Sort file:- Milton Regis, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1865-


Latest 1867+


Milton Regis


Reference to this establishment has been found in the papers of 1865 and 1867 and that it was a beer house. Other information at present is unknown.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 22 May 1865.

Petty Sessions Sittingbourne.

Mary Dawson, for stealing a flat-iron and a sheet, belonging to Mr. Cooper, of the "Comicals" beerhouse, Milton, was committed for 21 days.


From the Whitstable Times, 30 March 1867. Price 1d.


(Before Col. Dyke).

Stephen Bennett, a labourer, and Thomas Bassant, a beer retailer, both living at Milton, were charged— Bennett for having on the 23rd Jan., stolen a pig, the property of William Chapman, a farmer, at Bobbing, and Bassant for receiving the pig well knowing it to have been stolen.

McCarthy Stephenson, Esq., appeared for prisoners.

William Chapman said I am a fruiterer and farmer, and live at Bobbing. On the night of the 23rd January last I had 20 pigs in a yard in my occupation, in the parish of Borden. The next morning I missed one of the pigs. I saw in a corner of the yard a quantity of blood, as though a pig had been killed there. I immediately gave information of the robbery to the police.

William Horton said:—I am a labourer, and live at Milton. About a week before I was charged with stealing fowls here, Thomas Bassant, of the “Comicals," Milton, said to me, “If yon listen to me I'll learn you how to get a living without hard labour.” I said, " How?” He said, there's some pigs so and so." I said, “Whereabouts?” He said if you mind to go and get one, I'll buy one of you.” I and the prisoner Bennett went to the other side of Borden village and got one, and brought it to Bassant's house. He said he would give me a pound for a four-score pig. This pig did not weigh four-score by a pound or two, and so he gave us 16s. only for it. He weighed it before us. It was about eleven o'clock at night. We killed the pig in the middle of the yard, which is just beyond Mr. Fokelsy's house at Borden.

Cross-examined by prisoner's Attorney:- I was convicted at the last Kent Sessions for stealing fowls, and sentenced to 21 days. The offence was committed subsequent to the pig being stolen. Watson, the policeman, asked me about the pig. He cane to my mother's house and told me he should apprehend me on Monday. He never told me or promised me anything. I told him I knew something about it. I was frightened when I saw the Policeman, as I knew what he was coming for. I was sure it was about the pig. I knew it because Bassant came to my house on the Saturday and told me I had better get out of the way. I was never convicted before the fowl case. I told Bassant I should do no such thing, and I stopped indoors till Watson came. I did not see Bassant afterwards. Willis, who was convicted with me and sentenced to seven years penal servitude, and Hopkins knew of the robbery of the pig. The pig did not squeak and as soon as we killed it we put it in a sack. It was caught by the nose to prevent it a making a noise. We carried it by turns to Bassant's house. We got there about half-past 11 or a quarter to 12. There were several in the tap room when Bassant weighed the pig. There might be twelve people drinking there. They saw it weighed, and some of them bet on the weight. The pig was scalded before it was taken into the taproom.

Bassant scalded it. I saw him doing it. I was in Willis's room at the time, and saw him through the window. No one asked me to give information in this case. I first told the police about it on Saturday, having got home from Maidstone gaol on Friday night, and when Watson came about noon, he told me he should apprehend me for stealing the pig. I was rather frightened. He did not ask me what I knew about the matter. He said I should be brought before the magistrates on Monday. He did not tell me it would be better for me to say I had stolen this pig. I have had no inducement offered to me by the police or any one else to make this confession.

This was the whole of the evidence given by this man. He was originally charged with being an accomplice, but the case against him was withdrawn in order to bring him in as a witness. His evidence was corroborated very materially by a woman named Jemima Hudson, who cohabited with a man named Willis, (since convicted), and lived at the house of the prisoner Bassant. She stated in her evidence that another pig (beside the one with which prisoners are charged with stealing), was brought to the house of the prisoner Bassant, and that he (Bassant) had asked the men to get some geese, and he would buy them. In fact he would buy anything they brought him.

Both prisoners, under the advice of their solicitor, reserved their defence, and were committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions.


From the Maidstone and Kentish Journal, 1 April, 1867.

Petty Sessions, Monday.

Before Lieutenant Colonel Dyke. Stephen Bennett and William Houghton, labourers, were charged with stealing a pig, value 25s. the property of William Chapman, at Bordon, on the 23rd of January. This case was remanded from Friday last for the apprehension of Horton; but at this hearing, Superintendent Green offering no evidence against him, he was discharged.

