Image of two men kissing

Gross Indecency

Henry Labouchere, MP

NOTE: The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885 took four years to successfully pass through Parliament. It was primarily aimed at providing protection for young women and girls, especially those under the age of sixteen, and at suppressing houses of prostitution. It was prompted by several years of rising child abuse and the trafficking and abdunction of young girls for prostitution. It provided for easier prosecution of indecent assault, procurement, abduction, trafficking, and use of young girls in brothels. It raised the statutory age of consent from 13 to 16. During the last stage of the debate, in August 1885, Henry Labouchere introduced an amendment designed to extend the act to include the protection of young boys. The Labouchere Amendment extended the act to include what it termed "gross indecency" between one male and another male. In practice, this was mainly used to protect young boys under the age of 16, but because there was no "age of consent" for homosexual acts, it also covered consenting adults. It therefore had the effect of covering all homosexual activity regardless of consent or age or acts in private. However, the overwhelming number of prosecutions were against "assault" against girls under the age of sixteen.

The Act passed on 14 August 1885, with the clause proscribing "gross indecency between males" being Section 11, headed "Indecency between Males", subsequently known as the Labouchere Amendment: "Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures, or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable at the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour."

"Gross indecency" covered any homosexual activity, or attempted activity, short of sodomy (i.e. anal intercourse). The earlier crime, known as "unnatural offence", remained fully in force, but prosecution required a great deal of detailed evidence that anal intercourse had been performed or attempted or desired, whereas "gross indecency" made it much easier to obtain a conviction – for example, it was easier to prosecute for solicitation if one did not have to prove that buggery specifically was being solicited, but merely sexual intimacy of some sort. The penalty for unnatural offence was much greater, usually ten years' imprisonment with hard labour, whereas the penalty for gross indecency was a maximum of two years. One significant effect of this variation was that more men pleaded guilty to "gross indecency" rather than risk conviction of the more serious offence of "unnatural act". Also, importantly, it allowed for prosecutions in a summary court rather than in a trial by jury, whereas "unnatural offences" required trial by jury. This had the effect of allowing for easier convictions. It also allowed for a kind of plea bargaining, for a defendant could plead guilty to a gross indecency and receive a relatively lenient sentence, rather than pleading not guilty to an unnatural offence and running the risk of a more severe sentence.

It has been widely claimed by gay historians and others that this Act and the Labouchere Amendment in particular led to a huge increase in prosecutions of homosexual activity. However, in fact there were relatively few prosecutions or convictions for gross indecency a year or two after the Act passed. There were still many convictions for unnatural offences, which were not prosecuted under Section 11, and which should not be calculated as part of any alleged increase. The vast majority of prosecutions under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 involved the sexual abuse of girls and young women, the abducation of young men for sexual purposes, and female prostitution of young women. There was a significant increase in the number of prosecutions involving men having sex with girls aged 13 to 16.

Charges under the "gross indecency" Act increased slightly during the first third of 1887, and more men pleaded guilty to the offence, an indication that they wished to avoid the charge of "unnatural offence" which entailed a more severe penalty (and to which fewer men therefore pleaded guilty). But there were very few homosexual prosecutions during the last two-thirds of 1887. It should be noted that there continued to be many trials for "unnatural offence" (some of which are dealt with on a separate page), in other words, "gross indecency" was in effect a supplemental offence, and it did not replace other homosexual offences. A certain amount of confusion arises over use of the phrase "gross indecency". In fact, for many years previous to the act, "unnatural acts" were also regularly described with the phrase "gross indecency" along with many other terms – this was not a new term in law. For example, in a case against Samuel Ingle early in 1885, before the Act was passed, (fully described elsewhere), the prosecution stated that "They would give evidence of gross acts of indecency, and upon that he [the prosecutor] was instructed to prefer a charge against defendant of soliciting and inciting Needham upon certain days to the commission of an abominable and detestable crime" (Leicester Chronicle, 7 March 1885).

However, the transcriptions of newspaper reports on this present page specifically describe prosecutions which took place under Section 11 of the 1885 Act. Judges were generally unhappy with the vagueness of the law. As far as I can determine, the earliest instance in which the Act was referred to occurred in November 1885 when a Grand Jury were asked to consider whether or not to bring an indictment under the Act against a 19-year-old lad who had behaved indecently towards a 9-year-old boy; he was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with hard labour. The next prosecution under the Act does not seem to have occurred until March 1886, in Scotland. The judge in this case specifically claimed that this was the very first prosecution under the Act (perhaps he meant the first case in Scotland). In this case, a 30-year-old man and a 22-year-old man were charged with committing gross indecency with one another. The younger man pleaded not guilty, and the charge against him was withdrawn. The older man pleaded guilty, and he was given the lenient sentence of 30 days' imprisonment with hard labour. This was not a full trial before a jury, but a summary judgment in court.

The early prosecutions present something of a mixed bag. Nearly all of them involved young boys, ages 9 to 16. One case involved mutual gross indecency between two boys age 11 and 13 (they were given a caution). One case involved a schoolmaster's corruption of a large network of boys. In most cases the lads involved had given their consent. In some cases the lads had obviously laid false charges out of mischief. Many cases ended in acquittals. Many judges took an opportunity to express to the jury their dissatisfaction with the ambiguities of the Act. This survey of reports of "gross indecency" cases should be supplemented by reports of cases of "unnatural crime" in 1886 and 1887.

7 August 1885

The Criminal Law Amendment Bill was then considered as amended. . . .
          On the motion of Mr Labouchere, the following clause was added to the bill:– Any male person who in public or in private commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure, the commission by any male person of any act of gross indecency with another male person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years with or without hard labour.
[This became Section 11 of the final Criminal Law Amendment Bill 1885.] (Bradford Daily Telegraph)

