Saturday 18 October 1718   Some days since a highway-man who lived at Hounslow, courted a young woman a servant in that town, and made a present of a gold watch, holland to make shifts, and silk to make a gown: Upon which she went to Oakingham in Berkshire to see her mother, and to acquaint her therewith; who being an honest woman sent to Hounslow to enquire of his character; where it seems they spoke so well of him that she suffered her daughter to be married to him, but another wife in London hearing of the matter, went thither with two children and challenged him her husband; but instead of owning her for a wife, he beat her in a barbarous manner, so that she cryed out that he was a highway-man, and thereupon he was seized, and his lodgings being searched there were several of the goods found taken out of the Exeter Waggon, he being as it is said one of those concerned in that robbery, and being carried before a Justice of the Peace he was committed to Newgate. (Weekly Journal, or, Saturday’s-Post)

18 March 1720   Last Saturday ... Freshwater, Barnes, and another highwayman, were tried at the Assizes at Winchester, upon several indictments for robbing on the highway, viz. one for robbing a gentleman of 104 guineas; another for robbing another gentlemen of seven guineas, his watch and sivler spurs; and another of three guineas; and convicted of all three indictments, and received sentence of death; and the next Saturday are to be executed: Two of them were formerly butchers in Newgate Markeet, and have robbed on the road these 11 years, without once falling into the hands of justice; a fate uncommon to such little Rogues. (London Journal)

20-27 August 1720   John Sculthorpe, executed last Saturday at Croydon, declared at the Gallows, that he had been concerned in 12 Robberies on the Highway, and never got more than 20l. by them all, tho’ above 300l. was taken at one Jobb; but he was cheated of his Share, as well as of his Life, by his Accomplices, and declared one of them was his Master, a Barber in the Old-Baily. (London Journal)

22-29 October 1720   From the frequent robberies that are committed, ’tis reported, that the Lord Justices have taken a resolution to reprieve no person whatsoever, that shall be convicted of capital crimes, during their administration. (London Journal)

3-10 December 1720   Last week Matthew Sheftoe, who keeps the Red-Lyon-Inn at Whetstone, was again, being the 3d time, committed to Newgate, on suspicion of robbing on the highway. (London Journal)

24-31 December 1720   Last Monday two notorious highwaymen were taken at Knightsbridge, and committed to Newgate, where, God be thanked, is a pretty handsome collection of those sort of gentlemen. (London Journal)

30 April 1726   Chelmsford, April 28.   To morrow one Buckley, a youth of nineteen years of age, is to be executed here, being convicted of several robberies on the highway. The lad is much pitied, having a great appearance of innocence, being drawn in, as it is supposed, by the example and instructions of a wicked father, who, as it is suspected, has twice attempted to poison the young man, since his being in the hands of justice; by which reason he is not alow’d to see him. – It is thought the father is apprehensive of some discovery being made against him, it being known to the country, that his house has been the haunt of rogues for some years past. – The father is now in custody for having threaten’d the life of a person of quality, who has been active in bringing his son and some other delinquents to justice. (Mist’s Weekly Journal)

19 October 1728   Many of the gentry and principal inhabitants of the villages about London, are going to associate, to concert measures for suppressing of robbers; and we hear some further rewards will be offer’d for apprehending them, than those already order’d by law. (Weekly Journal, or the British Gazetteer)









25 July 1730   On Wednesday one Charles Stewart, a young lad, about 16 years of age, was apprehended with 3 more, on suspicion of being concerned with Hugh Morris and Robert Johnson, who were taken last Sunday at Datchet; at which time Stewart was committed to New-Prison, when, not knowing Morris and Johnson were taken, he impeach’d them with about 14 more, which the Constables, &c. are now making diligent search after.
         On Thursday one Richard Edwin, alias Dicky Twankey (commonly known by that name) was taken at a publick house in New-street, being one of the gang that Charles Stewart belonged to, and who was taken on his information since his confinement in Newgate.
         The same day 4 men were seized in Westminster, on the information of the said Charles Stewart, bieng all charged with having committed a great number of robberies between Hampstead and Highgate, and those places and London. (London Journal)

24 Oct 1730   The several persons concerned in apprehending and taking Hugh Morris, James Bryan and Robert Johnson, the three highwaymen under sentence of death in Newgate, attended Mr. Sergeant Raby on Tuesday last, and signed Letters of Attorney for receiving 420l. as a reward for taking them, which is to be shared amongst them as the Court at the Old Baily shall think fit. (London Journal)

11 September 1735   Thomas Winter, who was on Monday last committed to the new Jail for a robbery, was examined before a Justice, and on his examination, which lasted three hours, he confessed 36 robberies on the highway; impeached about 20 of his accomplices, and proper warrants are granted against them: He acknowledged he was the person that ravished a tradesman’s daughter, after having robbed her, the 22d of August last; he confessed the robbery committed on Mr. John Cuttler of Chiswick, who died last Friday of the wounds he received from his companions: He also confessed the stealing of ten horses out of several counties, and two from Mr. Skinner, a farmer in Essex; and was one of the persons, who barbarously ravished, abused, and robbed the milk-maid near Clapham in Surry about eleven days ago. (The Old Whig)

13 October 1739   It is believed, that the Gentlemen of the Pad collected about 1000 l. from different persons at Weyhill-Fair. Among other instances, there is one or two graziers, who lost about 400 l. which they had received there; they had given their money to a boy who belonged to them, with orders to ride away if they were attacked, which accordingly happened soon after they had left the Fair, by two highwaymen demanding their money; on which the boy rode away, and the fellows, finding little about the graziers, whom, it is supposed, they had seen received the money, followed the boy, and fired at him, by which two of his fingers were shot off, took the money from him, and got clear away with their booty. It is said, the graziers intend to sue the County. (Read’s Weekly Journal, or, British-Gazetteer)

20 September 1748   Last week several robberies were committed on the Portsmouth Road, by two highwaymen well mounted, who made a considerable booty. – The great number of robbberies we continually hear of on the several roads, and in this City and Suburbs, and the probability of their encreasing in the winter season, requries the strictest regard of al people to preventthem. – Many schemes have been propos’d, but none seems more likely to answer the purpose, than that all people who lett lodgings should be obliged to give an account of all in-mates, their business, &c. (General Advertiser)

24 September 1748

  York ... On Wednesday last Mr. Richmond, a sadler in this city, was robb’d near Townton Turnpike, of three shillings and seven pence, by a middle-aged man, mounted on a bay mare (supposed to be stol’n from Mrs. Drake of Tadcaster); when he came up with him, presented a pistol, Damn’d him, and bid him deliver, otehrwise he was a dead man; then Mr. Richmond gave him what money he had, and a pen-knife; Mr. Richmond desired the odd penny back to pay the turnpike, when the villain gave the old gentleman a terrible stroke over the shoulders with his whip, and desired him to bring more money with him next time.
         The same rogue attacked the Nottingham Carrier, with whom he had a great struggle; but people coming up, he rode off. (General Advertiser)

(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, "Highwaymen", 31 December 2005, last enlarged on 25 February 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/highway2.htm>

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