KIPLING'S SUSSEX - online book

An illustrated descriptive guide, to the places mentioned in
the writings of Rudyard Kipling.

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My notes on smuggling in this neighbourhood would be incomplete without mention of the " Hawkhurst Gang." Although they took their title from an inland town, they ranged the coast from Dover to Brighton, and at times extended their operations still further westward. Previous to their being dispersed, this band reigned supreme. They rode in troops to the seaside to fetch their goods, and carried them away triumphantly, daring King George's men who were sent to awe them. The whole country became incensed against this gang in the end, and most of the members of it were apprehended. There were in all twenty-two who were executed, a special assize being held at Chichester to try the offenders. The whole of the prisoners were found guilty. One of the gang named Jackson, escaped hanging by dying the night before the day of execution. A year or two ago there was in existence a stone which bore the following inscription :
" Near this place was buried the body of William Jackson, a proscribed smuggler, who was with William Carter, attainted for the murder of William Galley, a custom-house officer, and who likewise was together with Benjamin Tayner, John Cobby, John Hammond, Richard Mills, the elder, and Richard Mills, the younger, his son, attainted for the murder of Daniel Chater ; but dying a few hours after sentence of death was
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