Newspaper Reports, 1826


Saturday 18 March 1826

NUMBER of PERSONS EXECUTED in ENGLAND and WALES during the last Seven Years.
Sodomy: 3 in 1819, 2 in 1820, none in 1821, 4 in 1822, 3 in 1823, 1 in 1824, 2 in 1825, Total 15 (Berkshire Chronicle)

Tuesday, 21 March 1826

At the Essex assizes on the 18th instant, James Tucker, aged 18, was sentenced to be transported for life, for sending a letter to his cousin and benefactor, threatening to prosecute him for an unnatural crime, unless he sent him money. (Hull Packet and Original Weekly Commercial, Literary and General Advertiser)

Monday 24 July 1826

At these assizes [Shrewsbury] Daniel Smith, Thomas Abgood, and Mary Abgood his wife, were indicted for feloniously obtaining from Mr. Joseph Nock, a respectable farmer residing at Codsall, a five pound promissory note, under a threat of charging him with an unnatural crime. The trial lasted from nine o'clock on Monday morning till three in the afternoon, and the whole evidence tended to establish the guilt of the prisoners, and the total groundlessness of the charge they had circulated, and which the female prisoner appeared to have originated. When the case for the prosecution was closed, a technical objection was raised to the form of the indictment, which the Judge decided was fatal to it, and he informed the Jury tht the prisoners were in consequence entitled to their acquittal, “but,” observed his Lordship, “I am most perfectly convinced, and I think there cannot possibly be any other opinion entertained by any person who has heard the proceedings of to-day, that there is not, nor ever has been, the slightest foundation for the detestable story fabricated by the prisoners, to the prejudice of Mr. Nock, and that their sole motive was to obtain money by practising on his nerves.” “We live,” his Lordship continued, “in a censorious, and, I am afraid, an ill-natured world; but Mr. Nock will have this consolation, that the Judge declared in the open Court and the face of the whole county of Stafford, his conviction that there was not the slightest foundation for the accusation which the prisoners had concocted against him, and that he was as innocent of the charge imputed to him as any other individual, however respectable, in the Court, and left it with his character as clear.” Addressing himself to the prisoners, he said the charge was one of the most serious that could come before a Court of Justice, and he had no hesitation in telling them, that had it not been for the unfortunate flaw in the indictment, they could not have escape conviction, and that he should have felt it his duty to have transported them for life. The prisoners were then discharged. (Aris's Birmingham Gazette)

Saturday 21 October 1826

EAST-RIDING SESSIONS. – AT these sessions, held on Tuesday last, at Beverley, before the Rev. W. R. Gilby, and a respectable bench of magistrates, the following prisoners took their trials: – . . . Thomas Hotham, for an unantural crime – Guilty; imprisoned three years and kept to hard labour. (Yorkshire Gazette)

Friday, 22 December 1826

EXECUTION. – On Wednesday last James Peters Field, aged 33, for shooting at his whife with intent to murder her; and D. Woodward, 48, for an unnatural crime, underwent the awful sentence of the law on the new drop in front of Hertford gaol. After receiving the Sacrament about eight in the morning, they were pinioned, and the melancholy procession moved from the chapel to the scaffold. Field mounted the steps first, and Woodward followed immediately behind him. Woodward, being a tall stout man, was soon dead; but Field, a short light man, was convulsed for some time after the drop fell. They were most miserably clad. After hanging the usual time, their bodies were taken down, placed in shells, and buried in the afternoon in All Saints' church yard. – Field wrote to his wife a few days before his execution, requesting to see her, but she declined. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (Portsmouth))

Friday 29 December 1826

EXECUTION. – On Wednesday the 20th ult. James Peters Field, aged 33, for shooting at his wife with intent to murder her; and D. Woodward, 48, for an unantural crime, underwent the awful sentence of the law on the new drop in front of Hertford gaol. – After receiving the sacrament about eight in the morning, they were pinioned, and the melancholy procession moved from the chapel to the scaffold. Field mounted the steps first, and Woodward followed immediately behind him. The caps were drawn over their faces, and the rope was fixed round Field's neck first, during which time Woodward attempted to remove the cap from his eyes, seeming to wish to take a last look at the assembled multitude. While the executioner was fixing Woodward to the fatal beam, he repeatedly asked if their hands were not to be unfastened, and Field surveyed with much anxiety the preparations on hs fellow-sufferer. After every thing was ready, they severally shook hands with Mr. Wilson, the governor, thanking him for his kind attentions to them. When Mr. W. gave the signal, at a quarter before nine, the drop fell, and they were launched into eternity. Woodward, being a tall stout man, was soon dead; but Field, a short slight man, was convulsed for some time after the drop fell. They were most miserably clad. After hanging the usual time, their bodies were taken down, placed in shells, and buried in the afternoon in All Saints’ church-yard. – Field wrote to his wife a few days before his execution, requesting to see her, but she declined. (Cambridge Chronicle and Journal)


SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1826&", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 18 April 2012, amended 14 February 2015 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1826news.htm>.


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