Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton


5 March 1726   Last week seven small-siz’d rogues were seiz’d at an house of evil repute in White-Cross-Streeet, by Mr. Jones, the High Constable, and other Officers belonging to the Societies for Reformation of Manners.

A gang of Haunchmen, alias Endorsers, have likewise been take up by the said Officers in the Liberty of Westminster, some whereof have been committed to the Gatehouse, and others to Bridewell, &c. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

7 May 1726   We hear that near 20 houses have been discover’d, which entertain’d sodomitical clubs; besides the nocturnal assemblies of great numbers of the like vile persons at what they call the markets, which are the Royal-Exchange, Moorfields, Lincolns-Inn Bog-houses, the south side of St. James’s Park and the piazza’s of Covent-Garden, where they make their bargains, and then with draw into some dark corners to indorse, as they call it, but in plain English to commit sodomy. However the Government having undertaken the prosecution of them, ’tis not doubted, but strict care will be taken to detect them in order to avert from these cities those just judgments, which fell from Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, whose sons of perdition, so much resembled by our English sodomites in their aversion to the female sex, rejected Lot’s daughters and lusted after the angels, believing them to be men. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

14 May 1726
It being too notorious, that there are vile clubs of miscreants in and about this city, who meet to practise and propagate the detestable sin of sodomy, a crime which drew down the flaming vengeance of God upon the city of Sodom, in a day when they had not that light which we are bless’d with now, ’tis humbly propos’d that the following method may


not only destroy the practice, but blot out the names of the monstrous wretches from under Heaven, viz. when any are detected, prosecuted and convicted, that after sentence pronounc’d, the Common Hangman tie him hand and foot before the Judge’s face in open Court, that a skilful surgeon be provided immediately to take out his testicles, and that then the Hangman sear up his scrotum with an hot iron, as in cases of burning in the hand. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

1 October 1726   Monday one Thomas Doulton stood upon the pillory at Charing-Cross, pursuant to his sentence at the last Sessions at the Old Bailey, for endeavouring (according to the canting term) to discover the Windward Passage upon one Joseph Yates, a seafaring person, whom he pick’d up in St. James’s Park, and carried to an ale-house in the Strand. Not only the men, but the women express’d their abhorrence of the fact, by pelting the criminal with dirt. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

22 October 1726   [Last Monday], John Harwood and Mary his wife, were tryed upon an indictment for keeping a disorderly house in entertaining sodomites, and knowingly and willfully permitting them to commit the detestable sin of sodomy. It was fully prov’d by four or five unexceptionable witnesses that sodomites used to meet there, and practised divers sodomitical obscenities, and sometimes in Mrs. Harwood’s presence, and that she abetted such practices. Their defence consisted in producing many persons to their reputation, but the only material circumstance in their favour was, that there was no proof of the latter part of the indictment, viz. the commission of the gross act of sodomy: And thereupon they were both acquitted, but were admonished by the court to reform their behaviour, and not suffer such practices in their house for the future. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

For more documents, see Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England

(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, "Sodomites", 28 December 2001 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/sodomy.htm>

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