Newspaper Reports, 1876

26 February 1876

York Assizes, Friday, 30th [January]. George Bennett, 46, and George Webster, 21, were charged with conspiring together for the purpose of committing an unnatural crime, at Barnsley, on the 26th of September last. Mr. Maude and Mr. Milner conducted the proseuiction. Mr. Hardy appeared as counsel for the prisoner Bennett, and Mr. Blackburn for Webster. The details were of so disgusting a nature as totally to preclude their insertion. The jury pronounced both prisoners not guilty. (Barnsley Chronicle)

11 March 1876

PENAL SERVITUDE FOR LIFE FOR THREATENING A SOLICITOR. – At the Manchester assizes yesterday Charles Taylor, 25, was charged with having, at Manchester, on the 19th January, 1876, sent a threatening letter to Mr. George Edmund Legge Pearse, endeavouring to extort 2. Mr. Harrison Blair prosecuted, and the prisoner was undefended. The prisoner, who appeared to be a person of good education, had been known to the prosecutor, who is a surgeon, of Markham Road, Finsbury, London, for over two years. On the 18th of January he wrote to the prosecutor asking for 2, on the threat of divulging some secret connected with an alleged unnatural crime. – The prosecutor denied that there was any truth in these allegations. – The Judge said that the question of the truth of the allegations did not matter. – The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the prisoner was sentenced to penal servitude for life, the Judge remarking that the offence with which he was charged was only next to murder in gravity. (Blackburn Standard)

8 April 1876

. . . Daniel Woodward, 48, labourer, of Watford, Dec. 20th, 1826, for sodomy. . . . James Ffitney [sic], 20, labourer, of Tring, Dec. 29th, 1830, for an unnatural crime. . . . (Herts Advertiser)

8 July 1876

William Mabbit was charged with committing an unnatural offence in Cuckoo-lane, at Southampton, on Edward Simpkins, who was indicted for consenting to the commission of the offence. – Mr. Warray prosecuted; Mr. Bullen defended Mabbit. The jury convicted the prisoners of the attempt only, and recommended Mabbit to mercy because of his youth, he being only 18 years of age. – Mr. Bullen said he was made drunk by the elder man and thus led away. Mabbit's father, a resident in Wiltshire, said his son had a good character from several persons. – Simpkins was sentenced to eighteen and Mabbit to six months' imprisonment with hard labour. (Hampshire Advertiser)
[Note, that despite the headline, this was not a case of bestiality.]

12 July 1876

INDECENCY AT SOUTHAMPTON. – William Mabbit, 18, labourer, was indicted for an unnatural offence; and Edward Simpkin, 49, labourer, was charged with consenting to the commission of the offence, at Southampton, on May 3rd. – Mr. Wurry prosecuted; and Mr. Bullen defended Mabbit. – The jury convicted the prisoners of the attempt, and recommended Mabbit to mercy on account of his youth. – Mr. Bullen said he was led away and made drunk by the elder prisoner. – The Judge said there was a wide difference between them, and sentenced Simpkin to 18 months' and Mabbit to six months' imprisonment with hard labour. (Hampshiure Telegraph)

4 November 1876

Thomas Digby, a servant at the Randolph Hotel, was charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence on Joseph Wood, a boy, aged 15, in the urinal in Market-street, at 12 o'clock on Saturday night. The prisoner was released on the night in question on 10l. bail to appear this morning, but as he failed to attend a warrant was granted for his apprehension. (Oxford Journal)

15 November 1876

A SERIOUS CHARGE. – John Palmer, a man of colour, was charged with an unnatural offence on the high seas, and was remanded till Friday. (Hampshire Advertiser)
[For the full details of this case, see separate page.]

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1876", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 3 June 2019 <>.

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