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Francis Charteris “The Rape-Master General”

Francis Charteris
Portrait of ‘Colonel’ Francis Charteris, notorious rake. Courtesy of the British Museum, London.

He has a way of insinuating himself into all Ministers under every change, either as pimp, flatterer, or informer.

Colonel Francis Charteris, nicknamed “The Rape-Master General”, is a Scottish soldier and adventurer who earned a substantial sum of money through gambling. He was convicted of raping a servant and sentenced to death but was subsequently pardoned.

Charteris was born at Edinburgh the son of a magistrate, and his wife. His family were landholders and owned property in Amisfield, near Dumfries. Even before his conviction, he was notorious and despised by many in London as an archetypal rake. He had a serial military career, being dismissed from service four times; the third time, for cheating at cards, and the fourth time for accepting bribes. Despite his military dismissals, he amassed a considerable fortune.

Charteris sends his servants out through the countryside to recruit women for him to have sex with. The methods and enticements he used made him disliked by the poor in some parts of England. His reputation preceded his trial for raping a servant named Anne Bond. When Bond was hired, on she was informed that her employer was “Colonel Harvey” for fear that his reputation would put off his prospective employee.

Charteris had a number of contacts who regularly hired women to work as servants, who would then be trapped in the house and repeatedly “urged” to have sex with him. When Bond began to work, she was immediately besieged by “Harvey’s” advances, along with offers of money; but she refused. On her third day of employment, Anne realised that Harvey was in fact Colonel Francis Charteris and requested to leave. This request was refused, and staff were positioned to prevent her from escaping.

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