Extract from “Ghosts and Legends of Nottinghamshire” by David Haslam, published by Countryside Books 1996.
The old Great North Road ran along the eastern edge of the county through the towns of Newark, Tuxford and East Retford, and for centuries it was the main route from London to York and beyond. Many of the old coaching inns still survive from those days, like pearls on a string. With a constant ebb and flow of human life, the old Great North Road has ghosts and legends all of its own.
Wealthy travellers on the road proved a magnet for footpads and highwaymen and many were relieved of their valuables with the cry “Your money or your life!” Dick Turpin, the most famous highwayman of the all, held up many a coach on the Great North Road. The best known Nottinghamshire highwayman was John ” Swift Nick ” Nevison (1639-1684), whose gang of six outlaws met at the Talbot Inn at Newark and robbed travellers along the Great North Road as far north as York and as far south as Huntingdon. It was Nevison, and not Turpin, who made the famous London to York ride to establish an alibi and earned his soubriquet from the King himself for his feat.
Quoted by kind permission of Mr. D Haslam.