The Vere Street Club, 1810


Tuesday, 10 July 1810

POLICE. Bow-Street, July 9. – In consequence of its having been represented to the Magistrates of the above office, that a number of persons of a most detestable description, met at the house of James Cooke, the White Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, particularly on a Sunday night, a privy search-warant was issued, and was put in execution on Sunday night last, when 23 persons, including the landlord of the house, were taken into custody, and lodged in St. Clement's watch-house, till yesterday, at eleven o-clock,w hen they were brought before Mr. Read for examination; but the circumstance having transpired, a great concourse of people had collected in Bow-street, and which was much increased by the mob that followed the prisoners when they were brought from the watch-house. It was with the greatest difficulty the officers could bring them to and from the Brown Bear to the Office; the mob, particularly the women, expressing their detestation of the offence of which the prisoners were charged.
         The following persons were first put to the bar, and gave their names and description:-
         Esau Haycock keeps a shop near the Yorkshire Stingo, New Road.
         James Amos, alias Fox, lodger, at the White Swan, (the house in question) a servant out of place, disabled in the arm. N.B. He was convicted and pilloried some time since for unnatural practices.
         William Thopson, waiter at a hotel in Covent-garden.
         Henry Toogood, servant to a gentleman in Portland-place.
         Robert Aspinall, lodger, at No. 1, Brewer's Court, Great Wild-street, taylor.
         Richard Francis, a corporal in the 3d Regiment of Foot Guards.
         James Cook, landlord of the house, and Philip Hot, the waiter.
         Samuel Taunton, the officer, who had the executio of the warrant stated, that he and other officers went last night to the house about eleven o'clock, and apprehended the before-named persons, except the landlord and waiter, in a back parlour.
         Two of the Patrole gave an account of their being in the house last night previous to the execution of the warrant [i.e. as infiltrators in disguise], and stated the particulars of the conversation and actions that passed while they were in the parlour, but it is of too horrible a nature to meet the public eye.
         These witnesses also stated their having seen similar proceedings in the same parlour on the night of Sunday week, and identified several of the Prisoners as having been present at that time.
         They were ordered to find bail for the misdemeanour, and in default were committed to prison.
         James Spittle, a servant, in Chancery-lane; Matthew Saunders, of Duke-street, Aldgate; James Done, of Curran-road, shoreditch, bricklayer; William Barrow, of Furnival's-inn; John Reeves, of Castle-street, Leicester-fields, traveller with goods, James Griffiths, Union-court, Holborn, servant out of place (well known at Bow-street); Edward Quaiffe, a soldier in the 3d Guards; George Boat, a waiter, out of place, lodging at the White Swan; John Clarke, Union-court, Holborn, a servant out of place; Timothy Norris, of Temple-street, Whitefriars, a servant out of place; Bernard Hovel, a soldier in the 1st Guards; Thos. Dixon, a soldier in the 3d Guards; Michael Hays, a servant out of place.
         All these prisoners, except Dixon and Hays, who were in a dark kitchen, were found in a room on the first floor, but there being no evidence of what took place, they were all discharged except Done, who was proved to have been in the back parlour with the others, on the night of Sunday se'nnight. He was committed.
         The crowd had, by this time, become so great in Bow-street, particularly facing the Office, that it was almost impossible to pass, and most of those who were discharged, were very roughly handled; several of them were hunted about the neighbourhood, and with great difficulty excaped with their lives, although every exertion was used by the constables and patrole to prevent such dangerous proceedings; and, in doing which, many of them were very roughly treated.
                                    (Morning Chronicle; this newspaper cutting was pasted in William Beckford's scrapbook now held in the Beinicke Library.)

Tuesday 10 July 1810

POLICE.
BOW-STREET, July 9.
On Sunday night, in consequence of some private information received by the Bow-street Magistrates, a strong party of police officers repaired to a public-house, the sign of the Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, said to be the rendezvous of a society of miscreants of a detestable description. The officers proceeded to search the house, where they found a company of 21 persons, the whole of whom, together with the landlord of the house, they apprehended, and lodged for the night in the watch-house of St. Clement's parish. The house was a place of call for coffee-house and tavern waiters, and most of the persons taken were of that description. There were also amongst them some private soldiers of the Guards.
          Yesterday morning, at eleven, the Bow-street officers proceeded with three coaches to the watch-house to bring up the prisoners for examination; but the concourse of people was so great that the carriages could scarcely proceed. Bow-street, and all the avenues leading to it, were also immensely crowded, and so continued till past 5 in the afternoon.
          The prisoners underwent a long examination. Several were discharged, the proofs against them not being sufficiently strong to warrant their detention for trial; but their liberation was instantaneously productive of the most dangerous consequences. The multitude, male and female, fell upon them as they came out. They were knocked down, kicked, and covered with mud through every street in their endeavours to escape. The women, particularly those of Russel-street and Covent-garden market, were most ferocious in the application of this discipline; but the lower order of the male spectators were by no means lax in their exertions to mark their detestations of these wretches.
          Out of the whole number, eight were ordered to find bail for the misdemeanour, and in default were committed to prison. They were housed for a time at the Brown Bear, in Bow-street, until the crowd should disperse. The crowd, however, continued to block up the Street and its avenues. A coach was drawn up before the door of the Brown Bear, for the conveyance of a part of the Delinquents to prison. This afforded a fresh signal to whet the eagerness of the mob, who pressed close round the carrige, and could not be kept off by the constables. It was, therefore, seen that any attempt to convey the Prisoners that way, must have exposed them to extremely rough handling, if not to urder. It was in consequence deemed prudent to detain the coach there, and by that means to fix the attention of the multitude, while the Prisoners were taken, about half-past four, over a wall at the rear of the Brown Bear, and into a large yard behind, which has an avenue to Russell-street, through which, after some time, they were conducted, hand-cuffed three together, to coaches, and conveyed to prison.

