Newspaper Reports, 1824

Friday 2 January 1824

Daniel Harman was indicted for threatening to accuse Henry Phillips of an unnatural crime, with intent to extort money from him. The prosecutor was a respectable tradesman of Brighton. The prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to be transported for life. (Cambridge Chronicle and Journal)

Thursday 18 March 1824

DEVON ASSIZES. – . . . The Calendar presents a list of One Hundred and Fifteen Prisoners for trial:– . . . Henry Shepheard, for stealing some silver, and also for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime while in High Gaol; . . . (Exeter Flying Post)

Thursday, 18 March 1824

DEVON ASSIZES. – The Judges will arrive in this city on Monday next, at two o’clock, proceed immediately to the Castle, and open the Commission; . . . and, on Tuesday morning, the business of Assize will commence in the Nisi Prius Court at nine o’clock, and in the Crown Bar Court at eleven. – The Calendar presents a list of One Hundred and Fifteen Prisoners for trial:–
. . .
Henry Shepheard, for stealing some silver, and also for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime while in High Gaol; . . . (Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser)

10 May 1824

James Lawless, gunner of his Majesty's ship Sirius, lying in ordinary in Portsmouth harbour, has been committed to Winchester gaol, to take his trial at the next assizes, for committing an unnatural crime with a boy belonging to the same ship. (Hampshire Adveriser)

Saturday 5 June 1824

Commitments: – To the county Gaol – By the Rev. K. M. R. Tarpley, Charles Clutton and Charles Paul, charged with the commission of an uinnatural crime at Weedon Beck. (Northampton Mercury)

Thursday 5 August 1824

An action for malicious prosecution, arising out of a proceeding at the last assizes, was next tried. Mr. Goodill, a farmer, residing near Whitby, had accused his servant, Thomas Hanson, of an unnatural crime, on the evidence of a lad named Hesp, also in his employ. He had written a letter to Hanson’s father, on the 19th of July, 1823, accusing his son of this offence, and telling him that if he (the father) did not go to his house before the 26th of that month, he should prosecute the young man. The father was unwell, and could not go, but he sent his eldest son, John Hanson, when Goodill offered to make the matter up, first for five and then for three pounds. The lad, however, would not give anything, and the affair was brought before the magistrates, who, after two long examinations, committed Hanson to take his trial, and he was confined from August, 1823, to last March; when the Grand Jury threw out the bill, Hesp not being present to confirm the testimony he gave before the magistrates. Goodill was now prosecuted, first for uttering a malicious libel, contained in the above lettere; and secondly, for instituting a malicious prosecution. Verdict for plaintiff – Damages 10. (Leeds Intelligencer)

Saturday 7 August 1824

WM. TASKER (aged 40) of Lepton, near Huddersfield, was acquitted of an unnatural crime; but was afterwards tried and convicted of the misdemeanour in having attempted to commit it; and was sentenced to be confined in Wakefield House of Correction, to hard labour, for the space of 3 years. (York Herald)

Thursday 12 August 1824

WM. TASKER (40), of Lepton, near Huddersfield, weaver, was charged with an unnatural crime on the 12th April last. The evidence failing to establish the capital crime, he was tried on a second indictment for a misdemeanor, and found GUILTY. To be imprisoned in Wakefield House of Correction three years. (Leeds Intelligencer)

Saturday 14 August 1824

Yesterday at noon, Charles Clutton was executed at the new drop, at the county gaol, in this town, pursuant to his sentence at our late assizes, when he was found guilty of an unnatural crime. We understand that this poor wretch died truly penitent. The concourse assembled to witness the awful scene was immense. (Northampton Mercury)

14 August 1824

Joseph Newman, charged with the commission of an unnatural offence, at Walsall, was acquitted. The witness, a youth of 19, upon whose testimony this man would have been convicted, had the jury believed his tale, was cross-examined by the prisoner's counsel with considerable acuteness; and the result was most convincing that he had some sinister motive for appearing in the witness-box against the prisoner. Five respectable individuals, (one of whom was his master,) gave the prisoner a most unexceptionable character for modesty, morality, and general propriety of behaviour The prisoner handed up a written defence, in which he declared his innocence – shewed the inconsistency of the boy's statement – adverted tothe probable motives that infuenced him – and prayed the merciful consideration of the Court and Jury in his unfortuante case. Mr. Justice LITTLEDALE, whose humanit was eminenty conspicuous in every case that came before him during the assizes, dwelt particularly, in his observations to the jury, upon the little reliance that could be placed on the unsupported evidence of the youth aboe referred to;and carefully pointed out all the improbable circumstances hwihc were given in his statement (which we are, of courdse, precluded form inserting). The jury consulted for a few minutes, and returned a verdict of "Not guilty," which was received with strong marks of approbation by the persons in Court, some of whom clapped their hands in token of their satisfaction. (Staffordshire Advertiser)

Saturday 23 October 1824

BECCLES, Oct. 21.
The Sessions for this place were held on Monday last . . .
          James Watling, of Norwich, pamphlet vendor, was indicted for assaulting James Spatchatt, of Lowestoft, aged 15 years, on the 15th ult. with an intent to commit an unnatural crime. – Mr. Preston stated, that the defendant came unprepared for trial, & moved that he might be permitted to traverse it; but it appearing that the defendant had neglected to prepare himself, in consequence of a reliance on the non-appearance of the prosecutor, who had been bribed for that purpose, and would not have been forthcoming but for the vigilance of Lieut. Harmer, he was ordered to take his trial immediately. Mr. Eagle for the prosecution observed, that however disagreeable it was to him to detail or the Court to hear the circumstances of this disgusting and detestable affair; he had a duty to perform paramount to any feelings of false delicacy, and should therefore relate as briefly as possible the facts which were proved on the trial, (viz.) – That on the evening of the 15th ult. the defendant saw the prosecutor at his master’s, (a Chemist, in Lowestoft,) when he behaved with shocking indecency towards him and requested him to meet him on the Corton road, the following evening, which the prosecutor mentioned to his master, who desired him to go, and arranged that Lieut. Harmer, and another person should watch to prevent the commission of any capital offence, and at the same time to discover the defendant’s intentions. The prosecutor accordingly met the defendant and walked with him to a retired part of the road, when the defendant repeated his indecent behaviour, in a way not to be named, and exposed himself to him in a most shameful manner; he then gave the prosecutor 1s. and requested him to meet him again. Mr. Preston for the defendant observed, that there was a plain distinction in the books between an assault with an intent to commit the crime, and an attempt to persuade a person to permit it to be done; and strongly urged that this was a case of the latter description, and that the defendant should have been indicted for that crime accordingly [rather than for assault]. And the jury after retiring a few minutes, returned a verdict of not guilty. (Norfolk Chronicle) (The Bury and Norwich Post for Wed. 27 Oct. adds that Watling was “a well dressed middle aged man, deeply marked with the small pox”.)

Saturday 23 October 1824

A true bill was found agianst John Grimble, of this city, tailor and draper, for an assault alleged to have been committed with the intent of perpetrating an unnatural crime upon Philip Woodrow, lately footman to Joseph Parkinson, Esq. Solicitor, on the 28th of Aug. last. The defendant appeared and pleaded Not Guilty to the indictment, but traversed the trial of it until next Sessions, entering into a recognizance, himself in 100l. and two sureties in 50l. each, to appear and try it then. (Norfolk Chronicle)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Many reports were repeated verbatim across several newspapers, but I have not included them all.)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1824", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 7 February 2015, updated 11 Sept. 2020 <>.

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