersmith, in the County of Middlesex, Victualler, have, not only myself, but with others, grossly abused, and otherwise ill-treated,and wickedly and falsely charged with an Unnatural Crime, THOMAS JONES, of Hammersmith aforesaid, Cheesemonger; all which I do hereby declare, hath been wicked and wrong, and I am truely and sincerely sorry for so doing. And do declare, that I never did, nor do I believe or thiunk, that the aforesaid Thomas Jones, was in anywise whatsoever guilty of, or capable of committing, or attempting tocommit,any Unnatural Crime whatsoever. And that any charge or allegation of that sort or nature, is false, unjust, and totally groundless; and that I have been wickedly drawn in by others, to abuse, injury, ill-treat, and falsely charge the aforesaid Thomas Jones.
          And as a small part of justice, which I can do to the said Thomas Jones and his injured character, I do desire and direcct that this Advertisement signed by me, or any other Advertisement to the purport above-mentioned,may not only be published in the Public Paperes, but in such other manner as the aforesaid Thomas Jones shall think proper. As witness my hand, this 16th day of September, 1788.
                    GRIFFITH PRICE
Witnesses hereto,
Samuel Bishop,
John Cuffley.
                    (The World)

Saturday 7 March 1789

At the Assizes for this county on Thursday the 19th inst. the following prisoners will take their trials:– . . . Wm. West and James Lake, for an unnatural crime. . . . (Norfolk Chronicle)

Monday 17 April 1789

The General Quarter-Sessions of the Peace for this county began on Tuesday last at our Castle . . .
          Thomas Griffiths, for an assault on Benjamin Adey, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime, was found guilty, and sentenced to be imprisoned in a solitary cell eighteen months, and to be once privately whipt during the last six months. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Monday 22 June 1789

Thursday a man was committed to prison, to take his trial for an unnatural crime. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Saturday 27 June 1789

Tuesday evening a Divine was brought before Wm. Addington, Esq. sitting magistrate at Bow-street, on a charge of attempting to commit an unnatural crime on a young man; the fact being clearly proved by two others persons, he was committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell, not being able to find bail, and the parties were bound over to prosecute at the next sessions for Westminster. He is a genteel man, and a near relation to a noble Earl. (Ipswich Journal)

Monday, 27 July 1789

ON FRIDAY last came on to be tried, an action against L. DISNEY FYTCHE, Esq. for an Assault upon William Ford, late a Waiter at the Cock and Bell at Rumford. It consists of two Counts: an assault with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, and an assault. After a detail too indelicate to mention, the JURY, who were special, and consisted of the first men of th ecounty, retired, and after an absence of two hours, found the last Count only proved.
          A number of most respectable Gentlemen attended, to give Mr. FYTCHE a character of a very contrary tendency.
          Baron EYRE, in summing up the evidence, very eminently distinguished himself, for the strong and well-founded remarks he made on various parts of the testimony. The language in which it was conveyed, was not less noticeable.
          When the JURY returned into Court, the concern which was pictured on their countenances, was very honourable to them as men. (The World)

Friday 31 July 1789

On Friday last came on to be tried at Chelmsford, the traverse of an indictment, the King against Lewis Disney Ffytche, Esq. for an assault upon William Ford, a waiter at the Cock and Bell, at Romford. The indictment consisted of two counts; one charging the defendant with an unnatural attempt, the other with a simple assault. The jury, which was special, returned a verdict not guilty of the first, but guilty of the second count. Mr. Ffytche will receive judgment next term at the court of King's Bench. (Stamford Mercury)

Saturday, 31 October 1789

The author of the article entitled "An Alarming Fact," (in some of the Papers) which stated that a gentleman was hustled by some fellows in Cranbourn-alley, on Monday evening, who finding that he would not submit to be robbged, resortedtothe stratagem, too often adopted by street-walkers, of charging him wiht an unnatural crime, and thence putting his person in danger – hints to us the propriety of holding out to the public the necessity of their pausing before they decide, whenever they hear such a crime alledged loosely and at random against any man by a few persons casually assembled in the street. The honest indignation that arises, on the instant that such a crime is iputed, ought ever to be tempered by justice, and those, who feel willing to act upon its impulse, are bound to examine first whether there by apparent grounds for the imputation or not, otherwise the innocent may be confounded with the guilty, and the lives of individuals lay at the mercy of the most rascally of the rabble. (Public Advertiser)

Friday, 20 November 1789

                              Thursday, November 19.
          This day DYSNEY FITCH, Esq. of Essex, was brought up for Judgement.
          Mr. Justice GROSE said he had obtaqined the report of the trialfrom the Lord CHIEF BARON; which he had handed over to his brother ASHURST; but that he would submit it to the consideration of Counsel, whether there was any necessity for reading it, and whether decency did not forbid it.
          Mr. BEARCROFT, for the Prosecution,said, he felt the force of the observation: he regarded his own feelings, and much more those of their Lordships, and therefore would not desire that the report should be read.
          Mr. E, for the Defendant, professed himself of the same opinion; reminding the Court, that his Client was acquitted upon the first count in the declaration.
          Mr. Justice ASHURST then addressed the Prisoner:– "You have been indicted for an assault upon a person, with intent to commit an unnatural crime: the second count charges you with a common assault: – upon the latter you have been convicted; but as your conduct was attended with some aggravating circumstance,s the Court sentence you to pay a fine of 100l. and be imprisoned until you pay the same." (The World)

Saturday 21 November 1789

This day judgment was given in the Court of King's Bench, in the case of Lewis Disney Fytche [sic], Esq. for an assault found against him at the last assizes at Chelmsford, when the court, without reading the Lord Chief Baron's report, or the testimonies to Mr. Disney Fytche's character, ordered him to pay a fine of 100l. (Ipswich Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1788–89", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 20 September 2014, updated 23 April 2021 <>.

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