Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 6.djvu/190

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154


NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 s. vi. APRIL 24, 1920.


and 1 that was the end of the Hawkhurst Gang.

G. P. R. James in ' The Smuggler ' describes the chief exploits of the Hawkhurst gang (under the name of " Ramley's gang "), including the smugglers' siege of Goudhurst -Church, which was used as a fort by the militia. Traditions of smuggling days and smuggling ways abound in the neighbourhood

of Cranbrook. My venerable mother-in-law (aged 91) remembers, as a girl, an old man at 'Tenterden who in his early days had been an .active smuggler. He showed her a cun- ningly contrived " hide " under the floor of his cottage where he used to conceal duty- free goods and told her in all sincerity, for he was a pious man that when hard pressed by the Revenue riding officers (he was never

caught) he used to repeat the lines :

O magnify the Lord with me,

With me exalt His name, When in distress to Him I called

He to my rescue came.

Rarely, I imagine, have Tate and Brady's familiar lines been uttered under stranger

conditions ! J. B. TWYCROSS.

10 Holmewood Road, Brixton Hill, S.W.2.

Hawkhurst is a village in Kent, and was the headquarters of one of the most cele- brated of the gangs of smugglers who carried on the trade about the middle of the

eighteenth century, which may be called the " physical force " or " direct action " period of smuggling, since the smugglers did not find it necessary to resort to the ingenious devices of later days, but simply terrorized such of the unfortunate Customs officers as were not amenable to bribery. The gang was ultimately suppressed, and several of the leaders hanged. (See ' Smuggling Days and Smuggling Ways,' by Commander the Hon. H. N. Shore, Cassell & Co., 1892.) I think that Commander Shore (see p. 48 n.) has confused Arthur Gray with his brother William, another prominent member of the gang. It appears from the Sessions Papers that Arthur Gray was sentenced to death, and, I suppose, he was hanged in due course. I may add that the Hawkhurst Gang did not confine themselves to smuggling, but com-

>mitted so many highway robberies and other outrages that they set local feeling against them, and this, no doubt, made their sup-

pression more easy. C. L. S.

The Hawkhurst gang was a notorious

band of smugglers who were a terror for

-some years to the inhabitants of Kent and

-Sussex, where they operated from 1744 to

1747. In December, 1744, the gang raided


the Custom House at Shoreham, carried off the staff, whipped them almost to death, and clapped them on a vessel and sent them to France. In 1747 the gang, under its leader Kingsmill, attacked the village of Goudhucst, Kent, whose inhabitants had formed itself into the " Goudhurst Band of Militia." The gang was beaten off with several killed and wounded. The Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1747, contains an account of the affair. Kingsmill shortly afterwards, with thirty other desperadoes, stormed the Custom House at Poole and captured a large quantity of tea. A reward was offered for their apprehension and one named Diamond was arrested through the information of Daniel Chater, a shoemaker. Chater and a Customs officer named Galley were pro- ceeding to Chichester when they fell into the hands of the gang, who, after brutally ill- using them, murdered them in a cruel and inhuman manner. Galley was buried in a sandpit and Chater's body flung down a well. Most of the smugglers were afterwards captured and executed and the Hawkhurst gang broken up. For accounts of them set ' King's Cutters and Smugglers,' chap. v.. by E. K. Chatterton, and 'The King's Customs,' by Atton and Holland, vol. i, pp. 212-6. G. H. W.

CHRISTMAS CAROL : ORIGIN WANTED ( 12 S. v. 318). The words and music of this carol will be found given in ' English Folk-Song and Dance,' pp. 113-6 (Camb. Univ. Press, 1915). I am inclined to think that internal evidence points to a mediaeval origin. The author of the above work writes :

" But a carol collected in 1833 from a peasant in West Cornwall and included in William Sandys' collection is the most interesting proof I have yet found of the association between dancing and the Christian religion. Nothing more is known of the carol in spite of many inquiries which are still being pursued .... Mr. G. B. S. Mead thinks this carol was originally sung by the mediaeval minstrels, jongleurs, and troubadours, who are said to have invented the word carol, meaning a dance in which the performers moved slowly in a circle, singing as they went. The troubadours are responsible for the preservation of many fragments of old mystery plays, and this carol is probably one such fragment, and as such is a link between the definitely pagan folk-dance and through the Christian Church to those alive in England to-day." JOSEPH J. MACSWEENEY.

Howth, co. Dublin.

The carol beginning : " To-morrow shall be my dancing day " is printed in ' Christmas- tide,' by William Sandys, F.S.A. (published in 1852 by John Russell Smith). It is no. 29 in his list of carols. Under no. 34 (which is