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Contents of
Sussex Smugglers


1 Preface

pages 3-6

2 History of the Smugglers

A summary of the murders

pages 7-43

3 First day of the trial

pages 43-49

4 Second day of the trial

pages 49-108

5 Third day of the trial

pages 108-118

6 Appendix

by three clergymen who attended the condemned men

pages 118-132

7 Execution

pages 132-161

8 The second trial

Of Brown, the two Kemps, Fuller & Savage

pages 161-173

9 The third trial

of Diprose, Bartlett & others

pages 173-205

10 Sermon

On the evils of smuggling

pages 207-222

11 Smuggling in Sussex

From Sussex Archaeological Collections

pages 223-260

12 Gale Journal

pages 260-263






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5: Third day of the trial

Chichester, January 18th, 1748-9.

The Judges being in court, the prisoners who were convicted yesterday were all put to the bar; but Cobby, Hammond, Tapner, and the Mills’s were set aside, and Jackson and Carter set forward in order to be tried for the murder of William Galley.

Then the Clerk of the Arraigns bid William Jackson and William Carter to hold up their hands, which they did, and he then read over to them the indictment on which they had been arraigned the day before, as principals in the murder of William Galley, and to which they had pleaded Not Guilty.

Mr. Steele opened the indictment to the jury, and Mr. Bankes, the King’s Counsel, spoke to much the same purport as he had done the day before.

Mr. Smythe, another of the King’s Counsel, spoke as follows, viz.: “I shall only add a word or two, to explain why these two men, who were convicted yesterday as accessaries before the fact to the murder of Chater, and thereby liable to suffer death, should be tried a second time as principals for the murder of Galley:


 “ The reasons for it are, in the first place it will be necessary to convict them as principals for the murder of Galley, otherwise the accessaries to that murder, either before or after the fact, cannot be convicted.

“Another reason is, as the intention of all prosecutions, as well as punishments, is not so much to revenge and punish what is past, as to deter others from committing the like crimes, it may be of service to the public to have every circumstance of this cruel transaction disclosed, to shew how dangerous to their neighbours, and to the country in general, those persons are who are concerned in smuggling, and how much it concerns every man to use his utmost endeavours to suppress, and bring them to justice. And it may have another good effect in preventing persons from engaging in that lawless practice when they see it consequently engages them in crimes, which at first they might never intend; for I believe, if these unhappy men had been told when they first began smuggling, that the time would come when they would coolly bathe their hands in the blood of two innocent men, bad as they now are, they would then have been shocked and startled at the imagination of it; yet the men are so naturally led from one vice to another, that having once transgressed the laws of their country, they have insensibly arrived at such a height of wickedness, as to commit this heinous crime without the least hesitation or remorse.”

After which the following witnesses were called for the Crown, viz.:

Mr. Milner, Mr. Shearer, William Galley, son of the deceased, were severally produced and sworn, and Mr. Milner, Mr. Shearer, William Galley gave the same evidence as on the former trial; as did Mr. Edward Holton of the deceased and Chater’s calling on him at


his house at Havant, on Sunday, the 14th of February, 1747-8.

Eobert Jenks also proved upon the trial the same as he did upon the former, with this addition:

That when they were at the widow Payne’s, Jackson and Carter both said they would see the letter for Justice Battine, because they thought the men were going to swear against the smugglers; that both Jackson and Carter hindered him from going through the room where the two men were; and that one of the men had on a blue great coat.

Being cross-examined at the request of Carter, whether he hindered him from going through the room,

Answered that both the prisoners did.

Joseph Southern, William Lamb, William Garrett and George Poate, proved the same as upon the former trial.

John Race, to the first part of his evidence relating to his transactions at the widow Payne’s, added, that the blood ran down from Galley’s head and face, on Jackson knocking him down; and that Jackson and Carter were not fuddled when he went away.

Being asked if he was certain the two prisoners were present at Rowland’s Castle at the consultation that was had to take the men Galley and Chater away and confine them, said, Yes, he was sure they were both present.

William Steel, to his former evidence, added, that whilst they were at the widow Payne’s, Jackson said, that if any of the gang went away from them, he would shoot them through the head, or through the body, or serve them as bad as the two men should be served. That he supposed Jackson meant by this, that he would murder any of their own company, or use any


