Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Newspaper Reports, 1894

21 May 1894

At the Merthyur Police-court, to-day, Philip Wheelan and Thomas Henderson, young Dowlais labourers, were committed for trial at the assizes upon a charge of an abominable nature. They were found, on Sunday, by Police-constables George Hughes and Edward Finch in a lodge at the works. Prisoners now pleaded not guilty. An application to admit Hendersen to bail was refused. (South Wales Echo)

24 May 1894

John Anderson and a man named Wheelan were charged with committing an unnatural offence at the Dowlais Works on Sunday. – P.C. George Hughes said that he, in company with P.C. Edward Clinch, went up to the Dowlais Works and saw a lodge which had no door, but which had two pieces of corrugated iron put up instead. Peeping in he saw both defendants committing the alleged offence. Wheelan, when asked what they were doing, replied "Nothing." Anderson said "Don't say that we did anything." – P.C. Clinch corroborated. – The two defendants were committed to take their trial at the Assizes. (Merthyr Times and Dowlais Times)

7 July 1894

Thomas Henderson, 16, labourer, was charged with feloniously and wickedly committing an unnatural offence with Philip Wheelan, at Merthyr, on May 31st. Mr. Plews prosecuted. The prisoner, who was undefended and had nothing to say, was found guilty of the attempt. Sentence was deferred. – Philip Wheelan (23) was then charged with a similar offence. He pleaded not guilty. The same evidence was given in each case. Mr. Plews again prosecuted. Prisoner was found not guilty, and discharged.

Vincent Clarke, was indicted for an unnameable offence at the Cardiff Docks on February 10th. Mr. Milner Jones prosecuted, and Mr. Jackson defended the prisoner. (South Wales Daily Post)

9 July 1894

A telegram from Swansea this morning says:– Justices Vaughan Williams and Kennedy are now both taking criminal charges, and they intend finishing to-day. They sat at 9.30, and Justice Kennedy at once passed sentence on the men found guilty of indecent offences. William Lloyd, signalman, for indecent assault at Dowlais, was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment; Geo. Ball, for an unnatural offence to two months' imprisonment; Philip Wheelan, for an unnatural offence, to six months; Thomas Henderson, for an unnatural offence, to four months; Vincent Clark, for an unnatural offence, to four months.
          David Rennie, found guilty this morning of an unnatural offence at Cardiff, was sentenced by Justice Vaughan Williams to four years' penal servitude. (South Wales Echo)

10 July 1894

A signalman, of Dowlais, William Lloyd, was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment for an indecent assault on Mary Alice Woodman. – George Ball was sentenced to two months' imprisonment for an unnatural offence. – Thomas Anderson [sometimes Henderson] and Phillip Wheelan [sometimes Wheeler] to four and six months respective; and Vincent Clarke to four months for similar offences. (South Wales Daily Post)

23 June 1894

A Serious Offence.
William Dazeley, on bail, Bedford, pleaded guilty to a charge of committing acts of gross indecency with Ernest Denton, at Goldington, on the 30th May last. Mr. A. M. White, instructed by Messrs Halliley and Stimson, prosecuted.
          Mr. Lindsell, in the course of a palliative speech for the prisoner, said one or more acts of indecency were committed, and it had been suggested by the principal witness that throughout Dazeley was the tempter and aggressor; but when one read between the lines, it was obvious that the young man had kept a great deal back. He asked his lordship not to accept as true everything that appeared in the depositions, and said it was not a case calling for extreme punishment. The prisoner was nearly 60 years of age, and the other person was a youth of 19, said to be a cripple, but he was able to make baskets.
          The Judge reserved sentence until Friday morning.

Another Luton Case.
William Coleman, 28, blocker, was charged with committing an unnatural offence at Luton on April 28. Mr. Bonsey prosecuted, and prisoner, who pleaded not guilty was defended by Mr. Lawrence.
          The prosecution relied chiefly upon the evidence of three little children, and it was contended for the defence that there was no evidence of identification. Prisoner after the occurrence shaved his moustache off.
          The jury found him guilty of an attempt to commit the offence.
          The Court then rose, the Judge intimating that he would deliver sentence in the last two cases on Friday morning.

