The Earl of Kingston at the Bus Stop, 1848


Saturday 1 April 1848

MARYLEBONE. – EXTRAORDINARY CHARGE OF INDECENT ASSAULT AGAINST THE EARL OF KINGSTON. – Yesterday, amongst the charges brought up by Inspector Tedman from the Marylebone-lane Station-house (D division) was one of a very extraordinary and serious nature, preferred against no less a personage than Robert King, Earl of Kingston, 35, Alpha-road, Regent's Park, and of Mickelstown Castle, county Cork, for having indecently assaulted a young man named Cull, with intent to commit an unnatural offence. – The accused, when brought in, was placed at the bar; he was attired in black, and appeared to be about sixty years of age. He was asked if he had any witnesses, and the answer he made was, "No, I have none; I deny it all." – Mr. Long remarked that as the case was one of misdemeanour, the defendant was at liberty to leave the situation in which he was placed, and stand in front of the bar, which he did. A gentleman, said to be a Member of the House of Commons, sat close to him during the proceedings, pending which he more than once addressed Sir James Hamilton, who attended to be sworn in as a special constable, and who sat near the worthy magistrate. The noble defendant seemed by no means ill at ease, although he was locked up all night at the station, and had not provided himself with the assistance of his own private solicitor. Mr. Justins, from the firm of Maples, Stevens, and Co., Old Jewry, happened, however, to be sitting at the attorneys' table owing to an engagement which he had respecting a railway robbery, and he was upon the instant specially engaged to conduct the case for his Lordship. –
        The inquiry, from the rank of the party accused, excited more than an ordinary degree of interest. –
          The complainant in the case was called upon and sworn. He said – My name is George Cull. I am a painter and glazier, and live at No. 14, Warren-street, Fitzroy-square. Last night, at half-past ten, as I was walking down Oxford-street, defendant came up to me and asked if the Atlas omnibus passed that way. I told him I expected one by in two or three mnutes, and he remarked that there was no hurry, and crossed over to Princes-street. I saw nothing more of him till he got near Shepherd-street, when he crossed over to me, and at that time an Atlas "bus" was coming along. I said to him, "There is the 'bus that you wanted," and he replied, "Oh, never mind; it's a fine evening, I'll walk on;" and some more people passing he asked me my name and what was my age, and I told him it was twenty-one on the 4th of next May. He asked me if I should like to take a cigar, and if I had had one in the course of the day, and I told him I had not; he said he would go and buy me one, and he went to a shop either one or two doors from Bond-street, where he purchased one and brought it out to me, saying I supposed you would like a light now, and I replied yes, I should. He went into Woodstock-street, where he laid hold of my hand and gave me a piece of paper, which I lighted at a fish stall at the corner of Oxford-street. He then laid hold my hand and asked me if I'd cross Oxford-street with him. I did, and he took me to a gateway at the back of Marylebone-lane station-house; he then turned hs back against the rails, and caught hold of my hand, and asked me how I liked the cigar? I said it was a nice one, and I was obliged to him for it, with that, he threw his arm round my neck, pulled my face close to his mouth, and ——. Complainant here described such gross acts of a filthy and disgusting nature, to which it is impossible for us, with any regard to decency, further to allude. Suffice it to say that complainant swore distinctly to an assault on his person. – Mr. Long: While the defendant was with you, and conducting himself in the way you speak of, did he make any remarks either before you went to, or arrived at the gate? – Complainant: While in the gateway, he asked me if the cigar did not keep me warm, and do me good, and just at that moment a body of policemen were passing by; he then let go of me. – Mr. Long: Did you at all try to get away from him while in the gateway? – Complainant: I did, Sir; and tried all I could to extricate myself. – Mr. Long: Did you make any observation to him as to the impropriety of his conduct? – Complainant: Yes; I asked him what he wanted of me, and he then said, "Oh, oh, good night, my lad." After a lady and gentleman had passed by, he seized hold of my hand, and asked me if I would have some ale, and we went to a public-house in Oxford-street. – Mr. Long: If you had imagined that there was anything improper, could you not have charged the defendant before? – Complainant: If I could have seen a constable I should have done so. Complainant (in continuation) said – We went into the private bar at a public-house in Oxford-street, when defendant having called for a glass of ale and put down twopence, went away. I told the man at the bar not to draw it, I thought the man was a bad character, and on my looking out at the front door of the public-house, I saw defendant running away and looking back. On the opposite side of the way I saw a policeman, and having told him what defendant had been dong, I crossed over and gave him (defendant) into custody. – Cross-examined by Mr. Justins: This is my first appearance as a witness. I have never made a charge against any one before. I work for Clare and Son, painters, &c., Mount street, Grosvenor square. On my oath I have never been charged with any offence. My mother lived at 28, Warren-street, and is a dress-maker and milliner. When the lady and gentleman passed by the gateway at the time I have spoken of, I should have mentioned what had happened to me if the gentleman whom I saw in Marylebone-lane had been by himself. He had a lady with him, and I thought it too delicate a matter to speak of to him while he was in her company. I have never been charged with any offence. When he put his arm round my neck I did not strike him. I could not do it, as I could neither move my hands one way or the other while he held me. I have only been in the public-house once before, and then it was with my father and some shopmates. I did not, when I went in last night, make any complaint to the barman. I should have given him (defendant) in custody before if I could have seen a police constable. At the time I gave defendant in charge, there might have been three or four persons on the spot. I will swear that defendant, when he left me at the public-house, went off at a "trot." –
          Walbert White, living as barman with his brother-in-law at the Clarendon public-house, 164, Oxford-street, proved that on the previous night at the period spoken of, complainant came into the private bar at the house, with another person, the latter of whom called for a glass of ale, for which he put down 2l., and went away. Complainant took up the money, saying, "Never mind drawing it, for I think he is a rum character." He then left the house. – Mr. Fell (the chief clerk): Did the complainant and the defendant go into any room together other than the private bar which has been alluded to? – Witness: They did not. – Mr. Long: Then, after they quitted your house, you saw no more of them; is that so? – Witness: It is, your worship. I have not set eyes on either of them since until this morning. – Turner, 77 C, deposed that he was accosted by complainant, from whose information, with regard to the alleged indecent assault, he took him (defendant) into custody, upon his being pointed out as the person by whom he (complainant) had been assaulted in the way spoken of. When first pointed out to witness he (defendent) was 150 yards off, on the opposite side of the way. – Mr. Fell: When you took him, what did he say? – Witness: He said he had done nothing. – Lord Kingston: I said I denied the entire statement; and he was gong on to make some further observations, when his solicitor requested him to be silent, and leave the matter in his hands. – Witness, in continuation, gave evidence as to what took place when the defendant was captured, and who had, as alleged, ran off after paying for a glass of ale at the public house to which complainant had been invited by him to drink. – Mr. Long: When you took the defendant into custody was he walking or running? – Witness: He was about 40 yards from me when the complainant crossed over and pointed him out to me, and he was walking at a moderate rate, in the direction from Duke-street towards Hyde Park. – Mr. Long: What passed when you took him into custody? – Witness: I touched him on the shoulder, and said, "I beg your pardon, Sir, but you must come along with me, if you please." He asked me what for? and I replied, "This young man (complainant) has a very grave charge against you." He was told it was a charge of indecent assault, and he was conveyed to the station-house. – Lord Kingston: I deny the untrue statement. – Mr. Fell to witness: Did he say anything more that you can recollect? – Witness: On the road to the station house he asked me to let him go, and, making a stop, requested that he would allow him to speak to the young man (complainant). I said he could not be allowed to do so; but that, at the station-house, he could say what he liked. – Witness on being further questioned, said he first asked me to let him go, and having made a stop, he asked me to let him speak to the young man (complainant), and he was told that at the station he might make any observations he there thought fit. –
          Sergeant Jackson, of the D division, gave evidence at some length with respect to what took place at the station-house when the charge was preferred; he said that for ten minutes the defendant seemed very much confused, but at last told who and what he was. Additional evidence leading to a conclusion of the defendant's guilt was gone into before Mr. Long, who, after being addressed in a most able manner by Mr. Justins, considered that it was a case which he was bound to send before a jury. The amount of bail fixed upon by Mr. Long was defendant in 5,000l., and two sureties in 2,500l. each, for his attending to take his trial at the next sessions of the Central Criminal Court. (Morning Post) (The Liverpool Mercury for 4 April adds: "On Saturday, his Lordship, accompanied by his brother, the Hon. James King, and four or five friends, appeared in court, and perfected his bail, his sureties being Mr. William Holmes, of 10, Grafton-street, Bond-street, and Mr. Philip Davis Cooke, of Houston, Yorkshire.")