5 November 1885

The Winter Assizes for the town of Nottingham were commenced this morning in the Town Hall, before Mr. Justice Denman. . . . His Lordship, in charging the Grand Jury, said . . . he was sorry to say that the calendar was a very heavy one, and required very serious consideration. . . . A very great change in the law had lately been made, but having made remarks upon it in two other counties, and those remarks having been published, he did not intend to enlarge upon the general scope and character of that recent enactment. He would say, and he thought everybody who understood the administration of the criminal law would bear him out, that it was more than ever important that the grand Jury should carefully discharge that part of their duty which involved the consideration of cases in which offences were charged of the very character intended to be dealt with by the recent enactment. Many charges were now made complaining of indecent conduct on the part of men, some of them being the most horrible and vile, aimed at by the criminal law. It was obvious that in those classes of offences there was always a great possibility of a terrible charge being made, so terrible that anybody would shudder and shrink from such a charge being made against himself. A man was placed in a very difficult position as regarded defending himself agianst such a charge, because from the very nature of things, as a rule, those offences were committed in the absence of extraneous testimony. Main reliance had to be placed on the evidence of one witness, who might be interested in fixing a charge upon a man, and it was therefore desirable that careful testing should take place as to whether there was or was not corroborative testimony. The Legislature had recently enacted that in certain of those cases the prisoner himself or his wife might be called as a witness. They were not compelled to be, but they were competent witnesses. There was some danger that that very competency acted as a compulsion, and there was also the danger that when that moral compulsion was put on a prisoner it might sometimes work injustice, because the person might be one whose character would not altogether bear investigation, and, therefore, he might be a very bad witness, even in a case which was very slight against him. However, that was a matter with which they had very little to do, for the reason that in that particular enactment there was an express provision that the Grand Jury should not have those witnesses before them, and therefore their duties were precisely the same as they were before. He pointed out that they had carefully to watch and see if there was corroborative trestimony, and to some extent to test the particular witnesses who came before them to swear to such a charge as that, and if upon a slight investigation it turned out that they were not credible it would be their duty not to find a bill, because in every criminal charge the decision of the Grand Jury was not final. If it was afterwards found that there really was corroborative evidence in existence, the prisoner might always be brought before another Grand Jury. With that sort of warning applicable to that sort of case, he called their attention to some observations he had to make upon the particular cases which were in the calendar before them. . . . There was one formidable charge he must call attention to. By the recent enactment to which he had alluded there was a new provision which was certainly very vague, and, indeed, it left really to a jury to define a matter which was of terrible weight. The charge was against a lad 19 years of age named Thomas Swift for being indecent to a lad of nine. Of course, those charges were eminently open to the observation he had made. The offence of gross indecency was a new one created by the statute, and as[,] as he said[,] it was so vaguely defined that it was difficult to say where it began and where it ended. If the facts were proved in that case, he was afraid there would be no doubt the jury would say that there had been gross indecency. . . . (Nottingham Evening Post)

7 November 1885

THOMAS SWIFT, 19, fitter, was indicted for gross indecency with Samuel Barton, aged nine years, at Nottingham, on the 22nd of Auguit. – Mr. Denman prosecuted, and Mr. Palmer was for the prisoner. – The defence was an alibi, in support of which several witnesses were called. – The jury found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to 14 months' hard labour. (Nottingham Evening Post)

19 March 1886

A conference of the National Vigilance Association was opened yesterday morning at Exeter Hall, London. . . .
          At the afternoon conference, which was well attended, several papers were read on the work of the association. . . . Mr. H. WILSON occupied the chair. In his opening address he alluded to the statement made by many magistrates and chairmen of Quarter Sessions to the effect that the discussion on the Criminal Law Amendment Act and the recent publications had produced crime and vice which did not previously exist. They could not too strongly reprobate that statement. It had done nothing of the kind, but it had brought to the front a crop of prosecutions which did not previously exist. (Cheers.)
          Mr. WYNDHAM H. BEWES read a paper on the working of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. He pointed out that he had been unable to obtain any official statistics at present, but the Home Office had promised to include statistics of the cases under the Act in the judicial statistics. He thought that if the second raising the age of protection from thirteen to sixteen had been the whole Act it would have been worth the weary years of exertion which it took to get the Act passed. Solicitation by very young girls had been stopped by it. He also discussed points on abduction, corroborative evidence, foreign traffic in English girls, sale of children by their parents, and the procedure required to shut up bad houses. There could be no doubt that the Act was working well, and it had been generally approved by the Judges. (Leeds Mercury)

26 March 1886

In Edinburgh Sheriff Summary Court this afternoon – Sheriff Rutherfurd president – Alex. Troup, aged about 30, and James Scott, aged about 22, both well-dressed, and of respectable appearance, were charged with contravening Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, by committing an act of gross indecency in West Register Street, Edinburgh, on 2d or 3d inst. Troup pleaded guilty, and Scott not guilty, and the Fiscal then withdrew the charge against Scott. Both prisoners appeared to feel their position very keenly. Mr Rhind, advocate, on behalf of Troup, said that he had been for ten years past employed as a bookkeeper with a firm doing an extensive business, had large sums passing through his hands, and that his character had been hitherto unblemished. If the court could see its way not to send accused to prison, his employer might still keep him, and he asked his lordship to impose a fine. This was the first case under this section of the Act. The Sheriff said that while this case had been presented under the statute of last year the offence might as well have been libelled at common law. In sending the case to be tried summarily, he thought the Crown authorities had taken a lenient view of the matter. The offence was a serious one. He took into consideration what had been said on behalf of accused, and also that any imprisonment he might impose would involve an exceedingly heavy punishment, apart from the imprisonment. He could not see his way, however, to take the course suggested by Mr Rhind, but neither would he impose the utmost sentence in the power of the court to inflict. Trout would be imprisoned for 30 days with hard labour. Scott was then allowed to leave the bar. (Edinburgh Evening News)

15 April 1886

AN EXTRAORDINARY CHARGE. – William Smith, a labourer employed at one of the cement factories, Grays, was charged, under the 11th Section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, with being concerned with another person not in custody in attempting to commit an act of gross indecency, at Grays, on the 4th April. He was further charged with being drunk on the highway. P.c. N. Page swore to an offence which he saw committed about 11 o'clock on Sunday night, near Kirkman's corner. William Bond, a labourer, gave corroborative evidence; after which the chairman said the Bench would dismiss the case, but hoped it would be a warning to the prisoner, who was evidently at the time drunk. Supt. Dobson said the second charge would not be preferred. The prisoner had been charged on an indictable offence, and he should stand or fall by that. He (Supt. Dobson) did not wish it to be said that he was trying to get a conviction by a side wind. (Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser)

7 May 1886

The Commission for the above assizes will be opened at the Assize Courts, in this city, to-day (Friday) . . . . The following is a calendar of the prisoners for trial:–
          . . . John Voley, sailor, unlawfully attempting to procure the commission of an act of gross indecency with another male person, to wit, one Foster McKenzie, at a certain public place in South Shields. (Durham County Advertiser)

10 May 1886

These Assizes were commenced on Saturday before Mr. Justice WILLS. The calendar contained the names of twenty-five prisoners. In his charge [i.e. his address to the Grand Jury] the learned Judge characterised the calendar as one of the most disgusting character. Out of the twenty-five prisoners ten were charged with acts of gross indecency. Since he had been a Judge he had never seen anything approaching it in the proportion of these filthy cases to the general list on the calendar. Some of these cases would require their careful consideration before sending them down to the court for trial, for no good purpose was to be served by investigating the details of these cases before the listening crowd in court, without there was some prospect of a conviction being obtained. (Leeds Mercury)
[The other newspapers, such as the York Herald on the same day, reported that the Judge referred to "gross acts of indecency and assaults upon women, and matters of that character".]

