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Unnatural Crime, 1886


6 March 1886

Huddersfield Borough Police Court.
AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE. – William Wilkinson, printer, of no fixed residence, was placed in the dock on a charge of committing an unnatural offence upon John Habbishaw, a lad about 14 years of age, but in the absence of sufficient corroborative evidence the case was withdrawn by the Chief Constable. (Huddersfield Chronicle)

19 March 1886

CRIMINALITY AND OPIUM.
At the Old Bailey, on Saturday morning, Edward Hodge, aged 33, a well-educated man, who has been convicted of committing certain acts of gross indecency with a lad, came up before the Common Sergeant for sentence. Mr. Lowe, on behalf of the prisoner, stated that during the last two years his client had suffered considerable pain from neuralgia. His lordship, doubtless, was aware of the agony of that ailment, although the learned counsel hoped he had not gained his knowledge by experience; and in order to alleviate his pain the prisoner had been in the habit of taking opium in some considerable quantities; and although that might not have produced such a mental condition as to warrant the acquittal of the prisoner on the ground of insanity or anything of that sort, yet very probably the continued habit may so far hava affected his mental and moral qualities as to destroy that nice discrimination between right and wrong, which, of course, was always an element the Court would take into consideration in inflicting punishment. Sentence of eight calendar months with hard labour was passed. (Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow)

28 April 1886

ALLEGED UNNATURAL OFFENCE.
At the Thames Police Court, to-day, the Rev. Chas. Alfred Burleigh Harte, of Seaton Carew, Durham, was charged with inciting William Humphreys, of Mile End, to commit an unnatural offence. William Humphreys, a lad of fifteen, said he was with his father serving milk, when the prisoner asked him to show him the way to an infirmary, and then made indecent proposals. He called his father and gave him into custody. The prisoner was remanded. (Newcastle Evening Chronicle)

29 April 1886

SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A CLERGYMAN.
At the Thames Police-court, on Wednesday, the Rev Charles Alfred Burleigh Harte, 28, of Seaton Carew, Durham, was charged with inciting William Humphreys, a boy, of 32, Wilson-street, Mile-end, to the comission of an unnatural offence in a place of convenience at Arnold-road, Bow. – After evidence had been given, the defendant said he had come up to London from Durham for a day to see a brother-clergyman. – Mr Saunders: I would advise you to have legal aid. – The Defendant: I would rather have the case heard to-day, as I am anxious to get back. – Mr Saunders said the case would have to be adjourned, but he would take any reasonable bail. – The defendant said his mother, who was of independent means, and who was in court, would be bail for him. – Mr Saunders said he would take two bails, each for 100, for defendant's appearance that day week. – The defendant was then removed to the cells. – Subsequently Mr Saunders consented to accept the mother's bail in 100, and the accused was shortly afterwards liberated. (Hull Daily Mail)

29 April 1886

SHOCKING CHARGE AGAINST THE REV. C. A. HARTE.
As we briefly reported in yesterday's Mail,the Rev. Charles Alfred Burleigh Harte, 28, of Seaton Carew, was before the Thames Stipendiary yesterday, charged with inciting Wm. Humphreys, of 32, Ripon-street, Mile End, to the commission of an unantural offence at Arnold-road, Bow.
          Humphreys, who appeared to be about 15 years of age, stated that about half-past three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon he was serving one of his father's customers with milk at 76, Bow-road. The prisoner, who was alone, came up to him, and at that time his father was at the door of No. 76. The prisoner asked him if he could tell him where the infirmary was. Witness turned round and asked his father, who directed the prisoner. Harte asked him if he would go with him in order to show him the way. Witness did not reply. The prisoner walked on, and witness asked his father if he should go and show him the way. He went up to the prisoner and said he would show him where the infirmary was. Harte asked witness to show him where there was a public convenience. He did so. The prisoner went inside and witness remained outside. Harte then spoke to him, and as he could not hear what was said he went inside. The prisoner made a disgusting remark to him, and acted grossly. Harte offered him threepence. Witness ran out and told his father, who was at the corner of Terrence Grove. His father went after the prisoner. When they came up to Harte, he said, "Which way did you say the infirmary was?" His father called prisoner a dirty beast. The prisoner said, "You are trying to extort money. If I give you a sovereign, it will be all right." His father said, "I don't want your money nor you either." The prisoner went into the Bow-road, and witness and his father followed. They met a constable, and the prisoner was given in charge. Prisoner tried to give his father in charge for insulting him.
          By the prisoner: He first spoke to witness, but his father was standing by his side. He did not say to witness, "Wait here, my lad," before he went into the place. It had an entrance at either end. He did tell his father that he would give him in charge, and gave the policeman his card.
          The prisoner said he had come up to London from Durham for a day to see a brother clergyman.
          The Stipendiary: I would advise you to have legal aid.
          The prisoner: I would rather have the case heard out to-day, as I am anxious to get back.
          Wm. Humphreys, father of the last witness, testified that the prisoner asked him if he could show him the way to the infirmary, and he did so. He told his son he might show him the way. After being away a short time he came running back and told witness something. Witness went after the prisoner and called him a dirty scoundrel. Witness asked him what made him offer his son threepence. The prisoner said, "I can see what you want. You want to extort money. I suppose if I was to give you a sovereign it would be all right." A constable came up and witness gave him into custody.
          By the prisoner: He did not take his card out until he got to the station. Witness would not swear that he did not make use of abusive language towards him.
          The Stipendiary said the case would have to be remanded, but he would take any reasonable bail.
          The prisoner said his mother, who was of independent means, and who was in court, would be bail for him.
          The Stipendiary said he would take two bails, each for 100, for the prisoner's appearance that day week.
          The prisoner was then removed to the cells.
          Subsequently, the magistrate consented to accept the mother's bail in 100, and the accused was liberated. (Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail)

