Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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188                             SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
Race. I don't know ; I am sure he was with us, and had his share of tea when we divided it at Brooke.
William Steel was called, and appearing, was sworn.
William Steel. When I came home, I was told the goods were taken by Captain Johnson. The first time we met, I cannot say any of the prisoners were there. When we met in Charlton Forest at the Center-tree, I believe Richard Perrin was there ; there were a great many of us there ; this was some time in October ; we met to conclude about getting this tea out of Poole custom-house. We came to some conclusion there; from thence we came to Rowland's Castle on a Sunday in the afternoon; there were about twenty of us ; I think Thomas Lilliwhite was there.
Q. Were there any of your company armed ?
Steel. I cannot say there were any arms there on the Sunday. On the Monday, in the afternoon, some time before sunset, when we set out, every man was armed.
Q. How came they by their firearms ?
Steel. They had them from their own houses, as far as I know. I do not remember one man without: some had pistols, some blunderbusses; all the Hawkhurst men had long arms slung round their shoulders, and Fairall, alias Shepherd, had a hanger. We went from Rowland's Castle, and when we came to the Forest of Bere we were joined by the Hawkhurst gang; this was on a Monday night. The prisoners Kingsmill and Fairall were part of the Hawkhurst gang that joined us, and had with them a little horse which brought their arms and would follow a grey horse one of them rode on; there were about seven of them. We went from Dean to Lindhurst, and when we set out from thence to Poole we were all armed ; we all looked at our firearms to see if they were primed.
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