Hythe, 11 March 1826

This transcription comes from  Edward Horn’s evidence against his former smuggling companions:

Edward Horn states that he recollects a run of Goods taking place, near Hythe, in the beginning of March, about the 11th March on a Saturday morning on this Occasion a firing took place on both sides and the Company lost four Tubs and the Boat which were seized and that it was currently reported that one of the Blockade Men had been wounded.  They run about 100 Tubs.  He remembers that George Ransley, Samuel Bailey, Thomas Gillham, Thomas Denard, Richard Higgins, Edward Pantery, Thomas Winder, William Smeed, James Hogben of Aldington Freight, James Wilson and several men of the armed party from Dymchurch, all these he has mentioned were also armed. In the Evening before the run Examinant and all the persons above named except the Dymchurch men, with many of the working Party met at Ransley’s House and after dark about 9 – started towards Hythe.

At Lympne Hill they were joined by the party from Dymchurch six or seven in number amongst whom he remembers the names of Waddle, Ned Fisher and Bowin.  In the whole there might be 60 or 70 men of whom 14 or 16 were armed with Guns and the greater part of the working party were armed with Bludgeons they proceed from Lympne Hill in a Body to the Hythe through the Turnpike Gate till they came to the Barracks and then turned to the left behind the Church till they came to a Farm house at the extremity of the back part of Hythe.  There they were mustered and counted either by Ransley or Samuel Bailey they then made their way by the Bell public House at the East end of the town and across the Bridge over the Canal and then turned to the right to a foot path called the Ladies walk and across a green field where they concealed themselves under a wall a short distance from the sea while Ransley went forward to look out for the Boat. It might be about midnight after waiting there about half an hour Ransley called out to them to come on and they thereupon proceeded to the Boat and run the Cargo.

On this occasion the armed party were drawn up in two lines to protect those at work. Examinant was on the East side on the full of the Beach. James Wilson was near him. Wilson had got a gun belonging to a man named Waddle besides Wilson there were 6 or 7 others of the armed party on his side to the best of his recollection.  Richard Higgins, William Smeed, Thomas Winder amongst them. Of these Wilson and another discharged their guns but at whom they fired he did not observe nor does he recollect to have observed any Blockade men in advance.  That the crew of the Boat were dressed in white frocks – and Examinant taking them for Blockade Men retreated back a short distance toward the Coal wharf passing to the East of the Storehouse but some of the Company saying they belonged to the Boat he returned. At this time Wilson had discharged his piece and was reloading it.  There was very little firing by the Eastward party.  The Crew of the Boat left her as soon as the working party got up to her.  The west party fired 5 or 6 rounds in consequence of some of the Blockade Party coming up on that side an as the smugglers returned home he heard some of them say that one of the Blockade Men was wounded – he does not recollect by whom this was said.

The run did not last more than about 5 minutes and they returned with their cargo through Hythe up by the Church Yard and got upon the Plain and there laid down the Tubs and counted them during which time the armed party was posted at the Entrance to guard against any pursuit of the Blockade and they then proceeded to Aldington with the Cargo.  Examinant was paid 20/ by Ransley for this nights work about a fortnight afterwards at his House and at the same time Ransley paid him another 20/ for a subsequent job at the Herring Hang on the 16th March. There were several Chimney Sweepers of this party as Tub carriers.  They came from Ashford one man was named Wright and another was George Moore but he was not a Chimney Sweep another Ashford man was Abraham Ebury another Donnacliffe another Goodsell and another named Hughes Mott.

In going to Hythe the Company stopped at Austen’s farmyard at the top of Lympne Hill where they were joined by the party from Dymchurch but he does not recollect seeing anyone belonging to the farm.  On their return they stopped at the Royal Oak Newing Green called the Landlord up and got their allowance of Bread, Cheese & Beer which was ordered by Ransley who of course paid for it – while they got it they laid the Tubs in front of the House.  It might be between two and three in the morning – after this the Dymchurch party went into the House and the rest proceeded along the Turnpike Road nearly to Smeeth Church but before they got to Smeeth they turned to the left and passed Tilts Farm House called the water farm belonging to Sir Edward Knatchbull and two stables. The waggoner was up in each stable and something passed between some of the Party and each of the waggoners but he does not recollect what.

They then passed through the meadows and left Heath [??] Gate Mill on the right and came into the Road leading from Aldington Corner to Smeeth and then turned again into the fields on the right and crossing three or four fields approached the Road leading to Broad Oak where they met Ransley with his Cart who had parted with them when they turned into the Fields at the Water Farm – some of the tubs were put into the Cart and then Examinant separated from the Company and went home.

On Friday Evening the 10th March the Company met at Ransleys house where they got beer which was kept in a brick dairy or washhouse.


Access to Archives Reference: Depositions Regarding Smuggling, Edward Horn, U951/C27/2, 10 May 1826, Regarding the run of good near Hythe, held at the Centre for Kentish Studies


One thought on “Hythe, 11 March 1826

  1. Hi Lynne. The information on the Aldington Gang is really interesting I am descended from Stephen Dennard Thomas s brother.


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