Did you know there were highwaymen on the roads near Whitchurch in 1698 ?

Celia Fiennes made several journeys around England between 1682 and 1712 and recorded her travels in diaries.

In 1698 she visited Whitchurch and her diary describes an encounter with highwaymen on the road from Beeston.

17th century highwayman

17th century highwayman

“There I think I may say was ye only time I had reason to suspect I was Engaged wth some highway men. 2 fellows all on a sudden from ye wood fell into ye Road, they Looked trussed up with great Coates and as it were bundles about them which I believe was pistols, but they dogged me one before ye other behind and would often Look back to Each other, and frequently jostled my horse out of ye way to get between one of my servants horses and mine, and when they first came up to us did disown their knowledge of ye way and would often stay a little behind and talk together, then come up again, but the providence of God so ordered it as there was men at work in ye fields haymaking, and it being market day at Whitchurch as I drew near to it in 3 or 4 miles was continually met with some of ye market people, so they at last called each other off and so left us and turned back; but as they rode with us 3 or 4 miles at last they described the places we should come by, and a high pillar finely painted in ye Road about 3 mile off of Whitchurch (which accordingly we saw as we passed on) which showed them no strangers to ye Road as they at first pretended.”



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