The Smugglers of Saltburn

In the mid eighteenth century, tucked away behind Huntcliff, far away from big towns, Saltburn was an ideal place for the smuggling trade. Taxes on imports were high and the goods themselves were scarce because of the war against France. Saltburn's fishermen made ideal smugglers and they found lots of places to hide the tea, coffee, gin, brandy and other necessities, even during daylight hours.

Saltburn's most famous smuggler of all must be the Scotsman, John Andrew. In about 1780 he became landlord of the Ship Inn, just a stone's throw from the sea shore.. He organised the local smuggling community and even had his own lugger, the Morgan Rutter. And what a great cover he had - a wealthy and much respected member of the community, and later, President and Master of Fox Hounds.Eventually he moved to the White House, which was thought to be linked by tunnel to the Ship Inn - a perfect escape route.

After several near misses, Andrew was finally arrested in Hornsea in 1827 and jailed for two years in York Castle. He died in 1835 at the age of seventy four.

The Saltburn smuggling trade began to decline. It became too dangerous. The French wars ended, giving the navy more time to patrol the seas and a branch of the coastguard moved into the Blue House in Saltburn. Later taxes were reduced on imports so smuggling was no longer a profitable business.

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