Margate Crime and Margate Punishment

Anthony Lee

11.Smuggling at Margate.

The nearest that Margate got to organized crime was smuggling, for which the Kent coast was ideally suited being close to both the continent and to London. Large scale smuggling started with the smuggling of wool and yarn to the continent after the government imposed taxes on their export in an attempt to protect the manufacture of woollen cloth in England.1 In the eighteenth century smuggling changed to the illegal import of a variety of goods, including jewellery, lace, silks, and, most importantly, tea, wines, spirits, tobacco and snuff, after the government had been forced to impose duties on these goods to raise the revenues it needed to fight a long succession of wars. Smuggling was at its peak in the years 1700 to 1840; it was estimated that in 1773 15,000 men were engaged in smuggling in Kent alone, with an average of 1,500 gallons of Geneva (gin), 450 gallons of brandy and 4 ½ tons of tea being smuggled through Kent and Sussex per day, by 1783.2

The government took a number of steps to combat the smugglers and protect its revenues. These started with the Customs service which had existed from at least 1203, with collectors of customs appointed at all the major ports to control imports and exports and to collect customs duties. It is not known when the first Collector of customs was appointed at Margate but a record survives from 1485 for the appointment of Thomas Creys, ‘one of the yeomen of the King’s chamber’ to ‘the office of searcher [Customs officer] within the ports of Margate and Feversham, Kent, with wages &c out of the customs and subsidies of the said ports’.3 In 1660 a letter from the Council of State to the Commissioners of Customs warns them that John Glover ‘customer and searcher at Margate, and late postmaster there, is very intimate and holds correspondence with disaffected persons,’ for which reason he had been dismissed as postmaster; the Council suggested that the Commissioners of Customs ‘remove Glover from being customer and searcher of that port [Margate], and to put Hooke into the employment, if you hold him qualified’.4  Lewis’s 1736 map of Margate shows the King’s watch house and King’s warehouse at the entrance to the Pier; 5 the King’s warehouse was a building provided by the Crown where the Customs officers could lodge goods securely, and where confiscated goods could be auctioned off.6

Kings Warehouse Margate 1738 | Margate History
Figure 1. Lewis Map 1736: A, King’s Warehouse; B, Warehouses.
A view from the Pier at Margate  Keate 1779 | Margate History
Figure 2. A view from the Pier at Margate [1779]. Watercolour by George Keate, showing the King’s Warehouse and the path up to the Fort.
The Custom House at Margate  1821 | Margate History
Figure 3. The location of the Custom House. Detail from Edmunds map of 1821.


Despite the long history of the Customs service, it was not until 1671 that a permanent Board of Customs was established. The Board, as well as collecting customs revenue for the Treasury, was responsible for preventing and detecting smuggling, for which purpose they operated a fleet of cutters patrolling the coast.2 In 1698 a new branch of the Customs was formed to help in the fight against smuggling, known as the Land Guard, consisting of ‘Surveyors and Riding Officers’ who patrolled the coast on horseback, searching for contraband that had eluded the Revenue cutters; the service continued until 1865. Each officer of the Land Guard would normally patrol alone but could, in principal, call on help from the Army who, in the absence of a civilian police force, played an important role as guarantors of civil order.7 In practice, although small local units of dragoons (regular mounted soldiers) might be called on for help, many dragoon officers resented taking orders from a revenue man.2 Moves towards a more integrated anti-smuggling force came in 1810 with the creation of the Preventive Waterguard, consisting of a fleet of revenue cutters and local rowing boats, brought together under a central control. However, major improvements had to wait until 1815.

In July 1815, a large scale demobilisation of the armed forces began, following the battle of Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic wars, this at a time when very few civilian jobs were available. The potential this created for civic unrest was recognized by the Treasury:8

. . . after so long a period of war in every part of Europe, many of the most daring professional men, discharged from their occupation, and averse to the daily labour of agricultural or mechanical employments, will be the ready instruments of those desperate persons who have a little capital, and are hardy enough to engage in this traffic [smuggling]. The only effectual mode of putting an end to smuggling on the part both of such principals and agents is to render this traffic so unprofitable as to discourage persons from carrying it on. This purpose would be most completely accomplished by the diminution of the import duties, to an extent that should take away the incitement to evade them; this is, however, utterly impracticable, and inconsistent with every view that can be now taken of the necessities and welfare of the country. The only mode therefore remaining is, to increase the danger and hazard of this traffic to the greatest practicable extent to those who are bold enough to engage in it, either as principals or agents, by impressing [into the Royal Navy] in every capture the men employed in the vessels and boats, and by levying the legal penalties upon those who embark their capital in this nefarious traffic, according to the circumstances of their respective cases.

This argument was accepted by the government and by 1817 the Preventive Waterguard had been effectively taken over by the navy as the ‘Coast Blockade for the Prevention of Smuggling.’ This was made up entirely of navel men and initially took over the patrol of the coast between the North and South Forelands, eventually extending as far as Chichester on the Sussex coast.2,9 At first the men of the Coast Blockade were housed in HMS Ganymede, stationed in the Downs, with boat patrols rowing out at sunset to put men ashore for night-time patrols of the beaches and cliff tops.2,10 This was soon changed, with a series of  permanent bases along the coast, about every three miles, either in the Martello towers that had been built against the expected invasion by Napoleon, or in newly built stations where required. The Preventive stations at Westbrook and at Newgate were probably built about 1818.11 Each station was in the charge of an officer, a midshipman and about eight seamen. In 1831 the Coastguard Service replaced the Coast Blockade around the coast,12 and led to the service as it is today.


Buenos Ayres, with the Prevention Post 1829 | Margate History
Figure 4. Buenos Ayres, with the Prevention Post 1829, from W. C. Oulton, Picture of Margate
 New Gate, with the Prevention Post 1829  | Margate History
Figure 5. New Gate, with the Prevention Post 1829, from W. C. Oulton, Picture of Margate.
Westbrook, showing the windmill and Prevention Post, 1831 | Margate History
Figure 6. Westbrook, showing the windmill and Prevention Post, 1831, from G. W. Bonner, The Picturesque Pocket Companion to Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs.
Newgate Coastguard station in 1873 | Margate History
Figure 7. The location of the Newgate Coastguard station in 1873; detail from the 10ft/mile scale OS Map of 1873.
Newgate Coastguard station in 1873 | Margate History
Figure 8. The location of the Westbrook Coast Guard  Station,1852; detail from the OS Map of 1852.
Margate Coastguard station in 1872 | Margate History
Figure 9. The location of the Margate Coastguard station in 1872; detail from the 25 in/mile OS Map of 1872.


In the winter of 1849/50 a combination of high tides and squalls of snow, hail and sleet led to a serious cliff fall at Westbrook, making the coastguard station there unsafe.64 In April 1855 it was reported that the Coast Guard station at Buenos Ayres had become so unsafe that it had to be abandoned;  a row of cottages were built near the station, on railway land, to house the coast guard staff, and these were largely complete by November 1855.65,66 Their location is clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1872 [Figure 9].


