Beyond the law…
The dangerous figure in the road at night…the dashing and romantic gentleman thief…the loner on the run for a crime he didn’t commit…the righteous rebel who rises from obscurity to help the less fortunate– highwaymen are some of the most beloved and universal of archetypal heroes–or anti-heroes–that we know. Literature and media both about with the light-fingered gentry and artful dodgers, footpads, desperados, and other dashing, dangerous and fascinating miscreants.
Highwaymen thrived in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, becoming legendary and romantic figures. Highwaymen were “as common as crows” from around 1650 to 1800, and in an age where travel was already hazardous due to the lack of decent roads, no one rode alone without fear of being robbed, and people often joined company or hired escorts. No wonder then that travellers often wrote their wills before they set out….
Articles, references and other information relating to highwaymen and highway robbery.
Biographies of some of the most infamous highwaymen and exerts from the Newgate Calendar.
A list of websites and other reading materials for those who want to delve deeper.
About this site
This site has been online in some form or other since 1999. Time constraints mean it's unlikely there will new content added in the foreseeable future, but I've decided it's worthwhile keeping the site for those interested to read. I hope you enjoy your visit!
Once part of the extensive Forest of Middlesex, and now largely buried beneath the runways of London Airport, Hounslow Heath was for more than 200 years the most dangerous place in Britain. Between the 17th and early 19th centuries, the Heath occupied perhaps 25 square miles. No one was really certain where its boundaries lay, and no one cared, for it was a tract of country to be crossed as quickly as possible.Read more