Early Encounters with Highwaymen

18-21 June 1698   On Saturday last a great robbery was committed upon Hounslow Heath by 3 highwaymen, who robed the Duke of Northumberland and about 30 persons more, one after another, and attempted to serve at the same rate, the Duke of St Albans, but durst not do it, his Grace being well attended. The Lord Osselston was likewise set upon by the same rogues, but got clear away from them with the loss of 2 horses, which were wounded and are since dead. A Gentleman who was with his Lordship in the coach, was shot, but the bullet went through the sleeve of his coat, wastcoat, and shirt, without offending his arm. They report several cumstances of this robbery, as that the highwaymen were so civil, as to meddle with nothing belonging to the women in the coaches, and to restore to the D. of Northumberland his watch and a purse which was taken from him., íTis said they put all the persons they robbed into a kind of pit, and set one of their gang, to keep them there, till they thought to retire, but these circumstances are, as we intimated, variously reported. (The Post Man)

12-14 January 1699   On Wednesday 2 highwaymen were committed to Newgate, ítis thought they are the same that committed a robbery last Sunday on Hownslow [sic] Heath, one of them is said to be a Gentleman of a good family, who had wished away his estate. (The Post Man)

24-26 January 1699   Yesterday 8 men and two women were executed at Tyburn; amongst them one Higgs for the high-way: He was carried thither in a mourning coach, which was followed by a hearse. One of the women behaved her self very impudently, and seemed no way sensible of her condition; the other seemed very penitent. The body of Higgs was brought back in the hearse; the other 9 were buried in one hole near the gallows. One Herrin was reprieved. And Mr Pheasant, for the rape on Deborah Wise, has obtained His Majestyís most Gracious Pardon, which is now under the Seals. (The Flying Post)



24-26 January 1699   Yesterday ten of the condemned criminals were executed at Tyburn, viz. 8 men and 2 women, among them a highwayman, who went in a mourning coach, and had a hearse to wait upon him and bring his corps back. (The Post Man)

18-21 February 1699   The close of last week 3 notorious highwaymen were seized at a publick house near Charing Cross and committed, they were betrayed by one of their own gang. (The Post Man)

18-21 February 1699   On Thursday last three notorious highway-men were taken at the Cheshire-Cheese at Charing-Cross; they were discovered by one Mr Farington, and their names are as followeth, viz. Mr John Ovet, who was of the Golden-Farmerís Gang,; one Mr Moor, a butcher, in St Jamesís Market, he is brother to Moor, the tripe-man, who was executed some time since for clipping and coining; and the other is one Rawson, a brick-layer, who lived in Westminster: They are all three sent to Newgate, for committing several robberies in the County of Middlesex, and other counties. (The Post Boy)

25-28 February 1699   On Sunday 2 highwaymen were seized at the Red Lyon Inn in White Chappel, and commited to Newgate. (The Post Man)

2-4 May 1699   Mr Moor of St Jamesís Market, condemned last Assizes at Chelmsford for the highway, has obtained a reprieve, by an ingenuous discovery of highway-men and coiners. (The Flying Post)

23-25 May 1699   Last week, in the dusk of the evening 3 high-way men set upon a country farm, and another man, who had been at Oxford to receive money; the farmer and his friend got two of the high-way-men down, but the third coming up, shot the farmer through and killíd him, upon which the other fellow fled to the village, and raisíd the same, who went with them to the place, where they found the farmer dead, and his purse with 16l. a little way from him, but the thieves are not yet heard of; they knew the farmer, for they callíd him by his name, and bid him deliver the 40l. which he had been to receive at Oxford. This was done in Hedington-Heath. (The Post Boy)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Early Encounters with Highwaymens", 10 October 2003 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/highway1.htm>

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