In the late sixteen hundreds and early seventeen hundreds if you wanted a parcel delivered fast then you went to the stagecoach company. They certainly didn’t offer a Same day Courier Service option as the good people at http://allaboutfreight.co.uk/same-day-courier-service do, it was more of a middle of next week kind of service. The stagecoach was the only way short of using despatch riders or yourself to get things around. The only trouble was this was something of a lawless time on the roads (and for roads read rutted potholed mudtracks that could turn into quagmires as soon as there was a downpour) when you would find yourself waylaid by the Highway Man. When you shout “shotgun!” to book a place in the seat next to the driver you are replicating the position of the support Driver of the coach. It would be your job to try and stop would find yourself waylaid by the Highway Man. When you shout “shotgun!” to book a place in the seat next to the driver you are replicating the position of the support Driver of the coach. It would be your job to try and stop these heinous criminals (and one honourable mention) as the worst highway man there were;
- Dick Turpin. The most famous of the entire highwayman he was the son of a butcher and was headed for a quiet life before he fell in with a bad crowd called the Essex gang who robbed people coming in and out of Epping Forest. He worked the Great North road and famously rode the 200 miles from London to York in one night to get an alibi (this never happened). With a price of two hundred pounds on his head he was capture while posing as John Palmer and he was hanged from a gibbet at just 34 in 1739.
- John Nevison “Swift Nick”. This Yorkshire man was very different to Turpin in that he only robbed from the rich and kept it. Turpin was quite happy to rob from anyone. His life of crime came before Turpin’s but he is also thought to have ridden overnight to York for an alibi but he did it from Kent (again this never happened). He placed a bet on a bowls match in York and made sure he had a chat with the Mayor of York in the process. He was captured several times but was able to orchestrate escapes. He was due to be sent to the colonies but in the ensuing escape he killed a constable and his fate was sealed. The reward this time was £20 (still a lot of cash back then) and he was found claiming to be dying from the plague. He was finally hung in York in 1684.
- Dennis Moore. Not a real Highwayman but one of the funniest sketches that Monty Python ever did. As long as you weren’t carrying any Lupin flowers then you’d have been fine.