Miscellaneous News Reports, 1846

Thursday 19 March 1846

Nathan Wilkinson (26), was indicted for having on the 27th of December last, at Bradford, committed an abominable crime upon Thomas Pearson, an idiotic looking youth, subject to epilelptic fits. – Guilty. Judgment of death recorded.
          George Milner 18), was charged with a misdemeanor, in having, at Wakefield, attempted to commit an unnatural crime. – Guilty. To be imprisoned for two years at hard labour.
          Thomas Collins (30) was charged with a misdemeanor, in having at Wakefield, attempted to commit an unnatural crime. – Guilty. To be imprisoned for two years at hard labour.
          John Stephenson was charged with a misdemeanor, in having at Guisborough attempted to commit an unnatural crime. – Guilty. To be imprisoned in the House of Correction, and kept to hard labour for two years.
          John Pollitt (15), was charged with having on the 19th of January last, at Thirsk, committed a crime against nature. – Not Guilty. (Bradford Observer)

Tuesday 31 March 1846

. . . His lordship concluded [his address to the Grand Jury] by stating, that with regard to a particular class of offences, unless the Grand Jury should consider the evidence perfectly clear and conclusive, it would be better that they should throw out the bill than that there should be the unmitigated injury of having a public inquiry into such disgusting and horrible cases.
          . . . Frederick Fuller, 19, for having committed a nameless offence. – Acquitted.
          Thomas Ireson, 57, and Thomas Brown, 23, french-polisher, for having committed an abominable crime, at Farnham. – Death recorded. (South Eastern Gazette)

Saturday 11 April 1846

WILLIAM COCKERILL, an old man of 71, tottering with age, and in a tremulous voice, pleaded Guilty to having, on or about the 31st March, at Aldborough, committed an indecent assault upon John Watson, with intent to commit an unnatural crime. Twelve months' hard labour. (Yorkshire Gazette)

14 April 1846

At Kingstown, Thomas Iveson, 47, and Thomas Brown, 23, convicted of an abominable crime, at Franham, . . . were sentenced to transportation for life. (Mona's Herald, Isle of Man)

Friday 24 April 1846

Exertions are being made in Loughborough, to obtain a commutation of the sentence on Charles Bramley, now lying in Leicester jail under a doom of transportation for life, for committing an unnatural crime. It is thought by those who know him well, that he is possibly innocent of the charge; but if not, is to be pitied, being little better than an idiot, having suffered in his person by fire, when a child, to an extent which not only awfully distorted his figure, but injured his faculties. (Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties)

Saturday 25 July 1846

George Stokes, 20, was charged with the commission of an unnatural offence, in the parish of St. Mary the Virgin, in the borough of Sandwich.
          Mr. Deedes conducted the prosecution.
          Guilty. – Transported for life.
          Philip Coast, 20, with the commission of an unnatural offence in the parish of Bexley. – Acquitted.
          William Eastman, 56, was charged with assaulting and committing an abominable offence on the person of James Fuller, in the parish of St. John the Baptist, in the liberties of the Cinque Ports.
          Guilty. – Transported for life.
          Phlip Coast was again indicted for a misdemeanour.
          Similar evidence was given as in the previous charge against the prisoner.
          Mr. Deedes appeared on behalf of the prisoner, and called as witnesses to character, Joseph Berens, Esq., chairman of the West Kent Quarter Sessions, who stated that the prisoner had lived in his service, and had conducted himself during that period in a most exemplary manner.
          Rev. W. Caffyn, vicar of Chiselhurst, and messrs. Mitchell, Battersby, and Adams, also gave the prisoner an excellent character. – Verdict, Not Guilty. (Kentish Independent)

Tuesday 28 July 1846

PHILIP OOST [sic], hair-dresser, was charged with an unnatural crime, at Bexley.
          There were two indictments against the prisoner, for the same offence. A woman, named Harriet Eves, was the principal witness in the case, but her testimony was of a very contradictory character.
          An able defence was set up by Mr. Deedes, the prisoner's counsel, and a good character was produced from several respectable witnesses, including the chairman of the Quarter Sessions. – Not guilty. . . .
          WILLIAM LAWTON, 24, a lance corporal, for attempting to commit an unnatural offence, at Gillingham.
          GEORGE STOKES, 25, shoemaker, for an unnatural offence, at St. Mary the Virgin, in the borough of Sandwich. – Sentence of death was recorded, upon intimation from the learned Judge that he would be transported for life.
          WILLIAM EASTMAN, 56, painter, for a criminal assault on James Fuller, at St. John the Baptist, in the liberties of the Cinque Ports. – Death recorded, with a similar intimation as in the preceding case. (South Eastern Gazette)