Tuesday 10 July 1810

POLICE.
BOW-STREET, July 9.
On Sunday night, in consequence of some private information received by the Bow-street Magistrates, a strong party of police officers repaired to a public-house, the sign of the Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, said to be the rendezvous of a society of miscreants of a detestable description. The officers proceeded to search the house, where they found a company of 21 persons, the whole of whom, together with the landlord of the house, they apprehended, and lodged for the night in the watch-house of St. Clement's parish. The house was a place of call for coffee-house and tavern waiters, and most of the persons taken were of that description. There were also amongst them some private soldiers of the Guards.
          Yesterday morning, at eleven, the Bow-street officers proceeded with three coaches to the watch-house to bring up the prisoners for examination; but the concourse of people was so great that the carriages could scarcely proceed. Bow-street, and all the avenues leading to it, were also immensely crowded, and so continued till past 5 in the afternoon.
          The prisoners underwent a long examination. Several were discharged, the proofs against them not being sufficiently strong to warrant their detention for trial; but their liberation was instantaneously productive of the most dangerous consequences. The multitude, male and female, fell upon them as they came out. They were knocked down, kicked, and covered with mud through every street in their endeavours to escape. The women, particularly those of Russel-street and Covent-garden market, were most ferocious in the application of this discipline; but the lower order of the male spectators were by no means lax in their exertions to mark their detestations of these wretches.
          Out of the whole number, eight were ordered to find bail for the misdemeanour, and in default were committed to prison. They were housed for a time at the Brown Bear, in Bow-street, until the crowd should disperse. The crowd, however, continued to block up the Street and its avenues. A coach was drawn up before the door of the Brown Bear One of those committed is a soldier; the reset of them flashy dressed fellows, in coloured clothes, with nankeen trowsers, silk stockings, &c. all hale robust fellows, the oldest not above 33.

Tuesday 10 July 1810

POLICE.
BOW-STREET, July 9.
On Sunday night, in consequence of some private information received by the Bow-street Magistrates, a strong party of police officers repaired to a public-house, the sign of the Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, said to be the rendezvous of a society of miscreants of a detestable description. The officers proceeded to search the house, where they found a company of 21 persons, the whole of whom, together with the landlord of the house, they apprehended, and lodged for the night in the watch-house of St. Clement's parish. The house was a place of call for coffee-house and tavern waiters, and most of the persons taken were of that description. There were also amongst them some private soldiers of the Guards.
          Yesterday morning, at eleven, the Bow-street officers proceeded with three coaches to the watch-house to bring up the prisoners for examination; but the concourse of people was so great that the carriages could scarcely proceed. Bow-street, and all the avenues leading to it, were also immensely crowded, and so continued till past 5 in the afternoon.
          The prisoners underwent a long examination. Several were discharged, the proofs against them not being sufficiently strong to warrant their detention for trial; but their liberation was instantaneously productive of the most dangerous consequences. The multitude, male and female, fell upon them as they came out. They were knocked down, kicked, and covered with mud through every street in their endeavours to escape. The women, particularly those of Russel-street and Covent-garden market, were most ferocious in the application of this discipline; but the lower order of the male spectators were by no means lax in their exertions to mark their detestations of these wretches.
          Out of the whole number, eight were ordered to find bail for the misdemeanour, and in default were committed to prison. They were housed for a time at the Brown Bear, in Bow-street, until the crowd should disperse. The crowd, however, continued to block up the Street and its avenues. A coach was drawn up before the door of the Brown Bear The crowd was not dispersed from Bow-street and its vicinity till near six o-clock, and appeared to be extremely mortified at the escape of their intended victims. (The Times, Issue 8029)

Thursday 12 July 1810

[ADVERTISEMENT]
ON Monday, the 9th day of July, 19810, as one of the Prisoners, that was taken up for an unnatural crime, was gong up Tavistock-street, Covent-Garden, after being acquitted by the Sitting Magistrate ofBow street Police Office, THOMAS HAYLETT, a young Man in the employ of a respectable Tradesman, in Tavistock-street, did assault and beat the above-mentioned acquitted person; and upon Mr. Rt. Shearsmith, Watch-maker, of No. 41, Stanhope-street, Clare market, from motives of humanity, requesting the said Thomas Haylett to desist from beating the man, he (T. H.) branded Mr. Shearsmith with being one of the disgraceful party, and did without any other provocation, strike Mr. Shearsmith a violent blow on the mouth, by which blow he nearly lost two or three teeth; for which unwarrantable attack the said Thomas Haylett doth thus publicly ask pardon of Mr. Shearsmith, in consideration of which, and the good character he bears, Mr. S. has condescended not to prosecute him.
  &nsp;         &nsp;         &nsp;         &nsp;       THOMAS HAYLETT.
Witness – M. K. SUPPLE.
Morning Advertiser)

