Newspaper Reports, 1832

Thursday 29 March 1832

WILLIAM WICKS, aged 51, charged with an unnatural crime upon George Wells, at Itchingfield.
          The prisoner Wicks was a butler in the service of Mr. Chitty, of Horsham; and Wells lived in the same family as footboy, where the crime was alleged to have been committed. The prisoner pleaded Not Guilty to the charge, and stood at the bar apparently unabashed. The details are of course too shocking for publication. The bill for the capital charge had been thrown out by the Grand Jury; and the prisoner was not indicted for the misdemeanour, of which he was found Guilty, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, the full extent of punishment which the law allows.
          This case seemed to give his Lordship [i.e. the Judge] much more pain than any which had been brought before him. (Brighton Gazette)

Saturday 31 March 1832

RICHARD SHAW (21), JOHN GASCOIGNE (19), and WILLIAM VALLETTE (23), were charged with having put Matthew Beverley in bodily fear, and stolen from his person the sum of 4s. 6d.
          Mr. BLACKBURNE (with whom was Mr. DUNDAS) stated the case. Though the indictment against the prisoners was in form for stealing from the person, it was in fact for having extorted money by threats and intimidation. The prosecutor is a gentleman, residing in Mabgate, Leeds. He is in no business, keeps no female servant, and is of very retired habits, living alone, except having a boy to wait upon him. At half-past nine o'clock on Friday night week, there was a knock at his door. On his going to the door, two men, Vallette and Gascoigne, presented themselves, and Vallette said, "You are guilty of an unnatural crime." The prosecutor asked who it was that charged him? Gascoigne replied, that it was Richard Shaw. Shaw then came up, and said that he was guilty of it. Vallette then informed the prosecutor, that if he did not give them 20l. they would lay that charge against him to a constable. The prosecutor told them to walk in and said that he had only 4s. about him, that he would give them that sum and meet them at 12 o'clock, at his solicitors' office (Bloom & Gatliffe). Vallette wanted a sovereign, but they ultimately accepted the 4s. and went away. At twelve, the next day, they met the prosecutor at his solicitors', where Vallette said that the prosecutor, on the 29th of February, after giving Shaw some beer, endeavoured to commit the crime imputed to him, and Shaw said it was so. A constable was sent for, and the prisoners taken into custody. – Shaw was proved to have old a fellow-workman, that he knew a party who had obtained 20 from a gentleman who lived in a large stone house at the North Town End, by making such a charge against him, and that it was his intention to do the same with the prosecutor.
          Mr. ALEXANDER, who appeared for the prisoners, cross-examined the prosecutor, who admitted that he had known Shaw two years; that his acquaintance began with him in the street; and that he had frequently been at his house, and slept with him.
          Mr. Metcalfe, surgeon, of Leeds, who had known Gascoigne 12 years, gave him a good character.
          The Jury, after retiring fro a few minutes, pronounced all the prisoners Guilty, but recommended Gascoigne to mercy. Shaw was sentenced to be transported for life; Gascoigne to be imprisoned 6 months; and Vallette 2 years; each to hard labour in Wakefield House of Correction.
          Mr. HOLT said, that the Court wished it to be understood, that there was not the slightest ground of suspicion to be attached to the character of the prosecutor. There certainly was a degree of oddity about him. In coming forward as he had done, he had performed a great public duty. (York Herald)

Saturday, 31 March 1832

RICHARD SHAW (21), JOHN GASCOIGNE (19), and WM. VALLETTE (23), charged with having put Matthew Beverley in bodily fear, and stolen from his person the sum of 4s. 6d.
          Mr. BLACKBURNE with whom was Mr. DUNDAS stated the case. Though the indictment against the prisoners was in form for stealing from the person, it was in fact for having extorted money by threats and intimidation. The prosecutor is a gentleman of retired habits, living in Mabgate, Leeds, and the offence of threatening to charge him with an unnatural crime was committed yesterday fortnight. As the facts were so recently before the public, their further publication is unnecessary.
          Mr. Melcalfe, surgeon, gave Gascoigne a good character.
          The Jury found them all Guilty, but recommended Gascoigne to mercy, and the court sentenced Shaw to be transported for life, Vallette to be confined to hard labour for two years, and Gascoigne to be confined six months to hard labour.
          Mr. HOLT said that there was not the slightest ground of imputation to be attached to the character of the prosecutor.

          At the sitting of the court this morning, JOHN LONGWOOD, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors of a very indecent nature, was sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for two years.
          GEORGE BENNETT (46), and GEORGE WEBSTER (21), were charged with conspiring together for the purpose of committing an unnatural crime at Barnsley, on the 25th of September last. The evidence on the part of the prosecution was so conflicting that the jury without hesitation found the prisoners Not Guilty. (Leeds Mercury)

Monday 9 April 1832

MONDAY. – Nicholas Tarring, a poor miserable-looking cripple from Walcot work-house, was carried into the dock, and tried on an indictment for attempt an unnatural crime. – Guilty – Two years' imprisonment, with such labour as will be suitable for him. (Sherborne Mercury)