11 May 1886

John Hewett (52), labourer, who pleaded guilty to an act of gross indecency, committed at Wincklewood, Norfolk, was sentenced to three months' hard labour. (Ipswich Journal)

29 May 18867

Mr. Justice Wills has just sentenced over twenty offenders who have been convicted at the Leeds assizes under the Criminal Law Amendment Act to various terms of hard labour. In addressing the jury in the last case the judge said: Of these cases thirty-three had been sent for trial. Two out of every five had ended in acquittals, and in his judgment very properly. He hoped that females would learn in such cases to defend themselves against men without the slightest scruple whenever they could get a chance. Another lesson to be learned from what had taken place was that it was wise not to send every case in which accusations of this kind were made – although supported by the evidence of children barely producible in the box – to the assizes for trial. Another time he hoped that they would not see so many sent, and also that there would not be so large a proportion of acquittals, because it looked as if there was not much discretion in sending them to the assizes. (On the previous day he had commented severely on the failure of the prosecution to prepare these cases properly, so that at least one offender had slipped through a flaw in the indictment.) Of the ten or eleven cases in which verdicts of not guilty were returned, several were those in which the offence was proved but the case broke down because the girl appeared to be over sixteen. Mr. Justice Wills delivered himself of several dicta of a somewhat extraordinary character. In sentencing a tailor who had been found guilty of an unlawful assault upon a boy, aged twelve, to twelve months' hard labour, his lordship, commenting upon the offence as a filthy and abominable outrage, said that the crime was sufficiently repulsive to most people as to make it unnecessary to pass a sentence designed to be a deterrent upon others. In sentencing a labourer to six months' hard labour for having attempted to have carnal knowledge of his stepdaughter, aged fifteen, at Sheffield, his lordship said that here again a deterrent sentence was unnecessary. This was a shocking offence upon a girl whom the prison was bound to protect, instead of helping to go wrong. The whole thing was of the lowest kind. It would be as absurd to sentence a horse or a pig to a long term as to send the prisoner, whose notions of propriety and morality were of the basest, to a protracted period of imprisonment. In another case, in which the jury regretted to say that they thought the girl past the age of sixteen, his lordship remarked upon the possibility of young girls sending a man to penal servitude without remorse just in order to put a better complexion upon matters concerning themselves that had come to light. In commenting upon another case, his lordship said that the filth that had been let loose in a ghastly flood over the people in this district from day to day by reports of these cases was inadequately paid for by an occasional conviction of one who had trespassed on the wrong side of the dividing line. Undoubtedly we paid very highly for the supposed assistance to the cause of virtue by these proceedings. If this law was not administered with reasonable precaution, two things must happen. There would be a lot of erroneous convictions, punishable by imprisonment, for what were mere acts of immorality; and secondly, if that took place to any extent, there would be a sweeping reaction against the views which prompted and made such legislation possible. (Pall Mall Gazette)

31 May 1886

CHARGES OF GROSS DEPRAVITY AGAINST BOYS. – Robert Barter, 11, was charged with attempting a gross act of indecency upon John Carr, aged 13, who was charged with aiding and abetting Barter; and both were also charged with gross acts of indecency with each other. – Mr. Feltham (Feltham and Palmer) prosecuted, and Mr. G. H. King defended. – Mr. Feltham said the charges were laid under the 11th section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. – John Carr was further charged with a similar offence against Charles Moore, aged 11, who was charged with aiding and abetting; and both were further charged with gross acts of indecency towards each other. – After a consultation, Mr. Feltham said, considering the tender ages of the boys, and the fact that public decency would best be served by so doing, he asked the Magistrates to allow him to withdraw from the case, without going into the details, and he trusted it would serve as a warning to any evilly-disposed boys. – The Magistrates assented, and thought Mr. Feltham had adopted a very wise course. – The boys were then cautioned and discharged. (Portsmouth Evening News)

19 June 1886

SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A TUTOR. – Percy Clive Hoggins, a gentlemanly-dressed young man, of Hillside, Cintra Park, Upper Norwood, a tutor, was brought up, charged with unlawfully committing a certain act of gross indecency with one Conrad O'Donnell (11), of 3, Surrey-cottages, Leatherbottle-lane, Thornton Heath, at a field in Leatherbottle-lane, Thornton Heath. – The boy stated that he had seen the prisoner on two occasions. On Sunday night he met the prisoner, who proposed that they should go for a long walk across Waterman's field, and he would give him half-a-crown. When in a field the prisoner committed the offence alleged against him, but on seeing witness's father coming across the field, he went off. On Saturday week, when in Farquaharson-road, engaged in crossing sweeping, at about dinner-time, the prisoner said he wanted to see him at about seven or eight o'clock, as he might have a penny to give him then. Before this witness had asked him for a penny. – Cornelius O'Donnell, father of the boy, deposed to witnessing much of what was done, and then witness walked across the field, as he thought it time to do so. He followed the prisoner to Central Hill, where he was stopped by another person. Prisoner said, "If you don't say anything about it, I'll give you all the money I have in my pocket." Witness accused him of indecent conduct, prisoner replying "I did not do it, but was going to do so." – George Holland, of 40, Anerley-vale, Anerley, deposed to seeing the prisoner running away, and to stopping him. Prisoner tried to strike witness with a walking stick, exclaiming, "I'll hit you over the head." Witness took the stock away, and hit the prisoner with it. The latter told the boy's father he would give him all the money he had in his pocket if he did not say anything about it. – Prisoner: That is not true. It would have been idiotic of me to have said so. – Inspector Ellams deposed to receiving the charge against the prisoner from the boy's father. Prisoner said "It is all right; for God's sake send this crowd away. I've been drinking heavily all day." Turning to the father, he said "It is no good your charging me, and for God's sake, don't." He then offered the father all the money he had, which was seven or eight shillings. When charged he said, "I must bear the punishment." Prisoner looked like a man soddened with drink. – The magistrates remanded the accused for a week, in order to give him an opportunity of seeking legal advice, or taking any other action he might think right. (Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter)