Monday, 16 July 1810

POLICE. DIABOLICAL CLUB IN VERE-STREET.
Bow-Street. – On Friday evening Esay Haycock, who was apprehended with a number of other persons at the White Swan public-house, in Vere-street, Clare-market, where they met, it was supposed, for the purpose of committing a most detestable offence, was brought to the Office from New Prison, Clerkenwell, and was admitted to bail himself in 100l. and James Smith, of Buckingham-street, New Road, in 50l. and John Colley, of York-street, Blackfriars-road, to 50l. for the prisoner to answer for the offence with which he is charged at the Sessions.
          Henry Toogood, another of the persons who was apprehended at the same house with the same persons, was also brought from the prison, and was admitted to bail in 100>l. and two sureties, Wm. Baker, of Silver-street, Clerkenwell-green, and Wm. Wye, of Bunhill-row, in 50l. each.
         Application was made on Saturday night to bail Cook, the landlord of the public house, but it was put off till this day.
                   (Morning Chronicle.
From this report we can see how risky it was for any friends to provide sureties for a suspected sodomite, for their names would be published in the newspapers. Incidentally, according to the Morning Chronicle for 17 July 1810, Mr Nares the Magistrate refused Cook's application for bail. Also incidentally, the Morning Chronicle for Thursday, 26 July 1810, reported the suicide "yesterday morning" of Mr Tranter, a footman in the service of the Prince of Wales, in Carlton House.)

17 July 1810

LONDON SESSIONS, MONDAY, JULY 16.
          JOHN BARLOWE and WOLFE LYON, the latter a Jew, about 60 years of age, were indicted as accomplices in a high misdemeanour, with intent to commit a detestable crime, on the night of the 24th of April last. The Prosecutor, Scranton, having cause to suspect the intention of the Traversers, watched them from George-street, behind the Mansion-house, to a dark alley leading from Bearbinder-lane, into Lombard-street, where he detected them in the fact; he secured on the spot. But Lyon made his escape; and the Prosecutor apprehended him some weeks afterwards, in St. Paul's Church-yard. The Prisoners were both found guilty. Lyon had been already twice convicted of the like offence. The first time in 1796, for which he was imprisoned in Newgate three years, and held in recognizance, hiimself in 100l. and two sureties for 50l. each, for three eyears after the expiration of his sentence; and the second time in 1805, when he was sentenced to four years imprisonment and similar recognizances. The Court, in consideration of his being thus shewn to be an incorrigible offender, ordered his second recognizance to be estreated [i.e. forfeited], and himself to be iimprisoned five years in Newgate: and to find the like recognizance for seven years after the expiration of his sentence.
          Barlowe, who is a young man, and had been a Gentleman's servant, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and the same recognizances as Lyon.
          THOMAS SINEY was indicted for an assault with the like intent upon a youth, named Nicholson, in Moorfields, on the 29th April. The assault was clearly proved. The prisoner, in a sanctified tone, made a long speech in his defence. – said he was coming from a place of worship, and that it was the prosecutor who made the assault upon him. He said he had been but three weeks in London, and was going from the Tabernacle to his lodgings in Tash-street, Gray's-inn-lane, but he produced no witnesses even to character.
          Verdict Guilty.
          the Court sentenced him to two years imprisonment, and the like recognizance as in the preceding cases. (The Times, Issue 8036)

18 July 1810

At the Clerkenwell Sessions yesterday, four persons, of the names of Ramsey, Clarke, Goff, and Hill, were found guilty of an attempt to extort 10l. from T. Fitzhugh, a gentleman's servant, by threatening to charge him with an unnatural offence.

Friday, 27 July 1810

Yesterday at Bow-street, the Ensign brought up by Revett, the officer, from the Isle of Wight, in consequence of a charge agaisnt him of an inhuman offence, at the Swan public house in Vere-street, underwent an examination before Mr. Justice Birnie. It is horrible to hear of the multiplied instances of this detestable crime; and in none have the circumstances been more atrocious, or the charge more distinctly proved. We, of course, abstain from all detail. The prisoner's name is Hepburn, an Ensign belonging to a West India Regiment. He was fully committed to Newgate to take his trial, on the oath of a drummer in the Guards. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 12859)

Wednesday 1 August 1810

Yesterday at Bow-street, the Ensign brought up by Rivett, the officer, from the Isle of Wight, in consequence of a charge against him of a detestable offence, at the Swan public-house, in Vere-street, underwent an examination before Mr. Justice Birnie. It is horrible to hear of the multiplied instances of this detestable crime; and in none have the circumstances been more atrocious or the charge more distinctly proved. We, of course, abstain from alldetail. The prisoner's name is Hepburn an Ensign belonging to a West India regiment. He was fullyi committed in Newgate to take his trial, on the oath of a drummer in the Guards. (Hereford Journal)

