Newspaper Reports, 1807

NOTE: The Chester Chronicle for Friday 29 May 1807 published A comparative statement of the number of Criminal Offenders committed to the several Gaols in England and Wales, for trial in the years 1805 and 1806, together with the crimes, sentences &c. According to their list, for "Sodomy, and other unnatural crimes" 15 men were convicted in 1805, and 42 men were convicted in 1806. Of these, only 6 were executed, in 1806. In the cities of London and Westminster and the county of Middlesex, for "Sodomy, and other unnatural crimes", 3 men were convicted in 1802, 4 in 1803, 4 in 1804, 2 in 1805, and 3 in 1806. In addition, for "Obtaining property, from persons by threatening to charge them with an unnatural crime", 1 man was convicted in 1802, 3 in 1805, and 2 in 1806 (none in the other years covered). One man was executed for sodomy in 1804, 1 in 1806; and two men were executed for homosexual blackmail in 1806.

Saturday 7 February 1807

WHEREAS I JAMES MARRIOT, Servant to Mr. RICHARD COLLIER, Farmer, of the Parish of WYTHAM, in the County of Berks, did, on Monday, the 26th of January, 1807, make use of scandalous expressions, tending to vilify the character of WILLIAM READ, also a servant to the said Mr. R. Collier, by imputing to him an unnatural crime, and which I do now declare was totally false and without any foundation whatever, and I hereby sincerely ask his pardon for the same, promising never to do the same in future. As witness my hand this 7th day of February, 1807.

                    The mark X of JAMES MARRIOT.
                              (Oxford University and City Herald)

Friday 6 March 1807

On Monday week, a man of the name of Massey, confined in the New Bayley Prison, Manchester, on a charge of unnatural practices, strangled himself. The coroner's jury on Tuesday, returned a verdict of felo de se. (Chester Chronicle)

Saturday 7 March 1807

On Monday se'nnight, a man of the name of Massey, confined in the New Bayley prison, Manchester, on a charge of unnatural practices, terminated his existence by strangulation. So determined had the wretched culprit been on self-destruction, that, when discovered, his feet were upon the ground, and his knees nearly touching it. The Coroner's jury returned a verdict of – Felo de se [suicide].
          Respecting the above unfortunate man, a very indecent act of curiosity took place on Sunday. A suspicion having arising of his being buried at Kersal Moor, some persons actually dug open the grave, and, unscrewing the coffin, exposed the body to public view for some time! (Lancaster Gazette)

Friday 20 March 1807

HOME CIRCUIT. – Chelmsford, March, 11.
Mr. Sergeant Shepherd – "The Plaintiff, in the present case, is Captain of one of the Post-Office Packets at Harwich, and married his wife in the year 1801, the daughter of a respectable tradesman at Yarmouth; they lived together in affection and harmony, until it was destroyed by the misconduct of the Defendant, a Captain in the Westminster Militia, then quartered in the town of Harwich. . . . I shall call a witness, who will state to you, that he held the adjoining garden to Mr. Flynn's, being there about eight o'clock in the morning, he heard some voices in Mr. Flynn's garden; looking through a crack, he saw Mrs. Flynn and Captain Grant gathering currants; but his attention was more particularly excited in observing Mr. Grant kiss Mrs. Flynn several times, and after this prelude, he saw them retire behind some raspberry bushes, where he however, had a distinct view of them, and saw them consummate the act of adultery. . . . "
          Mr. Garrow, for the Defendant, . . . principally insisted, that the story bold by Pickett was so indecent, so improbable, and so revolting to human nature, that if an angel were to repeat it, one must pronounce him a fallen angel, and unworthy of belief; for it was absolutely impossible that a woman could so prostitute herself, in the face of day, and in a place exposed to public view from every stage coach which passed the London road. In order to destroy the credit of Pickett, he called Mr. and Mrs. Whiting, who stated, that five years ago he had come to them, and accused a Dissenting Minister of committing an unnatural crime in the same garden, with the late owner, Mr. Fenning, and that they had raised the paling for the purpose of concealment, but he could see through a hole in the pales. He had sworn, on his cross-exmaination, that he had never accused a Dissenting Minister.
         . . . . Verdict for the Defendant. (Kentish Gazette)