* * *

Margate was well known as a smuggling town; indeed, this was one of its attractions for visitors. In Letters of Momus from Margate published in 1777 Margate was described as being ‘almost central to a great number of little villages . . . which were originally the habitations of farmers and their dependants, but are now the receptacles of contraband goods. Indeed the whole Isle of Thanet exhibits only a general jumble of lawless confusion; everything is conducted by trick, and law and gospel are dispensed by smuggling’.13,14 A writer to the Morning Herald in 1784 described Margate as a ‘dirty, imposing, smuggling village’.15  In 1787 the readers of the General Evening Post, another London paper, were told:16 ‘Though the reduction of the duties on wines and spirits may be attended with many good effects, yet the lowering of the price of wine, and the suppressing of smuggling, are not in the number. Smuggled brandy is now sold for five shillings a gallon at Margate’.The Margate Guide of 1770 suggested that although the many gapways cut into the cliffs around Thanet were used to bring up ‘sea-waur [sea weed] for manure of land, flint, gravel, chalk, [and pebbles]’ they were also used ‘now and then’ for ‘a few articles in the way of private trade’.17

Buying smuggled goods not only made financial sense to Margate’s visitors but also added to the excitement of a holiday in Margate.  This element of excitement is clear in Elizabeth Grant’s description of her and her parents stay at Ramsgate in about 1811:18

My father said the finery of the Margate ladies had excited my mother's envy, for she set about smuggling vigorously at this time, very much to his annoyance; bargain-making and smuggling were his aversion. He always said, "What is wanted get of the best quality at the best place, and take care of it. What is not wanted, don't get, however cheap; it is wasting money, in fact real extravagance; and have nothing to do with rogues." Wise preaching — 'tis so easy for the man who lavishes thousands on his whistle, to lift his eyebrows at the cost of his wife's. My dear mother found it hard to resist those melodramatic sailors with their straw hats smartly bound with ribbon, the long curled love-lock then generally worn by the more dashing among the seamen, the rough, ready, obligingly awkward manner, and all their silks, laces, gloves and other beautiful French goods so immeasurably superior to any in those days fabricated at home. She was not to be deterred by the seizures now and then made of all these treasures, miles and miles away; carriages stopped and emptied, ladies insulted, fined, and so on, as really frequently happened when their transactions were too daring. She could not resist a few purchases, though half believing my father's assertion that the smugglers were all in league with the Custom-house authori­ties, themselves giving information of any considerable purchaser. However, her doings were never thus brought to light.

The glamour associated with smuggling was even used to advertise donkey rides; a poster of 1810 advertising donkeys for hire referred to:19

Assess here to be let! For all purposes right,
To bear angles by day, and spirits by night.

Of course, it was not only visitors who appreciated smuggled goods. As explained in a letter from Margate in 1789:20

Smuggling is now very frequent, notwithstanding the reduction of the duties, and there is so much negligence or corruption among the Officers of the Customs, that scarcely any seizures are made, except when the vessels are stranded by accident. The liquors, however, are brought over only in small vessels, and are distributed chiefly among private families.

Money could also be made by helping to fund a smuggling trip:21

It is a common practice for smugglers, residing in fashionable set-bathing places . . .  to entice livery servants into illicit speculations, persuading them to “try their luck," by venturing a few pounds in some plausible project, having similar attraction to a lottery, or any other game of chance. Having by such means raised capital sufficient to purchase a contraband cargo, the smug­gler proceeds over to Boulogne or Dieppe, fills his lugger or galley with goods, sails across the Channel, and lands them at all hazards in Kent or Sussex; but, pretending to have sustained some loss by seizure, evades wholly or in part repayment of the money so borrowed: the un­fortunate dupes, who plunge their little savings in such transactions, discovering, when too late, that, being participators in an illegal traffic, the law affords them no remedy against the treachery of their confe­derates.

The widespread acceptance of smuggling is clear in Knight’s Tourist Companion written in 1853, by which time the old smuggling days had become a subject for nostalgia.22 The guide recommended that visitors to Margate find time for a friendly talk with the local mariners: 

They have good tales to tell, and some of them can tell them well. Besides shipwrecks and founderings, and swampings and drownings close to the beach, their stories, and still more their traditions, embrace the adven­tures and hap-hazards of smuggling. When the Magistrates of the place thought it no disgrace to join in this illicit traffic; when nearly every man in the Isle of Thanet, from Reculver to Pegwell Bay and the Richborough mouth of the Stour, would, without scruple, speculate in smuggled goods, or purchase them for his own consumption, the trade was carried on most extensively and without any dishonour. That time is not very remote; but it may be said to have passed. Little, we believe very little, remains of smuggling, except the stories which are told about it.

Much of this smuggling depended on corrupt relationships between the smugglers and the local Customs officers. A typical complaint was that against William Simmons, a Principal Coast Officer, at Margate, considered by the Customs House officials in London in 1823:23

4 March 1823, Customs House London
That he had for many years been in a collusive connection with several notorious smugglers of Deal, Kingsgate and St. Peters who have placed Goods in particular situations on land or under water where he had generally seized them on a friendly communication so as to be able to find them himself without any assistance, except sometimes a hand or two in a boat, that particularly about 2nd April 1822, a large number of small ankers [barrels] of spirits were sunk at a distance from the shore in Marsh Bay, Margate, and the greatest part having been smuggled, the remainder consisting of 8 casks only were brought nearer the shore and left with the anchor to which the whole had been fastened at a particular spot for him to seize of which he had a friendly intimation in consequence of whereof he sent two or three  Boatmen to meet him at the very spot [where they] found the tubs but instead of 8 there were only 6, two having drifted away and these 6 were seized . . .  and the circumstances of the seizures were falsely stated to you thus “Seized, without information, caught up in Marsh Bay, illegally imported.”

Simmons was found guilty, and dismissed, but bribery had always been common:21

Bribery which in all ages has been used to effect illicit objects, has always been a powerful means employed by smugglers to accomplish their purposes. A judicious application of “palm oil,”as it was called, often succeeded where courage and vigilance rendered force or deception unavailing. To prevent this in the Blockade Service, the sentinels were kept in ignorance as to where they would be stationed till the moment for planting them arrived; after which officers were continually pacing along the line, shifting their men from one post to another, so that it became almost impracticable for the smugglers to arrange with any degree of certainty as to their places of meeting, or "spot notes," which is their term for what a fox-hunter would call the fixture. In many cases also, where offers were made, tempting the seamen of the Blockade to betray their trust, information of the same was given by them to their officers, who, acting under orders from Government, au­thorised the acceptance of the bribe, planted ambuscades, and effected seizures of the smugglers and their goods accordingly. This method of proceeding, however, appeared so treacherous, that many officers de­clined giving it their sanction; and others could only be induced to adopt it, by receiving a special command to that effect from their supe­riors. To some, however, such scruples, though conscientious, appeared overstrained and quixotic; since it seemed plainly justifiable to repel corruption by artifice, and to inflict poetical justice in having "the engi­neer hoist by his own petard."