Mr. Stevenson, of Chatham appeared for the prisoner.

William Chapman deposed:- I am a farmer living at Bobbing. On the night of the 23rd of January I had 20 pigs in a yard in my occupation at Borden. On the following morning I missed one of them, and in the corner of the yard I saw a quantity of blood, as as though a pig had been killed there.

William Horton stated:- I'm a labourer at Milton. About a week before I was charged with stealing fowls at this court, Thomas Bassent, of the "Comicals Beerhouse," Milton, said to me "If you listen to me I will tell you how to get a living without hard work." I said "How?" and he said "There are pigs, so and so." I asked whereabouts and he replied "If you have a mind to go and get one, I will buy one off you." The prisoner Bonnett and I went and got one from the other side of Borden village, and we brought it home to Bassent's house.

The case was here reminded for a short time, to enable a warrant to be issued for the apprehension of Bassent.

Thomas Bassent, was then brought up, charged with receiving the pig knowing it to have been stolen, and the above evidence was read over to him.

Horton, Cross-examined by Mr. Stephenson:- I was convicted at the last quarter sessions for stealing fowls, and was sentenced to 21 days' hard labour. That offence was committed since the pig was stolen. Watson, the policeman, asked me about the pig, and told me he should apprehends me. He told me nothing about it, or promised me anything.

Jemima Hudson said:- I am a single woman, living at Sittingbourne. I lately cohabited with Willis, and we lodged at the house of the prisoner Bassent, at Milton, as man and wife. Before Willis was convicted, there were two pigs brought to Bassett's house at different times. One of them was brought about 2 o'clock in the morning by Willis, Hopkins, and Bennett. Bassent bought it and cleaned it. He wanted them to bring it home alive for him to kill it, but they would not do so, as they're afraid the pig would squeak and betray them. The other pig was brought home a little after 12 one nights by Bennett, and Horton; they brought it into my room and cleaned it. The next morning Bassent brought it, and his wife asked me to see it weighed; it was about 13lb weight. I heard Bassent tell them to go and get some geese and he would buy them, as he would also buy everything they got. He told me not to say anything about it if a policeman asked me, and I did not. Bassent went to my mother's house on Saturday, and inquired for me, and I went to his house in consequence. He asked me if I meant to split about the job, and I told him I did. He said, "If you go up there (meaning the police-Court), don't bring me into it.

By Mr. Stephenson:- I had been living with Willis nearly nine months. I knew all about the fowl stealing, and should have stated it, but Bassent told me not to. I knew the two pigs brought into my room with stolen. Bassent told me not to give information about it, and I did not, but I'm very sorry for it now. Willis had the money for his share, but I do not know how much he had. Bassent wanted me to leave the room, but he did not say why. Beside keeping the "Comicals," Bassent has as a small shop, where he sells pork, rabbits, and sundry other things.

Mr. Stephenson, for defence, contended that, with regard to Bassent, there was no evidence to prove that he knew the pig was stolen; and with regard to the prisoner Bennett, there was only, he said, the testimony of the girl Hudson, and he appealed to his worship not to convict his clients without of corroboration of her evidence. The prisoners reserve their defence, and were committed for trial at the East Kent Quarter Sessions, to be held on 9th April.

Mr. Stephenson applied for Bassent to be held to bail, but the application was refused.


From the East Kent Gazette, Saturday, 9 March, 1867.

Fowl Stealing at Milton.

Steven Willis, 26, and William Horton, 17, labourers, were indicted for stealing 12 live tame fowls, the property of John Binford Hole, at Milton next Sittingbourne. On the morning of the 25th of January, he found that the staple of his henhouse had been forcibly drawn; entrance had thus been obtained, and 12 fowls of a choice Dorking breed, stolen. Mr. Hole communicated with the police, and himself and police constables Knight and Watson traced three sets of footmarks across several fields; one of the men evidently having a wooden leg. Suspicion fell upon the prisoners, and they were taken into custody, when Horton said, "There were only two of us." Knight took Horton's boots, and compared them with one set of footmarks. There was a peculiarity about the boots viz., one of them had but half a heel, and it's fellow no heel at all. They exactly corresponded with the marks. Horton afterwards sent for Knight to his cell, and wanted to see his mother. Knight told him he could not do so, as the third man had not been apprehended, when he said "I am very sorry for it; it was all through Stumpy (Stumpy being the soubriquet of Willis in consequence of his wooden leg.) He persuaded me, and a man named James Hopkins, and we took the fowls about 11 o'clock at night. (Hopkins is the man who is still at large.) Willis's lodgings was searched, and two fowls were found under the floor, some bricks having been taken out from the front door step outside the house, and the skins &c., of some fowls were found in his back premises.

