Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton


4 June 1726   On Wednesday last one White that kept the King’s-Head ale-house in Hog-lane was committed to Newgate by Justice Ellis in Denmark Street, (being charged upon oath) for ravishing his own child, a girl of about 11 or 12 years of age. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

6 August 1726   Daniel Curtis, about 80 years of age, was indicted for carnally knowing his own daughter, and getting her with child. The daughter, desposed, That her father had lain with her for several years, and that she had two children by him, viz. one about 3 years ago, and the other in March last; the first of which, she said, being born alive, was carried into the garden, and buried by her father; and that she heard it cry, but did not see it, her father doing the office of a midwife. But she appearing to the Court to be little better than a natural [a simpleton], the prisoner was acquitted. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

10 December 1726   Stafford, Dec. 3. We have a man also from Stone, for committing a rape on a woman of that place, who us’d to carry the letters to the neighbouring towns; but because he could not master her in several hours, and then not without tying her legs to a tree, he cut her in a barbarous manner, so that her life is despaired of. He was taken washing the blood from his cloaths, by some people that came by, where he had left her almost dead, and heard her groan. This is the second rape he has attempted, but narrowly escap’d for the first. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

8 April 1727   At the Assizes at Stafford, which ended March 31, the following malefactors received sentence of death, viz. William Stokes for felony and burglary, and John Francis for ravishing Elizabeth Harrison, spinster, a woman of above fifty years of Age, and barbarously treating her; she had scuffed with him for almost three hours, but being at last spent with loss of blood, was forced to submit to his inhuman lust: He had been formerly try’d at Shrewsbury for the like crime. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

21 October 1727   From our Portsmouth Letter, Oct. 14. The other day two Dragoons were committed to Southampton Gaol, for ravishing a couple of young girls, whom they met with a little way out of that town; they were first discover’d by an old woman, who, seeing their wicked Design, called some people to her, and they took the fellows in the very fact; and what is most surprising, one of them was so flagrant in the villainy, that the girl whom he seiz’d being too young for him to execute his design on, the ravisher drew out his knife, and was going to rip up (had he not been timely prevented) what modesty forbids me to name, to make way for his outrageous lust. [British Journal]

16 April 1730   Monday, April 13. On Friday last George Rouson was tried at Hicks’s-hall, for a rape of a child of 9 years old, and was sentenced to be whipt twice from Islington turn-pike to the Church, and to be kept to hard labour at Clerkenwell Bridewell for one year. — He was well served, being a person not duly qualified for those sports. [Grub-street Journal]

6 July 1732   Edinburgh, June 22. This day the Lords of Justiciary sentenc’d Foulden, the tobacconist, for an attempt to ravish Agnes Donaldson, to stand in the pillory at Jedburgh, with a paper on his brow expressing his crime; after that to be whipt through the said town, and banish’d out of the same for ever. DP. 29. (Grub-street Journal)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Rape", 18 November 2001, amended and enlarged 31 January 2006 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/rape1.htm>

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