When the Coastguards were formed in 1831 it was decided that the men would operate in areas well away from their counties of origin to minimize the chances of collusion with the local inhabitants. The 1841 census returns show that 86 % of the coastguards in Thanet had been born outside Kent, with about 40 % having been born in Ireland.24 Given the widespread acceptance of smuggling it is not surprising that tensions sometimes arose with the local population:21

As the organization of the Coast Blockade became more effective, the stringency of its operation gradually produced rancour amongst the inhabitants of the maritime parishes in Kent and Sussex, a feeling from which few, except persons of the highest rank, were exempt. The farmers naturally entertained hostility against a system, which not only deprived them of the advantages arising from obtaining their supplies of spirits, tea, tobacco, and other exciseable commodities free of duty, but at the same time materially augmented the parochial burthens by throwing thousands out of employ, and bringing their families chargeable upon the poor-rates. So severe was the local distress occasioned by the sudden suppression of smuggling, that in the town of Deal alone no less than 600 houses were shut up in one year, after the blockade system became established, and the gaols were crowded with persons convicted of offences against the revenue laws. The wives of the yeomanry were, if possible, even more inveterate than their husbands against "the warriors," as the preventive men were usually called in derision. Independent of the natural hankering of the sex after everything that is prohibited, and their invariable sympathy with the unfortunate, many had to lament the ruin of fathers, brothers, husbands, or sons; and, moreover, it was a considerable mortification of female vanity to be deprived of their usual finery, such as French silks, laces, gloves, or ribands, owing to the exorbitant prices of such articles when legally imported. Even the coroners and magistrates, in petty jurisdictions such as then existed, were not untainted with the general prejudice; and the officers of customs and excise stationed along the coast, most of whom had been for years in habits of intimacy and collusion with the smugglers, finding their "occupation gone," and their incomes woefully diminished by a set of "warriors," who entertained no sympathy with the "live and let live" principle which had hitherto prevailed, instead of aiding the new comers in their endeavours to destroy the contraband trade root and branch, were invariably found to range their sweet voices on behalf of the adverse faction. In short, from one end of the coast to the other, it was scarcely possible to find any individual supporting the authority of Government, except a few county magistrates or gentlemen of large fortune, whose pecuniary resources rendered them altogether independent of the prevailing influence; or who, perceiving that the habitual breach of one law led to a violation of all others, were induced to incur any unpopularity rather than countenance an unlawful traffic, having for its primary object merely a fraud upon the public revenue, but comprehending in its consequences the commission of every atrocity — gambling, poaching, pilfering, drunkenness, brawling, dishonesty, sab­bath-breaking, treachery, perjury, revenge, and murder.

It is clear then that smuggling was endemic in Margate throughout the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. In the eighteenth century the Customs officers based at Margate were responsible both for capturing smuggled goods from ships passing to and from London through the Margate roads, and smuggled goods landed locally. Although smuggling of wool was concentrated around Romney Marsh, the main area of wool production,1 woollen goods were sometimes captured by the Customs station at Margate. In 1724 it was reported: that ‘Some days since Mr. Purnell, Surveyor of his Majesty’s Customs at Margate, seiz’d thirteen casks of fine worsted yarn, on board of a ship bound for France, clear’d out of the Custom-House at London, as flour, which proves a very considerable seizure’.25 Later, the smugglers choice turned to spirits and tobacco. In October 1726 30 small casks of French brandy were advertised for sale to the highest bidder in the Margate Customs House and a further 190 gallons of French brandy were advertised for sale ‘in several Lotts’ during August 1729 at ‘the King's Warehouse in Margate’.26,27 In 1753 it was reported that ‘yesterday came up three smuggling boats, supposed to be laden with brandy and other accustom’d goods. Two of the Tidesmen belonging to this place went out in the evening, and seized ten half anchors [a half anchor or half anker was a small barrel containing about 4 gallons] of brandy, as they were running them ashore; but the smugglers got off with the rest of their cargoes’.28 In 1789, the Kentish Chronicle reported ‘This morning a smuggling vessel drove on the shore in Westgate Bay, and landed her cargo before she was observed; but by some means the officers of the customs discovered this misfortune, and sized upwards of 80 casks of rum spirits, and lodged them safe in his Majesty’s warehouse’.29 Not only spirits were captured. In 1765: ‘Saturday was brought into his Majesty’s warehouse at Margate, upwards of a ton of tea, which was seized by three of the tidemen of that place; and a large quantity of gin and brandy, which was seized the day before by some officers of the customs’.30 Similarly, in 1765: ‘Saturday last the Officers of the Customs at Margate, in Kent, made a considerable seizure  of foreign watch chains, hour and minute hands, with a quantity of topaz and amethyst stones, ready cut, which were concealed in a false floor of a trunk, landed that morning from on board a vessel in the road’.31

His Majesty’s Warehouse on the Pier at Margate was the custom’s storehouse, where goods captured by the Customs men were sold at frequent auctions for ‘private use’ and ‘home consumption’; the advertisement for an auction on 20 August 1787 is typical:32

Custom-house Sales
By Order of the Honourable Commissioners of his Majesty’s Customs,
On MONDAY, the 20th of AUGUST,
At Ten o’Clock in the Forenoon,
The following GOODS, viz.
168 Gallons Foreign Brandy
14 Gallons Geneva
7 gallons Rum
461 Gallons Foreign-Geneva
160 Lbs Raw Coffee
97 Yards Tiffany
350 Lbs Jalap
188 Lbs Senna
52 Yards Cotton
21 Table Cloths
11 Yards Nankeen
46 Lb Currants
49 Lb Sugar
2 Reams Paper
47 Yards Oilskin
16½ Yards Cambrick
13 Yards Chintz.
N. B. A deposit of £25 per Cent, will be required.

