‘Full oft the South has fneer’d our Northern Clime,
And Horfe-ftealing been call’d a County Crime;
But now no longer we will bear fuch Jokes,
This Rogue is theirs, and we the honeft Folks.
Of Knaves and Fools, we don’t fay that we have neither,
But Knave and Fool are feldom found together.
Our purer Northern Air’s too fharp by half,
A Yorkfhire Tike has bit this Effex Calf.
This dull-bred Rogue has found it to his Coft
A fifh out of its Element is loft.’
Epigram on Turpin, by a Gentleman of York
Stamford Mercury (April 1739)
On this day in the year 1739, a notorious felon by the batismal name of Richard Turpin from the County of Essex went to the gallows at York Tyburn attired in a smart new frock coat and shoes.
And yet in spite of the ignomy of falling prey to body snatchers necessitating an undignified burial in quick lime – his conviction at the York Assizes for the capital offence of stealing a mare, gelding and foal from one Thomas Creasey would soon pave the way for his arrival into the annals of historical legend with whispers of courageous derring-do and a horse named ‘Black Bess’.