Read a chilling excerpt from Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s Through the Nethergate.
The myth of Dick Turpin
Fiction writer, Harrison Ainsworth, glamourised thief and highway man, Dick Turpin, in his 1834 novel, Rookwood. The novel is set in England in 1737 at a manor house called Rookwood Place and the plot revolves around the mysterious death of the owner, Piers Rookwood, and the subsequent rivalry for inheritance of the property between his two sons.
During the course of the story, Dick Turpin, a highway man, is introduced at the manor under the pseudonym Palmer. During his stay, Palmer makes a bet with one of the other house guests that he can capture Dick Turpin. He is eventually forced to escape upon his horse, Black Bess. The horse, although fast enough to stay ahead of all the other horses, eventually collapses and dies from the stress of the escape.
In the novel, Ainsworth describes Turpin as galloping north in the dark: “His blood…
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