The auctioning of spirits at Margate ended in 1805 ‘ as it has been found that the permits granted for the removal of the spirits have been grossly misapplied, and that the revenue has materially suffered in such cases by private artifice. In future the commodity is to be sent to London, there to be disposed of at the periodical sales of the Customs’.33 


Capturing smugglers proved much harder than capturing smuggled goods. Widespread collusion between the smugglers and the Custom officers did not help,21 nor did the small numbers of the men patrolling the cliffs and beaches and the small numbers of their boats. In 1743 the surveyor at Margate wrote to the Customs House in London requesting a new vessel as ‘the six oared Boat there is quite worn out and not fit for the Service’.24 A letter sent just a few days later describes a second problem with capturing smugglers — the large numbers of men in a smuggling gang and their willingness to use violence. The Margate Surveyor, the Officer in charge, explained that ‘he and his men were out along the coast and at night five of them met with a Gang of Smugglers, arm'd about 24 in number who beat the said officers very much, particularly Henry Bassett, whose head is in such a miserable condition that the surveyor thought proper to put him under the care of a surgeon which we humbly hope your Hons. will approve of’.24 The Surveyor reported that smugglers ‘travel in such Gangs and so well-armed that it is impossible for the officers to cope with them, there being seldom or never less than 30  in a gang who bid defiance to all the officers when they meet them’.24 In 1743 the Customs establishment at Margate consisted of just one supervisor, one tide surveyor, one waiter and searcher, and seven boatmen, together with four riding officers who had to cover Margate, Ramsgate and Kingsgate.24 The Margate men had an average age of almost 42, as follows:

Name Age
Thomas Ketcherell, Supervisor 32
Cervas Cowper, Tide Surveyor                        34
7 Boatmen 
     Thomas Moulden                                  53
     Henry Bassett                                        52
     Bradwell Brothers                                 44
     Edward Marshall                                   51
     John Debock                                          34
     Thomas Malpas                                     36
     John Friend                                            32
William Hewett, Waiter and Searcher 49

Despite their age, it was reported that ‘the officers above mentioned are in good health and are able to do their duty’.24

The original plan for the new Coastal Blockade formed in 1817 was that it would recruit experienced naval petty officers and seamen but this proved difficult as service in the Blockade service was not very attractive: ‘the fatigue and loneliness of trudging six or seven hours of a winter’s night along solitary cliffs, dreary sand-hills . . . with the unintermitting watchfulness required to avoid falling over precipices, or stumbling into ambuscades  of armed smugglers, soon made seamen tired of soldiering . . . Accordingly they deserted by hundreds’. 21 The consequence was that the service had to be content with ‘waisters from discharged crews or, which is more frequent, by unskilled though hardy Irish Landsmen whose estrangement from the sentiments, habits and religion of those placed under surveillance seems to point them out as peculiarly adapted for a service whose basis consists of an invidious watchfulness over others and a hostile segregation from their fellow men’.34

The preventive men had a distinctive costume of ‘white trou­sers, blue jacket, and white hat; a pair of pistols, a cutlass, and a sort of carbine.35 They were not popular in Margate:36

a band of three ruffians proceeded through the streets to their posts, armed with pistols and cutlasses, in the  last stages of intoxication, to the most imminent peril of every passenger — the officer commanding this detachment, on being requested to interfere, replied, “that people had better mind their own affairs!”

A description of the Blockade men and their station at Newgate in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction shows just how hard their job was:35

They [the Blockade men] are a numerous race, and inhabit little fortulices on the coasts of our sea-girt isle . . . and may be seen in full operation on the coast between Margate, Dover, and Hastings. For this purpose, the stranger on his arrival at Margate, must take the path leading to the cliffs, eastward of the town, and after walking a little way with the sea on his left hand, he will pass, at inter­vals, certain neat, though gloomy look­ing cottages, chiefly remarkable for an odd, military aspect, strongly reminding one of a red jacket turned up with white. These, perched like the eagle's eyrie on the very edge and summit of those crested heights that “breast the billows foam," are the preventive sta­tions, inhabited by the dumb and iso­lated members of the blockade. These men will now be seen for the rest of the journey, mounted on the jutting crags, straining their weary eyes over the mo­notonous expanse of waters which for ever splash beneath them — a sullen accompaniment to their gloomy avocations.

[These men] are mostly selected from amongst fishermen, on account of their excellent knowledge of the coast, and most perfectly retain their amphibious characteristics.   The good humoured Dutch looking face is, however, want­ing; they have a savage angularity of feature, the effect of their antisocial trade; one feels a sort of creeping hor­ror on approaching a fellow creature, armed at all points, in a lone and so­lemn place, the haunts of desperate men, and on whose tongue an embargo is laid to speak to no one, pacing the surly rocks, his hands on his arms, ready to deal forth death on the first legal opportunity. Beings such as these an amiable and delicate mind shudders to contemplate, and always finds it difficult to conceive; yet, such are the pre­ventive men who line our coast . . .  Occasionally, how­ever, the good traveller will, much to his joy, meet with an exception to this sad rule, in the person of an old tar, whom necessity has pressed into the service, and who from long acquaintance with the pleasures of traversing the mighty ocean, feels little pleasure in staring at it like an inactive land-lub­ber, a character which he holds in hearty contempt; besides, to fire at a fellow Briton is against his nature; thief or no thief it crosses his grain, and he looks at his pistols and hates himself. His situation is miserable; he is truly a fish out of water; he loves motion, but is obliged to stand still; his glory is a social "bit of jaw," but he dares not speak; he rolls his disconsolate quid over his silent tongue, and is as wretch­ed as a caged monkey. Poor fellow! How happy would a companion make you, to whom you could relate your battles, bouts, and courtships; but mum is the order, and Jack is used to an im­plicit obeyance of head-quarter orders. The sight of an outward bound vessel drives him mad.

On the appearance of a suspicious sail, the blockader, all vigilance, (Jack excepted) awaits in silence the running of the devoted cargo, when suddenly discharging one of his pistols, the air in a moment rocks with a hundred re­ports, answered successively by his companions. This arouses those in the cottages off duty; the cliffs instantly teem with life; all hurry to the beach, by slanting passages cut in the rocks for that purpose, and a scene of blood and death ensues too horrible for descrip­tion. Thus are sent prematurely to their graves, many poor fellows, who, had brandy been a trifle cheaper, might have lived bright ornaments of a world they never knew.

The series of cliffs and bays along the coast made patrolling difficult for the Blockade men: 21

as the sea at high water reached the base of the cliff, it was, of course, necessary to withdraw the sentinels from the beach at such periods, in order to station them along the summit; but the gap-ways being so far apart, this change occupied a considerable time, particularly during winter, when the men became tired and drowsy from the fatigue of incessant walking, and the wearisome length of the night-watches. The smugglers, aware of this circumstance, and being enabled by the withdrawal of the sentinels to land their goods without molestation in any of the little bays formed upon the beach by the projecting angles of the precipice — having previously, during daylight, fixed upon the exact spot for their enterprise.

One approach used by the smugglers was to sink their contraband off the coast: 21

Cargoes of foreign spirits and tobacco, in­stead of being landed (or run, as the smugglers term it) immediately upon their arrival from France or Holland, were generally sunk at dif­ferent places along the coasts of Kent and Sussex; and, being moored at the bottom of the sea by strong anchors and hawsers, were often left for weeks in such positions, before opportunity offered to smuggle them on shore. This plan was attended with considerable risk of discovery and loss. Occasionally during heavy gales of wind not only single tubs, but whole rafts, would break adrift, and be driven upon the beach, where they were seized by the blockaders.