24 July 1886

Percy Clive Hoggins (28), tutor, was indicted for committing an act of gross indecency with Conrad O'Donnell, in a certain public place, on the evening of the 13th June. – Prisoner pleaded not guilty. – Mr. Avory (instructed by Mr. G. Durbidge), prosecuted. He stated that the boy was aged 11 years, and, on the Sunday evening in question, he was playing on Thornton Heath with others. Prisoner asked the boy to go for a walk, and, it was alleged, committed the offence in a field near the cottage where the boy's father lived. The father saw the prisoner walk across the field with the boy, and, after some time, went towards the spot, upon which prisoner ran away, and was caught two miles distant by a young man named Holland. Prisoner then offered the boy's father all the money he had not to say anything about it. – Evidence was given by the boy and his father, the young man who caught prisoner, and the police. The latter, in reply to the Judge, said prisoner was not drunk at the time, but appeared to have been drinking heavily recently. When charged at the police-station he said "I must bear the punishment." – Prisoner made a lengthy defence to the jury, admitting that, in conseqiuence of having been drinking, he might have behaved in an undignified manner, but he denied having any improper intention. – His Lordshp having summed up, the jury retired, and found prisoner Not Guilty. – His Lordship said he was not going to make any observation at all derogatory of their verdict, but he thought it right to say the father and Holland, suspecting something was wrong, acted most properly. Their character was not at all affected. – The jury expressed their agreement with his Lordship's remarks.
          This concluded the criminal cases. (Surrey Advertiser)


18 June 1886

A clergyman named Henry Moffat, of Whiston, Northamptonshire, and Robert Charles Fillingham, of Hatfield House, Tottenham, were remanded at Bow-street Police Court to-day on a charge of committing acts of gross indecency with two lads at various dates. (Hull Daily Mail)

21 June 1886

The Rev.Henry Moffatt and Robert Charles Fillingham, of Hatfield House, Tottenham, and undergraduate at MertonCollege, Oxford, appered to bail at Bow-street to-day, tofurther answer charges preferred under the 11th of "outrage of decency" section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. – Mr. Poland prosecuted on behalf of the Public Prosecutor; Mr. Besley defended Fillingham; andMr. Tickell defendedMoffatt. Two lads, namedHerbert Alexander Telfer and Arthur Westcott, have already given evidence for the prosecution. – Mr. Poland stated with reference to the address given by Moffatt that he was not curate at Whiston, but had only been employed temporarily. – The lads were cross-examined by the learned counsel for the defence,and Mr. Telfer, the father of Herbert Telfer, gave evidence proving his son's absence from home on the night o the alleged offence and to the subsequent receipt of two letters from thedefendants. (Echo (London))

20 June 1886

At Bow-street Police Court on Friday, a clergyman, giving the name of Henry Moffatt, of Whiston, Northamptonshire, appeared to bail, and Robert Charles Fillingham, of Hatfield House, Tottenham, described as an undergraduate, appeared to a summons charging him with acts of gross indecency. – Mr. Poland, who represented the Treasury, in opening the case, said that he was instructed to prefer charges against the two defendants – The Rev. Mr. Moffatt for committing, contrary to the statute passed in the last session of Parliament, an act of gross indecency with a lad named Herbert Alexander Telfer, on the early morning of the 4th May at Tottenham, in the house of Mrs. Fillingham, of Hatfield House, Tottenham. Fillingham was also charged with being a party to the act of indecency committed in that place. The statute provided that a male person who in public or private committed or caused the commission of any act of gross indecency was guilty of a misdemeanour, and was liable to two years' imprisonment with or without hard labour. There were three separate charges against Moffatt, one with having committed an act of gross indecency with another youth of the name of Arthur Frederick Westcote on the 25th of February, at the Arundel Hotel, Strand. This was a misdemeanour, and both cases agianst Moffatt could be dealt with. On the 24th of February, Arthur Westcote, a youth 16 years of age, who lived with his mother in Henry-street, Burdett-row, Bow, was looking into a shop window in the Strand, when Moffatt went up to him and spoke to him, and told him that he lived at Northampton. He chatted with him, and made an appointment to meet him the next night. They met according to appointment. They went to Short's together, and had some port wine there. They then went to the Arundel Hotel, where they had tea together. Moffatt made an excuse to wash his hands, and took the youth up to the second floor of the hotel. There it is alleged the offence was committed. After tea they went along the Strand, and at Charing Cross post office they met an elderly man, about 60 years of age, named Colonel Inglefield, who was then lodging at 14, Craven-street, Strand. He lodged there from the 21st of February till the 26th. This fact enabled the youth to fix the date of his visits to the hotel with Moffatt. Having met Colonel Inglefield, they all three went to the Lyceum. Moffatt went away, and the boy Arthur Westcote went with Colonel Inglefield to his lodgings. They went to the colonel's bed-room, but what transpired there did not affect the two defendants. After what had occurred at the hotel on the 25th it was believed that the intimacy between Moffatt and Westcote became exceedingly great. Westcote was a clerk in a respectable appointment. Moffatt told him, too, that his name was "Harry," and after what had transpired they called each other "Harry" and "Arthur." Some correspondence took place, and then Moffatt asked the youth to go to Northampton. He took him to his club there, and to a place called Whiston, some little distance from Northampton. He went to the house where Moffatt was, and eventually returned to London. Besides meeting from time to time, a correspondence was carried on between them, and certain letters were written which led up to this charge being preferred. It would now be shown how the intimacy began with Herbert Alexander Telfer. The lad was aged 13, and lived with his parents at 37, Prince of Wales's-road, Kentish Town. He was engaged as a chorister and was paid £20 by the Rev. Mr. Fellowes, who has a musical agency at 61, Mount-street, Grosvenor-square. The lad, on festival days, was engaged to go into the country to sing in choirs for "Sampson's Musical Agency." On Saturday, February 5th, he went to Wellingborough to sing at a church, and remained there until the 8th of February. He slept at the vicarage, and in that way became acquainted with Moffatt, who had preached the sermon on Sunday, and paid the boy a compliment on hs singing. He returned home and went regularly to 61, Mount-street. He did not see anything of Moffatt for some two months, but some time in April Fillingham, an undergraduate at Merton College, Oxford, for some reason called at 61, Mount-street, and asked to see Herbert Telfer. It was suggested that the lad's name was supplied by Moffatt. He saw the lad, and said that he had a message from the Rev. Mr. Powell, who was the vicar of the church where the two had sung. Fillingham tried to induce the boy to meet him at half past nine that evening, and they were to meet at Charing Cross Station, and afterwards go to supper to Fillingham's house at Tottenham. When the Rev. Mr. Fellowes heard that Fillingham wanted to take the boy out, he refused. On May 3rd Moffatt went to the office of the musical agency in a cab about six in the evening. He asked if the boy could go with him then, as he had some tickets for the Lyceum Theatre. Knowing that Moffatt was a clergyman, and that the boy was a thoroughly good boy, the manager thought it would be a treat for the lad, and permission was given. The lad left about six, and got into the cab. He found the other lad Westcote in the cab. This was the first time they became acquainted. Another lad joined them, and Moffatt and the three lads were taken away, not to the Lyceum but to the Haymarket Theatre, where some French plays were being acted. Before going to the theatre they were taken to Short's, a wine shop in the Strand,where they had some port wine. Moffatt told them that later in the evening they were to meet Fillingham. Moffatt by a trick had got Telfer away from the office, and, undoubtedly, had arranged to meet Fillingham and take the boys to his house and debauch them. In order to disarm suspicion Moffatt went to the telegraph office and telegraphed to the parents of the lads that they were with him. The lads were then taken to Fillingham's house, where they arrived about one in the morning. Mrs. Filingham was in Rome at the time. The four sat drinking whisky and water while Fillingham disgraced himself by reading an indecent poem to the lads until two or three in the morning, when gross indecencies were committed. Eventually the lad Telfer told the Rev. Mr. Fellowes what had occurred, and the police were communicated with. With regard to Colonel Inglefield inquiries were being carried on, but it would be idle to keep his name out of the case. – Herbert Alexander Telfer was then called, and detailed what took place between him and Moffatt. – Arrangements were made for the further hearing of the case next week. (The People)

