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

Newspaper Reports, 1790

Saturday 16 January 1790

At our Quarter Sessions . . .
          Ralph Oakdon, was tried on three several indictments for an unnatural crime; on the first he was found guilty of an assault, and fined ten guineas; on the second he was found guilty of the assault with an intent, for which he is to be confined in a solitary cell for 6 months, and to stand in the pillory this day in our market; on the third he was found guilty of the like for which he is to be imprisoned in a solitary cell 6 months, and to stand in the pillory in our market, the first Friday of that 6 months, and on Friday before the expiration of the said time. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 30 January 1790

Last Friday Ralph Oakdon, was set in the pillory in our market, pursuant to his sentence, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime. The poulace expressed their detestation of so wretched a character, by the most ungovernable fury towards the delinquent, who was so severely pelted during the hour he was sentenced to be exposed, that many were of opinion he must have expired in the pillory; however the fellow speedily recovered, and returned to gaol in a most deplorable condition, amidst the groans and hisses of an enraged populace. (Ipswich Journal)

Friday 5 February 1790

Friday last was set in the pillory in the public market of Exeter, pursuant to his sentence, Charles Debernair, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime. The populace expressed their detestation of such a character, by the most ungovernable fury towards the delinquent, who was so severely pelted, that he fainted before the expiration of the hour he was sentenced to be exposed; and had he not been speedily taken from the pillory, must have expired in a very few minutes. (Chester Chronicle)

Thursday 25 March 1790

At Bury assizes, fourteen prisoners received sentence of death; the ten following were left for execution, viz. . . . J. Southwell and J. Smith, for the detestable crime of sodomy, . . . to be hang'd at Ipswich. (Dereby Mercury)

Saturday 27 March 1790

IPSWICH, March 27.
Southwell and Smith, for the detestable crime of sodomy; and Mills for horse-stealing, are very penitent. They are to be executed at Rushmere on Saturday next the 2d of April. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 27 March 1790

At the assizes held at Bury before Sir Wm. Henry Ashurst, Knit. which ended on Monday, the following following prisoners were capitally convicted and received sentence of death, viz. . . . John Southwell and John Smith, for the detestable crime of sodomy. . . .

Saturday 3 April 1790

IPSWICH. April 3.
This day Southwell, Smith, and Mills, will be executed on rushmere Heath, pursuant to their sentence. (Ipswich Journal)

Friday 9 April 1790

The Kalendars throughout the kingdom are peculiarly black, and the sacrifice of human blood must necessarily be profuse: . . . And not fewer than ten are devoted to the fatal rope at Surry, viz. four for highway-robberies; three for burglaries; one for horse-stealing; and two for the horrid, unnatural crime of sodomy. . . . (Chester Chronicle)

Wednesday 14 April 1790

The Rev. Mr. Hervey, who has been for a considerable length of time detained in custody, upon a charge made against him by a man of the name of Carruthers, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime, appeared in Court, at the Westminster Session, to take his trial; but the prosecutor not appearing, he was discharged. (Hereford Journal)

Thursday 15 april 1790

IPSWICH, April 10. Saturday Southwell, Smith and Mills, were executed at Rushmere. They all behaved in a very penitent manner; at the place of execution, Mills, addressed the surrounding spectators a considerable time in an audible voice, exhorting them to take warning by his untimely end; adding, he had often been present at such scenes, but that they never had any effect upon him. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Saturday 10 July 1790

On Saturday last, about ten o'clock in the forenoon, a notorious Smart in company with another of the same kidney, accosted a gentleman's servant in the passage leading from the Ditches, threatening to charge him with an unnatural crime, if he did not give them some money; but the servant, conscious of his innocence, immediately collared the Smart, and beat him in a most severe manner, to the no small satisfaction of many spectators; the other made off. Our correspondent observes it is a lamentable cicumstance, that a fellow, who has no visible way of obtaining a livelihood, should be permitted to remain in the city, as he has of late been guilty of several instances of the kind. Would it not be commendable in the gentleman's servant to procure a warrant for him, and have him tried for an assault, as Lord Loughborough directed a Jury lately to find a verdict wiht considerable damages for a similar offence. (Norfolk Chronicle)

Monday 23 August 1790

On Saturday Richard Biggs and John Bacon, convicted some time back of an unnatural crime, were, pursuant to their sentence, put in the pillory at the top of Hay-hill, Dover-street, near which place they were taken in the fact. They were much pelted, particularly by the women. The Earl of Morton, who was in the croud collected round the pillory, had his pocket picked of a gold watch, chain, &c. A number of other robberies were also committed, and the thieves escaped detection. (Hampshire chronicle)

Saturday 28 August 1790

Last Tuesday evening, about 8 o'clock, the master of a principal inn at Oxford found means to escape from the constable, who had him in custody by virtue of a warrant from the Vice-Chancellor of that University, fully charged with attempting an unnatural crime upon the servant of a noble Lord during the late races. (Ipswich Journal)

Wednesday 22 September 1790

Yesterday two men were pilloried one hour at Charing-cross pursuant to their sentence, for an unnatural crime, of which the surrounding mob sufficiently testified their abhorrence, by pelting them with a profusion of rotten egs. &c. &c. (Hereford Journal)

Monday 11 October 1790

On Thursday at the general quarter sessions for this city, which stand adjourned to Thursday next, a bill of indictment was preferred, and found a true bill, against Edward Roberts, one of the city consables, for unlawfully and negligently permitting Thomas Adams to escape out of his custody, whom he had apprehended, by virtue of a warrant under the hand and seal of the Rev. the Vice-Chancellor, charging him with an intent to commit an unnatural crime. (Reading Mercury)

Monday 11 October 1790

At the sessions for this borough [Reading] William Prater, porter in the market, was found guilty of stealing a sack and a quantity of oats, the property of Mr. Neale, of Ipsden, and sentenced to be publicly whipped this day, and imprisoned and kept six months to hard labour; and Benjamin Townsend, a person who attends fairs with books, was indicted for an assault on a boy, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime, and found guity of the assault only, and sentenced to pay a fine of 20s. and to be imprisoned three months and kept to hard labour. (Reading Mercury)

Wednesday 17 November 1790

Yesterday James Templeman, George Platt, William Smith, and Phillip Roberts, privates in the Coldstream regiment of Guards, were again examined and fully committed by Nicholas Bond, Esq. the sitting Magistrate, for having, at different times, obtained several sums of money to the amount of 8l 12s. from Henry Sharp, a porter, in Covent-Garden, on the pretence of charging him with committing an unnatural crime – the parties were bound over to prosecute at the next Sessions. (Hereford Journal)

Monday 13 December 1790

James Templeman and George Platt, were tried for having robbed Henry Sharp of several sums of money, on pretence of charging him with offering to commit an unnatural crime with one of them. Guilty, death. (Hampshire Chronicle)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1790", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 29 September 2014 <>.

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