Despite all these difficulties the Blockade men still had some successes. The most famous of these occurred in 1821 when a large body of smugglers attempt to land a large cargo of spirits at Marsh Bay, now known as St. Mildred’s Bay. This case had serious repercussions in Margate and is considered separately in Section 12, Marsh Bay and James Taylor. In another case in 1825, a boat had landed about 20 tubs of spirit near Northdown and put them in a cart, but the Blockade men at Newgate saw them, although the driver of the cart had time to disengage the horse from the cart and ride off, leaving the cart.37  In November 1826: ‘On Saturday morning, a cart with two horses, coming off the beach, covered with sea-weed, excited suspicion to the sentry on duty belonging to the Blockade Service, when on examination, it had concealed twenty tubs of spirits and some dry goods, which were immediately seized, together with the horses and cart, and conveyed to the battery at Westbrook’.38 A few months later, Edward Johnstone, of Dane Hill, a carrier and owner of the cart used by the smugglers, was captured by a party of the Coast Blockade men on the Parade at Margate and taken before the Magistrates, who found him guilty and fined him £100; being unable to pay the fine, he was committed to Dover gaol where he was remanded for further examination.39,40 In 1828 two young men, of the names of Castle and Saunders were captured by men of the blockade service as they were trying to hide some tubs of spirits.41 They were brought up for examination before the magistrates and were ordered ‘to serve his Majesty in the navy for 5 years, and were sent on board the receiving ship in the Downs’.41

On 15 October 1830, between 10 and 11 pm, ‘a smuggling galley of an unusual size, rowed with 14 oars was seen by several persons on shore at the iron bridge gateway, opposite Marine Terrace, the smugglers amounting to upwards of 70 men, first secured the watchman on the station, and took from him his pistol, and then carried clear off the whole of the cargo, consisting of more than 100 bales of Hyson Tea, &c.’.42 Then, on 23 October ‘at three o’clock, it was discovered that some smugglers were busy at their work, at West Brook, (near the Coast Blockade station) alarm being given, the Preventive men repaired to the spot, where they succeeded in securing 61 tons of foreign spirits, and also took in custody two men, named David Mutton, and Charles Snelling.42-44 A few days later in the early afternoon ‘as one of the men belonging to the coast blockade service was walking in [Margate], he met with a man whom he believed to have been engaged in the above smuggling transaction, and endeavoured to take him into custody, but in this he failed, the man having run up a narrow passage. The coast blockade man fired his pistol at him, the ball however fortunately missed the man, and also two gentlemen who were passing down at the moment. We hear that these gentlemen intend to make complaint of this transaction to the Admiralty Board’.45

On 25 October, ‘Mutton and Snelling were conveyed to the Magistrate’s Office, where they were arraigned under the revenue laws . . . When they were again brought up, the office, as usual, was crowded (the space therein allotted for the public, which some of the inhabitants nickname  the hog pound, is only 14 feet in length and 5 feet in width). The crowd collected outside amounted to about 700 men, women, and children, besides several of the preventive men. The magistrates . . . sentenced each to pay a fine of £100, and in default be committed to prison’.45 Mutton and Snelling, being unable to pay the fine, were duly committed to Dover gaol.44 Getting them there was, however, not easy. The lockup at Margate was not safe and it was decided to first move Mutton and Snelling to the blockhouse of the Prevention Station at Westbrook, to await their transport to Dover. Unfortunately, by then a large crowd had again collected outside the Town Hall. James Sheils, an officer of the Coast Blockade based at Westbrook, reported: 44

On Thursday the 28th day of October last as he and a party of his men were conducting Charles Snelling and David Mutton as prisoners from the Public Office in Margate to Prison for an offence against the revenue laws of which they had been duly convicted by the Magistrates he with his men were assaulted by a mob throwing stones and with an evident intention of rescuing the said men. That one of his men was wounded by the mob. And that he had strong cause to suspect that James Parry of Margate . . . shoemaker, was one of the persons who committed the assault.

The injured man, Edward Hare, a petty officer in the Coast Blockade, reported that as he and about 30 colleagues were conducting Snelling and Mutton to gaol ‘a mob of at least 200 first surrounded and then followed them, hooting and yelling and pressing in upon them and pushing them.’ He was hit by a stone and ‘his head was cut open through his hat and a wound of ca 2 in. was made by the stone.’ Shiels then ‘ordered the party to draw their swords which they accordingly did — and which although it had the effect of keeping off the mob and preventing a rescue, yet it did not prevent them from continuing to pelt them and pursuing them for more than half a mile.’ The stone was thrown by James Parry, who was recognized by Elijah Packer, clerk to John Boys, a local solicitor and Clerk to the Cinque Port Magistrates at Margate. Packer reported: 44

Thursday 28 October last as he was standing near the Police Office in Margate looking at the Coast Blockade men who were escorting 2 prisoners to their station he saw James Parry take up a large flint stone of between 2 and 3 lbs weight and throw amongst the blockade men —[he]  immediately tap’d the said James Parry on the shoulder and told him that he should remember him — Parry then laughed and went away; but in about half an hour afterwards and whilst [he] was at his dinner the said Parry came to his lodgings and begged of him to say nothing about it, but [he] said he should inform Mr Boys thereof.

An information against James Parry was placed before the Cinque Port Magistrates but the outcome is not known. 44

In 1831 the Coast Blockade around the Kent coast was replaced by the Coastguard Service and they, together with the Customs officials, continued to have some successes against the smugglers.12 In 1831 Edward Crugden, a Margate boatmen,  was found guilty at the Court of King’s Bench in London of possessing some tubs of foreign spirit on which he had not paid duty:46

George Plum, an Excise Officer, stationed at Mar­gate, saw a cart driven into a yard belonging to the defendant near Margate, on the morning of the 1st July last. Having some suspicion, he went into the yard as soon as the cart came out, and found there five tubs of the description called smugglers' tubs, four in an out­house, and one near the door of the dwelling-house. Upon examination, four of the tubs were found to con­tain French brandy, and the other hollands. He seized them, and sent for his supervisor, Lewin, who, on his way to Crugden’s house, saw the defendant walking hastily before him. He observed that his shoes and trowsers were wet, from which, as the morning was fine, it would appear that he had been to sea, (The defendant gets his living by rowing people out short distances at sea.) When the supervisor followed Crugden into the yard, and the latter perceived what had occurred, he exclaimed, “How the devil came these tubs here? I know nothing about them." The tubs and the ropes with which they were tied were all wet, and had every appearance of having been recently raised from the sea. In the house the officers found several tubs, which had but lately been emptied of foreign spirits, and also several ropes, and two or three anchors, such as smugglers use for staking tubs which they have not an opportunity to land. They found also a small bottle, containing colouring stuff; this the deponent entreated them to leave behind, saying, that "it was worse against him than all the rest."