8 August 1886

The Rev. Richard Henry Moffat, a clergyman of the Church of England, and Robert Charles Fellingham, who was described as an undergraduate, of Merton College, Oxford, were indicted at the Central Criminal Court, for assaults and indecent conduct to two boys, named Arthur Westcott and Herbert Telfer, aged respectively sixteen and thirteen years.
          Mr. Pland and Mr. Charles Matthews prosecuted for the Public Prosecutor; Mr. E. Clarke, Q.C., and Mr. Tickell defended Fellingham; and Mr. Besley defended Moffat.
          Moffat, at the time of the occurrence, was doing duty for a brother clergyman at a church in the neighbourhood of Worthington, and Fellingham, who was a much younger man than his companion, lived with his mother at Tottenham. Moffatt was reported to have made the acquaintance of the boy Westcott as he was looking at a jeweller's shop window in the Strand, and, according to the boy's evidence, he took him to an hotel in the neighbourhood and acted indecently. In May Fellingham was introduced to Westcott and the other boy Telfer, and the case for the prosecution was that both prisoners and the two boys went to Fellingham's residence at Tottenham, where Moffatt slept with Telfer, and Fellingham with the other boy; but, according to the evidence of the two boys, nothing criminal took place.
          Mr. E. Clarke, Q.C., who was engaged for the defence of Fellingham exclusively, submitted that there was no evidence whatever against his client, who was charged not with the main offence of committing acts of gross indecency with the boys, but with aiding the elder prisoner (Moffat) in the commission of the crime. He asked the Recorder to direct the jury to acquit Fellingham at once.
          After hearing the opposing arguments of Mr. Poland, the Recorder said he must uphold the claim of the Solicitor-General.
          The jury thereupon returned a formal verdict of acquittal, and Fellingham left the dock. In the case of Moffat the jury eventually returned a verdict of "Guilty." Sentenced to fifteen months' hard labout. (Reynolds's Newspaper)

13 August 1886

At the Central Criminal Court Richard Hy. George Moffatt, described as a clergyman, and Robert Charles Fillingham, an undergraduate, were indicted on the 5th, the former for committing acts of gross indecency with two boys, and Fillingham with aiding him. At the close of the case for the prosecution, Mr. Clarke, Q.C., submitted that there was no evidence whatever to support the charge against his client (Fillingham). It was not for a moment pretended that the alleged acts took place in his presence, and there was no evidence to show that he had the remotest idea of the allegation until the charge was brought. The Recorder sustained the contention, and Fillingham was acquitted and discharged. Mr. Besley addressed the jury on behalf of Moffat, and gave a total denial of the charge. He also pointed out discrepancies in the evidence. The jury at once found Moffatt guilty. The Recorder said he had tried the case with very great pain, and had had the opportunity of consulting a learned Judge upon it. He sentenced prisoner to 18 months' hard labour. (Stamford Mercury)

6 August 1886

Charles Henry Lofthouse (44), forgeman, was indicted with unlawfully committing gross indecency with two young men named Thomas Lumb and Richard Darcy, and other persons at Leeds, on the 15th June. – Evidence in support of the prosecution was given, after which the prisoner made a statement upon oath, which was a complete denial of the charges made against him. – The Jury found the prisoner not guilty, and he was discharged. (Bradford Daily Telegraph)

7 October 1886

INDECENT CONDUCT. – At a pleading diet of the Edinburgh Sheriff Criminal Court this forenoon – before Sheriff Crichton – a young man named Thomas Bell, a mason, was charged, under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, with committing a gross act of indecency with a boy of 13 in the East Meadow, Edinburgh, on 18th September last. He pleaded guilty, and stated that he was the worse of drink at the time, and had now not the slightest idea of what happened. The Sheriff passed sentence of four months' imprisonment. (Edinburgh Evening News)

22 October 1886

THE CHARGE AGAINST AN EDINBURGH JEWELLER. – At Edinburgh Sheriff Criminal Court, yesterday, Sheriff Crichton and a jury had before them a case in which Wm. Crouch, jeweller, Edinburgh, and George M'Intosh, cattle-drover, were charged with having contravened the eleventh section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, by committing an act of gross indecency in Lovers' Loan [sic], Grange, Edinburgh, on the night of the 10th September. The Sheriff said that owing to the nature of the case, the public should be excluded, and the evidence was therefore taken with closed doors. The trial lasted for three hours, and the jury were absent for another half-hour. They returned a verdict of not proven, and the prisoners were dismissed from the bar. Crouch was defended by Mr Orr, advocate, and M'Intosh by Mr Thomson, W.S., agent for the poor. (The Scotsman)