of them as ill as they did the officer and Chater, if they left them; that when the company left off whipping Galley with their thongs and lashes of their whips, as mentioned in the former trial, because the lashes of the whips reached this witness, they beat him with the butt-end of their whips, which were very heavy, and loaded with lead, till one of their whips was beat all to pieces. That the gravelly knap, where Galley was pushed off the horse, when he died, was in Conduit-lane, in Rogate parish; and Little Harry pushed him in the back, and shoved him down; and that Jackson and Carter, Little Sam, and Richards, were in company when he died; and that they laid his body upon a horse, and one man held him on one side, and another on the other side, and so they led the horse along. That Carter and Jackson went before to call Scardefield up, and when they came there, they laid Galley’s body down in the brewhouse, at Scardefield’s, and carried Chater into another room; that they drank every one a dram, and Jackson and Carter asked Scardefield if he knew any place to bury that man in, and he said “No.” But they said he must go with them; and they got a spade, and a candle and lantern, and they laid Galley on horseback again, and he (the witness), Carter, Little Sam and Scardefield, went back for about a mile, and he held the horse whilst Scardefield, Carter and Little Sam went to find the place to bury him in; and when they had found it, Carter and Sam came back to him, and left Scardefield to dig the grave. They went and buried him there, and returned back to Scardefield’s again; that Jackson told them that whilst they were burying Galley, he and Little Harry went to carry Chater to Old Mills’s; that they buried Galley two or three feet deep in the heart of a sand pit. The time at


which they buried him was about three or four o’clock in the morning.

Being cross examined, and asked by Carter, whether he (Carter) struck Galley; answered that they all struck him.

Being asked at the request of the prisoners’ Counsel, what was the consequence of that thrust which Little Harry gave Galley, when lie fell the last time; answered that he thought by the fall Galley’s neck was broke, because as soon as he was down he gave himself a turn, and stretched out his hands and legs, and never stirred or spoke afterwards; that Galley was not falling till Little Harry gave him the push. Said that he did not know the parish of Rogate, or that the place where Galley died was within that parish, any otherwise than that he had been there since, and several people said it was the parish of Rogate.

Mr. Stamford, who was Counsel for the prisoners, moved, that the place where Galley died was not in the county of Sussex, and therefore the prisoners must be acquitted of this indictment; for that the present special commission, by which their lordships were trying the prisoners, was only to enquire into murders and felonies committed in the county of Sussex.

Whereupon the Counsel for the King replied that they would undertake to prove the place in the county of Sussex; and for that purpose William Steel was then asked whether the gravelly knap where Galley died was in the county of Southampton or in the county of Sussex; answered that he could not tell. That he had never heard, as he remembered, what county that place was in, but he was carried thither last Friday to see the place, and he shewed to some people then present the spot of ground where Galley fell off the horse and died,


and he believed he should know one of the men that were with him.

John Aslett being called up, Steel said he was one of the men that was there.

Aslett was then sworn, and proved that he was with Steel and some dragoons on Friday last; that Steel pointed down to the ground with a stick, and said r “There the man died”; that he (the witness) took particular notice of that place, and is sure it was in the parish of Harting in Sussex; that he now lives at Harting, and was born and bred just by, and had lived there ever since he was a lad, and served the offices of surveyor and constable.

Steel, being cross-examined, was asked how he could remember the place so as to be sure of it; said he knew the place very well again by the little gravelly rising of the ground.

William Scardefield proved the same as in the former trial, with the following facts relating to the burial of Galley: that one of the gang asked him if he knew the place where they laid up some goods about a year- and-a-half ago, and he told them he did; upon which the man said, “You must go along with us,” but the witness told him his wife was ill, and he could not leave the house; and then Carter came in and asked for a lantern, and Edmund Richards told him he must go with them, to which he replied, if he must go, he must; that when he came down the hill a little way from his own house, he saw two companies, one on the right and the other on the left; that Carter, Steel, and a short man he did not know, went on to the place, and one of them came up after him, and he told him where it was; upon which they brought the horse up to a rough kind of a dell, and the short man fell a-digging,


and it being a very cold night, he (the witness) took the spitter and dug to keep himself warm; there seemed to him to be a man upon the horse, and it fell into the pit like a dead man, and they covered it up; and he verily believed it to be the body of a man, but he did not help to put it in, and was about three or four yards from it; he never went nigh the ground afterwards, and did not see the body of a man upon the horse afterwards, or anywhere else; that the earth was thrown over the pit, and the short man did most of the work; and he did not enquire, or choose to ask any questions about it.

Edward Sones proved the finding the body of a dead man, in a fox earth, within three-quarters of a mile of Rake; there were boots upon the legs, and a glove upon one hand; that the body was much perished, and had a waistcoat and breeches on.

John Greentree produced a coat which he took up beyond Harting Pond in the public road, on the 15th of February last, and swore that there were some writings and a letter-case in the pocket, which he said he should know if he was to see them again.

Upon this a parchment was delivered into court by Justice Battine, and shewn to the witness, who said it- was the same that he found in the coat pocket.

It was then read, and appeared to be a deputation under the commissioners of the customs, dated April, 1731, appointing Galley to be a tidesman in the port of Southampton.

William Galley, son of the deceased, looked at the coat which the witness produced, and proved it to be a coat his father had on the 14th of February, 1747-8, when he set out with- Chater for Major Battine’s to carry a letter to the Major.