Saturday, 4 August 1810

Wednesday Dickinson, who was convicted at the last Westminster Sessions, of an assault upon a drum boy in the Guards, was exhibited, for an hour, on the pillory, at Charing-Cross; and received a most pitiless pelting from the indignant multitude, with mud, eggs, turnips, and other missiles. He is a well looking young man, about 22, and was a waiter at Hatchett's hotel, Piccadilly. In the course of the first 10 minutes he was so completely enveloped with mud and filth, that it was scarcely possible to distinguish his back from his front; and it was with the utmost difficulty that the peace officers could prevent him from being torn to pieces by the mob, on his return from the pillory to the prison. (Ipswich Journal, Issue 4013)

Saturday, 18 August 1810

CHELMSFORD, August 17.
At our Assizes, . . . Samuel Mounser was convicted of an unnatural crime, and received sentence of death. (The Ipswich Journal, Issue 4015)

20 September 1810

OLD BAILEY, WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19.
          John Newbold Hepburn, aged 42, Ensign in a West India regiment, and Thomas White, a drummer in the guards, aged 16, were put to the bar on a capital indictment for a most detestable crime. but on the application of Hapburn founded on his affidavit that two drummers, now with their regiments in Portugal, were material witnesses for his defence, the trial was postponed until next session. (The Times)

Saturday, 29 September 1810

MIDDLESEX SESSIONS, SEPTEMBER 22.
Seven of the detestable club of Vere-street, viz. Wm. Amos, alias Fox, James Cooke, Philip Ilett, Wm. Thompson, Richard Francis, James Done, and Robert Aspinal, were tried for conspiring together at the Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, for the purpose or exciting each others to commit a detestible offence. Mr. Pooley stated the case for the prosecution, and the witnesses against the prisoner were Nichols, and another of the Bow-street patrole, who were sent to the house by the Magistrates, to watch the proceedings of persons assembled there. They gained admittance into the back parlour, which was the principal rendezvous of these miscreants, and were considered as persons of the same propensity, and treated without reserve. For three nights they witnessed such disgusting conduct and language, as to place beyond all doubt the intentions of the company. They gave information of all they had seen, and the prisoners, with a number of others, were brought before the Magistrates. The evidence being closed, Mr. Gurney, who had cross-examined the witnesses while giving their testimony, said that he was placed in the aukward [sic] situation of Counsel for the defendants, and had undertaken that task because he felt himself bound to do so by his oath, and duty as an advocate. In the course of the evidence he had done that duty to the best of his judgment, by giving the defendants every benefit of cross-examination. But he found the testimony so clear and uncontradicted, as to leave no ground of palliation upon which to make any appeal to the Jury, upon circumstances, which, if true, would go to excite an idea that the horrors of Sodom and Gomorrah were revied in London. He must therefore decline trespassing on the time of the Jury, and leave them to form their own conclusions. If the prisoners had any thing to offer in their defence, he had no doubt they would meet with every indulgence. The prisoners being then called on, each told his story, but it could have made no impression on the minds of any discerning Jury, and all the prisoners were found Guilty. Amost, having been trice before convicted of similar offences, was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and to stand once in the pillory in the Hay-market. Cooke, the keeper of the house, Ilett, Thompson, Francis, and Done, were sentenced to two years imprisonment, and the pillory in the same place; and Aspinal, to one year's imprisonment only.
          On sentence being pronounced they were all handcuffed, and tied to one chain in Court, and ordered to Cold Bath-fields prison. On leaving the Court, a numerous crowd of people, which had collected at the door, assailed them with fists, sticks, adn stones, which the constables could not completely prevent, although they were about 40 in number. The prisoners perceiving their perilous situation, immediately ran in a body to the prison, which they reached in a few minutes, and the constables, by blockading the streets, prevented the most fleet of their assailants from molesting them during their inglorioius retreat. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2996)

26 September 1810

An exhibition on the pillory of one of the wretches recently convicted at Clerkenwell took place yesterday, at 12 o'clock, opposite the Mansion-house when this human monster suffered all that could be inflicted by mud, rotten eggs, and potatoes.
          The concourse of people collected upon this occasion was immense. Amongst other places particularly crowded was the ballustrade surrounding the Mansion-house, which, notwithstanding the exertions of constables placed there to keep off the crowd, was filled with spectators, some of whom had melancholy reason to regret their too eager curiosity as several of the rails and a great part of the coping stone gave way from the great weight of those clinging to it, and falling on some of the persons beneath, severely injured three, one of whom is not expected to recover; they were all taken to the Hospital. (The Times, Issue 8098)

Saturday, 29 September 1810

MIDDLESEX SESSIONS. — Unnatural Crimes.   Seven of the infamous club of Vere-street, viz. Wm. Amos, alias Fox, James Cooke, Philip Islet, William Thompson, Richard Francis, James Done, and Robert Aspinal, were tried on Saturday, and all found Guilty.
          Amos having been twice before convicted of similar offences and punished, was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and to stand once in the pillory, in the Hay-market, opposite Panton-street.
          Cooke, the keeper of the house, Ilett, thompson, Francis and Done, were each sentenced to two year's imprisonment, and the pillory in the same place; and Aspinal, as not having appeared so active as the others, to one year's imprisonment only.
          Four other wretches of the same description were found Guilty. (Leeds Mercury, Issue 2358)