30 October 1886

John Kinley (33), labourer, charged with an act of gross indecency at Crewe, on the 17th October, was sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Mr Marshall prosecuted. – Joseph Cornes, indicted for a similar offence at Crewe, on the 29th August, was acquitted. Mr Marshall prosecuted and Mr E. H. Lloyd defended.
The trials were resumed at 10 o'clock.
Alfred Davies (39), butler, was indicted for an attempted unnatural offence at Ruabon, on the 13th August. Mr Walter Jones prosecuted, and Mr Marshall and Mr E. W. W. Edwards defended the prisoner. At the close of the case for the prosecution the Judge remarked that it was almost the only case within his experience where the police officer who had apprehended the prisoner had not been called by the prosecution. – The officer in question was called by Mr Marshall and gave evidence strongly in favour of the prisoner with the result that the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty." His Lordship observed that in the other case within his recollection there had been a similar result. Every one concerned in such cases knew that it was the "ABC" of work of that kind that the policeman who made the apprehension should be called, and it was perfectly clear that there must have been a reason for such an unusual proceeding. He disapproved beyond measure of this suppression of testimony, and he should mark his disapprobation in the strongest way that he could by disallowing the costs of the prosecution except counsel's fee and the expenses of the policeman for attending. (Cheshire Observer)

3 November 1886

A FOREIGNER TOO MANY. – Antonio Skiffin, 30, seaman, was indicted for feloniously perpetrating an abominable crime on August 9th; also committing an act of gross indecency with Walter Tonkin, a boy aged 15. To the latter count Skiffin pleaded guilty. – Mr. Poole conducted the proseuction, and Mr. Douglas Metcalfe was retained for the defence. – Prisoner was a foreign sailor on a ship in the port. The offence was committed in Bathurst wharf shed, and the fellows were interrupted by the police, to whom Tonkin told a lie for the purpose of screening the prisoner. – In cross-examination the witness said he did not resist, because he feared that the prisoner had a knife. During the trial prisoner acknowledged the attempt. – The jury found the prisoner guilty of the attempt, with consent. – Sentence, six months' hard labour. (Bridgwater Mercury)

9 February 1887

His Lordship took his seat at 11 o'clock. . . . His Lordship, in charging the grand jury, said . . . the cases were of a very ordinary character, and did not present any difficulty. He thought that it was the only calendar that had been for many years before him in which it was only necessary to mention one case, and, in fact, it was not absolutely necessary to mention that. He referred to the last case but one in the calendar, in which William Ellis was charged with an unnatural offence. His Lordship had read the depositions in the case, and he only wished to make the observation that it was one of those cases that seemed to him, subject, of course, to the judgment of the grand jury, that unless they saw clearly that a conviction should follow it was a case that should not go before the public; but if they thought it was a case that ought to be tried, they would find a true bill. There were, he was sorry to say, two or three cases of the serious nature within the late Criminal Law Amendment Act; but these would give the grand jury no trouble, and the less he said about them the better, for these cases, as far as possible, should not be mentioned in court. . . . (Eddowes' Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire)

12 February 1887

SUSSEX WINTER ASSIZES. – . . . In the case in which two fishermen, named Alfred Meon and Stephen William Ball, were charged with committing an act of gross indecency, at Hastings, Mr. Gill, for the prosecution, made an application that a material witness, named Marks, who is at the present time in Lewes Gaol, might be brought up by the Governor, in order to give evidence. Mr. Laurie, who appeared for the defence, offered no objection, and his lordship acceded to the application. (Hastings and St Leonards Observer)

18 February 1887

At Warwick Assizes, to-day, Baron Huddleston said this Act had given great trouble and anxiety to judges. Fifty years' experience in court taught them that the majority of charges by women against men were untrue. Now the criminal period was extended to 16 years, occasion was given for charges of the most extraordinary character. The Assize Calendars were full of unfounded charges, and probably when more cases of the kind were exposed the legislature would reconsider the Act. There were many instances showing that men, rather than women, wanted protection, and it was not desirable to afford undue facilities for such cases to be brought forward. The experience of those who administered justice was that the Act was open to very great abuse, and those well-intentioned persons who promoted it would do well to reconsider it. (Manchester Evening News)

24 February 1887

At the Richmond police-court on Wednesday, William Henry Hosier, schoolmaster, of St. Mary's-grove, Richmond, a well-known resident of the town, was charged on a warrant with wilfully committing acts of gross indecency with a number of his schoolboys. The prosecution has been taken up by the National Vigilance Association. (South Wales Daily News)

24 February 1887

At Richmond Petty sessions yesterday Wm. Henry Hosier, schoolmaster, Adelaide-villas, St. Mary's-grove, was committed for trial, charged with acts of gross indecency with severaL pupils. The prisoner admitted the offences. (The Globe)

5 March 1887

THE SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A SCHOOLMASTER. – William Henry Hosier, 66, schoolmaster, 1, Adelaide-villas, St. Mary's-grove, Richmond, was charged at the Central Criminal Court, on Tuesday, with committing acts of gross indecency at the parish of Richmond on or about 1st December, 1886, and on divers days since. Prisoner who pleaded guilty was sentenced to five years penal servitude. (Surrey Comet)

2 April 1887

SERIOUS CHARGES. – At the city police court, yesterday, a carpenter of S. Westmoreland buildings, Lower Bristol road, was charged with committing certain acts of gross indecency with James W. Bell, Edwin and Walter Lavington, John Alfred Garrett, Frederick Porter, Henry James Robbins and William Betts. P.S. Ricketts proved the arrest of the prisoner at Bristol. Five of the boys who had been assaulted gave evidence and detailed the different circumstances under which the assaults were committed, and which were of a character unfit for publication. He was admitted to bail in his own recognisances of £100 and two sureties of £50 each, and remanded until Wednesday. (Bristol Mercury)

6 May 1887

George Frederick Gaymer, an inmate of the Guiltcross Union Workhouse, at Kenninghall, was charged upon the information of Mr. James Cole, Master of the Workhouse, with committing an act of gross indecency. He was committed to take his trial at the next Assizes. The same prisoner was charged upon the information of Police-constable Spight with committing a felony, at Kenninghall, on the 2nd of April, and was committed for trial at the Assizes upon this charge also. (Diss Express)

