7 Apr: The Notorious Dick Turpin

Highwayman Dick Turpin was executed at York on 7th April, 1739, for stealing horses. He was 34. 

But, whilst the date and manner of his death are accurately recalled, almost everything else about Turpin has been distorted in the public imagination. Far from being a dashing character who outwitted corrupt authorities and robbed only the outlandishly wealthy with a gentlemanly flourish, he was a brutal murderer and rapist who took pleasure in his victims’ pain.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Turpin progressed from dodgy under-counter fraudster to dangerous public enemy; reveal the extraordinary chain of events that lead to his arrest and identification; and discover how, when Turpin actually did get round doing some ‘proper’ highwayman-ing, he ballsed it up, disastrously… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The myth of highwayman Dick Turpin outlives the facts’ (The History Press):


• ‘Dick Turpin: Notorious Local Highwaymen’ (Blackheath And Greenwich History Blog, 2021):


• ‘Horrible Histories Songs – Dick Turpin’ (CBBC):