Witness being asked, would the ropes and anchors, in the state in which he found them, answer the purposes of a boatman in the working of his boat, as well as they would answer a smuggler, replied that they were such as would answer either purpose.

There being no defence, a verdict was returned for the Crown — Damages. One hundred and fifty pounds.

A report from the officer in charge of the Newgate station to the Board of Customs in 1832 describes what was probably a fairly typical night’s work for the coastguard men:47

Newgate 3rd July 1832.
I beg leave to report seizure of 12 Bales Tea, the open lugger Kent of Deal, Mr. Austin, owner, and the capture of the 3 smugglers named in the Margin [Hockaday Minter 52,Jesse Piper 32, John Lawrence 26] by the crew of this station with the following circumstances.
On my return from visiting the Eastern part of this station about 1 a.m. I heard, when between the mills [at Cliftonville] and the Watch house (accompanied by my orderly) the report of a musket or pistol, which appeared not far to the Eastward, and shortly afterwards I distinctly heard the sound of several voices; the firing being frequently repeated I hastened to the spot, but the lookout man Samuel Griggs, Boatman, being under the cliff I passed the spot without seeing and was proceeding further eastward when I heard the report of a pistol in the road near the mills which took my utmost attention, for arriving at the spot I found John Hawkins, Boatman, in possession of a bale of tea; he having fallen in with a party of about 15 men one of whom was carrying the said bale, and being surrounded by them and seeing the man with the bale, whom he attempted to seize; they used many threats and one in particular having made a blow at him with a large stick, but missing his aim, Hawkins fired his pistol over his head when they called out "drop it, drop it", and ran off. I then proceeded with several of the crew, who had by this time collected on the spot to retrace the smugglers tracks to the seaside, with the hope of finding more goods. When I arrived at the cliffs edge I found Samual Griggs, Boatman, had seized two more bales of tea; he stated that he had a few minutes before 1 a.m. observed a boat pulling from the Eastward, he followed and kept in sight of her and found she closed in to the shore; as soon as he had got within 20 yds of the boat, he saw three of her crew on the sand, two in the boat; they no sooner observed him, after pulling off his white coat, that they called out "Shove Off" — he heard some of the cliff   fall and fired the alarm; they instantly sprang into the boat pushed off, saying   "O you bloody ---------, we know you; we pay you off for this" —  Griggs then said if you do not come in I will fire into you, finding they did not return he fired at the boats bow. Having minutely examined every part of the cliffs and fields near the spot where the boat had come in, I felt satisfied that no more had been landed than the 3 bales which had been seized; and seeing a French lugger off the station I immediately launched my galley to examine her thinking the remainder of the goods might be put on board her. I however found nothing, but while on board I observed a lugger about 4 miles to the eastward. . .

In 1836 ‘On Sunday night last about twelve o’clock, a party of smugglers in attempting to land some spirits from a boat at the back of the High-street, were surprised by one of the Coast Guard, who immediately fired off his pistol for assistance, when the smugglers took the alarm and effected their escape, leaving the boat and ten tubs in possession of the revenue officers’.48 In 1842, ‘On Sunday morning, 20 tubs of foreign spirits were picked up by the Custom-house officers, floating on the rocks near the jetty’.49 By now, however, the heyday for smuggling was over. The magistrates for the Thanet Division of Dover, in their report to the Royal Commission on the Constabulary in 1839 reported that ‘a great majority of the seafaring inhabitants never omit an opportunity of dealing in contraband goods’, but, they said ‘the importation is very much checked by the Coast Guards’.50 A drop in custom duties after 1840 reduced the profits to be made by smuggling and in 1857 the Commissioners of Customs in their first annual report claimed that the extent of smuggling had greatly decreased ‘with the reduction of duties and the removal of all needless and vexatious restrictions’.1 Smuggling had, however, not completely ended at Margate. In 1841 The Times reported a major success for the customs men against a large party of smugglers:51

A daring attempt was made by a party of smugglers on the morning of the 13th inst. to run a cargo of contraband goods on the Newgate station near Margate, which was completely frustrated through the vigilance and activity of Lieutenant John  Benson, chief officer, and the men who were on guard . . . The working party, that is the men who are employed to carry and convey the goods away after they are landed, are very differently equipped now, when engaged in these nocturnal expeditions, to what they used to be some few years back. In those days the men selected for this service were armed up to the teeth, and perfectly prepared for fighting; at present they are only prepared for running, which was the case the other morning. The whole party, consisting of some 30 or 40, having nothing whatever on them but flannel shirts and drawers, all escaped but one poor unfortunate wight [person], who, treading upon a piece of broken glass or stone with his bare feet during the chase, fell into the hands of the Philistines. The greater part of the cargo taken consists of strong cognac, no doubt intended for the Margate  visitors — a grievous disappointment to many, as almost the first question asked by the London innocent, upon taking possession of his lodgings, is “Can you get us a bottle of smuggled brandy?” Execrable stuff in general, but taken for granted to be vastly superior to anything to be had in London, in consequence of it being smuggled.

In 1842 the coastguard had another success, capturing three men, ‘Long Will’ (William Miler), Edward Hemptage and Henry Manning:52,53

Smuggling – Margate, Feb 14. On Friday night between 11 and 12, the crew of the Newgate Preventive Station, near Margate, captured a considerable quantity of contraband goods near the Clifton Baths. The leader of the smugglers, a very powerful man, known upon the coast as “Long Will”, made a determined resistance, but being thrown with great violence upon the rocks during the fray, was severely hurt, and made prisoner along with two of his comrades; the rest of the gang, favoured by the intense darkness of the night, escaped, leaving the whole of the cargo in the hands of the preventive men.

Richard Ovenden smuggler | Margate History
Figure 10. Richard Ovenden, said to be the last of Smugglers’ Gang to use the Vortigern Caves at Margate.


The man said to be the last of the Margate smugglers, Richard Ovenden, died at the age of 94, in the 1920s.54 Reminders of these smuggling days remain, however, in a number of passage ways cut through the chalk cliffs.54,55 The United Service Journal reported one example of such a tunnel, although, unfortunately, it is not clear exactly where in the Isle of Thanet it was located:21

There are places upon the coast of Kent, where the sea has encroached upon the land to such an extent, that whole fields, gardens, and even churchyards, have been precipitated into the ocean, by the continual crumbling away of the chalk. A gentleman residing in the Isle of Thanet, who had some ornamental grounds extending nearly to the edge of the cliff, experienced a serious inroad such as we have described, which not only swept away all the public path outside his premises, but also the sea wall, and part of a fine plantation. The two side walls remained with their broken ends hanging fearfully over the precipice, so that all passage along the cliff was obstructed; and the blockade senti­nels could only communicate with each other by making an extensive circuit round the whole property.

