Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.                                257
conviction at Horsham, on Marcli 28, 1821, of George England, a preventive man, for shooting Joseph Swaine, a fisherman of Hastings, in a scuffle, is in the recollection of many fishermen still alive there. On Feb. 11th, in the next year, three hundred smugglers went to Crow Link, near Eastbourne, to land a cargo, but were stopped by a signal from the sentinel; four nights afterwards, they landed at Cliff Point, Seaford, three hundred half-ankers, losing only sixty-three and a horse. On the 13th, they attacked the sentinel at Little Common with bats;* he, however, shot a smuggler with his pistol; the boat made sail from the land, and a coach-and-six, which was waiting at the back of the beach, drove off empty to Pevensey. In September, 1824, a run was attempted to Bexhill, when seven smugglers, with one hundred tubs of spirits, were taken; and one of the blockade-men, named Welch, having jumped into the boat, the smugglers pulled off with him, and his dead body was found on the sands in the morning, with the head and face bruised and lacerated. In May, 1856, a smuggling galley, chased by a guard-boat, ran ashore near the mouth of Eye Harbour, and opened fire on the guard. The blockade-men from ('amber watch-house came to the spot and seized one of the smugglers, when a body of not less than two hundred armed smugglers rushed from behind the sand­hills, commenced a fire on the blockade, killing one and wounding another, but were ultimately driven off with the capture of their galley, carrying off, nevertheless, their wounded. On another occasion, four or five smugglers were killed whilst swimming the military canal at Pett-horse Race, having missed the spot where
* Thick ash-poles, about six feet long.
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