top of page

Cutlasses and Contraband was written to coincide with the exhibition of the same name at the Novium, the Chchester museum, remembering the age of smuggling and highway robbery, supported by Priory Park 100, in summer 2018.


The show invites us to cast our minds back to the 18th century, when the true cost of a good big bag of tea was three shillings. But if you bought it abroad and brought it into the country, it would be taxed another seven shillings by the King.



In a way, Cutlasses and Contraband is a partner show - but for younger voices - for The Highwayman and The Hawkhurst Gang. It tells its stories in song, suitable for schools (key stage two and three).


In the words of one anonymous writer, publishing in 1749, this is its subject:



'Of all the monstrous wickedness with which the age abounds, nothing, I will be bound to say, can parallel the scenes of villainy that are here laid open. In all the Histories I have ever read, of all the barbarous stories I have heard related, never did I meet with an instance where cruelty was carried to such an excess as here. We have an instance of two men suffering the most cruel torments that malice itself could invent, without any provocation given, and for no other crime but a duty to serve their king and country.'

bottom of page