logo
livingroom

decorative bar

biographies


corner Last update of this page: June 1st 2003 corner
Charles Hitchin
(1675 - 1727) U.K.

Charles Hitchin

Law enforcement official

separator

In 1703 Hitchin married Elizabeth Wells of Herfordshire. They lived in the north side of St Paul's Churchyard, London, where he practiced his trade as a cabinet-maker. Elizabeth's father died in 1711, and Hitchin used her inheritance to buy the office of Under City-Marshall in 1712 for £700. This enabled him to regulate some 2,000 thieves, to blackmail them and others, to receive stolen goods and extract money from their owners for returning them, and to receive quarterly payements as protection money from brothels.

Hitchin kept company with thieves at every tavern, brothel and eating-house in the City of London, and was accompanied on his evening walks by a band of pickpocket boys. The notorious "thief-taker" Jonathan Wild began his career as an assistant to Hitchin, but they separated on bad terms and attacked each other in a pamphlet war in 1718. One of Hitchin's men, William Field, gave evidence which resulted in Wild being hanged in 1725, and there is an illustration showing Hitchin riding immediately behind the cart that carried Wild to the gallows.

Though Hitchin was known as "Madam" and "Your Ladyship" in several molly houses, he once raided a molly house and arrested several men in drag; but after a few days in detention, they threatened to reveal his own sodomitical practices, and he arranged for their release.

Hitchin was convicted for attempted sodomy in 1727, and sentenced to a £20 fine, six months' imprisonment, and to stand in the pillory near the Strand. When he was brought to the pillory in May, many of his fellows thieves and fellow mollies barricated the streets in order to impede an angry mob. The Drury Lane Ladies broke through a line of peace officers and pelted Hitchin with rocks and filth, the force of the missiles tearing his clothes off, and he fainted from exhaustion.

He brought legal action against three men who had wounded him in the pillory. He was not immediately released after serving his six months, until he could raise money as security against his good behaviour, which he did by advertising his post for sale in the newspapers. He was discharded in November, but he had not recovered from his ordeal, and died that same month. His wief, in extreme poverty, petitioned to the court for relief.

separator

Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

Click on the letter H to go back to the list of names

corner © Matt & Andrej Koymasky, 1997 - 2008 corner