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Dick Turpin
Turpin imagined in William Harrison Ainsworth's novel Rookwood
Born Richard Turpin
(1705-09-21)21 September 1705 (baptised)
Hempstead, Essex, England
Died 7 April 1739(1739-04-07) (aged 33)
Knavesmire, York, England
Cause Execution by hanging
Alias(es) John Palmer
Charge(s) Horse theft
Conviction(s) Guilty
Penalty Death
Occupation Butcher, poacher, burglar, horse thief, highwayman
Spouse Elizabeth Millington
Children One (uncertain)

Dick Turpin (1705 – 7 April 1739) was an English highwayman. He made a lot of money through many criminal activities, such as poaching, burglary, horse theft and murder. He is most famous for 'highway robbery', on his horse, Black Bess. He was eventually captured and hanged at York Castle in 1739.

Turpin was born in Hempstead, Essex. He was firstly believed to be involved with a gang of poachers, who stole and sold deer that belonged to the King. The rest of his gang were captured and hanged in 1735.

After this, Turpin started robbing rich people on the highways between cities. He did not stay in one place, so police could not catch up with him. He robbed people across the South of England. For a while, he tried to hide by calling himself John Palmer.

However, people were suspicious that he had a lot of money, and he was arrested for horse theft. He was charged with this offence and hanged in Knavesmire, York on 7 April 1739.

Turpin is also known for a fictional 200-mile (320 km) overnight ride from London to York on his horse Black Bess, a story that was made famous by the Victorian novelist William Harrison Ainsworth almost 100 years after Turpin's death.

Turpin became the subject of legend after his execution, romanticised as dashing and heroic in English ballads and popular theatre of the 18th and 19th centuries and in film and television of the 20th century.

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