A fox hunter who was a little too pink for his own good

The regulars at Marlbourough Street Police Court were right royally entertained on 5 May 1837, the year Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. Among the usual catalogue of  petty thieves, vagrants and violent men was a young man recently arrived from the country.

The unnamed defendant who appeared before justice Dyer was dressed as  fox hunter and so drunk he could hardly hold himself up in the box. He admitted to having ‘too powerfully refreshed himself’ the night before and was now in court because the police had taken into custody (as much for his own safely it seems).

Having originally been fined earlier that day for his drunkenness the man had tried to pay his dues with a huge wad of money which had, not surprisingly attracted the attention of a crowd of onlookers ‘who might take advantage of his situation’. As a result the police hauled him back into court to face the magistrate.


When he appeared again he gave his name as John Brown – a native of Leicestershire who had recently come into his inheritance of £3,000 per annum. The justice expressed his concern that Brown was still inebriated and therefore in no state to be allowed to wander the streets with so much cash on him. The young man agreed and pulled a parcel of notes form his pocket and gave them to the officer that detained him.

Addressing the magistrate he declared ‘I’m not so drunk but I can understand your kindness to me. I can’t thank you now but by and by I shall be able to do so as a gentleman’.

[from The Morning Chronicle , Saturday, May 6, 1837]

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