Hawker described the bulk of his parishioners as a "mixed multitude of smugglers, wreckers and dissenters of various hues."
CHOUANS (a Bas-Breton word signifying screech-owls), the name applied to smugglers and dealers in contraband salt, who rose in insurrection in the west of France at the time of the Revolution and joined the royalists of La Vendee.
The coastmen were expert smugglers and wreckers, the agriculturists were ignorant and drunken, the parish clergy were slothful, in many cases intemperate, and largely given to fox-hunting.
The defendants were poor smugglers from the Esthonian border marshes, who in the course of their ordinary avocations had carried bales of revolutionary tracts into Russia without troubling as to their contents.
In later years Winchelsea became a great resort for smugglers, and the vaults originally constructed for the Gascon wine trade were used for storing contraband goods.