14 May 1887

Edward Davies, 25, carpenter, was indicted for having, at Bath, been guilty of acts of gross indecency with James William Bell, Wiliam Petts, Edwin Porter, Walter Harrington, John Alfred Garrett, and Frederick Porter. The prisoner pleaded guilty to the first indictment. Mr Mathews said he appeared on behalf of the prisoner, and Mr Poole, counsel for the other side, was not desirous of pressing the other cases against the prisoner, but would place himself entirely in his lordship's hands as to whether they should be investigated or not. Mr Poole said the offences were of such a grave and filthy nature that, perhaps, it was desirable the public exposure should be as little as possible. The prisoner was in the position of a Sunday school teacher, and he took advantage of that position to corrupt a large number of boys, and the effects of what had taken place had been very sad indeed. Mr Mathews said that the prisoner had expressed his contrition from the beginning. Mr Poole remarked that the prosecution only desired a substantial punishment. Sentence was deferred. (Bristol Mercury)

21 May 1887

Edward Davies, 25, carpenter, was put at the bar to receive sentence, he having pleaded guilty of gross indecency with James William Bell, at Bath. A person in court came forward and intimated his desire to say a few words on the prisoner's behalf. His lordship said he would hear what he had to say, but he was afraid it would not avail, as he had made up his mind what to do with the prisoner. The gentleman, whose name did not transpire, said the prisoner had been in his employ some years as a confidential clerk, and he was sorry to see the prisoner in that position. He was very sorry also that a man who had led him into it was not there with him. His lordship interrupted with the remark that if that were so the prisoner might be used as a witness to bring the other party to justice, but he could not listen to anything of the kind at present. Addressing the prisoner the learned judge said it was impossible that such gross outrages as these could be passed over lightly. The sentence of the court upon the prisoner was that he be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for 18 months. (Central Somerset Gazette)

27 May 1887

At the Devonport Petty Sessions on Wednesday, Charles William Meddock was charged on remand with committing an act of gross indecency in Devonport Park on May 7th. Mr. Percy T. Pearce appeared for the prisoner. At a previous hearing, a charge of indecently assaulting Wm. Nicholas was preferred against the prisoner, but was dismissed, and the present charge substituted. Wm. Nicholas, Henry Bates, Peter Doidge, John Symons, and Francis Rundle gave evidence to the effect that the prisoner said he had a portmanteau in the Park, and he wanted some one to carry it for him, and the five boys went with him and the act complained of was then committed. That concluded the case for the prosecution. Before addressing the Bench for the defence, Mr. Pearce asked for a certificate of dismissal on the previous charge, and in the course of some argument the Mayor told Mr. Pearce that he was the most offensive solicitor that had ever practised before the Devonport Bench. In his address Mr. Pearce contended that the evidence given by the different witnesses was worthless, as it had many discrepancies, and, having regard to the fact that the prisoner was drunk at the time, he hoped the Bench would not find him guilty of the offence with which he was charged. After a short consultation the Mayor announced that the Bench had no choice but to commit the prisoner to take his trial at the next assizes. (Torquay Times, and South Devon Advdrtiser)

15 July 1887

Frederick Hart, 55, on bail, was charged under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, with committing an indecent assault on a lad, aged 13 years, on the 1st inst. – Mr. Sills prosecuted, and Mr. Weightman (instructed by Messrs. Fowler and Co.) defended. – The offence in qustion was alleged to have been committed in a urinal in the yard of the White Lion Inn, Market-place. – For the defence, Mr. Weightman gave a total denial to the charge, which he urged was supported simply by the uncorroborated evidence of a lad. He called several witnesses, who gave the prisoner an excellent character. – His Lordship having summed up at some length, the jury in a few minutes returned a verdict of guilty. – In sentencing prisoner, his Lordship said it was of very great importance that men who were found guilty of such offences, should receive a very severe punishment. The prisoner would be kept at hard labour for fifteen calendar months. (Leicester Journal)

16 July 1887

FREDERICK HART (55), on bail, was indicted under the Criminal Law Amendment Act for an act of gross indecency with a lad aged 13 years, on the 1st inst. – Mr. Sills prosecuted, and Mr. Weightman (instructed by Messrs. Fowler and Co.) defended. – The evidence was of a disgusting nature, totally unfit for publication. The theory of the prosecution was that on the evening in question prisoner intercepted the lad in a urinal in the yard of the White Lion Inn, Market-place, and was guilty of most indecent conduct. In consequence of information, Mr. Coltman, landlord of the White Lion, went to the spot indicated, and seeing what was going on attempted to seize the prisoner. The latter, however, ran into the Market-place, where he was caught, and given in custody to P.C. Hircock, to whom he remarked that the allegation made against him was a mistake. Detective-Sergeant Palmer subsequently arrested him on a warrant, when he remarked, "the boy has told a falsehood." – Mr Weightman, for the defence, pointed out that the case practically rested on the uncorroborated evidence of the lad. He contended, moreover, that the offence charged was, physically speaking, highly improbable, if not impossible. – Mr. J. Mitchell, Cart's-lane (prisoner's employer); Mr. J. Parker, Evington-street; and Mr. Green, grocer, Cheapside, gave the accused the highest character for respectability and morality. – His Lordship having exhaustively summed up, the jury almost immediately returned a verdict of guilty.
          – His Lordship commented strongly on the atrocious conduct of the prisoner, and sentenced him to 15 months' hard labour. (Leicester Chronicle)

26 July 1887

Charles William Meddock, 29, labourer, was indicted for an act of gross indecency at Devonport, on the 7th May. Mr Carter prosecuted, and Mr Duke defended. Boys named Nicholas, Frederick Bates, Stephen Doidge, John Symons, and Francis Randall, were called in support of the prosecution. Mr Duke, in defence, said the evidence was of a contradictory nature. His client was in a drunken state on the night in question, and was molested by the boys who had given the evidence for the prosecution. P.C. Holland was called for the defence and stated that the complaint made to him by the boys was that the man was drunk and had been chasing them about the Park. They made no allegation in reference to indecent conduct. He afterwards saw the prisoner who said he had lost his watch and chain, and that he had been chased about the Park by boys. The defendant was also called. The jury found the prisoner not guilty, and he was discharged. (Express and Echo)