An application was made to the proprietor, by Captain M'Culloch [head of the Coast Blockade], craving access to the grounds at night; but this was denied, lest it should strengthen a claim set up by the parish to a right of way along the cliff, which, if established, must still further curtail the limits of the domain: a state of things, therefore, so favourable to illicit operations was not likely to be very long neglected. By scaling the walls at night, or by gaining admittance through favour of confederates among the servants, the "fair traders" carried on their labours for a length of time without interruption; but, as usual, the notoriety of their success occasioned detection. It having been rumoured that large quantities of contraband goods had been seen coming out of a particular shrubbery, a writ of assistance was obtained authorising a search; but at first nothing ap­peared which could justify the intrusion. As the officers, however, were on the point of relinquishing their examination, a trap-door was disco­vered concealed under a heap of brambles. On lifting this they de­scended a sloping tunnel cut through the chalk, leading to a small aperture in the cliff about fifty feet above the beach, to which access was afforded by a long ladder kept within the passage, where also they found above a hundred half ankers of foreign brandy, lying piled up with the slings on, ready for immediate removal.

A similar passage was discovered near Kingsgate in 1826:56

During the late heavy gales, and by the washing away of some stones, &c by the tide from under the cliff near Kingsgate, a subterranean passage was discovered, leading from the bottom to the top, a distance of nearly a quarter of a mile, large enough for persons with two tubs to pass up and down. Some time since, a well was dug in a Gentleman’s garden near the spot, so that it leads to a conjecture, the excavation was made at the same time, as an opportunity then served of getting the chalk and rubbish away unsuspected.

A more famous case, of a tunnel from Zion Place, possible from a cottage in the rear of the Crown and Anchor Tavern,54 to near the Clifton Baths was reported in January 1832:57

An extraordinary discovery has been made here in the last week by officers of this Custom-house, which shows the persevering and enterprising spirit of the smugglers. The officers went to search a house in the occupation of a man of the name of Cook [Cooke in some reports], at the back of Zion-place, near the Fort, in Margate, and discovered in a room below a secret entrance, just large enough to admit a man crawling upon his knees. The officers proceeded downwards upon an inclined plane towards the sea shore, to the distance of about 200 yards, passing under several houses, at a depth of many feet below the surface of the ground, until they reached the lower entrance, which opens on the north west side of the Clifton Baths.  The mouth of the entrance was boarded over and covered with chalk and earth, rammed down in such a manner as completely to conceal it. There were found, in the interior of the cliff, several trucks on wheels, and implements for the conveying of smuggled goods through the tunnel to Cook’s house. The work, which it is calculated must have cost in labour from £100 to £200, was just finished, and is reported to have been paid for by a great silk-mercer and riband-seller in London. It is fortunate for the revenue as well as for the silk-trade that such a discovery has been made, as the whole plan of operation was so well projected, that whilst the hide remained known only to the smugglers, they might at any time, in dark nights, in the short space of an hour, have smuggled many thousand pounds’ worth of property, and carried it off in safety. It is whispered amongst the sailors on the pier, that if the officers had not been a little too eager in their pursuit, they might within a week, when the dark nights come on again, have made an immense seizure; but now they have entirely defeated their own object, because not a vestige of any contraband article was yet to be found upon the premises. This is the second subterraneous tunnel which has been dug under the same property within two years, and the second time the officers being defeated by their eagerness to grasp so large a prize. It is justice to the lease [Cook] of this singularly constructed property to say, that not the least suspicion is entertained by the revenue officers of any connivance on his part, he having given them duplicate keys of the subterraneous excavations and baths during the winter months, when the property lies unoccupied, and cautioned them that unless some of the revenue officers were stationed on the premises throughout the night, it was impossible to prevent smuggling.

It seems, however, that Cook was not as innocent as first thought. On 7 April the Coastguard again paid a visit to Richard Cook:47

I have the honour of reporting to you the seizure of 45 half ankers of Spirits made by the crew of this station this afternoon in the subterranean  passage leading from Richard Cook’s house to the seaside, and also of the arrest of the notorious smuggler Cook. In stating the particulars of the Seizure I beg leave to refer you to my sec. of the 25 Ulto reporting to you when I had discovered Cook to have broken through again and agreeably to your instructions I have continued to post my men so as to guard the spot in question in the most secret yet efficient manner.
Having this morning been ordered by you to inwardly examine Cooks house and  subterranean passage leading there from, I in compliance therewith, a few minutes after noon had Master Knight, Commander Boatman,  Edward Tonkin, & Thomas Moody, Boatman, to break open the lower entrance of the tunnel, while I went in search of a Constable in order to examine the House in anyway. I was met by one of my crew who informed me that a quantity of spirits had been found within the lower entrance of the tunnel. About 1 pm I, holding the Writ of Assistance and accompanied by Lieut. Bate and a Constable, entered Cook’s house;  we found him at home, and having placed a sufficient guard round the house, we proceeded to the kitchen and found the late entrance filled up with chalk as also that which lead  into Osborn’s house. We however by pricking about very soon discovered the new entrance to be through the floor of the cellar, which entrance is about 14 inches square.  I shortly afterwards left Lieut. Bate in the house and proceeded myself by boat to the lower end of the tunnel in which 45 half ankers of spirits had been found; 44 I found in the possession of Samuel Griggs, Comm. Boatman, and one had been taken up through the tunnel by Edward Tonkin, Boatman. A ball of small  line about 100 fams in length was found with the tubs which had evidently been used for the purpose of landing them to the shore.

 In April Cook was charged with concealing smuggled spirits:58

Richard Cook was brought before the Magistrates at Margate, for an initial hearing on the charge of concealing a large quantity of foreign spirits. The facts of the case are as follows. Cook had made a subterraneous passage from his house to the cliff (the measured distance of which is nearly 200 yards). On the 7th of April, Lieut. Brokenshaw having received information that a quantity of goods had been worked on the preceding night, went, in company with several of his men, to make a search; and by boring the walls of the kitchen of Cooke's house, with iron instruments, they soon discovered the opening, which they entered, and found forty-five half-ankers, containing up­wards of 130 gallons of foreign spirits. They detained Cooke, and carried him to the Newgate watch-house, where be was held in custody from the 7th till the 13th of April, when he was brought before the Magistrates of Margate, who acquitted the prisoner.

The prosecution of Cook was conducted by John Boys, and the magistrates were said to have undertaken ‘a most patient investigation of the case’, taking about three hours to reach their decision,59 but a decision for acquittal still seems surprising.  

