Showing posts from March, 2023

Jack Upperton Highwayman and Pensioner.

  Jack Upperton Highwayman and Pensioner. The local story of Jack (John) Upperton of Lyminster, West Sussex is known well to the Downland people . Thought to be aged over sixty and too old for heavy farm work, Jack (John) decided to draw down his pension in his own way. In 1770 Jack (John) concocted a plan to rob the mail coach on the old road between Arundel and Findon, likely to be today's A27.  . It was thought there was another accomplice, possibly Jack's brother, Richard Upperton but this was never proven.  According to East Grinstead Assizes court papers ( Worthing Occult & Paranormal Investigations (Facebook) written at the trial of Upperton on the 18th of March 1771, deep into  Clapham woods where Upperton still haunts today (see bibliography for you tube video)  laid in wait for the mail coach to make its way down through the wooded highway to Steyning. It was there at around 8pm on the 26th of August 1770 (26th of September 1770) our reluctant highwayman present

The Hawkhurst gang Season 1 Episode 4 The Raid on Poole

  The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 4 The Raid on Poole. "If Poole was a fish pool, and the men of Poole fish, There'd be a pool for the Devil and fish for his dish!" On the 22nd of September 1747. The Three Brothers cut through the English Channel swell, the morning mist had lifted. Portland stuck out over the portside and Wight on the starboard. She made sail for Lymington, Christchurch Bay, Dorset. She was carrying Tea,Brandy,Rum and some interesting passengers, Richard Perin and John Diamond of the Hawkhurst gang. The crew of the Three Brothers sighted through their spyglasses, the fast approaching privateer the Swift closing in at speed after giving chase at 5pm.According to the Old Bailey trial documents concerning the Poole raid, the Swift opened fire on the T hree Brothers which ended the chase at around 11pm. Captain Johnson then boarded and made this discovery ' she was loaded with tea, brandy, and rum. The tea was in canvas and oil-skin, over that the u

The Hawkhurst gang Season 1 Episode 3. The Battle of Goudhurst.

The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 3.   The Battle of Goudhurst 1747. Goudhurst, a pretty village in the Kent weald countryside was to host a significant battle between the infamous Hawkhurst gang and the villagers of Goudhurst led by 29 year old 'General' George Sturt (a former soldier) who led the militia group.   "that on the 21st of April 1747 He would attack Goudhurst, kill the residents (broil their hearts)......and burn the place to the ground." - Thomas Kingsmill about the village of Goudhurst. Thomas Kingsmill a native of Goudhurst and now the Boss of the gang faced his first challenge since the incarceration of Arthur Gray and the capture of his brother William Gray by the lesser known Cranbrook Association. The gang must have been demoralised by the loss of such senior members and therefore it now fell to Kingsmill to raise morale and assert his authority not just with gang members, but with locals too. Kingsmill had to control of the roads to ensure the

The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 2

The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 2 As the gang entered the 1740s, expansion west to the more accessible and flat beaches of West Sussex was an obvious business move. Gray and by now the notorious bunch of men who followed, were expanding by amalgamating with other gangs  through alliances and hostile take overs. This could be described in contemporary terms as a 'turf war'. Arguably, the struggle for Gray was not necessarily the Revenue and Dragoons as they were thinly spread, it would have been the other gangs.  Smuggling was a battle of survival, hearts, minds and only the fittest or maybe in this case the cruelest would survive. The lawlessness continued..... Mermaid Street, Rye. On right pub sign for the Mermaid Inn. A regular haunt for the gangs as well as other villains was Rye, East Sussex. The Transport gang led by Jeremiah Curtis (aka Alexander Pollard) worked with John Grayling in the Hastings area. Hastings would have been rich pickings in the 1740s with its beach

The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 1.

        The Hawkhurst Gang Season 1 Episode 1.       The 18th century made for a hard life and arguably, the Civil war made no material difference to working families as they remained poor and isolated, usually tied to an area for labouring purposes. There was no welfare state to take care of these families. If you were poor you were poor ! The smuggling gangs (or free traders) offered relief for all. For example, a tub-man could earn more money than his day job walking overnight contraband to a tavern. The said tavern could then sell that contraband with no tax paid and enhance its profit to customers in need of a beverage. The big profits of course went to the financiers and city merchants in London who also were slave traders and the wealthy, what could be described today as the the elite and richest one per cent. Some of those families and companies exist today and it is worth mentioning they are still very good at avoiding tax ! Smuggled goods where accessible to the poor, such a