Saturday 21 March 1807

The TRIAL of DAVID ROBERTSON for an unnatural Crime with GEORGE FOULSTON, and his curious Address to the Judge. Guilty, Death. Price 1S. with a Plate.
          The TRIAL of Colonel PASSINGHAM, of the Cheshire Feucibles, for a horrid Conspiracy, charging GEORGE FORRESTER, Esq. with many unnatural Propensities, &c. Price 1S. (Oxford Journal)

Saturday 21 March 1807

Wednesday the assizes for the county of Lancaster commenced . . . We cannot but remark upon the melancholy instances of human depravity exhibited in the calendar, which contains the names of fifty-five prisoners for the following offences: – Murder, 3; unnatural practices, 7; forgery, 1; . . . (Staffordshire Advertiser)

Saturday 21 March 1807

The calendar [for the Lent Assizes for Cornwall] contains the names of sixteen prisoners, . . . [including] Francois Fiendard and Ambroise Maria, foreigners, charged with unnatural crimes. (Royal Cornwall Gazette)

Thursday, 26 March 1807

M U R D E R !
This Day was PUBLISHED, price 2s. 6d.
THE TRIAL at LARGE of JOHN HOLLOWAY and OWEN HAGGERTY, for the murder of Mr. Steel, on the 6th of Nov. 1802, by J. SIBLEY, shorthand writer to the city of London.
         Sold by Sibley, 117, Aldersgate-street; where may be had the TRIAL of SIR HOME POPHAM, commodore of a squadron of his majesty fleet, for not following his instructions. Tried on board the Gladiator at Portsmouth. Dedicated to lord St. Vincent, sir Home's patron and friend, with portraits of sir Home and his lordship, prise 2s.
         The TRIAL of JOHN PIERS, bart. for crim. con. ["criminal conversation", i.e. adultery] with Eliza, wife of lord Cloncurry, the pleadings of counsel, the curious letters and warm epistles. – Damages 100,000, verdict 20,000; with a portrait of the beautiful adultress, price 1s. 6d.
          The remarkable Trials that were tried at Lancaster assizes. – These unparalleled trials for murder, rape, abominable crimes, exceed almost belief. – Price 3s.
[See A Sodomite Club in Warrington]
         The Trial of David Robertson for an unnatural crime with George Foulston, and his curious address to the judge. – Guilty, death. Price 1s. with a plate.
         The Trial of col. Passingham, of the Cheshire sencibles, for a horrid conspiracy, charging George Forrester, esq. with many unnatural propensities, &c. – Price 1s.
         The Trial of capt. Levesly, for cruelly flogging Potter Jackson, a seaman, until the blood burst from his eyes and breast. Verdict 500. – Price 1s. with a plate.
                     (Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, Issue 2266. The same advertisement appeared in the Leeds Mercury for 11 April 1807, and in many other papers.)

Thursday 26 March 1807

The assizes for the county of Cornwall concluded on Tuesday, at Launcheston, when Francois Fieudard and Ambroise Morin, for having committed unnatural crimes, . . . were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death. (Exeter Fying Post)

Wednesday 8 April 1807

At Lancaster Assizes, Joshua Newsham and Thomas Bolton were convicted of unnatural practices, and sentenced to be imprisoned two years each, and to stand on the pillory. (Hereford Journal)

Wednesday 8 April 1807

At the Lancaster Assizes, Francis Fieudard, and Ambros Martin, were found guilty of unnatural crimes, and received sentence of death. There were to be tried three persons for murder; thirty for various robberies; ten for dealing in forged notes; three for slaying, and seven for unnatural crimes! (Aberdeen Journal)