1 May 1886

SHOCKING CHARGE AGAINST A CLERGYMAN. – A clergyman, giving an address at the North of England, was charged with inciting William Humphrey, of 32, Wilson-street, Mile End, to the commission of an unantural offence, in a public urinal at Arnold-road, Bow. . . . He was then asked to show prisoner where a urinal was, and he took him to one in Arnold-road, Bow. The prisoner went inside, and witness remained outside. The former then spoke to him, and as he could not hear what was said, he went inside. The prisoner made a disgusting remark to him, and afterwards exposed himself in an indecent manner. (The witness here described what the prisoner did.) After that he offered him threepence if he would do someething. Witness then ran out and told his father, who was at the corner of Tomlin's-grove. . . . (East London Observer)

6 May 1886

THE SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST
A DURHAM CLERGYMAN.
At the Thames Police Court, London, yesterday, the Rev. Charles Alfred Burleigh Harte, 28, of Seaton Carew, Durham, surrendered to his recognisances on a charge of inciting Wm. Humphreys, a lad, of 32, Wilson-street, Mile End, to the commission of an unnatural offence. The case was again remanded, on the application of the police, as they desired to learn whether the Public Prosecutor would take up the case. The bail was increased to two sureties of 100 each, as it was stated that other charges of a similar character would be brought against the accused. As the necessary sureties were not in attendance, the prisoner was removed to the cells. (Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough)

20 May 1886

ALLEGED UNNATURAL OFFENCE
We are informed that the Rev. Mr Burleigh Harte, charged with an unnatural offence at the Thames Police-court, is not a curate of the Church of England. At Seaton Carew he taught a Roman Catholic School, and never even attended the Parish Church. (South Wales Echo)

22 May 1886

THE CHARGE AGAINST A CLERGYMAN.
SHOCKING CASE.
The Rev. Chas. A. Burleigh Harte, of Seaton Carew, Durham, was brought up, on remand charged with inciting a lad, named Wm. Humphreys, to the committal of an unnatural offence in a place of convenience at Arnold-road, Bow [East London]. – A fresh case was gone into.
          Mr. Sims now prosecuted on behalf of the Treasury; Detective-Inspector Wildey watched the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department; and Mr. G. H. Young, solicitor, defended.
          The first case, which has already been reported, showed that the prisoner accosted Humphreys, and afterwards tried to induce him to commit the offence complained about. – The second charge was now gone into.
          Wm. Hart, of 3, John-street, St. George's-road, Southwark, deposed that he resided with his parents. He had been employed as an odd man at a goods removing place. He was 17 in September last. In February, 1884, he worked for Mr. Elwood, hat manufacturer, Great Charlotte-street, Borough. Up to that tiime he had been about a year in Mr. Elwood's employ. One day in that month he was going over Southwark Bridge, when the prisoner accosted him and asked him for a match. Witness gave him one, and they then walked along together. They made an appointment to meet the same night. After having a walk, they had a fish supper, and the accused then said he was a student at Guy's Hospital. When they met the following night, the prisoner took him to 18, Trinity-square, Borough. He took witness into a bedroom, when acts of gross indecency took place between them. The same thing took place between them on other occasions. The prisoner afterwards took him on a holiday to Goring, near Reading, and one afternoon, while there, the rector's son and another person caught them in the act of indecency. In consequence of what these persons saw, the rector wrote a letter to the accused, saying that if he did not clear out of the place, the police would be put on his track.
          Mr. Saunders again remanded the prisoner for a week. (East London Observer)

