Lincoln’s infamous villan: Dick Turpin

Many cities have a folk hero, and Lincoln for brief period of time had a folk villain too, who went by the name of Dick Turpin, or John Palmer as he was known in Lincolnshire in the 18th century.

Local history researcher Cory Santos explained: “Dick Turpin was essentially a highway robber, and that entails being an armed robber on horseback who mostly operated in the North London and Essex areas. He eventually ended joining the Essex gang, a group of highwaymen.”

However, Turpin was eventually forced to leave this area, and flee.

“In 1737, Turpin murders a man, he then realises his time is up in the London area so he adopts a new name and becomes John Palmer. He mostly lives in the Humber area, however in he spends about 9 months in Long Sutton. He basically does the same thing, stealing horses and cattle and selling them on himself for profit.

“He also poses as a country gentlemen and goes shooting in the Humber area; he basically uses Lincolnshire as his private poaching ground.”

Turpin originally started out by stealing animals to kill and sell onto his butcher, the first trade his father taught him.

Cory Santos added: “Him and his partner Matthew King would hide out in the forest he was living in after he found himself on the run for various crimes. They would hide behind a tree and when someone came by they would come out and deliver the famous line ‘stand and deliver!’.”

Turpin was eventually caught in 1739 and hung in York.

Read more about Dick Turpin in this Britannia article.