27 September 1810

Notices were yesterday issued by the Sheriffs of Middlesex to all their officers, to appear this morning with their javelins at Newgate, for the purpose of escorting the Vere-street squad to the Haymarket, where they are to exhibit their faces precisely at 12 o'clock. (The Times)

Friday, 28 September 1810

PILLORY. – Yesterday William Amos, alias Fox, James Cook (the landlord), Philip Bell (the waiter), William Thomson, Richard Francis, and James Done, six of the Vere-street gang, stood in the Pillory, in the centre of the Hay-market, opposite Norris-street. They were conveyed from Newgate in the open caravan used for the purpose of taking the transports [i.e. those sentenced to transportation] to Portsmouth, in which they were no sooner placed, than the mob began to salute them with mud, rotten eggs, and filth, with which they continued to pelt them along Ludgate-hill, Fleet-street, the Strand, and Charing-cross. When they arrived at the Hay-market, it was found that the pillory would only accommodate four at once. At one o'clock, therefore, four of them were placed on the platform, and the two others were in the meantime taken to St. Martin's Watch-house. The concours of people assembled were immense, even the tops of the houses in the Hay-market were covered with spectators. As soon as a convenient ring was formed [i.e. a space around the pillory], a number of women were admitted within side, who vigorously expressed their abhorrence of the miscreants, by a perpetual shower of mud, egs, offal, and every kind of filth with which they had plentifully supplied themselves in baskets and buckets. When the criminals had stood their allotted time, they were conveyed to Coldbath-fields Prison. At two o'clock the remaining two were placed in the Pillory, and were pelted till it was scarcely possible to adistinguish the human shape. The caravan conveyed the two last through the Strand, then to Newgate, the mob continuing to pelt them all the way. Notwithstanding the immense concourse of people, we are happy to learn that no accident occurred.
         The horrible exhibition of yesterday must prove to every considerate spectator the necessity for an immediate alteration in the law as to the punishment of this crime. It is obvious that mere exposure in the pillory is insufficient; – to beings so degraded the pillory of itself would be trifling; it is the popular indignation alone which they dread: and yet it is horrible to accustome the people to take the vengeance of justice into their own hands. We avoid entering into the discussion of a crime so horrible to the nature of Englishmen, the prevalence of which we fear we must ascribe, among other calamities, to the unnecessary war in which we have been so long involved [i.e. the Napoleonic Wars]. It is not merely the favour which has been shown to foreigners, to foreign servants, to foreign troops, but the sending our own troops to associate with foreigners, that may truly be regarded as the source of the evil. For years we have observed with sorrow the progressive reovlution in our manners; and we have uniformly and steadily opposed all the innovations that have been admired in our theatres and our select places of amusement, as destructive of their character of the country.
         Many of the most illustrious persons who at first charged us with illiberality, are now convinced of the right view which we took of the subject, and are zealously disposed to exert themselves in stemming a torrent of corruption that threatens to involve us in the gulph of infamy as well as ruin. We trust that the very first object of Parliament, on its meeting, will be the revision of this law.
                   (Morning Chronical. This newspaper cutting was pasted into William Beckford's scrapbook, now at the Beinicke Library)

28 September 1810

Yesterday [i.e. 27 Sept.], Cooke, the Publican of the Swan in Vere-street, Clare-market, and five others of the eleven miscreants convicted at Clerkenwell Sessions last Saturday, of detestable practices, were exhibitedin the Pillory in the Hay market, opposite to Panton-street. Such was the degree of popular indignation excited against these wretches, and such the general eagerness to witness their punishment, that, by ten in the morning, the chief avenues from Clerkenwell Prison and Newgate to the place of punishment were crowded with people; and the multitude assembled in the Haymarket, and all its immediate vicinity, was so great as to render the streets impassible. All the windows and eventhe very roofs of the houses were crowded with persons of both sexes; and every coach, waggon, hay-cart, dray, and other vehicles which blocked up great part of the street, were crowded with spectators.
          The Sheriffs, attended by two City Marshals, with an immense number of constables, accompanied the procession of the Prisoners from Newgate, whence they set out in the transport caravan, and proceeded through Fleet-street and the Strand; and the Prisoners were hooted and pelted the whole way by the populace. At one o- clock four of the culprits were fixed in the pillory, erected for and accommodated to the occasion, with two additional wings, one being alloted for each criminal; and immediately a new torret of popular vengeance poured upon them from all sides. The day being fine, the streets were dry and free from mud, but the dfect was speedily and amply supplied by the butchers of St. James's- market. Numerous escorts of whom constantly supplied the party of attack, chiefly consisting of women, with tubs of blood, garbage, and ordure from their slaughter-houses, adn with this ammunition, plentifully diversified with dead cats, turnips, potatoes, addled eggs, and other missiles, the criminals were incessantly pelted to the last moment. They walked perpetually round during their hour [the pillory swivelled on a fixed axis]; and although from the four wings of the machine they had some shelter, they were completely encrusted with filth.
          Two wings of the Pillory were then taken off to place Cooke and Amos in the two remaining ones, and although they came in only for the second course, they had no reason to complain of short allowance, for they received even a more severe discipline than their predecessors. On their being taken down adn replaced in the caravan, they lay flat in the vehicle; but the vengeance of the crowd still pursued them back to Newgate, and the caravan was so filled with mud and ordure as completely to cover them.
          No interference from the Sheriffs and Police officers could refrain the popular rage; but notwithstanding the immensity of the multitude, no accident of any note occurred. (The Times, issue 8100; Most of this report was reprinted verbatim in the Annual Register, vol. 52, Chronicle entry for 27 September 1810)

