Brewing Up Trouble

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Since you are all doubtless having the vicar around for a cup of Earl Grey this afternoon, I thought you might like to entertain him (or her) with this nugget about the more violent side of the history of tea...

Tea was taxed heavily in the 1700s, which led to smuggling on a huge scale. In September, 1747, a Hampshire shoemaker called Daniel Chater named tea smuggler John Diamond to the authorities. He agreed to identify this Diamond in person, and in February of the following year, rode towards Chichester for that purpose with a customs officer called William Galley. They stopped off at a pub but, unluckily for them, the suspicious landlady and her sons were smugglers. She called in some heavies, and coaxed Chater into explaining the reason for his journey. The two men were plied with booze, and put to bed.

Later, seven of the smugglers woke the pair by poking them in the heads with their spurs. They were then tied to a horse, and ridden 15 miles into Sussex, while being whipped all the way, often slipping under the horse and being battered by its hooves. Occasionally, Galley would have his testicles whacked by one of the smugglers.

Arriving at another pub, Galley was buried alive, and Chater was held under guard for two days, before they decided to finish him off. He was beaten, his nose was cut off, and they tried hanging him, but he clung to life, so they tipped him down a well-shaft. This still didn't achieve the desired effect, so they threw rocks, wooden posts, and railings down the well until he expired.

Substantial rewards were offered, and led to the arrests, trials, hanging and gibbeting of the ringleaders.

More tea, vicar?

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