EPPING: Dick Turpin rides again - on a bicycle

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Dale Nichol setting off from Epping this morning Dale Nichol setting off from Epping this morning

A FILM producer has set off to recreate Dick Turpin's legendary overnight ride from Epping to York – but this time on a bicycle.

Dale Nichol, 48, set off from Epping High Street at 9am this morning (Thursday) on the anniversary of the highwayman’s execution at the start of a 209 mile journey towards Turpin’s grave in York.

But while Turpin was carried by his faithful steed Black Bess, Mr Nichol had to rely on his own pedal power, cycling through the night and taking minimal rest breaks, and cycling overnight.

Mr Nichol, who runs his own theatrical production company, is attempting to raise money and publicity for a film about the life of Essex’s most notorious bandit.

“People thought I was mad, but have bent over backwards to help me,” he said.

Setting off on the journey, he added: “What will push me on is the desire to make the film. It will be tough but it's what I have to do to get the word out there about the project.

“I used to be an actor at the York Dungeons museum and would retell the story of Turpin’s life. I started to research him and thought his story would make an amazing film.

“We are looking to make the film as historically accurate as possible. We have been given permission to film in Epping Forest and are wanting to cast as many people from the area as possible.

“I will be holding auditions for parts in my movie in Epping in June this year, but if Epping people would like an audition earlier then feel free to contact me sooner.”

For further details email dalentertainment@btinternet.com

Comments (4)

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5:34am Fri 8 Apr 11

KWyatt-Lown says...

So, “A film producer has set off “to recreate Dick Turpin's legendary overnight ride from Epping to York”. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Nichol but the “legend” only grew up after William Harrison Ainsworth’s Victorian novel “Rookwood” was published. Turpin never rode to York.

That story actually grew out of a ride by John “Swift-Nick” Nevison: who rode from Kent to York in 1676 to create an alibi for a murder.

Living as John Palmer, Turpin was arrested in Beverley in the East Riding having killed a farmer’s cockerel while he was drunk and was moved to York Assizes. It was his old school friend, James Smith, who happened to recognise his handwriting, on an envelope addressed to Turpin’s brother in Hempstead that helped reveal the identity of the man they were holding in York. Turpin stood trail as a horse thief and hanged at York Tyburn in 1739.

For someone who evidently “used to be an actor at the York Dungeons museum and would retell the story of Turpin’s life.” you would have thought Mr Nicol would have got his facts right by now.
So, “A film producer has set off “to recreate Dick Turpin's legendary overnight ride from Epping to York”. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Nichol but the “legend” only grew up after William Harrison Ainsworth’s Victorian novel “Rookwood” was published. Turpin never rode to York. That story actually grew out of a ride by John “Swift-Nick” Nevison: who rode from Kent to York in 1676 to create an alibi for a murder. Living as John Palmer, Turpin was arrested in Beverley in the East Riding having killed a farmer’s cockerel while he was drunk and was moved to York Assizes. It was his old school friend, James Smith, who happened to recognise his handwriting, on an envelope addressed to Turpin’s brother in Hempstead that helped reveal the identity of the man they were holding in York. Turpin stood trail as a horse thief and hanged at York Tyburn in 1739. For someone who evidently “used to be an actor at the York Dungeons museum and would retell the story of Turpin’s life.” you would have thought Mr Nicol would have got his facts right by now. KWyatt-Lown
  • Score: 0

6:51am Fri 8 Apr 11

oaklegs says...

For those that don't use Google here is another account.
Sad that someone has to spoil an urban legend by telling the true story.
Personally I am old enough to recall the pub named Dick Turpin's cave in High Beach. Great legend.
The history of Dick Turpin and his York Grave.

This is a short study of Dick Turpin's life and death. A list of historic events, that are documented, which our man was said to be involved in.

According to history this is what this notorious highwayman did and how he become one of, if not the most wanted man in England. We have even managed to get detail of his letter to his brother, that brought about his final demise.

As a personal note, I believe that his notoriety was overly enhanced. It was almost as if he was the only man that was robbing people at the time. Did he do all he was said to have done? In those days, stories would travel slowly, mouth to mouth and grow out of proportion very easily.

