Stand and Deliver!
You have probably heard of Dick Turpin, but who was he and what happened to him?
Dick Turpin was baptised on 21 September 1705 at Hempstead, Essex. He established himself as a butcher, stealing stock from local farmers. Later, while on the run, he resorted to robbing smugglers who roamed the local coast.
On 4 May 1737, Turpin murdered Thomas Morris while out poaching. With a £200 bounty on his head, Turpin fled to Yorkshire. Apparently, he rode the 200 miles from London to York on his mare, Black Bess, in fifteen hours, but this feat was probably achieved by John Nevison, aka Swift Nick, another highwayman.
Under the name of John Palmer, Turpin dealt in horses. Unsuccessful, he ended up in York’s Debtors’ Prison where, on 6 February 1739, he wrote to his brother-in-law asking for help. However, his brother-in-law refused to pay the sixpence delivery charge and returned the letter to the post office where James Smith recognised the handwriting. Smith travelled to York and identified Palmer as Dick Turpin. Turpin was duly arrested, Smith pocketed the £200 reward and a legend was born.