29 May 1886

THE CHARGE AGAINST A CLERGYMAN. – A CORRECTION.
To the Editor of the East London Observer.
SIR, – The wretched being, named Rev. Charles A. Burleigh Harte, now charged at the Thames Police-court, and described in your columns as a "Clergyman," is, I beg to state, not a clergyman of the Church of England. I have carefully searched for his name in "Crockford's Clerical Directory" of this year, and of preceding years, and, I am pleased to say, without any result. That unquestioned authority has no mention whatever of this person. – Yours faithfully,
                                                  "WATCHMAN." (East London Observer)

4 June 1886

Phineas William Sherlock, and Alfred Dean, sailors, were charged with committing an unantural crime at Chatham, on April 30th. Prisoners were sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour. (Kent & Sussex Courier)

5 June 1886

A DISGUSTING OFFENCE AT CHATHAM.
Phineas William Sherlock, 21, sailor, and Alfred Dean, 17, sailor, were charged with committing an unnatural crime at Chatham, on April 30th. Mr Stone prosecuted; Mr Marshall Hall and Mr Prosser defended. – Prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour each. (East Kent Gazette)

8 June 1886

AN UNNATURAL CRIME.
Phinehas William Sherlock (21), sailor, and Alfred Dean were charged with committing an unnatural crime, at Chatham, on April 30th, 1886, and were sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour. (Mid sussex Times )

11 June 1886

THE SEATON CAREW CASE. – At the Central Criminal Court on Saturday, Charles Alfred Burleigh Harte, a well-dressed man, who was stated to have formerly filled the position of a clergyman of the Church of England, was sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour upon several indictments for assaults upon two boys named Humphrey and Hart. (Durham County Advertiser)

14 August 1886

GRAVE CHARGES AGAINST A RETIRED NAVAL OFFICER. – Neville Edmund Cornwall Legh, 32, of no occupation, was indicted for having, on three separate occasions in March and April, committed unnatural offences with a boy named Thos. William Alexander, aged 14 years, at Winchester. A second indictment also charged him with unlawfully assaulting Francis Thorpe, on 5th June. – Mr. Mathews prosecuted, and prisoner was defended by the Hon. B. Coleridge, M.P. – It appeared that prisoner (who was formerly an officer in the Royal Navy) lived in Tower-street, Winchester, and it was alleged that under pretence of educating the boy he obtained permission for him to visit his house, where he committed the offence with which he stood charged. The case occupied the attention of the Court several hours, and ultimately the Jury retired to consideer their verdict. After a prolonged absence they returned, when the Foreman announced that they found prisoner guilty of the attempt. Mr. Mathews offered no evidence in regard to the other indictments. Mr. Coleridge handed in a number of certificates dealing with prisoner's history, and mentioned that prisoner had received the Royal Humane Society's certificate for saving life. He had served in Zululand with distinction, and was introduced by Sir Bartle Frere to the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a member. While serving on the West Coast of Africa he had, time after time, been reported for conspicuous gallantry while under fire when engaged in the suppression of the slave trade. – Before sentence was passed prisoner said three or four years ago he received a permanent injury to his head, for which he was invalided from the Service. – His Lordship told prisoner his crime was one for which his life would have been forfeited a few years ago, and he, the Judge, had now the power to send him for his natural life, or for no less a period than ten years. He would, therefore, be kept in penal servitude for ten years. (Portsmouth Evening News)

5 November 1886

AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE.
TAYLOR JOHNSON (42), sailor, was charged with an unnatural assault upon a boy named Albert Brown (15), on the vessel Alexander, at South Shields, on the 4th October last. – Mr Joel prosecuted, and Mr Dale defended. – Prisoner was found guilty of an attempt, and sentenced to five years' penal servitude. (Durham County Advertiser)

12 November 1886

Hugh Gibson, alias Paton, 37, seaman, was charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence on Thomas Daniels, a boy of 14 years, at Newport, on October 13th. Mr David prosecuted. The assault was committed on board a steamship, where the boy had gone on an errand. Prisoner's defence was that he was drunk and had no recollection of the occurrence. He said he would rather be charged with wilful murder than the charge upon which he appeared before them. The prisoner was found guilty and was sentenced to eighteen months' hard labour. (Gloucestershire Echo)

25 November 1886

William Blake (19) and George Fielder (19), artillerymen, were indicted, the former for committing an unnatural offence, and the latter for aiding and abetting him, at Trowbridge, on September 29. Mr. Lopes prosecuted and Mr. Piggott defended Blake. The evidence disclosed a discreditable state of affairs to those concerned. The jury found the prisoners not guilty, and his lordship disallowed the expenses of the person bringing the charge – a lad named William James Johnston – and a witness named Trumpeter Sutton. (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette)


SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Unnatural Crime, 1886", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 28 October 2019 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1886unat.htm>.


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