The Mohocks


FourTimesNight

The Mohocks were allegedly a gang of violent, well-born criminals that terrorized London in the early 18th century, attacking men and women alike. Taking their name from the Mohawk Indians, they were said to kill or disfigure their male victims and sexually assault their female victims. The matter came to a head in 1712 when a bounty of £100 was issued by the royal court for their capture.

According to Lady Wentworth, “They put an old woman into a hogshead, and rolled her down a hill; they cut off some noses, others’ hands, and several barbarous tricks, without any provocation. They are said to be young gentlemen; they never take any money from any.” (Wentworth Papers, 277)

Historians have found little evidence of any organized gang, though in spring 1712 there was a flurry of print accounts of the Mohocks, their lawlessness, impunity and luridly violent acts. In response there was also some derision from satirists at what they perceived to be sensationalism by the Grub Street press.

Various other gangs of street bullies are alleged to have terrorized London at different periods, beginning in the 1590s with the Damned Crew and continuing after the Restoration with the Muns, the Tityré Tūs, the Hectors, the Scourers, the Nickers, and the Hawkubites.

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