Thief publicly whipped

The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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On this day in 1804 Henry Clear, having served three months in prison for stealing hemp from the Dockyard, was publicly whipped ‘from the Dockyard to the north corner of Gunwharf’ to complete his punishment. An accomplice was transported for seven years.

Another man, having stolen three iron bolts weighing 10lbs, was ordered to receive 40 lashes at the Dockyard gate with the bolts tied around his neck throughout.

Between 1698 and 1781, records show that 120 men and 98 women were whipped in Portsmouth as part of their sentences.

A few were punished for begging, but the vast majority had been convicted of theft – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.