28 September 1810

The disgust felt by all ranks in Society at the detestable conduct of these wretches occasioned many thousands to become spectators of their punishment. At an early hour the Old Bailey was completely blockaded, and the increase of the mob about 12 o'clock, put a stop to the business of the sessions. The shops from Ludgate Hill to the Haymarket were shut up, and the streets lined with people, waiting to see the offenders pass. Four of the latter had been removed from the House of Correction to Newgate on Wednesday evening, and being joined by Cook and Amos, they were ready to proceed to the place of punishment.
          A number of fishwomen attended with stinking flounders and entrails of other fish which had been in preparation for several days.
          The gates of the Old Bailey were shut and all strangers turned out. The miscreants were then brought out, all placed in the caravan. Amos began to laugh, which induced his companions to reprove him, and they all sat upright, apparently in a composed state, but having cast their eyes upwards, the sight of the spectators on the tops of the houses operated strongly on their fears, and they soon appeared to feel terror and dismay.
          At the instant the church clock went half-past twelve, the gates were thrown open. The mob at the same time attempted to force their wayin, but they were repulsed. A grand sortie of the police was then made. About 60 officers, armed and mounted as before described, went forward with the City Marshals. The caravan went next, followed by about 40 officers and the Sherriffs. The first salute received by the offenders was a volley of mud, and a serenade of hisses, hooting, and execration, which compelled them to fall flat on their faces in the caravan. The mob, and particularly the women, had piled up balls of mud to afford the objects of their indignation a warm reception.
          At one o'clock four of them were exalted on a new pillory, made purposely for their accommodation. The remaining two, Cook and Amos, were honoured by being allowed to enjoy a triumph in the pillory alone.
          Upwards of fifty women were permitted to stand in the ring [in front of the pillory], who assailed them incessantly with mud, dead cats, rotten eggs, potatoes, and buckets filled with blood, offal, and dung, which were brought by a number of butchers' men from St James's Market. These criminals were very roughly handled; but as there were four of them, they did not suffer so much as a less number might.
          After an hour, the remaining two, Cook and Amos, alias Fox, were desired to mount and in one minute they appeared a complete heap of mud and their faces were much more battered than those of the former four.
          Cook appeared almost insensible, and it was necessary to help him both down and into the cart, whence they were conveyed to Newgate by the same road they had come. As they passed the end of Catherine Street, Strand, on their return, a coachman stood upon his box, and gave Cook five or six cuts with his whip.
          From the moment the cart was in motion, the fury of the mob began to display itself in showers of mud and filth of every kind. Before the cart reached Temple Barm, the wretches were so thickly covered with filth, that a vestige of the human figure was scarcely discernible. They were chained, and placed in such a manner that they could not lie down in the cart, and could only hide and shelter their heads from the storm by stooping. This, however, could afford but little protection. Some of them were cut in the head with brick-bats, and bled profusely. The streets, as they passed, resounded with the universal shouts and execrations of the populace. (The Times)

Note: For a long report about this incident in the pillory, see Newspaper Reports for 3 October 1810.

29 September 1810

The Bow-Street officers and patrol apprehended many pickpockets in the crowd during the pilloring of Cook et al., including Samuel Brooke; William Hall; John Fregeur, a porter at the Saracen's Head, Snow Hill; George Cohen. (The Times)

29 September 1810

We understand that in consequence of a proposition from Cooke the Publican, and one of the miscreants who were pilloried in the Hay-market on Thursday, there was a meeting of the Westminster Magistrates on Wednesday evening, to consider his offer for discovering a number of his accomplices in the same abominable system, but in a very different rank in life, provided his punishment of the Pillory was remitted; but that the Magistrates, after full deliberation, deemed it more for the advantage of public morals to reject his proposition, and let the sentence of the law take its course. (The Times, Issue 8101)

Monday, 1 October 1810

LONDON,
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1810
PILLORY. — Six of the monsters of the Vere-street Club were exhibited in the Pillory, in the Hay-Market, on Thursday. Between 30 and 40,000 persons were present. The indignation of the populace was so great that they scarcely escaped with their lives. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Issue 573)

Tuesday, 2 October 1810

          James M'Namara, a low vulgar Irishman, seemingly a bricklayer's labourer, and Thomas Walker, a squalid looking lad of about 17, a soldier in the first regiment of Guards, were tried for a similar crime, on the 14th ult.; and George Horiby, a cobbler, and John Cutmore, a soldier, were indicted for a similar crime, at the Star and Crown public-house, in Broadway, Westminster, on the 21st July. All four were found guilty. – Sentence deferred. (The Hull Packet and Original Weekly Commercial, Literary and General Advertiser, Issue 1238; the full report of the trial was otherwise identical with that reported by Jackson's Oxford Journal for 29 September. The same brief report appeared in the Morning Chronicle for 24 September, which added the sentence "All four were caught in the fact.")