Wednesday 5 April 1848

HORRIBLE CHARGE. – At the Marylebone Police-office on Friday, no less a person than Robert, Earl of Kingston, was held to bail, himself in 5000l. and two sureties in 2500l. each (ten thousand pounds in the whole), to answer at the Old Bailey Sessions, a charge of indecent assault preferred against him by Geo. Cull, a painter. The evidence of the young man as to the nature of the solicitation made to him by his lordship, left no doubt of the unnatural intention, but the Earl denied the accusation. The Magistrate, however, held him to bail, in the heavy sum above specified. (Hereford Journal)

Friday 7 April 1848

THE CHARGE AGAINST LORD KINGSTON. – The Grand Jury at the Central Criminal Court sat to a late hour last evening, in order to get through the whole of the bill laid before them. In the last return made by the foreman, the bill charging Lord Kingston with indecently assaulting George Cull, was presented "ignored," and when Mr. Kemp, the officer of the court, mentioned the fact on the bill being brought up, a strong sensation manifested itself in court. The indictment itself was very short, containing two brief counts; the first imputing the graver charge to the noble defendant, the second charging him with a common assault. The first count was to the effect that Robert Earl and Baron Kingston, of Kingston in Ireland, and of the parish of St. Marylebone, in the county of Middlesex, did, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, and in a certains treet, on the common highway, assault one George Cull, with intent, &c., to the great scandal and subversion of religion, morality, decency, and good order. The second count charged a common assault in the usual form. (Morning Post)

Friday 7 April 1848

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT. – Thursday.
The Grand Jury, in the course of the day, ignored the bill against Earl of Kingston for misdemeanour. (Morning Post)

Tuesday 11 April 1848

The Bill against the Earl of Kingston, charging him with an infamous misdemeanour, has been returned by the Grand Jury "ignored." (Northern Whig)

Saturday 15 April 1848

The Earl of Kingston has been held to bail in London, on the evidence of a young man named Cull – himself in 5,000 and two sureties in 2,500 – for an attempt to commit an abominable offence. The charge will probably prove untrue, as did one of the same character some years ago. (Coleraine Chronicle)


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

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Earl of Kingston at the Bus Stop, 1848", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 3 January 2017 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1848king.htm>.


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