Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

An Account of a notorious Smuggling gang in the early 18th Century

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
165
at the bar, who agreed to come up with them. That on the road, talking together of their exploits, the two prisoners owned to him their robbing the. farmer at Heathfield. That they said the old man was churning when they came to his house. That they craped their faces over, and took out of the house five or six and thirty pounds, besides a watch, rings, spoons, and a silver cup.
Being asked how they came to confess a robbery to him which must affect their lives, he said that he, the two Kemps, and Mills, alias Smoker, had agreed to go robbing on the highway, and to break open houses ; that the prisoners bragged of this amongst other robberies they had committed.
Being asked by the court whether he had repented of the agreement he had so made, he said that he had no such intention, but that it was only a feint, and that he went down to Bristol on purpose to bring up Mills that he might be apprehended. That there meeting with the Kemps also, and hearing of this robbery at Heath-field, he resolved to do all in his power to allure them to his house, in order to get them and Mills apprehended.
The prisoners being called upon to make their defence, both said they knew nothing of the robbery; and the prisoner Thomas Kemp said that they never made any such confession to the evidence, Pring; that he, together with John Mills, alias Smoker, Francis Doe and Jockey Brown, were all the persons who robbed the farmer at Heathfield.
Being asked whether they had any witness to prove what they had asserted, or where they were when the robbery was committed, they said they had no witnesses, for that they had no "steady," meaning no certain place of abode, for two years past; upon which the jury found them both Guilty. Death.
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