John Palmer alias Dick Turpin / Richard Turpin
Born either in Thackstead or Hempstead England
Baptised Richard Turpin on September 25th 1705 at Hempstead, England.
He served an apprenticeship with a butcher in Whitechapel
Caught stealing two oxen
Turned to smuggling still with no real success
Then started to invade isolated farmhouses, terrorizing and torturing the female occupants into giving up their securities.
He and his gang robbed their way around the Home Counties
King George offers a 50 pounds reward for their capture
This was doubled in February 1736 after the gang invaded the house of a rich farmer called Francis at Mary-Le-Bone (now Marylebone). They beat his wife and daughter until he surrendered their riches.
Met up with 'Captain' Tom King, one of the best-known highwaymen of the day. This was the start of what was to be the legend of Dick Turpin, highwayman.
4th May 1737. A gamekeeper named Morris tracked Turpin to Epping Forest. He challenged Turpin at gunpoint. Turpin drew his own weapon and shot Morris dead. Now turpin was a murderer by law.
After King was captured and killed at the Red Lion Pub in Whitechapel, Turpin set off for Yorkshire
He rustled horses in Long Sutton in Lincolnshire and was arrested. He escaped into Yorkshire. Turpin then set up as a horse dealer in the York area. John Palmer is the name he used. Palmer being his mother's maiden name. There he lived the like a gentleman. Turpin or Palmer financed his fancy lifestyle with frequent horse and cattle rustling in Lincolnshire.
Then the end was now upon him. On returning home after a hunt with some of the local toffs, he on a whim, shot a particularly fine **** in the town of Brough. It was his landlords bird and he was then brought before the local magistrate to explain.
Enquiries began on how Mr Palmer made his money. He had no proof of employment. Rumours started and then Palmer was found to have a number of complaints against him in Lincolnshire.
He was held in custody in the cells of York Castle.
Whilst there he wrote his brother a letter asking for help. It read:
Dear Brother,

I am sorry to acquaint you that I am now under confinement in York Castle for horse stealing. If I could procure an evidence from London to give me a character, that would go a great way towards my being acquitted. I had not been long in this country before my being apprehended, so that it would pass off the readier.

For Heaven's sake, dear brother, do not neglect me. You will know what I mean when I say

I am yours

John Palmer.

Unfortunately his brother was too mean to pay postage due on the letter. It was returned to the Post Office. Somehow Turpin's former schoolmaster, Mr James Smith, saw it and recognized the handwriting. The letter was opened with permission of the local magistrate. Although it was signed John Palmer, Smith identified the scribe as Richard Turpin. Mr Smith was asked to go to York and identify Palmer as Turpin.
Convicted on two indictments, Turpin was sentenced to death.
On 19th April, 1739, Dick Turpin was hanged at the Tyburn, which is on the modern day York Race Course otherwise known as the Knavesmire.
His body was buried a number of times as people kept on digging it up. Finally he was buried in quicklime across from St. George's Church in York England.
For those that don't use Google here is another account. Sad that someone has to spoil an urban legend by telling the true story. Personally I am old enough to recall the pub named Dick Turpin's cave in High Beach. Great legend. The history of Dick Turpin and his York Grave. This is a short study of Dick Turpin's life and death. A list of historic events, that are documented, which our man was said to be involved in. According to history this is what this notorious highwayman did and how he become one of, if not the most wanted man in England. We have even managed to get detail of his letter to his brother, that brought about his final demise. As a personal note, I believe that his notoriety was overly enhanced. It was almost as if he was the only man that was robbing people at the time. Did he do all he was said to have done? In those days, stories would travel slowly, mouth to mouth and grow out of proportion very easily. John Palmer alias Dick Turpin / Richard Turpin Born either in Thackstead or Hempstead England Baptised Richard Turpin on September 25th 1705 at Hempstead, England. He served an apprenticeship with a butcher in Whitechapel Caught stealing two oxen Turned to smuggling still with no real success Then started to invade isolated farmhouses, terrorizing and torturing the female occupants into giving up their securities. He and his gang robbed their way around the Home Counties King George offers a 50 pounds reward for their capture This was doubled in February 1736 after the gang invaded the house of a rich farmer called Francis at Mary-Le-Bone (now Marylebone). They beat his wife and daughter until he surrendered their riches. Met up with 'Captain' Tom King, one of the best-known highwaymen of the day. This was the start of what was to be the legend of Dick Turpin, highwayman. 4th May 1737. A gamekeeper named Morris tracked Turpin to Epping Forest. He challenged Turpin at gunpoint. Turpin drew his own weapon and shot Morris dead. Now turpin was a murderer by law. After King was captured and killed at the Red Lion Pub in Whitechapel, Turpin set off for Yorkshire He rustled horses in Long Sutton in Lincolnshire and was arrested. He escaped into Yorkshire. Turpin then set up as a horse dealer in the York area. John Palmer is the name he used. Palmer being his mother's maiden name. There he lived the like a gentleman. Turpin or Palmer financed his fancy lifestyle with frequent horse and cattle rustling in Lincolnshire. Then the end was now upon him. On returning home after a hunt with some of the local toffs, he on a whim, shot a particularly fine **** in the town of Brough. It was his landlords bird and he was then brought before the local magistrate to explain. Enquiries began on how Mr Palmer made his money. He had no proof of employment. Rumours started and then Palmer was found to have a number of complaints against him in Lincolnshire. He was held in custody in the cells of York Castle. Whilst there he wrote his brother a letter asking for help. It read: Dear Brother, I am sorry to acquaint you that I am now under confinement in York Castle for horse stealing. If I could procure an evidence from London to give me a character, that would go a great way towards my being acquitted. I had not been long in this country before my being apprehended, so that it would pass off the readier. For Heaven's sake, dear brother, do not neglect me. You will know what I mean when I say I am yours John Palmer. Unfortunately his brother was too mean to pay postage due on the letter. It was returned to the Post Office. Somehow Turpin's former schoolmaster, Mr James Smith, saw it and recognized the handwriting. The letter was opened with permission of the local magistrate. Although it was signed John Palmer, Smith identified the scribe as Richard Turpin. Mr Smith was asked to go to York and identify Palmer as Turpin. Convicted on two indictments, Turpin was sentenced to death. On 19th April, 1739, Dick Turpin was hanged at the Tyburn, which is on the modern day York Race Course otherwise known as the Knavesmire. His body was buried a number of times as people kept on digging it up. Finally he was buried in quicklime across from St. George's Church in York England. oaklegs
  • Score: 0

