Cornwall  Smugglers


Coast Guard / Revenue / Salt Officers


A Gwithian Smuggler?

The following report is taken verbatim from the 25th of April 1801 edition of the Cornwall Gazette Newspaper 


Old Bailey

Edward Bawden,1 was indicted at the Old Bailey before Lord Kenyon for wilfully and maliciously firing off a gun loaded with gunpowder and a leaden bullet, at John Arnold, on the 6th September at Gwithian, in the County of Cornwall.

Mr Attorney General opened the case on the part of the prosecution.

John Arnold deposed, that he is an Officer of the Excise at Marazion in Cornwall: on the 6th Sept. he went, accompanied by some dragoons, to search the prisoners house, on suspicion of his having smuggled goods concealed: after searching and finding none he came away. In the evening about eleven o'clock, he was returning, and near the prisoners house, he saw two men behind a hedge, one of whom he knew to be the prisoner: he heard him say "the damn'd light horsemen are here again; shoot them," and soon after several shots were fired. He was certain the prisoner was the man that called out to a number who were at a distance to fire, which they did in less than three or four minutes. Another Officer of Excise, and the Serjeant of the Dragoons, confirmed this witness's testimony as to the firing, but were not certain that the prisoner was present. Mr Erskine cross-examined the witnesses, and conducted the prisoner's defence.

Four Witnesses were called on behalf of the prisoners. They said that the prisoner had that day been getting his harvest in, for which purpose they assisted him; about eight o'clock they left off work and went to supper; after they had done supper they drank some toddy, and continued in conversation till near eleven o-clock when hearing the report of guns, they got up with an intention of going to see what was the matter; the prisoner then got up, set his back against the door, and said no one should stir out of the room; on which they resumed their seats, which they did not quit till near two o'clock the next morning. at which time the prisoner retired to bed, and they departed. They positively swore that the prisoner never quitted his room from eight until he went to bed at two o'clock.

Lord Kenyon summed up with much impartiality, and laid down the law in a clear and distinct manner. The Jury, without the least hesitation, acquitted the prisoner.

1. The Transcript of the trial can be read by following the link from the Index page.


Researched and compiled by George Pritchard of Penhalvean, Cornwall, UK.

    Copyright George Pritchard of Penhalvean 

Last modified: Saturday July 06, 2013 .

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