Saturday 15 August 1846

DISGUSTING ASSAULT. – A tailor, named William Bullock, who resides in the Old Post Office Yard, was on Tuesday last fined 5 for an assault with intent to commit an unnatural crime. In default, he was committed for two months, and ordered to find two sureties on his liberation to answer for his good behaviour for twelve months, otherwise to remain in prison during the same length of time. (Leeds Times)

Saturday 15 August 1846

SERIOUS ASSAULT. – On Tuesday last, at the Leeds Court-House, a man named William Bullock, a tailor, living in the old Post-office yard, Leeds, was fined 5 and costs; but in default of payment committed to Wakefield House of Correction for two months, for assaulting a youth, with intent to commit an unnatural offence. (Leeds Ingelligencer)

24 October 1846

The Rev. E. Saul Dixon, rector of Keswick-cum-Keswick, has been committed for trial, at 5the ensuing Norfolk assizes, charged, on the evidence of a police constable, with an abominable offence. (Manx Liberal)

Sunday 13 December 1846

ATTEMPT TO COMMIT AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE BY A SOLICITOR – A tall, respectable-looking young man, named John Butler, described on the charge-sheet as a solicitor, from Abingdon, was brought before Mr. Secker, at the Southwark police-court, charged with attempting to commit an abominable crime, under the following rather extraordinary circumstances:– A young man of respectable appearance, named Thomas Weeks, a pocket-book manufacturer, residing at 11, Dover-road, stated, that shortly after one o'clock that morning he met the prisoner in Blackman-street, near the police-court; the latter accosted him, saying that “he had just come from Dover by the late train, and wanted a bed.” Perceiving that the prisoner was a stranger in London, he told him that it was too late to obtain lodgings, but that if he wished he might go home with him, and partake of half his bed. The prisoner told him that he was a perfect stranger in London, that he had important legal business to transact, and that he would be much obliged to him for his kind offer. They accordingly proceeded to his lodgings, when he lighted a fire and made coffee, and regaled the prisoner with the latter, and some cold ham. About three o'clock they retired to rest, and about half an hour afterwards the prisoner commenced assaulting him in a very indecent manner. Witness instantly attempted to get out of bed, but the prisoner forced him down (being a much stronger man), and violently assaulted him again. The particulars of the latter portion of the complainant's evidence was of too disgusting a nature to publish. Witness called out for assistance, when a young man, named Clifton, who slept in the next room, came in, and dragged the prisoner out of bed. Witness subsequently called in the police, and gave him into custody. Mr. Secker said it was extraordinary conduct on his part to take a perfect stranger to his home to his lodgings at that hour of the morning, and allow him to sleep in his bed. He had acted very indiscreet. Complainant said that the respectable appearance of the prisoner excited some sympathy in his breast for him, especially when he told him he was a stranger in London, and had business to transact in the law courts. Mr. Secker asked the prisoner what answer he had to make to the charge? Prisoner replied that he had been drinking rather freely with some men in the Borough, and at one o'clock in the morning was looking for a lodging, when he met the complainant, whom he asked to show him where he could get a bed. The latter took him to a house, but he was so intoxicated as not to be able to state where it was situated, or what took place after he arrived there. He was a respectable solicitor, and had influential friends in London. He could not have been guilty of the abominable crime imputed to him. Mr. Secker asked whether Clifton was in attendance? Complainant replied in the negative. The inspector told him he was not wanted, as he did not witness the assault. Mr. Secker said that he was a very important witness, and, as it was necessary that his evidence should be taken to complete the charge, he should remand the prisoner until Monday next. Bail was refused for his appearance. (The Era)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Some 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.), "Miscellaneous News Reports, 1846", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 26 November 2016, updated 18 April 2020 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1846news.htm>.

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