Births & Deaths, York
Dick Turpin was not born in York, he was just executed here. Don’t be upset, Mr. Turpin was a bad man. He started out life in the south and was born in 1706. He grew up without too much fuss and was best friends with his own schoolmaster. He married, became a butcher, and then began to thieve livestock. In those days such theft was punishable by the death penalty.
He was caught in the act of stealing oxen and fled. He later joined the Gregory Gang, a ruthless band or real-life brothers. They specialised in raiding isolated houses. Their evil exploits made the newspapers of the day. Constables met up with the gang one day in a tavern and captured the Gregory Gang – except Dick Turpin. Good old Dick jumped through a window and escaped. The Gregory Gang was hanged, as thieves were.
Dick then went on to become criminal partners with Tom King, "the Gentleman Highwayman". The 2 men set up in Epping Forest, where they found a lucrative trade in robbing carriages along the highway. Turpin eventually turned to murder during this time. One of his theft was of a fine horse he called ‘Black Bess’ from a Mr. Major. He handed out handbills describing the horse and the horse thief. Constables receive information of where Black Bess was and waited in ambush. Tom King showed up and a gunfight erupted. Turpin arrived and accidentally shot King who died. Turpin, as he had before, escaped.
Taking advantage of his good luck he drifted north using the name John Palmer and kept a low profile. Unfortunately he angered his landlord who made enquiries and the truth was revealed. His fate finally sealed by his old schoolmaster who recognised his handwriting. He was put to death on 7 April 1739,
This place is hidden inside a hotel, but now the secret can be revealed! Guy Fawkes is immortalised every year in the UK on November 5th on what is known as Bonfire Night. His effigy is burned and fireworks set off to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy (also known as Guido) and 12 conspirators smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into a cellar under the House of Lords. Fortunately watchman found them and stopped them from carrying out this act of terrorism.
So where did it all start? Guy was born in a small cottage in York on 13 April 1570. He was baptised as a Catholic in the St. Michael le Belfry Church, just across the street, in the same year. In 1593 or 1594 he left England for Flanders, where he enlisted in the Spanish army (and was then called ‘Guido’).
Elizabeth I was the ruler of England at the time and staunchly anti-Catholic. Guy returned to England with the idea of helping support an invasion by Spain, overthrowing Elizabeth and restoring the supremacy of the Catholic Church in England. Elizabeth died in 1603 and was replaced by James I who was just as anti-Catholic as his predecessor. Guy joined a small group of like minded men under the leadership of Robert Catesby. The group of 13 men planed was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so they hoped to kill the King, Members of Parliament and possibly the Prince of Wales.
An anonymous letter was sent to one Lord warning him not to attend on the day and the Yeomen of the Guard were alerted. They caught Guy in the cellar with his gunpowder. He was transferred to the Tower of London and signed a confession. He was then stretched on a rack and made to sign another confession. These 2 very different examples of his handwriting are still on display. He was later executed.
Bonfires were burned all across Britain on the night Guy was caught to celebrate the King’s safety. And so Bonfire Night became a tradition.