31 August 1832

MARYLEBONE OFFICE. – APPREHENSION OF A CLERGYMAN AND SOLDIER. – On Friday morning, long before the commencement of business, the avenues leading to the office were crowded with an immense concourse of spectators, anxious to learn the result of the examination of two men, named Doyle and Roberts, who were taken into custody the night before, on a charge of committing an unnatural offence: and the interest was considerably heightened by the circumstance of one of the individuals being a Clergyman of the Church of England. The prisoners were brought into the office by a private entrance, and thereby were protected from the fury of the mob.
          At eleven o'clock, Messrs. Rawlinson and Broughton having taken their seats on the bench, the prisoners were placed in the felons' dock. Doyle was dressed in a suit of plain back, and seemed to be about 40 years of age, and the soldier, who wore the undress uniform of the regiment, was a tall, slender young man, about 25.
          Mr. Harmer, who attended on behalf of the Rev. Mr. Doyle, requested the favour of a private examination.
          Mr. Rawlinson – A public charge, Mr. Harmer, had better be met in a public way. This charge is inscribed in the police sheet, and if I am to hear this charge in private, why not all the rest?
          On their names being called over, the first gave his name the Rev. John Doyle, at present residing at 27, George-street, Portman-square, and the other, Samuel Roberts, a private in the 1st Regiment of Grenadier Guards.
          Police Constable Silinghn, D 48, being sworn, deposed, that on Thursday night, a few minuters before nine o'clock, as he was on duty in Portman-square, he saw the prisoners, Doyle and Roberts, walked side by side conversing together, and having frequently seen Doyle in company with private soldiers, and particularly on one occasion, about a week ago, at the door of a public house he began to form conjectures, from the disparity of their apparent condition, that such a communication could not tend to any good purpose. He was therefore determined to watch them narrowly, when they pursued their course into George-street, aqnd the prisoner Doyle left the soldier and went forward a short distance, opened the door of the house No. 27 with a key, and shut it gently. The soldier walked backward and forward in front ot the house for a few minutes, when Doyle opened the door, and eckoned with his hand tothe soldier, who then entered, and the door was gently closed. Witness then went nd informed police srjeant Chapman (D 5 of what he had seen, whoimmediately dispatched him to Portman-barracks, to inform the serjeant on duty there of the circumstance: who, upon being acquainted with the facts, accompanied witness; and having been joined by Serjeant Chapman, they proceded to the house Upon arriving there, the Serjeant of the Guards knocked at the door, which was opened by a female servant, to whom he said that he understood there was a soldier belonging to their regiment concealed there. The latter replied – 'There is no soldier here – there is nobody but a clergyman belonging to the Church f England, who is a lodger, and he is gone to bed.' The serjeant then requested that he might be permitted to search the house; ;to this she readily assented; and having gone into one room and the water-closet on the ground floor without meeting the objects of their search, they then tried another door on the same floor, which finding bolted inside, the srjeant knocked, and receiving no answer, threatned to burst it open, if not immediately opened. Witness then heard a whispering, and soon after the bolt was withdrawn. When witness entered the room, which was in total darkness, the discovered by the light of serjeant Chapman's lanthorn, that the soldier had his coat off, and his dress othewise disordered. The serjeant said to him – 'You are the last man I should have expected to see in so disgraceful a condition.' The soldier replied, 'I assure you, sir, I never was in such company in my life before.' The Police Serjeant then approached the bed, and seeing the prisoner Doyle lying there undressed, all but his shirt, he told him that he must instantly get up and accompany him to the station-house; to which he replied 'very well.' Both the prisoners were then conveyed to the station-house.
          Serjeant Simmins, of the 1st battalion of Grenadier Guards, and Serjeant Chapman, of the D division of the new police, corroborated that last witness's testimony.
          The prisoners declined saying anything in their defence.
          Mr. Rawlinson said he should commit them both to Newgate for trial.
          Mr. Harmer then addressed the magistrates, and wished to know if bail would be taken for Doyle, and what amount would be required.
          Mr. Rawlinson said, in reply, that he should require him to enter into his own recognizance in 500. and two bail in 250. each; and that he should also require 48 hours' notice in order to satisfy himself that the bail were responsible and respectable persons – as a riminal, high in the Church, had been allowed to escape from public justice some years ago, charged with the same offence, on account of insufficient bail being accepted for his appearance at the Old Bailey.
          It was then arraned that the prisoner Doyle should remain custody of one of the officers of this establishment till tail should be proposed; and the soldier was conveyed to Newgate by the prison van, amidst the most deafening yells and execrations of the crown outside the office, an which Keys, the jailer, had great difficulty in preventing wreaking their vengeance on the prisoner. (Drakard's Stamford News)

Saturday 24 November 1832

Two miscreants, one named Beauclerk, said to be a Capt. in the army, and highly connected, and another called Goode, have been remanded at Union Hall, first on a charge of aiding the escape of another of their gang designated as a Capt. Nicoll; and secondly for abominable offences. Others are said to be implicated, and enquiries are on foot. (Western Times)

Saturday 1 December 1832

Suicide. – Captain Beauclerk, one of a gang of wretches noticed in our last, as charged with the commission of unnatural crimes, committed suicide in Horsemonger lane jail, on Tuesday night. (Western Times)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1832", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 21 February 2016, updated 22 April 2023 <>.

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