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National and local newspapers provide an invaluable source of information for those seeking contemporary detail on that 'newsworthy' event.

In this section, we hope to show you where to access some local and national newpaper files - both online and by also visiting local libraries and public archives and to give you a taste of the stories that made it into print.

F:\MY DOCUMENTS\historical\RPHG WEB PAGE\Archive\Newspaper Cuttings\2 Boots.jpg
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For the crime of stealing two pairs of boots - seven years deportation!

(see the article below)
F:\MY DOCUMENTS\historical\RPHG WEB PAGE\Archive\Newspaper Cuttings\Revenue Cutter Harpy chasing smugglers Image courtesy Liverpool Daily Post and Echo..jpg
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Revenue Cutter 'Harpy' chasing smugglers Image courtesy
Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.
(can you see the jettisoned brandy barrel floating?)

F:\MY DOCUMENTS\historical\RPHG WEB PAGE\Archive\Newspaper Cuttings\Smugglers1-204x300.jpg
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A scene from many a Cornish Beach - the landing and carrying off of tax free liquor and goods

We begin with a sample of local newspaper stories and images with a local flavour:

Two articles from 'The Times' and two from 'the West Briton':

"The Times" of London
On Thursday night last the "
Happy-Go-Lucky", Lug Sail Shallop, and the "Stag" cutter, both smuggling vessels belonging to Cawsand came on the coast from Guernsey, and had begun to land their cargoes to the west of the Ram[e] Head when the "Pylades" boat being out, discovered and rowed towards them; there were two midshipmen and five sailors in the boat; one of the midshipmen boarded the "Stag" cutter but being discovered by a man on the top-sail-yard, he gave the alarm which roused the smugglers below when immediately a man came upon deck with a blunderbuss, upon which he fired a musket at him, the contents of which lodged in his body, and he dropped. This man is supposed to be the captain.

The smugglers then fired into the "Pylades" boat; killed one of them broke another's arm, and wounded a third in the back. The general cry of the smugglers was "Kill them all, don't let one go ashore to tell their story." Both the smugglers vessels then went off and unloaded the rest of their cargoes to the westward.

Friday the 14th of October 1785

'The Times' of London
DAILY UNIVERSAL REGISTER London, Middlesex County, England - 9 May 1786 - "Whitehall, April 29, 1786, - WHEREAS it has been humbly represented to the King, that in the Morning of the 4th of April 1786, the HAWKE and LARK Revenue Luggers, stationed at the Port of Falmouth, fell in with (in Mount's Bay on the Coast of Cornwall) the HAPPY GO LUCKY, a Smuggling Shallop, belonging to Cawsand in Cornwall commanded by one THOMAS WELLARD, when the said Shallop, being hailed by the Custom-house Luggers to bring-to, (they having the Office Colours flying) the Crew of the said Shallop feloniously fired into the HAWKE, whereupon an Engagement ensued, which lasted a considerable Time; but the Smugglers finding themselves overpowered by the Revenue Vessels, and their Commander killed, and several others killed and wounded , thought fit to surrender, and being taken Possession of, were afterwards committed to Pendennis Castle, from whence, after having knocked down the Serjeant, and some of the Centinels {sic}, they made their Escape between Seven and Eight o'Clock in the Evening of the 9th Instant. His Majesty, for the better discovering and bringing to Justice the Persons concerned in this atrocious Outrage and Felony, is hereby pleased to promise his most gracious Pardon to any one of the said Offenders, who shall discover his Accomplice or Accomplices, so that any Two or more of them may be apprehended and convicted.

And, as a further Encouragement, the Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs do hereby offer a Reward of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to any Person who will discover any one or more of the said Offenders, (whose Names and Descriptions are under-mentioned) to be paid by the Receiver-General of the Customs on Conviction. Dated at the Custom-house, London, the 28th of April, 1786. - By Order of the Commissioners, W. STILES, Secretary.

