SMUGGLING – Days in Cleveland

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 19/08/1933

Smuggling Days In Cleveland.


   Until well into the eighteenth century smuggling was rife on the coast of Yorkshire. Many a valuable cargo of contraband was landed in the vicinity of Redcar and Saltburn.
In 1850 and officer and six preventive men were stationed at Coatham. I have records of several smuggling adventures, related to me by old friends, long passed away, which may be of interest.
Marske was once the scene of a bloody encounter with smugglers when a brutal preventative officer named Minto cut down two of his prisoners after they had surrendered.
At the head of the smugglers was Tom King, of Kirkleatham, and John Andrews of Saltburn. I will remember the King family, his brother who lived in Coatham, and his sister was the wife of John Proud, of the Turners Arms, Yearby.
John Andrews resided in the White House on the Saltburn to Guisborough Road, where many a cargo was hidden under the floor of a stall, where John had a mare, which would not allow no one to approach but himself.
On one exercise I had tea with some of old John’s descendants, who showed me round.
The “Morgan Rattler” was the most famous craft in the trade and eluded the coastguards for many years.
John Andrews had a lucky escape when running a cargo to Blackhall. He escaped to Hartlepool pursued by the coastguard; he found a boat at the mouth of the Tees, jumped in it and rowed across, went to the coastguard at Coatham and asked the time.
He was arrested next day, and when brought up he proved his alibi that he was at Coatham.
However he was caught soon after, running a cargo at Hornsea, when he was fined £2,000, and being unable to pay, was sent to York Castle.
On another occasion the preventative men were suspicious that a cargo had been run. One of them called at a cottage in Church Street (which is still standing),. There was only a young girl and her granny at home. Upon being questioned the girl said, “The house was full but cum in.” The frank admission was enough for him. He went away the situation was saved; the house was full of contraband
At the time there were two pumps in the High Street where the cottagers got their water. An old lady who lived nearby one of them had a pankin of water in the pantry and another of Holland’s Gin. When making the tea she filled the kettle with gin in mistake, and so made the tea!


dean June 4, 2010 Law & Order