Tim Heald

Pub Idol

Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman

By

Profile Books 258pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

IT’S ODD THAT the two most famous ‘Dicks’ in English history should owe so much more to fiction than fact. At least Whittington really was Mayor of London, even if his cat is as mythical as Turpin’s Black Bess. Dick Turpin, hanged by jumping off a ladder in April 1739, was a petty criminal from Essex, and the epic ride from London to York for which he is most famous was actually performed by a highwayman called ‘Swift Nicks’ Dudley at least a quarter of a century before Turpin was even born. Swift Nicks was eventually arrested for attempting to rob the Duke of Lauderdale on Hounslow Heath, tried at the Old Bailey, hanged at Tyburn, and then forgotten.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The breadth of Clarke’s knowledge and experience, coupled to a conspicuous absence of pomposity, makes for easy an… ,
    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,