Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.

APRIL 7th  

On this day in history, in 1739, Dick Turpin was hanged.  

Turpin had an illustrious career not only as a highwayman but as a cattle rustler. Originally, he was a butcher from where he progressed to cattle thievery, joining a gang of criminals in Essex. By the time he was 30, Turpin had committed many crimes of cattle rustling and highway robbery and had a price on his head of £200. Unfortunately, Turpin accidentally shot the gang leader and was obliged to leave England to avoid arrest and retribution from fellow gang members.  

In 1738, Turpin returned to England where he set up business in Yorkshire, as a horse dealer under the alias of John Palmer. This business was no more than a cover for his true activity as a highwayman. Sad to say, Turpin was arrested for a minor incident in his pseudonym of Palmer and the ensuing investigation revealed his murky dealings.  

Turpin was hanged at York Tyburn where York racecourse now stands. The incident of Turpinís romantic non stop ride from London to York and fable of his mare Black Bess are merely fictional accounts by a nineteenth century Penny Dreadful writer.

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