Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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for many years and had committed many robberies, but said they never were concerned in any murder.
Thomas Kemp being asked if he was guilty of the indictment he was tried upon at the Old Bailey before he broke out of Newgate, he at first did not care to answer the question, but at last said he was.
They married two daughters of a farmer near Nettle-bed, in Oxfordshire ; but as the father of the unhappy young women lives in good reputation, and the women themselves having the character of very virtuous persons, we think it improper to mention any particulars concerning them, their own misfortunes being sufficient trouble to them.
As to Thomas Kemp, he broke out of Newgate soon after he was tried and acquitted at the Old Bailey, being charged with a large debt due to the crown; the circumstances attending his escape being somewhat more than common, we shall here insert them.
Thomas Potter and three other smugglers came into the press-yard of Newgate to see Thomas Kemp and William Grey, who was also one of the Hawkhurst gang, when they agreed at all hazards to assist in getting them out; and accordingly the time was fixed (Kemp having no irons, and Grey had his so managed as to let them fall off' when he pleased), and Potter and the other three came to the press-yard door, and rung the bell for the turnkey to come and let them in ; when he came and had unlocked the door, Potter immediately knocked him down with a horse pistol, and cut him terribly, when Kemp and Grey made their escape, and Potter and his companions got clear off without being discovered.
There were three other prisoners got out with them, but were taken directly, having irons on.
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