Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.                             247
before the entrenchments of the militia * and after some horrid threats and imprecations by their leader, a general discharge of firearms was given by the smugglers, and returned immediately by the militia, by which one of the smugglers fell; but it was not till two more had lost their lives, and many had been wounded, that they quitted the field of battle ; they were pursued by the militia and some of them taken and executed.f
Thomas Kingsmill escaped for a time, and became the leader of the desperate attack made in October, 1747, by thirty smugglers on the custom-house at Poole. This man was a native of Goudhurst, and had been a husbandman ; but, having joined the smugglers, he was distinguished and daring enough to become captain of the gang—an honour of which he was so proud that he sought every opportunity of exhibiting specimens of his courage, and putting himself foremost in every service of danger.
Perrin, another of the gang, was a native of Chichester, where he had served his time as a carpenter, and had successfully practised his trade, as a master, for some years, till a stroke of the palsy had deprived him of the use of his right hand; he then became connected with the smugglers, and used to sail to France as purchaser of goods for them. In this capacity he, in September, 1747, bought a large quantity of brandy, tea and
* My great grandfather, Wni. Durrant, afterwards of Lamber-hurst and Boreham, M.D., was at that time resident with Mr. Hunt, a surgeon in the town ; and (like Mr. James, in his novel of " The Smuggler ") laid the scene of the attack at Goudhurst Church.
f " General" Sturt was for some time prior to his death master of the poorhouse of Cranbrook. See also "Gent. Mag." vol. iv., p. 679.
Previous Contents Next