Monday 8 June 1807

Also on Wednesday, [was committed to our County gaol], by J. Cripps, Esq. T. Twigger, on suspicion of having committed an unnatural crime. (Gloucester Journal)

Friday 31 July 1807

. . . James Martin, 23, charged on a suspicion of felony, with having been guilty of committing a detestable and unnatural crime – Discharged by Proclamation. (Kentish Gazette)

Wednesday 22 July 1807

On Wednesday, the Assizes commenced at Glocester [sic], when the following prisoners were tried – . . . Richard Abboit, for stealing hides and skins from J. King, of Bourton-on-the-Hill; and Thos. Twigger, for an unnatural crime, were sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment, the latter to be also twice whipped; . . . (Hereford Journal)

Saturday 25 July 1807

On Saturday last, Joshua Newsham stood for one hour in the pillory in our Market Place [in Newcastle], pursuant to his sentence at our last Assizes, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime. (Lancaster Gazette)

Friday 31 July 1807

James Martin, 23, charged on a suspicion of felony, with having been guilty of committing a detestable and unnatural crime – Discharged by Proclamation. (Kentish Gazette)

Saturday 8 August 1807

On Saturday last, Thomas Bolton stood upon the pillory in our Market place, for one hour, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime at Wigan. (Lancaster Gazette)

Saturday 9 August 1807

George Ellis stood one hour in the pillory, in our Market Place, on Tuesday, for the second time, pursuant to his sentence at the Autumn Assizes, 1806, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime. (Lancaster Gazette)

Saturday 29 August 1807

George Ellis stood one hour in the pillory, in our Market Place, on Tuesday, for the second time, pursuant to his sentence at the Autumn Assizes, 1806, for attempting to commit an unnatural crime. (Lancaster Gazette)

Saturday 5 September 1807

Trial of Col. Passingham, for a horrid Conspiracy, price 1s. : Trial of David Robinson, for an unnatural Crime, price 1s. : Trials remarkable for unnatural Crimes, tried at Lancaster, price 3s. (Morning Post)

Saturday 5 September 1807

On Friday a Court Martial, at which Sir J. Duckworth presided, was held on board his Majesty's ship Salvador del Mundo, in Hamoaze, Plymouth, on charges exhibited by Capt. Dilkes, of his Majesty's ship Hazard, against William Berry, First Lieutenant of the said ship, for a breach of the 1d and 29th articles of war; the former respecting uncleanliness, &c. the latter the commission of an unnatural crime with Thomas Gibbs, a boy belonging to the Hazard, on the 23d of August, 1807. The evidence being heard in support of the charges, the prisoner not having prepared his defence, begged time, which the Court readily granted, till Saturday at 10 o'clock. At that hour the Court assembled again, and having heard what the Prisoner had to offer in his defence, and having maturely weighed and considered the same, the Court was of opinion the charges had been fully proved, and accordingly adjuged the prisoner to be hanged at the hard arm of such one of Majesty's ships, and at such time as the Commissioners of the Admiralty shall direct. One of the witnesses on this awful and horrible trial was the little female tar, Elizabeth Bowden, who has bene on board the Hazard these eight months. She spepared in Court in a long jacket and blue trowsers. (Kentish Gazette) (See A Navy Court Martial for more reports.)