Wednesday, 7 November 1810

MIDDLESEX SESSIONS, Nov. 6.
—— Haycock and —— Cooley, two of those miscreants who were apprehended at the Swan, in Vere-street, in July last, were convicted and sentenced to be imprisoned in the House of Correction for two years. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 12947)

6 December 1810

OLD BAILEY.
Yesterday the Sessions commenced before the RECORDER of LONDON, Mr. NATHANIEL GROSE, and Baron GRAHAM.
          John Newbold Hepburn, formerly an officer in a West India regiment, and thomas White, late a drummer in the guards, (whose trials had been put off at the last and preceding sessions), were capitally indicted for perpetrating with each other a detestable crime, at Vere-street, Clare-market,, upon tesmony of another drummer in the guards, named R. MANN, and both found guilty. Hepburn is aged 42; White only 18. (The Times, Issue 8159)

Thursday, 6 December 1810

OLD BAILEY
These Sessions commenced yesterday before Mr. Justice Grose, Mr. Baron Graham, the Lord Mayor, Recorder, and Common Serjeant.
Thomas White and John Newball Hepburn stood capitally indicted for having committed an unnatural offence on the 17th of May last.
         It was formerly mentioned, that the two delinquents were apprehended, shortly after the discovery of the detestable society in Vere-street, upon the accusation of a drummer, named James Mann, belonging to the 3d Regiment of Guards.
         It appeared, from the testimony of Mann, that the Prisoner Hepburn accosted him on the Parade in St. James's Park, a few days before the day on which the offence charged was committed: he told him that he was very anxious to speak to the boy who was then beating the big drum, meaning White, and said he would reward him if he would bring the lad to his lodgings, at No. 5, St. Martin's Church-yard. Mann said he would tell White what he had said, and they then parted, Hepburn presenting him with half-a-crown. In the evening Mann and White went to Hepburn's lodgings, who received them with great cordiality, and informed them that he belonged to a veteran regiment and was shortly going to the Isle of Wight. – Mann then went on to state that Hepburn invited them to dine with him on the ensuing Sunday at his lodgings, but to this White objected, observing it was not a good place, and proposed at the same time that they should meet at the Swan, in Vere-street. To this Hepburn agreed, and an appointment was accordingly made, which was punctually observed by all parties. On their arrival at the Swan, on Sunday, they were shewn into a private room where they had dinner; before and after which, conduct the most vile and disgusting passed between the two prisoners, the particulars of which it is impossible to detail without a gross violation of decency. It was on the detection of the monsters in Vere-street that Mann communicated the facts already stated to his Drum Major
[presumably Mann had been linked to those arrested at the White Swan, and had agreed to testify against White and Hepburn to save his own skin], in consequence of which information White was instantly confined, and an officer was sent to the Isle of Man for Ensign Hepburn, the particulars of whose apprehension have already been stated.
         The charge was most clearly and indisputably proved, and the Prisoners were both found Guilty – DEATH.
                   (Morning Chronicle. This newspaper cutting was pasted into William Beckford's scrapbook, now at the Beinecke Library)

Monday, 10 December 1810

On Wednesday Ensign John Newbolt Hepburn, of the 4th West India Regiment (whose apprehension at the Barracks at Newport was stated in a former paper) and T. White, a drum boy, were tried at the Old Bailey, for a detestable crime. The prisoner Hepburn accosted Mann, the boy, whose evidence supported the prosecution, while on parade in the Park, promising to introduce him to White. The witness and White afterwards received an invitation to dine with him, and they met at the house in Vere-street, where the detestable gang was discovered some time since, and dragged to punishment. In consequence of information communicated by Mann to the Serjeant-Major of his Regiment, the prisoners were apprehended. Hepburn called several persons to speak to his character, but they did not attend. One witness, however, (Colonel Grant) stated that the prisoner had served in the same Regiment with him in 1794, and during that time Colonel G. had not heard any complaint against him. The other prisoner, White, also called a witness, who gave him a good character for orderly behaviour in his Regiment. The Jury found both prisoners – Guilty. the prisoner Hepburn is 42 years of age. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, Issue 583)


The following description of the White Swan was written by the lawyer Robert Holloway, in his remarkable but trustworthy account The Phoenix of Sodom, or The Vere Street Coterie (London, 1813):

The fatal house in question was furnished in a style most appropriate for the purposes it was intended. Four beds were provided in one room - another was fitted up for the ladies' dressing-room, with a toilette, and every appendage of rouge, &c. &c. A third room was called the Chapel, where marriages took place, sometimes between a "female grenadier", six feet high and a "petit maitre" not more than half the altitude of his beloved wife! There marriages were solemnized with all the mockery of "bridesmaids" and "bridesmen"; the nuptials were frequently consummated by two, three or four couples, in the same room, and in the sight of each other. The uper part of the house was appropriated to youths who were constantly in waiting for casual customers; who practised all the allurements that are found in a brothel, by the more natural description of prostitutes. Men of rank, and respectable situations in life, might be seen wallowing either in or on beds with wretches of the lowest description.