6:52am Sat 9 Apr 11

KWyatt-Lown says...

How strange that. Mr/Ms oaklegs should feel it “Sad that someone has to spoil an urban legend by telling the true story”. Personally, I think the true story is far more interesting than a lightweight folk tale. Sorry to be pedantic but the comments read like yet another example of someone willing to hijack wholesale inaccuracies from the world of Wikepedia.

If I may, let me dispel a few more myths. The letter to his brother was, indeed, seen by James Smith who was not his schoolmaster but a schoolmate who had helped teach Turpin to write.

Turpin was sent to the gallows on April 7th.- not the 19th. and he was not “buried a number of times”. The body was stolen by body snatchers for dissection, paid for by a local surgeon, Marmaduke Palms. Retrieved by Turpin’s followers the body was carried through the streets before being re-buried and destroyed with slaked lime.

Despite a fairly dissolute life, Turpin actually played to the crowd and made a good end. The night before he was due to be hanged he had a new frock coat and shoes delivered to his cell and paid £3.10 for mourners. In fact, technically, he wasn’t hung. Once on the scaffold, with a noose round his neck, he beat the hangman and jumped to his own death.

And no, Mr/Ms oaklegs, this doesn’t come from Google. This is just a very brief extract from four years hard work and research
How strange that. Mr/Ms oaklegs should feel it “Sad that someone has to spoil an urban legend by telling the true story”. Personally, I think the true story is far more interesting than a lightweight folk tale. Sorry to be pedantic but the comments read like yet another example of someone willing to hijack wholesale inaccuracies from the world of Wikepedia. If I may, let me dispel a few more myths. The letter to his brother was, indeed, seen by James Smith who was not his schoolmaster but a schoolmate who had helped teach Turpin to write. Turpin was sent to the gallows on April 7th.- not the 19th. and he was not “buried a number of times”. The body was stolen by body snatchers for dissection, paid for by a local surgeon, Marmaduke Palms. Retrieved by Turpin’s followers the body was carried through the streets before being re-buried and destroyed with slaked lime. Despite a fairly dissolute life, Turpin actually played to the crowd and made a good end. The night before he was due to be hanged he had a new frock coat and shoes delivered to his cell and paid £3.10 for mourners. In fact, technically, he wasn’t hung. Once on the scaffold, with a noose round his neck, he beat the hangman and jumped to his own death. And no, Mr/Ms oaklegs, this doesn’t come from Google. This is just a very brief extract from four years hard work and research KWyatt-Lown
  • Score: 0

7:13am Sat 9 Apr 11

oaklegs says...

Actually I think that you are trying to flog a dead horse, poor Black Bess. What is next on your list?
Maybe you could research our local bad guy who was called Ned Kelly.
'Such is life' were said to be his famous last words or is that another urban myth?
Actually I think that you are trying to flog a dead horse, poor Black Bess. What is next on your list? Maybe you could research our local bad guy who was called Ned Kelly. 'Such is life' were said to be his famous last words or is that another urban myth? oaklegs
  • Score: 0

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