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Dastardly Dick

June 7, 2020

Dick Turpin was a dab hand at gleaning booty but it was a mishap with a cock and his handiwork with a quill which robbed him of his life of crime.

The legend of Georgian England’s most wanted man is of a chivalrous, romanticised rogue whose love of the ladies was only surpassed by his love for his loyal steed, Black Bess.

But contrary to the dashing hero found in Victorian penny dreadfuls, the real Dick was an unsightly man whose methods were rather dastardly.

Born in Essex, 1705, Turpin left school and worked as a butcher where he probably aided deer poachers in handling carcasses.

He soon joined the ‘Essex gang’ and began a reign of terror including highway robbery, burglary and ungentlemanly acts towards the fairer sex.

Twice Dick’s gang encouraged victims to hand over their valuables by threatening to roast them in their fireplaces, even pulling down the britches of one old man and sizzling his bare backside on the embers to make him blab.

The heat was soon on for Turpin who fled to Yorkshire under the alias of a butcher, John Palmer, but only a year later he had one too many ales after a night’s horse rustling and shot his landlord’s cockerel.

Turpin was arrested and in an attempt to clear his name he wrote to his brother-in-law Pompr in Essex under his alias begging for a character reference.

Pompr either wasn’t familiar with the name of Palmer or was too miserly to pay the 6d postage owed and so in a twist of fate the letter was passed to the local postmaster who was also the very man who taught young Dick to write at school.

Recognising the distinctive handwriting he identified Palmer as the infamous crook, collected a £200 bounty and Turpin was sent to the gallows in 1739.

Our Sunday Brunch cocktail is a smoky twist on a Bull Shot, an apt potation for the felonious butcher with a fiery penchant for making his victims stand and deliver.


50 ml Broken Clock Vodka
125 ml Cold Beef Broth
15 ml Lemon Juice
3 dashes Tabasco
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch Salt and Pepper
Sea Salt & Smoked Paprika Rim
Applewood Smoked Ice


Rim a tumbler, combine the ingredients and singe the rosemary.