Cottage, No. 10, Bath Road is the second house on the left and
was once the Harlequin Inn, reported as being the headquarters
of the Press Gangs in 1809.
The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore / J. R..Hutchinson
Midshipman Goodave and party, convoying pressed men from Lymington
to Southampton, once met with an adventure in traversing the
New Forest which, notwithstanding its tragic sequel, is not
without its humorous side. They had left the little fishing
village of Lepe some miles behind, and were just getting well
into the Forest, when a cavalcade of mounted men, some thirty
strong, all muffled in greatgoats and armed to the teeth, unexpectedly
emerged from the wood and opened fire upon them.
Believing it to be an attempt at rescue, the gang closed in about
their prisoners, but when one of these was the first to fall,
his arm shattered and an ear shot off, the gangsmen, perceiving
their mistake, broke and fled in all directions.
Not far, however. The smugglers, for such they were, quickly
rounded them up and proceeded, not to shoot them, as the would-be
fugitives anticipated, but to administer to them the "smugglers'
oath" This they did by forcing them on their knees and compelling
them, at the point of the pistol and with horrible execrations,
to "wish their eyes might drop out if they told their officers
which way they, the smugglers, were gone." Having extorted
this unique pledge of secrecy as to their movements, they rode
away into the Forest, unaware that Midshipman Goodave, snugly
ensconced in the neighbouring ditch, had seen and heard all that
passed,a piece of discretion on his part that later on brought
at least one of the smugglers into contact with the law.