THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


224                    HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
are a marked man,' said I; ' how are you armed ? Barkers ?' ' Pooh,' said he, pulling from the right and left pockets of his great coat a couple of hog knives, ' these are the toolsóthey never miss fire.'"
THE SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
The Summer Assizes at East Grinstead in 1749 were famous as marking the final break-up of one of the most notorious gangs of smugglers, thieves and murderers that ever infested this country. Thwarted in an attempt to smuggle a cargo of tea from Guernsey, a gang of 30 men, aided by 30 others who kept watch, on the night of October 6th, 1747, broke into the King's Custom House at Poole, and stole the whole consignment of which the revenue officers had deprived them. They then scattered themselves over the counties of Hampshire and Sussex, but the affair was too serious for the law to overlook, and a man named Daniel Chater was brought by a Custom House officer, named William Galley, to this county in order to identify one of the smugglers, named Diamond. They got as far as Rowlands Castle, near Havant, where they were seized by a gang of the men they were in search of. For several days the poor fellows were subjected to the most brutal tortures, and finally Galley was buried before he was quite dead and Chater was thrown into a well in Lady Holt Park, and there stoned until he succumbed. One of those who assisted in Chater's murder was John Mills, and shortly afterwards he and Jeremiah Curtis, suspecting a labourer named Richard Hawkins of having stolen one of their bags of tea, took him to the Dog and Partridge, at Slindon Common, where they were met by several of their companions, including a man named Rowland, or Robb, and commonly called " Little-Fat-Back," who lived in East Grinstead. They thrashed Hawkins to death, tied stones to his arms and legs and threw his body into a pond in Parham Park, where it was discovered nine months later. A great number of arrests followed, and the first batch of this dangerous gang was convicted at
Previous Contents Next