27 July 1887

Charles William Maddock, 29, labourer, was indicted for committing an act of gross indecnecy in Devonport Park on the night of the 7th of May. Mr. Carter prosecuted, and Mr. H. E. Duke defended. – Upon the pretence of getting one of them to carry a portmanteau, the prisoner induced several boys to accompany him to the Park, where, on a seat under the trees, the alleged offence was committed. – In defence, Mr. Duke stated that the prisoner was very drunk on the night in question, and, after having been robbed of his watch and chain, he was followed in a spirit of mischief by the boys, who hunted him about. – P.C. Holland, who met and spoke to the boys after they had been in the company of the prisoner, said they made no mention of misbehaviour on his part, whilst the prisoner, after saying he had got away from the boys who had been chasing him, added that he had had his watch and chain stolen by roughs at Newpassage. – Prisoner, on being sworn, said the boys pelted him with stones, and he emphatically denied having committed the alleged offence. – Prisoner was acquitted. As he left the dock he thanked his counsel (Mr. Duke) and his solicitor (Mr. Percy T. Pearce) for their efforts on his behalf. This is the case in which the conduct in court of the prisoner's solicitor was questioned by the Devonport justices. (Western Morning News)

13 August 1887

Business was recommenced at 10.30 on Saturday morning, the first case being that of John Brown (52), tailor, who was indicted for attempted to commit an unnatural offence upon Charles Gregory, at Ware, on the 1st August, 1887. Mr. Cooper appeared for the prosecution; prisoner was undefended.
          The grand jury threw out the bill on the first indictment, but found prisoner guilty of gross indecency.
          Prisoner pleaded not guilty.
          Evidence having been adduced, prisoner said that he was quite innocent of the charge, knowing nothing whatever about it.
          The jury returned a verdict of GUILTY, and prisoner was sentenced to 18 months' hard labour. (Herts Advertiser)

6 November 1887

SHOCKING CHARGE AGAINST A CHURCH OF ENGLAND CLERGYMAN. – Henry Valentine Pickering, 60, described as a clerk in holy orders, residing at 36, Lorrimore-square, West Newington, was in the afternoon brought up on a warrant, in the custody of Detective-sergeant Leonard, of the L division, for that he did unlawfully commit an act of gross indecency with another male person, named John Debour. Mr. W. H. Armstrong, solicitor, Renfrew-road, appeared for the defendant. The complainant, a native of Holland, said for some weeks he had been in the service as assistant of Julius Granzy, hairdresser, of 2, Carter-street, Walworth. Last Wednesday fortnight the prisoner came to the shop to have his hair cut, and witness did it. He had cut his hair once before. The prisoner told him he had some nice books at home for witness to read, and also talked upon different subjects. Since then the prisoner had been into the shop three times. On Wednesday last he came to the shop to buy a bottle of corn salve, and left. About ten o'clock, whilst witness was putting up the shop shutters, the prisoner came up and asked his name, and where he lived, and he told him. The prisoner then asked him if he would go with him to 26, Lorrimore-road, where he had some nice books for him to read. Witness consented, and walked with him to his house in Lorrimore-square. the prisoner opened the door with a key, and they went into a down-stairs front room. Prisoner told him to sit down in an easy chair by the fire, and he did so. The prisoner drew another chair down close by the side of him, and then stroking down the cheek of witness, said, "You have shaved your whiskers," and asked if it was customary in his country for men to kiss each other's cheeks. Witness said he was not aware that it was the custom. Witness had, at the invitation of the prisoner, had a glass of beer, and after that, three or four glasses of wine, the prisoner saying it was claret. The prisoner then took hold of him by the legs, and said "You are a strong fellow – you have strong legs." Witness became sleepy and went off to sleep. The witness then proceeded to state that upon awaking he found the prisoner acting in a most disgusting manner towards him. Witness called him a —— beggar and vagabond, and went to the street door. The prisoner opened the door, and witness went out. Witness, before leaving, called the prisoner a swine. On the following morning he told his master what had happened. Mr. Chance: Now, witness, you are making a most horrible charge against the prisoner. Do you still swear that what you have stated is true? Witness: I do swear it is. Julius Granzy, hairdresser, 72, Carter-street, stated that the prosecutor was in his serevice, and knew the prisoner as a customer upon three or four occasions. In consequence of what the prosecutor told him, he went to the house of the prisoner, and wanted to know what he had done to the prosecutcor, and he said he had done nothing to him. The prisoner said he had given the prosecutor a couple of glasses of wine, and that was all. Witness told the prisoner that the prosecutor had stated that the prisoner had acted in a most indecent manner towards him. The prisoner declared he had done nothing of the kind. Detective-sergeant Leonard said he went to the house of the prisoner on Friday night, and saw the prisoner. He told him he held a warrant for his apprehension, and read it to him. He made no reply at that time, but aftewards said, "Shall I be kept all night?" and witness told him he would have to go to the polcie-station, and the inspector would see him. He asked if a friend could go with him, and witness said there would be no objection. The prisoner then said he took the prosecutor home and gave him some wine, and the prosecutor got a little the worse for drink. When spoken to as to the alleged indecency, he said at the police station that it was a most unfounded charge. The witness added that the employer of the prosecutor was perfectly sober when he came to the station. Mr. Armstrong, after some cross-examination, said he believed he should have a complete answer to the charge. The prisoner was a clergyman of the Church of England, and had never had a blemish on his character. He totally denied this disgraceful charge. Mr. Chance: If so, it was an extraordinary course of conduct to take a young man home and give him drink. I shall remand the case. Mr. Armstrong: You will accept bail? Mr. Chance: Yes; I shall require two sureties in 500 for the apeparance of the prisoner on the remand. Mr. Armstrong urged for a less amount of bail, but Mr. Chance declined to alter his decision, and the prisoner, failing to produce the bail, was removed in custody. (Reynolds's Newspaper)

22 November 1887

On Monday, before the Stipendiary Magistrate at Hanley, Josiah Hallam, an inmate of the Spittals Workhouse, a cripple, and who was said to have formerly been a school-master, was charged, under the eleventh section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, with having committed gross acts of indecency towards other male inmates of the workhouse. – The prisoner, who declined to avail himself of the power under the statute to give evidence on his own behalf, was committed for trial at the Assizes, without bail. Mr Smith prosecuted, on behalf of the Board of Guardians. (Gloucestershire Echo)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Gross Indecency", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 28 October 2019, updated 8 Jan. 2023 <>.

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