East Lulworth

A  Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC Network

News - 1822

The Times -  Wednesday 25 December 1822


On Saturday night, the 7th instant, Mr. Hunt, head gamekeeper to the Right. Hon. Robert Peel, of Lulworth Castle, received information that a body of poachers intended that night to enter his master's plantations. Immediately summoning his assistants, twelve in number, he awaited their arrival; and between eleven and twelve o'clock the discharge of several guns announced their near approach. Mr. Hunt, on challenging them, was answered by a person who appeared to act as leader, who said, "We are five-and-thirty strong, and are for death or glory; but we will not use fire-arms, unless your party fire first." Turning to his men, he then threatened to shoot the first who left the field, and placing them in military array, a general fight ensued. Both parties were armed with clubs and swingels (instruments much used by poachers, and resembling flails). After a combat of 20 minutes, the poachers retreated, leaving behind them several pheasants which they had killed, but taking away the keeper's valuable double-barrelled gun. Each poacher was distinguished by a white handkerchief round his hat. Mr. Hunt was much hurt, and all his men more or less bruised. An account being transmitted to Mr. Peel, Bishop, the officer, was sent down, and five of the poachers are in custody. Most of the gang lived 12 or 14 miles distant.