Guest author: Robbie Cheadle ~ Dick Turpin

The myth of Dick Turpin

Fiction writer, Harrison Ainsworth, glamourised thief and highway man, Dick Turpin, in his 1834 novel, Rookwood. The novel is set in England in 1737 at a manor house called Rookwood Place and the plot revolves around the mysterious death of the owner, Piers Rookwood, and the subsequent rivalry for inheritance of the property between his two sons.

During the course of the story, Dick Turpin, a highway man, is introduced at the manor under the pseudonym Palmer. During his stay, Palmer makes a bet with one of the other house guests that he can capture Dick Turpin. He is eventually forced to escape upon his horse, Black Bess. The horse, although fast enough to stay ahead of all the other horses, eventually collapses and dies from the stress of the escape.

In the novel, Ainsworth describes Turpin as galloping north in the dark: “His blood spins through his veins; winds round his heart; mounts to his brain. Away! Away! He is wind with joy.” Ainsworth’s depiction of Turpin, together with the local narratives, poems and ballads that resulted from it, gave Turpin a notorious posthumous status.

Picture taken at the York Castle Museum by Robbie Cheadle

The truth about Dick Turpin

Dick Turpin was born in Essex in 1705, the son of a butcher. He initially became an apprentice butcher but soon started stealing and then joined a gang in Essex. During his membership of the Gregory Gang in Essex, the gang began to strike terror into areas of the country and Turpin progressed to some horrific criminal acts. With the leader of the gang, Gregory, he robbed a farmhouse and poured boiling water of the elderly owner. He also raped a woman during this attack. He developed a reputation as a brutal and ruthless criminal. His first murder was of a servant named Tom Morris who recognised him as a robber.

When most of the gang was arrested in 1735, Turpin became a highwayman and joined forced with another notorious highwayman, Tom King, whom Turpin is believed to have accidently killed during a botched robbery. Soon afterwards, he shot and killed a man who attempted to capture him and fled to Yorkshire. He settled in the town of Brough, where he assumed the name John Palmer and claimed to be a horse dealer.

John Palmer was charged for shooting a chicken in the street and threatening to also shoot its owner. When evidence of his horse stealing was discovered, he was transferred to York Castle Prison. On 23 February 1737, Palmer was identified as outlaw Dick Turpin at York Castle by his former teacher James Smith, who had recognised Turpin’s handwriting on a letter sent from his cell to his brother asking for help. After his real identity was revealed, Turpin was sentenced to death on charges of horse-stealing.

In prison, Turpin remained a showman and entertained visitors in his cell by recounting stories of his criminal deeds. The day before his execution a new frock coat and shoes were delivered to Turpin in his cell. At his hanging, he paid five professional mourners to follow him to the gallows.

Picture taken in York Castle Museum dungeons by Robbie Cheadle

The link between Dick Turpin and Through the Nethergate

Through the Nethergate is set in a historic pub which is haunted by a number of ghosts, one of which is Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy is also an infamous highwayman who is said to have ridden with Dick Turpin.

An extract from Through the Nethergate describing Tom Hardy follows:

“In the dim light from the streetlamp outside, Margaret saw a man wearing an old-fashioned three-cornered hat, white shirt and frock coat. His mouth was twisted into a leer and his sun-baked skin looked rough and deeply lined. There was a deep imprint in the skin of his neck in the shape of a “V”.

This being was not a ghost. He was very real.

“No noise, pretty one,” said Tom. “If you call for help I shall have to kill whoever comes. You don’t want that, do you?”

Margaret attempted to nod beneath the weight of his hand over her mouth. He withdrew his hand slowly and reached downwards. When his hands came back into her sight, they each held a pistol. His figures were bruised and bleeding and the nails were half torn off.

“I’ll shoot them with these babies if you scream.” He stroked the pair lovingly.

They can’t hurt you, Margaret thought. Grandfather said they can’t hurt you. They are like pictures. She couldn’t help feeling scared. What if this one can hurt me? What if this one is real?

“Ah, Margaret,” the roguish figure croaked. “You have been causing turmoil in my Master’s Inn, my old headquarters, the place where I plotted my crimes. A bad idea, Margaret, a very bad idea to cross Tom Hardy and Dick Turpin.”