The cliffs near the Clifton baths were also used to store smuggled spirits. In 1846:60

On Tuesday week fifty tubs of spirits were taken under very singular circumstances. Abutting the sea, upon the grounds of the Clifton Baths, near the fort, Margate, is a limekiln, and the lime burner, from time to time, as he required chalk for making lime, penetrated the cliff until he reached one of those deep natural caverns formed by the sea. It is, therefore, easy to conceive, that a line attached to tubs or packages, sunk within a certain distance at high water, during the dark winter night, could be drawn within the mys­terious depths of the cavern and brought on the cliff through the aperture of the limekiln. What adds to the singularity of the case is that the limekiln is rented of a gentleman who for many years has been the Solicitor to the Treasury and a most vigilant officer [John Boys]. Suspicion was disarmed by the very nature of the hiding-place, which is also within a very short distance of the coast guard station. The information came from Deal.

The same caves were to have a role in the death of George Watson, a 50 year old master bricklayer and lime burner:61,62

Lamentable Occurrence.—About five o'clock on Sunday morning, as the officers in the Coast Guard Service were removing some tubs of spirits (in number 72), which they had discovered entangled in the Margate Jetty, Mr. George Watson, of this place, bricklayer, was found lying on the beach on his face, partially covered with sea-weed, quite dead. It is generally believed that he was connected with this smuggling transaction, and that the tubs, or the line attached to them (for the purpose of drawing them under the cliffs), becoming foul, he had ventured into the sea for the purpose of clearing them, and either got out of his depth or was seized by the intense cold, whereby cramp was produced, which led to his untimely end. He was much respected, and his death is generally regretted: he has left a wife and a large family of young children to deplore his loss.

On Sunday morning, at break of day, the Coast Guardman, upon the look out at Jarvis's Landing place, had his attention drawn to a large quantity of tubs, apparently containing foreign spirits, floating near his beat. He proceeded immediately to take possession of the same. After getting them to the beach, the parties assisting were horror-struck at finding the body of a man entangled with the tubs — quite dead. It proved on investigation to be a bricklayer (a master in a small way), by the name of Watson, residing in the Dane, Margate. The unfortunate deceased owned a lime-kiln adjoining the Clifton Baths, which are situated about two or three hundred yards from the spot where he was found; and it is conjectured, that the tubs having been deposited at low water mark, he swam out to bring them in for concealment in his lime-kiln, but the current proving too strong, or being seized with the cramp, he was not able to get out of the coil, and thus became a victim to his own cupidity. He was a steady and exceedingly industrious man, and leaves a widow and four young children to lament his loss, with every probability of a fifth being soon added to the bereaved family.

The death of George Watson corresponded quite closely to the end of organized smuggling at Margate. In 1854 the South Eastern Gazette reported that the coastguard men had been taken away from Margate ‘to man the navy’ and suggested that ‘smugglers will doubtless take advantage of this circumstance to ply a trade which had nearly become extinct’.63 The South Eastern Gazette was wrong – smuggling, at least on a large scale, was extinct.



1. Robin Craig and John Whyman, Kent and the Sea, in Alan Armstrong, Ed., The Economy of Kent 1640-1914, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1995.

2. Roy Philp, The Coast Blockade, Compton Press, 1999

3. William Cambell, Ed., Materials for a history of the region of Henry VII, Volume 1, CUP, 1873.

4. Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Interregnum, 1649-50, London, 1875.

5. John Lewis, The history and antiquities as well ecclesiastical as civil, of the Isle of Tenet, in Kent,  2nd edition, 1736.

6. J. D. Hume, The Law of the Customs, 1825.

7. Roger Knight, Britain against Napoleon, Allen Lane, 2013.

8. The Naval chronicle for 1816: containing a general and biographical history of the royal navy of the United kingdom with a variety of original papers on nautical subjects,  Vol. 35, London, 1816.

9. Richard Platt, Smuggling in the British Isles, Tempus, 2007.

10. John Douch, Smuggling: rough, rude men, Crabwell Publications, Dover, 1985.

11. Alfred T. Walker, The Ville of Birchington. Its history and bygones, 3rd edition, 1991.

12. Morning Chronicle, May 20 1831.

13. Letters of Momus from Margate, 1777.

14. St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post, September 27 1777.

15. Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser, September 25 1784.

16. General Evening Post, July 3 1787.

17. The Margate Guide, 1770.

18. Lady Strachey, Ed., Memoirs of a Highland Lady. The autobiography of Elizabeth Grant 1797-1830, John Murray, London, 1898.

19. The spirit of the public journals, Vol. 10, James Ridgway, London, 1807.

20. St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post, March 28 1789.

21. United Service Journal, Part 3, pp 26-35, 194-203, and 477-490, 1839.

22. Knight’s Tourist’s Companion through the land we live in, Nattali and Bond, London, 1853.

23.National Archives, CUST 52/83, Letter Book Customs to Margate.

24. John Whyman, Aspects of holidaymaking and resort development within the Isle of Thanet, Vol. 1, Arno Press, New York, 1981.

25. British Journal, December 19 1724.

26. The Kentish Post or Canterbury News, October 19 1726.

27. The Kentish Post or Canterbury News, August 2 1729.

28. Old England's Journal, March 10 1753.

29. Kentish Chronicle, March 24 1789.

30. London Evening Post, March 26 1765.

31. Lloyd's Evening Post, July 22 1765.

32. The Times, August 17 1787.

33. The Times, October 5 1805.

34. W. N. Glascock, Naval sketch-book: or, the service afloat and ashore, Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, London, 1832.

35. The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, pp. 84-85, August, 1829.

36. Kentish Chronicle, January 8 1819.

 37. Kentish Gazette, March 4 1825.

38. Kentish Gazette, November 21 1826.

39. Kentish Gazette, February 23 1827.

40. Kentish Gazette, February 29 1827.

41. Kentish Gazette, April 25 1828.

42. Kent Herald, October 28 1830.

43. Kentish Gazette, October 26, 1830.

44. Kent Archives, Do/JS/d11, Informations etc before the Cinque Port Justices 1828-1836.

45. Kentish Gazette, October 29 1830.

46. Morning Chronicle, February 3 1831.

47. National Archives CUST52/1.

48. Kent Herald, January 21 1836.

49. Dover Chronicle, March 19 1842.

50. Parliamentary Papers, Royal Commission Appointed to Inquire as to the Best Means of Establishing an Efficient Constabulary Force, 1839 XIX

51. The Times, July 16 1841.

52. Kent Herald, February 17 1842.

53. The Times, February 16 1842.

54. Stephanie Upton, Contraband Corner, 1986.

55. Harry Pearman, Caves and Tunnels in Kent, Records of the Chelsea Spelaeological Society, Vol. 6.

56. Kentish Gazette, November 21 1826.

57. Kentish Gazette, January 19 1832.

58. Morning Chronicle, April 23 1832.

59. Kentish Chronicle, April 24 1832.

60. Kentish Gazette, April 21 1846.

61. Kentish Gazette, January 2 1849.

62. Canterbury Journal, December 30 1848.

63. South Eastern Gazette, March 7 1854.

64. Kent Herald, January 3 1850.

65. South Eastern Gazette, April 3 1855.

66. South Eastern Gazette, November 13 1855.