Saturday 5 September 1807

On Tuesday, a Coroner's Inquest was held at the House of Correction, Clerkenwell, before John Wright Unwin, Esq. Coroner for the county of Middlesex, upon the body of John Miles, who was found dead in his cell, in the said prison, on Sunday evening last.
          The deceased was the near relative of a respectable person of the same name, residing in the neighbourhood of Fleet-Market, and had been apprehended on Thursday last, and carried before Sir Mathew Bloxham, Knight, the then presiding magistrate at Guildhall Justice Room, charged with having committed an unnatural crime; but the fact alleged having been committed in the county, the deceased was remanded for further examination, on Monday, to this prison.
          It appeared, upon the evidence of Roger Brigman, and another of the Turnkeys, that the deceased, from the time of his coming into the prison, up to the time of his decease, had conducted himself and acted in every manner like a rational and reasonable person. Bridgman brough him some porter about noon on Sunday, but on his return to deliver a letter from one of his relations, about six o'clock in the evening, he found him lifeless, suspended by his pocket handkerchief, which he had fastened round his neck, and then to a beam which crossed the cell; he immediately cut him down, with the assistance of another person, and found his body warm; but all appearance of animation was gone.
          Thomas Bell, Esq. surgeon to the prison, deposed that he had visited the deceased on Saturday last, when he appeared to him in a perfect state of health in body and mind. Immediately after the body was discovered in the manner before-mentioned, he examined it, and found all hopes of recovery vain. He had no doubt that he came by his death by hanging [suicide].
          James Popjoy, a city constable, had known the deceased upwards of sixteen years, he had lived in his neighbourhood the whole of that time, and saw him almost every day; he considered him at all times a decided lunatic; he had always been foolish, and his constant amusement was playing about the market with little boys; the witness used frequently to give him pence and halfpence to buy rice pudding or cakes; so far did he consider him an ideot or lunatic.
          Some other witnesses, who had known the deceased for upwards of 30 years, deposed to the same effect.
          After hearing this evidence, the Corner summed up briefly, and observed to the Jury, that there could be no doubt of the insane state of mind of the deceased when he committed this melancholy act.
          The Jury immediately brought in their verdict – Lunacy.
          The deceased was about 50 years of age, and had lived many years as a messenger or servant to his brother. (Oxford University and City Herald)

Saturday 10 October 1807

An old man, of the name of Richards, stood in the pillory on Thursday, on Clerkenwell Green, having been convicted of assaulting a boy, with intent to commit an unnatural crime. He was pelted with merciless fury by the populace, and was with difficulty protected from the effects of their indignation whilst conveying from the place of punishment. (Morning Chronicle)

Tuesday 13 October 1807

Thursday —— Richards, a schoolmaster, stood in the pillory on Clerkenwell-Green, for unnatural propensities. The populace, particularly the female part, were so incensed against him, that, notwithstanding the efforts of the constables, they saluted him with rotten eggs, and filth of other descriptions, in such a manner, that scarcely any of the human features were discernable. (Kentish Gazette)

Tuesday 20 October 1807

On Wednesday the Quarter Sessions began in the New Bayley Court-house, Salford, at which the following prisoners have taken their trials, viz. . . .
          John Harrop, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime on the body of John Wilkinson (turned evidence) at Garrat – to stand once in the pillory at Manchester, and to be imprisoned three years in Lancaster Castle. He is 64 years of age. (Manchester Mercury)

Wednesday 28 October 1807

Edward Lee, a working silvershith, in the parish of St. James's, Clerkenwell, was indicted for an unnatural attempt on a lad, who was in his service on liking, as apprentice.
          The boy, in his evidence, gave an account with considerably ingenuity of indecent conduct towards him on the part of the prisoner; but it was clearly proved by the defendant, that the whole was a conspiracy arising from the boy's mother, and a cloud of witnesses gave the defendant a most exemplary character for moral and decent conduct.
          Mr. MAINWARING, the Chairman, told the Jury, that the evidence of the boy had certainly made great impression on his mind, as he had no doubt it had done on theirs. He lamented much that such early depravity should be exhibited in a Court of Justice, and was sorry they could not visit it with prompt punishment. If they felt as he did, they, of course, would not hesitate to acquit the defendant.
          The Jury instantly found a verdict of Not Guilty, and the boy and his father were hissed and hooted by the mob, as they retired from the Court. The case occupied nearly the whole day. (Morning Post)

Monday 23 November 1807

QUEEN SQUARE. – Saturday J. P. Prevost, a Frenchman, was committed, but afterwards admitted to bail, charged with attempting to commit an unnatural crime on a soldier in the Park. (Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1807", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 5 May 2008; enlarged 19 Oct. 2014 and 22 Jan. 2016 <>.

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