Steven Willis now said neither he nor Horton took the fowls, but Hopkins.

Horton said he was very sorry.

The jury found the prisoners guilty.

Six previous convictions at St Augustine's, Canterbury, where recorded against Willis, his punishment varying from 2 months to 3 years' penal servitude.

The learned Chairman said he had no doubt Horton had been led away by the older men, and he will be sentenced to 3-weeks hard labour only. Willis was evidently a most incorrigible offended, and he will be sentenced to 7 years' penal servitude.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 13 April, 1867. Price 1d.


Stephen Bennett was charged with stealing a pig, the property of William Chapman, at Borden, on the 23rd January, and Thomas Bassant was charged with receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen.

Mr. Barrow presented.

William Chapman said he was a farmer at Borden. In the latter part of last January he counted his pigs and there were 20. He again counted them on the 23rd of January and there was one missing. There was a quantity of blood lying in the yard, as if a pig had been slaughtered there. He valued the pig at about 25s.

William Horton said he was a labourer living at Milton, and knew Bassant. Shortly before he was charged with stealing some fowls, he saw Bassant at the “Comicals” public-house, at Milton. While he was there Bassant said to him, “If you will listen to me I will teach you to get a living without hard labour.” He (Horton) said, “How?” Bassant replied, "There are pigs at so and so, if yon get a four score pig I will give you 1 for it.” Horton and Bennett then went to Mr. Chapman's, the other side of Borden, and got one of the pigs and killed it in the yard, put it in a sack and took it to Bassants house. Bassant weighed it and found it weighed less than 4 score so that Bassant only gave them 16s. for it. On a Thursday in March a policeman came up to his (witnesses) house. Just before he came Bassant told him to get out of the way as quick as he could because the policeman was coming to take him into custody. He refused to move from the place, and remained there till the policeman came in. When the policeman came he said he should lock him up till Monday on the charge of stealing the pig. He was then locked up as a prisoner till he went before the magistrates at Sittingbourne.

Cross examined:- The pig was weighed before a number of persons, who were in the tap room, and they bet on its weight. Other unimportant evidence having been adduced.

The Jury found the prisoners Bennett and Bassant guilty. The former was sentenced to four months' hard labour, and the latter to eight months.


Further information regarding the above mentioned William Horton has been found below.


From the East Kent, Faversham and Sittingbourne Gazette, Saturday 13 August, 1870.

Fatal accident on the River.

On Saturday afternoon, while the Palmerston saloon steamer was proceeding up the river, about a mile from Sheerness, a passenger named William Horton, 22 years of age, fell from the paddle box into the river. The boat was immediately lowered. The unfortunate man floated for a few minutes, and then struck out to swim, but before the boat could get to him he sank, and was seen no more.

The Palmerston did not resume her passage until all hope of saving the man was gone. The excursionist, who's pleasure trip came to so melancholy a termination, was a coach-plater, living at number 11, Denmark Street, Soho.

It is supposed that he had been drinking rather freely, and while sitting on the pedal box fell asleep and toppled over. His father and two brothers were on board at the time. He has left a wife and two children.

The body was found floating on Wednesday morning by waterman name Setley, who brought it to into Sheerness harbour, and had it placed in the dead house. Mr. W. H. Bell, the deputy coroner for the city of Rochester, held an inquest on the body on Thursday, when, after hearing all the facts of the case, the jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning."


From an email received 5 October 2020.

The female witness in the case, Jemima Hudson, was my great-grandma.

I am now 75 years old, my grandad was born to Jemima only a couple of months after the court case, by which time Stephen Willis was in Portland Jail for 7 years.

Despite that, Jemima, who had been residing in the Comicals Beerhouse, and 'co-habiting' with Stephen Willis, christened my grandad Stephen Willis Hudson (no dad's name on the birth certificate) - wow!

In one of the newpaper articles it shows that Stephen Willis had a wooden leg, and that is how he had been found out after stealing chickens - pretty easy to trace across a muddy field!

I just got my DNA results from Ancestry and there are ZERO matches to the Willis name, or any name of his associates mentioned in the news articles.

As Jemima resided in the Comical Beerhouse, there were plenty of males around, so it is doubtful if I will ever find out who my real great-grandad was.

None of this adds to your article, but I never knew my own dad, and he was born way way back in 1891 - true!

Best Wishes, Nick Hudson, Reading.



COOPER Mr 1865+

BASSANT Thomas 1867+


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