Smugglers - The Aldington Gang of 1820 to 1826
Aldington Gang
"Smugglers The Aldington Gang came into being in the 1820's after the men had returned home from the Napoleonic Wars and found little to do to make any money.

The gang probably was founded in or around 1817 as gang based smuggling returned, but the first mention of the Aldington Gang was in 1820. The gang carried out a landing near Sandgate Castle with 300 men taking part, and were spotted by a few local blockade men, as the main blockade force had been lured away by the smugglers. The smugglers outnumbered the blockade men who decided that it was safer to report the event, than try to stop it.

In February 1821 the Battle of Brookland took place between the Customs and Excise men and the Aldington Gang of smugglers. The smugglers had sent 250 men down to the coast between Camber and Dungeness . The party was seen by the Watch House at Camber and a fight took place over Walland Marsh, the outcome was that one of the leaders of the gang Cephas Quested was captured. The injured were treated by Dr Ralph Hougham who lived in Brookland at Pear Tree House. In 1792 George Ransley was born at Ruckinge , and started work as a ploughman then a carter. The story goes that he found a stash of spirits hidden by the smugglers and with the proceeds of the sale bought his house the Bourne Tap. Ransley took over the Aldington gang of smugglers after the Battle of Brookland in 1821. The gang became stronger and landed goods all along the coast from Rye to Deal . In July 1826 they were caught on the beach at Dover and a Midshipman, Richard Morgan was killed. In October 1826 Ransley was arrested at Aldington by the Bow Street Runners on suspicion of murder, but as it took place in the dark, the death sentence was converted to deportation. Ransley was sent to work on a farm in Tasmania.
Villages Mentioned
Aldington (The Aldington Gang)
Battle (William the Conqueror prevails)
Brookland (13th century wooden spire)
Camber (Sands and Holidays)
Dungeness (Fishermen and Lighthouses)
Ruckinge (Smuggling and Traction Engines)
Rye (On the Island)
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