Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

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

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SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.                             25fl
At the spring assizes at Horsham, in 1828, Spencer Whiternan of Udimore, Thomas Miller, Henry Miller, John Spray, Edward Shoesmith, William Bennett, John Ford and Stephen Stubberfield, were indicted for assembling armed on this night, for purposes of smuggling, and were removed for trial to the Old P>ailey, where, on April 10, they all pleaded guilty ; as did Whiteman, Thomas Miller, Spray, Bennett and Ford, together with Thomas Maynard and Plumb, for a like offence on Jan. 23, 1828, at Eastbourne. Sentence of death was passed on all, but the punishment was commuted to transportation. They were, with three exceptions, young men under thirty years of age.
Other, but minor affrays took place on Jan. 3, 1831, two miles east of Hastings, when two of the smugglers, William Cruttendeii and Joseph Harrold, were shot dead; on Feb. 22, 1832, at Worthing, between two hundred and three hundred men there assembled, when one William Cowardson was shot dead, and several more were carried away wounded ; and on January 23, 1833, at Eastbourne, when the smugglers, having killed the chief boatman, George Pitt, formed two lines on each side till the cargo was run, and then left—not, however, without having several of their party wounded; but on no one of these occasions was any of the gang discovered. The last occasion on which a life was sacrificed was on April 1, 1838, when Thomas Monk, a poor fiddler of Winchelsea, was shot by the coast-guard, in an affray at Camber Castle.*
The Abbey ruins, the dismantled Castles,f the
* " Ex. inf." K. N. Dawet, Esq., Deputy Coroner.
+ Addison's play of "The Drummer" was founded on the scheme of a French gardener, to conceal the doings of the smugglers at Hurstmonceux Castle.
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