©National Archives

Indictment of Dick Turpin, 1739 'Indictment of John Palmer, alias Richard Turpin, late of the castle of York, labourer, for stealing a black mare worth three pounds, and a filly foal worth twenty shillings, from Thomas Creasey at Welton, Yorkshire, on 1 March 1739'. Turpin pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was found guilty and hanged at York.

Dick Turpin became England's most celebrated highwayman. While still a young man, he had taken the lead in brutal robberies at lonely farms in his native county of Essex. He later entered into partnership with a fellow-highwayman, Tom King. Turpin accidentally shot his partner, who was about to be arrested for horse stealing. He escaped to Yorkshire where he adopted his mother's name of Palmer and carried on a trade in horses. The legend of the famous ride from London to York on the mare Black Bess was attached to Turpin by Harrison Ainsworth in his novel Rookwood.

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