John Greentree was called again, and said that the coat was very bloody when he found it.

The King’s counsel submitted it here, upon which the prisoners being called upon to make their defence,

The prisoner Carter said he never intended to hurt the man, and never struck him, and only intended to carry him away to take care of him till they knew what became of Dimer; and that he had not any witnesses.

The prisoner Jackson said little or nothing, only that he did not kill the man, nor did he know who did.

The prisoners having neither of them any witnesses to produce, Mr. Justice Foster opened to the jury the substance of the indictment, as before set forth, and told them that where several people joined to do an act in itself unlawful, and death ensues from anything done in prosecution of that unlawful design, they will be all considered as principals in murder, if they were all present aiding or abetting therein; that it was not necessary that each of the prisoners at the bar should be guilty of every single abuse that was offered to the deceased in the long series of barbarities the witnesses of the crown had laid before them; if all or any of these abuses contributed to his death, and the prisoners at the bar were engaged in the several designs against him, and present aiding and abetting the others, they will be guilty within this indictment.

He summed up the evidence very largely, and applied it to the case of the prisoners; and then left it to the consideration of the gentlemen of the jury.

The jury, after some little consideration together, gave their verdict, that William Jackson and William Carter were both Guilty.

The counsel for the crown then moved for judgment; and all the seven prisoners being set to the bar, and


severally asked what they had to say why judgment of death should not pass on them, Old Mills said he had nothing to say, only that he knew nothing of the murder of Chater.

Young Mills said he was not at Scardefield’s a quarter of an hour; and that it was by accident he called there, and that he knew nothing of the murder.

Hammond and Cobby said they were compelled to stay by Richards and Jackson, and that they would have made their escape, but could get no opportunity to do so.

Tapner said he did not cut Chater across the face, neither could he tell who did.

Jackson and Carter said that they had nothing more to say than what they had already said,

And none of the prisoners or their counsel having anything to offer in arrest of judgment, Mr. Justice Foster spoke to them as follows:

“Benjamin Tapner, John Cobby, John Hammond, William Jackson, William Carter, Richard Mills the elder, and Richard Mills the younger, you have been convicted upon very full and satisfactory evidence of the murder of Daniel Chater; three of you as principals, and the rest as accessaries before the fact.

“And you, William Jackson and William Carter stand further convicted as principals in the murder of William Galley.

“Deliberate murder is most justly ranked amongst the highest crimes human nature is capable of; but those you have respectively been convicted of, have been attended with circumstances of very high and uncommon aggravation.

“The persons who have been the objects of your fury, were travelling on a very laudable design, the advance-


ment of public justice. For this they were beset in their inn, tempted to drink to excess, and then laid asleep in an inner room, while a consultation was held in what manner to dispose of them: and in the end a resolution was taken to carry them to some distant place and to dispatch them by some means or other.

“In consequence of this resolution they were set on horseback, and exercised with various kinds of cruelty for many hours together, till one of them sunk under the hardships he suffered and died upon the road.

“The other was carried to a place of safe custody, there kept chained on a heap of turf, expecting his doom for three days. During this dreadful interval, a second consultation was held, and a resolution taken to dispatch him too; not a single man of thirteen who were present offering a word in his behalf.

“He was accordingly hurried to his death; and though he begged earnestly to live but one day longer, that small respite was denied him. I will not repeat every circumstance: but I cannot forbear putting you in mind of one. When the poor man was told he must die that very night, some of you advised him to say his prayers, and accordingly he did address himself to prayer.

“One would have hoped that this circumstance should have softened your hearts, and turned you from the evil purpose you were bent upon. Happy had it been for you, if you had then reflected, that God Almighty was witness to every thing that passed among you, and to all the intentions of your hearts!

“But while the man, under great distraction of thought, was recommending his soul to mercy, he was interrupted in his devotion by two of you in a manner I scarce know how to repeat. 


“I hope your hearts have been long since softened to a proper degree of contrition for these things; and that you have already made a due preparation for the sentence I am now to pass upon you.

“If you have not, pray lose not one moment more. Let not company, or the habit of drinking, or the hopes of life divert you from it; for Christian charity obliges me to tell you that your time in this world will be very short.

“Nothing now remains but that I pass that sentence upon you which the Law of your Country, in conformity to the Law of God, and to the practice of all ages and nations, has already pronounced upon the crime you have been guilty of. This court doth therefore award that you, Benjamin Tapner, William Carter, John Hammond, John Cobby, Richard Mills the elder, Richard Mills the younger, and William Jackson, and each of you shall be conveyed from hence to the prison from whence you came, and from thence you shall be led to the place of execution, where you shall be severally hanged by the neck, until you shall be dead, and the Lord have mercy upon your souls.”