Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dick Turpin

All work and no play at the moment but a trip up north gave me the opportunity to mix in a little bit of historical fact with what's on the paint table.

Recently the paint table has been filled with Marines and Gentlemen, so why not throw an outlaw into the mix?
I give you Dick Turpin. 
Another find casting from Black Scorpion.

Our Dick wasn’t from York, was not dashing and did not even own a horse called Black Bess.
His grave in York is hidden in a back street alongside a housing estate and is pretty unremarkable. You really would not know it was here unless you were looking for it.

I was probably the only visitor recently apart from what looks like the markings of a drunk after a Friday night. The York sight seeing bus passes by his burial site but does not stop.

Turpin was tried and executed in York, most of his Highwayman crimes were commited in Essex. Whilst on the run he fled to Yorkshire. Where he continued he criminal adventures stealing horses under the guise of John Palmer.

He was unmasked whilst holed upon in York when he wrote to his brother asking for help.  His brother refused to pay the sixpence due on the letter and it was returned to the local post office – where Turpin’s old schoolmaster recognised his handwriting.
Unmasked he was caught and sentenced to death - All for the price of a stamp.

At his hanging at Tyburn, it is said that Turpin hired five professional mourners to follow him up the scaffold and he put on a show for the large crowd. His body was dug up by a labourer and taken to the garden of a surgeon, who paid for corpses for illegal medical dissection.  But the people of York people discovered what had happened and marched on the surgeon’s house and Turpin was laid to rest for good. 

The man very different from the myth a rather unimpressive criminal, much like his final resting place. 
But thanks to the Author Harrison Ainsworth and his 1834 novel Rookwood - Turpin became a legend after his death. Ainsworth inventing Black Bess and his ride to York.

Let's see if he can live up to the legend on the table top.

Until next time....