The Court assembled at ten o'clock, and the Dunstable case, in which a man named Alfred Moore, 38, drayman, was charged with committing an unnatural offence at Dunstable in April, was proceeded with. Mr. Lawrence prosecuted, and prisoner was defended by Mr. Lindsell. The offence was alleged to have been committed with the son of the landlord of the George Inn, Dunstable. For the defence, a point was made of the publicity of the place, and the jury were asked to treat the boy's story as altogether improbable.
          After short consideration, the jury found prisoner guilty of an attempt.
          The Judge then proceeded to deliver sentence on the prisoners in the three cases. Moore was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with hard labour; Wm. Coleman, for an offence which the Judge described as "brutal and cruel," to two years' with hard labour; William Dezeley, for indecency at Bedford, received a sentence of ten months, with hard labour. (Bedfordshire Times and Independent)

11 August 1894

SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST A WALTON TRADESMAN. – Benjamin Rogers, 35, butcher, High-street, Walton, was charged with committing an act of gross indecency with William Munden, aged 15, an inmate of Feltham Industrial School. – Mr. Searle, solicitor, of Richmond, appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. H. C. Biron, barrister, instructed by Mr. A. Myers, defended. – In opening the case Mr. Searle said the proceedings were taken under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, and it was an extremely painful case, as the prisoner held a position of respectability in the neighbourhood of Walton. – The evidence of the boy went to show that the inmates of the school were encamped in a field near Walton Bridge, and that he was on sentry duty when the alleged offences took place. He stated that he knew he was doing wrong, but he did not warn his companion because he was frightened although they were within earshot. Prisoner gave him 2d., and he did not say anything about the occurrence until he was asked by the head master, Mr. Hurrell. The prisoner was apprehended on the following night when he again came to the field. – Evidence was also given by Thomas James Mackintosh, assistant boatswain; Charles Norland, boatswain; Harry Greve, seniorboy of the camp; P.C. Crookand Station-Sergt. Tucker. – From the evidence of these witnesses it appeared that the prisoner asked them when he was caught to let him off, saying he would square matters and give them anything. – Mr. Biron said the boy was clearly an accomplice in any indecent act that took place, and it was the law of the country tht the evidence of an accomplice could not be acted upon unless there was substantial corroboration. Apart from the word of the boy, a boy of tainted character, there was not one scrap of corroboration in the case, and no jury could convict. He suggested that the boy to save himself from punishment made the charge against the prisoner. – The magistrates thought a prima facie case had been made out, and committed the prisoner for trial, bail being allowed, prisoner in £100, with two sureties of £50 each. (Surrey Comet)

26 September 1894

THE SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A WALTON TRADESMAN. – At the Central Criminal Court, on Monday, Benjamin Rogers (35), butcher, of High-street, Walton, was indicted for improper conduct with William Munden, aged 15, an inmate of Feltham Industrial School, on July 30th. – Mr J. P. Grain appeared for the prosecution, and Mr H. C. Biron, instructed by Mr A. Myers, defended. The evidencefor the prosecution occupied a considerable time, and, afterwars, Mr Rogers went into the witness-box and gave a total denial to the charge. – The rev T. J. C McCowan (vicar of Walton), and Messrs M. Summerson and Blake were called, and gave the prisoner a high character for respectability, &c. – The Common Serjeant was about to sum up when the foreman of the jury, interrupting, said he and his colleagues were fully agreed that the prisoner was not guilty. – Prisoner was accordingly discharged. (West Middlesex Herald)

20 October 1894

Charles Demarest (19), a black youth, who had been employed at a travelling circus, was charged with having committed an act of gross indecency at Stow-on-the-Wold, on October 12th. – Mr. Sturges prosecuted, and prisoner, who denied his guilt, was undefended. – Prisoner was found guilty of a common assault, and sentenced to six weeks' hard labour. (Gloucester Journal)

7 November 1894

John Hewnry Ruddelle Finch (48), tailor, of Oxford-street, was brought up in custody charged with attempting to procure the commission by another male person, to wit, one John Crutchfield, of High Wycombe, of an act of gross indecency on the 29th inst. – Complainant, 14 years of age, a furrier, of 27, George-street, stated that he was near the Town Hall the previous night, when the prisoner came to him and said "Here, half a minute," and after using other objectionable remarks concerning a girl, he accompanied witness in the direction of his home. Prisoner attempted to commit the alleged indecent act in Lily's Walk, and when he heard Supt. Sparling and a constable come up he let witness go. Witness made a statement to Supt. Sparling and accompanied him to the police station. – Supt. Sparling asked for a remand until Saturday, in order that futher inquiries might be made concerning the accused. – The Bench granted the remand. (Buckinghamshire Examiner)

13 November 1894

AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE. – Arthur William Booth, a young man of Woodville, Leeds Road, was charged with committing an unnatural offence, on the 7th inst., in the Co-operative Hall, Dewsbury. There was also a charge against William Mellor, aged fourteen years, of 2, Springfield Place, of aiding and abetting Booth. He was accepted as informer, and gave evidence, as also did W. Wardle, caretaker of the Co-operatie Hall; W. E. Firth, Savile Town; and others. – Prisoner, who had made damaging admissions, was committed for trial to the Assizes. Mr. Blakeley appeared for the accused. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1894", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 25 April 2023 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1894news.htm>.

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