JOHN KELLY, alias MARTIN, alias LITTLE JACK, a thick-set Man, wears his own short dark Hair, about Five Feet Two Inches High, Twenty-six Years of Age, and
lives at Cawsand.
JOHN MOORE, a thick-set Man, short dark Hair, brown Complexion, about Five Feet Six Inches high, Twenty-one Years of Age, and usually
resides at Cawsand.
BENJAMIN AVERY, a thick set Man, short-brown Hair,
belongs to Cawsand, about Five Feet Five Inches high, Twenty-five Years of Age.
JOHN SPILLOR, a tall Man, slight Legs, stout Body, marked with the Small-pox, short brown hair, belongs to St. Germans, usually
resides at Wrinckle, about Five Feet Ten Inches high, and Twenty-three Years of Age.Many more individuals listed - non-Rame persons (deleted)
Friday 9th of May 1786.


'West Briton' Articles:

A proposition having been made to Government for watering the ships of war lying at Cawsand Bay, by means of leather hose carried from a reservoir on the adjacent heights, an experiment was made on Thursday last to ascertain the practicability; when by means of an engine worked four men, a cask which was placed in a boat a mile from the shore was filled with water. The reservoir being on a height above the level of shipping will render an engine unnecessary.
17 December 1813

Cornwall Assizes. Richard Cock was tried by a special jury, under the Act for preventing fires from being made during the night on any part of the coast, as signal to smuggling vessels. Nicholas Marshall stated that is sitter of the preventative boat at Cawsand, which belongs to the port Plymouth. On the evening of the 7th of December last, the witness with some of his people, was on shore between Rame Head and Penlee Point. About half-past eight o"clock they saw two fires and proceeded towards them; when they came within a few yards of the first fire, the person who was attending it ran away and escaped. On going towards the second fire, which was within 20 or 30 yards of the first, they saw the defendant. Richard Cock, with an instrument called a fire-fork, holding up the reed "I which the fire was made, in order that it might blaze" 7 April 1815
(Cock had little prospect of being acquitted. According to law, the burden of proof that the fire had been lighted for another purpose fell upon him, and at such a time and in so remote a place, it was obvious what he was doing.)
10 April 1815

On Tuesday last two men and a woman were taken up at Kingsand, for making and uttering base coin. These persons had for some time been travelling in this county as rat-catchers; under which appearance they contrived to vend their counterfeits without detection, but suspicion being at length excited, their lodging was searched, and two of them detected in the act of preparing counterfeit shillings for circulation. They were immediately committed to Bodmin prison.
16 April 1816

Locally Published Newspapers:
A large number of publications have now closed. But, records for many still exist.

The list below will gradually be expanded to include the location of accessible archives. For instance, the Western Morning News archives are available on microfiche at the main Plymouth Reference Library on North Hill, Plymouth.



WEST DEVON MERCURY 1860 to 1921 Plymouth Reference Library
WESTERN EVENING HERALD 1895 to present Plymouth Reference Library

WESTERN MORNING NEWS 1860 to present Plymouth Reference Library


The County Library Service has created an extensive resource of Cornish newspapers, principally at the Cornwall Studies Centre in Redruth.

Cornish & Devon Post 1877 to date Cornish Studies and Launceston 1877 to 1943 Bude
Cornish Guardian 1901 to date Cornish Studies, Bodmin, Newquay and St Austell
Cornish Telegraph 1851 to 1915 Cornish Studies
Cornish Times 1857 to date Cornish Studies and Liskeard
Cornishman 1878 to date Cornish Studies and Penzance
East Cornwall Times 1859 to 1877 Cornish Studies and Launceston
Royal Cornwall Gazette 1801 to 1951 Cornish Studies
St Austell Star 1889 to 1915 Cornish Studies
Sherborne Mercury 1737 to 1867 Cornish Studies & County Ref (Truro)
West Briton 1810 to date Cornish Studies & County Ref (Truro)
Western Echo 1899 to 1957 Cornish Studies

Cornwall Centre / Kresenn Kernow
Alma Place Redruth TR15 2AT

Tel: +44 (0) 1209 216760

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