Margaret continued to stare at him, transfixed, her hands laying limply on the top of the bedcovers.

“My Master is unhappy, Margaret,” said Tom. “Your powers are unsettling his servants, making them go against his wishes.”

“What have I done? I haven’t seen any servants. I don’t have any powers.”

“Ah, but you do. Your psychic abilities are attracting his servants to the Inn. They are gathering and making plans to use you to escape their fate of eternal servitude. I know they have made contact with you. I have seen them speaking to you.”

Tom gave her a vicious smile that froze her blood.”

Through the Nethergate

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Purchase links

It is available from here:

It is also available from TSL Publications as a soft copy book here: TSL Publications

It will be available on Amazon in a few weeks’ time.

About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Writes Blog   Amazon Author Page    Twitter    Facebook

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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92 Responses to Guest author: Robbie Cheadle ~ Dick Turpin

  1. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:
    Read a chilling excerpt from Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s Through the Nethergate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Can’t wait to read this one, Robbie, congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Sue, thank you for sharing this post and for all your wonderful support.


  4. Jane Risdon says:

    Oh wow love anything to do with Highway Men and Dick Turpin. Where I live there are so many places he made folk ‘stand and deliver’ and where he stayed. Will reblog, Tweet etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Dick Turpin, Robbie Cheadle and Sue Vincent – a fab cocktail. – Jane Risdon

  6. That is so clever, Robbie. I love that backstory.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Adele Marie says:

    oooh, shivers. I was always interested in highwaymen, watched The Wicked Lady when I was too young. lol xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. kevin cooper says:

    Wow, I didn’t realise Robbie and so many books released. Through the Nethergate sounds intriguing. Thanks for having her over, Sue! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascinating history and a chilling excerpt. I’m looking forward to this read, Robbie. Great guest post, Sue. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wonderful history lesson and a hair raising excerpt from Through the Nethergate, Robbie! The book cover does a great job foreshadowing the story.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Guest author – Robbie Cheadle – Dick Turpin – Roberta Writes

  12. olganm says:

    Robbie’s novels sounds like a must read, and her interest in history sure makes it even more compelling. Thanks for sharing, Sue and good luck to Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. olganm says:

    Reblogged this on Just Olga and commented:
    Anybody interested in Dick Turpin will enjoy this post, and there’s an excerpt from Robbie Cheadle’s new novel you shouldn’t miss.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A super post from Robbie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mae Clair says:

    What an awesome post, Robbie. I was enraptured from the start to finish. I’ve heard of Dick Turpin before but never knew who he was. This was so enlightening and your excerpt was great. I’m looking forward to reading Through the Nethergate!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Can’t wait to get this when its on Amazon. Love the background history.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. dgkaye says:

    This is a fabulous insight and teaser for your new book Robbie. Sounds riveting! 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  18. petespringerauthor says:

    Oh boy, this sounds like a winner! I have to admit that I was not familiar with Dick Turpin until just now. Thanks for the history lesson, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – September 4th, 2019 – Jennie Fitzkee, Sue Vincent, Robbie Cheadle, James J. Cudney | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  20. Great shares today! Love seeing Robbie highlighted. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Valentina says:

    I enjoyed reading the story of Dick Turpin. It’s great to be here.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Joan Hall says:

    Spine-tingling excerpt, Robbie. I look forward to reading this. I had not heard of Dick Turpin before today.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. CarolCooks2 says:

    History and the supernatural are two of my favourite subjects..Sounds like a must read and a winner, Robbie…Well Done 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Robbie, your new novel, Through the Nethergate sounds like one thriller supernatural and my kind of book to read. I love the title and history and the supernatural are two of my favorite subjects too.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Reblogged this on Once Upon a Time…. and commented:
    Through the Nethergate is a historical supernatural fiction that is a mysterious thriller, my favorite kind of novel by Roberta Eaton Cheadlel. It is sure to be a bestseller.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Pingback: The Nethergate by Robbie Cheadle -reblogged via Sue Vincent’ Blog. – Once Upon a Time….

  27. I definitely wouldn’t want to meet up with the actual Dick Turpin!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I was interested to learn more about Dick Turpin. Great post and sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing this little bit of history.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: A visit to York Castle Museum - Robbie Cheadle

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