On Saturday night, the 7th instant, MR. HUNT, head gamekeeper to the RIGHT HON. ROBERT PEEL, of Lulworth Castle, received information that a body of poachers intended that night to enter his master's plantations.
Immediately summoning his assistants, twelve in number, he awaited their arrival; and between eleven and twelve o'clock the discharge of several guns announced their near approach.
MR. HUNT, on challenging them, was answered by a person who appeared to act as leader, who said, "We are five and thirty strong, and are for death or glory; but we will not use fire-arms, unless your party fire first."
Turning to his men, he then threatened to shoot the first who left the field, and placing them in military array, a general fight ensued.
Both parties were armed with clubs and swingels (instruments used by poachers, and resembling flails). After a combat of 20 minutes, the poachers retreated, leaving behind them several pheasants which they had killed, but taking away the keeper's valuable double-barrelled gun.
Each poacher was distinguished by a white handkerchief round his hat. MR. HUNT was much hurt, and all his men more or less bruised.
An account being transmitted to MR. PEEL, BISHOP, the officer, was sent down, and five of the poachers are in custody. Most of the gang lived 12 or 14 miles distant.
Some desperate encounters have taken place lately in Norfolk, between Poachers and Keepers. LORD BAYNING's watch, at Honingham, a short time since, very boldly attacked a gang of poachers, and two of them were terribly beaten. Two of the watch came up with three of the poachers in a lane, who fled their approach. The poachers, it seems, took some pea-makes from a neighbouring farm as weapons; these were left in the morning, with the events of the night before related in rhyme, attached to them.
The hand-writing is said to be that of a well-known female associate. Since this affair, the poachers have assembled in such numbers, as they think defy opposition. On Friday night they visited the Cossey Woods (the seat of SIR GEORGE JERNINGHAM, Bart.) in force. They prosecuted their depredations in the most daring manner, beginning to shoot as early as 11 o'clock, and so near the house that the flashes of the guns were distinctly seen from the windows. Six and forty shots were successively counted in one wood in about an hour and half. The keepers assembled the watch, but aided principally by the darkness of the night, the poachers escaped without being attacked.
Five poachers were detected on the night of Monday se'nnight, by the EARL OF LONSDALE's gamekeepers, close to the gardens at Lowther Castle, departing with their booty.
Three immediately ran off and escaped, but the other two were taken, after a severe conflict in which one of the gamekeepers was wounded; they both belong to Penrith, and are companions of a former one recently committed to Appleby gaol for the same offence, and to where they were likewise sent on Tuesday, and will take their trials at the spring assizes.