It seems the greater part of these quickly assumed feigned names, though not very appropriate to their calling in life: for instance, Kitty Cambric is a Coal Merchant; Miss Selina a Runner at a Police Office; Blackeyed Leonora, a Drummer; Pretty Harriet, a Butcher; Lady Godiva, a Waiter; the Duchess of Gloucester, a gentleman's servant; Duchess of Devonshire, a Blacksmith; and Miss Sweet Lips, a Country Grocer. It is a generally received opinion, and a very natural one, that the prevalency of this passion has for its object effeminate delicate beings only: but this seems to be, by Cook's account, a mistaken notion; and the reverse is so palpable in many isntances, that Fanny Murry, Lucy Cooper, and Kitty Fisher, are now personified by an athletic bargeman, an Herculean Coal-heaver, and a deaf Tyre-Smith: the latter of these monsters has two sons, both very handsome young men, whom he boasts are full as depraved as himself. These are merely part of the common stock belonging to the house; but the visitors were more numerous and, if possible, more infamous, because more exalted in life: and "these ladies", like the ladies of the petticoat order, have their favorite men; one of whom was White a drummer of the guards, who, some short time since, was executed for sodomy with one Hebden, an ensign.

White, being an universal favourite, was very deep in the secrets of the fashionable part of the coterie; of which he had made a most ample confession in writing, immediately previous to his execution; the truth of which he averred, even to his last moments.

That the reader may form some idea of the incontrollable rage of this dreadful passion, Cook states that a person in a respectable house in the city, frequently came to his pub, and stayed several days and nights together; during which time he generally amused himself with eight, ten, and sometimes a dozen different boys and men!

Sunday was the general, and grand day of rendezvous; and to render their excuse the more entangled and doubtful, some of the parties came a great distance, even so much as thirty miles, to join the festivity and elegant amusements of grenadiers, footmen, waiters, drummers.

Friday, 1 March 1811

THE PRINCE REGENT'S COURT.
Yesterday, at one o'clock, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent held a Court and Privy Council at Carlton House. Soon after one his Royal Highness gave audiences to the Lord Chancellor, Earl Camden (the Lord President of the Council), Sir Joseph Banks, and Mr. Pinkney, the american Minister. . . .           His Royal Highness afterwards held another Council, which, in addition to the above, was attended by Lord Ellenborough, for receiving the Recorder of London's report of the capital convicts at the December and January Old Bailey Sessions (except those for forgery), including Ensign Hepburn, and White the drummer, for an abominable offence, who were ordered for execution next Thursday; the others were respited during his Royal Highness's pleasure. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13045)

Friday, 8 March 1811

EXECUTION. — Yesterday morning, about five minutes efore 8 o'clock, Ensign Hepburn, and —— White, the drummer, a lad, only 16 years of age, for the perpetration of an unnatural crime, were brought on the scaffold, in front of the Debtors' door, Newgate, and executed pursuant to their sentence. Their conduct since condemnation has been such as to evince a sincere contrition, and a just sense of the heinousness of their offence. They behaved in a manner becoming their unhappy situation; and after spending a few minutes in fervent prayer and devotion, with the Rev. Dr. Ford the Ordinary of Newgate, were launched into eternity, amidst a vast concourse of spectators. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13051)

Saturday, 9 March 1811

The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Sefton, Lord Yarmouth, and several other Noblemen, were in the Press Yard, when Hepburn and his associate were executed. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13052)

Monday, 11 March 1811

EXECUTION. — On Thursday, J. N. Hepburn, late an Ensign in a Veteran Battalion, and Thomas White, late a drum-boy in the Guards, were executed in the Old Bailey, pursuant to their sentence in December Sessions, for a crime of the most revolting nature. — Hepburn was 42 years of age, and White 17. White came out first; he seemed perfectly indifferent at his awful fate, and continued adjusting the frill of his shirt while he was viewing the surrounding popoulace. About two minutes after Hepburn made his appearance, but was immediately surrounded by the Clergyman, Jack Ketch [i.e. the hangman], his man, and others in attendance. The Executioner at the same time put the cap over Hepburn's face, which of course prevented the people from having a view of him. White seemed to fix his eyes repeatedly on Hepburn. After a few minutes prayer, the miserable wretches were launched into eternity. Hepburn spoke to the Shieriff in a very firm and impressive manner, stating that the person who had sworn against him had perjured himself, and that every inta [? piece of evidence?] that he (Hepburn) had said, to prove the perjury, was perfectly correct. The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Sefton, Lord Yarmouth, and several other Noblemen, were in the Press Yard. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, Issue 596)

Wednesday, 13 March 1811

          EXCESSIVE GRIEF. — The mother of White, the Drummer, who was executed on Thursday, with Hepburn, the Ensign, died of a broken heart on the day subsequent to her son's untimely end. She never left her bed after having taken farewell of the culprit on the evening previous to his execution. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13055)


SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Vere Street Club, 1810", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 7 May 2008, updated 7 September 2008 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1810vere.htm>.


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