Purchase Goods and Deliver
Dorset is very close to the coast
of northern France and the Channel Islands. A large sailing
boat called a 'lugger' could cross the Channel in about 8
hours. It would return under cover of darkness loaded with as
many as 3,000 barrels of spirits and up to 12 tons of tea.
During the summer fishing boats also made the trip. In 1739 it
was alleged that four fishing boats from Kimmeridge, Worbarrow and
Chapman's Pool left the Purbeck coast every week to pick up
contraband from Alderney.
Either the boat's captain or an
agent working on behalf of the Venturer bought the contraband at
warehouses specially set up to assist the smugglers. The
goods were ready packed; barrels were strung with ropes to make them
easier to handle and dry goods such as tea were wrapped in waterproof
oilskin packages known as 'dollops'.
Hiding Places Onboard Ships
Smugglers devised many hiding places for their
contraband in case their ships were searched. Barrels and
tobacco were hidden under coils of rope and secret compartments were
hollowed out of the woodwork, even in the masts and oars.
Sometimes barrels of drinking water had false
tops. If a revenue man used his swordstick (a walking stick
fitted with a blade) to probe the barrel he would find only water.
Once a hungry revenue man noticed a big, fat goose
intended for the Captain's supper. He offered the Captain a
good price, but the Captain refused to sell it. Later the
Captain told his friends that lace was hidden inside!