Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:
Dick Turpin and the Lawyer [Laws L10]DESCRIPTION: Dick Turpin, upon meeting a lawyer, claims to be so afraid of meeting Turpin that he has hidden his money in his boot. The equally nervous lawyer admits to having hidden his money in his coat. Turpin gaily relieves him of the cash
EARLIEST DATE: 1867
KEYWORDS: robbery lawyer humorous
1735 - Dick Turpin comes to the attention of the authorities as a robber
April 1739 - Hanging of Dick Turpin (by then retired from highway robbery; he was captured after getting drunk and shooting the landlord's cockerel)
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar) Britain(England(South,North)) US(MA)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Laws L10, "Dick Turpin and the Lawyer"
Logan, pp. 115-121, "Turpin's Valour" (1 text, although Laws considers this as two pieces, "Turpin's Valour" and "The Dunghill-Cock")
Mackenzie 125, "Dick Turpin and the Lawyer" (1 text)
Kennedy 336, "Turpin Hero" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 368, "Dick Turpin and the Lawyer" (1 text)
LPound-ABS, 70, pp. 157-158, "Turpin and the Lawyer" (1 text)
DT 570, TURPNLAW
cf. "My Bonnie Black Bess I" [Laws L8] (subject)
cf. "My Bonnie Black Bess II" [Laws L9] (subject)
O Rare Turpin, Hero
NOTES: Versions of this generally place the incident on Hounslow Heath. This is probably a bit folkloric. According to Patrick Pringle in Stand and Deliver: Highwaymen from Robin Hood to Dick Turpin, each of the four great roads out of London had its hot spots for highway robbers, with Hounslow Heath on the Great Western Road being the most notorious spot of all (Pringle, p. 64). Turpin, however, is associated mostly with Finchley Common on the Great North Road (p. 66).
What's more, this approximate story is told of other highwaymen, rather than Turpin; Pringle, pp. 86-87, tells how Francis "Dixie" Jackson met a lawyer in a tavern and was shown how he hid his treasure in his saddle. Several of Jackson's confederates then met the lawyer on the road and took his gold.
On the other hand, David Brandon's Stand and Deliver: A History of Highway Robbery, p. 84, tells the story -- in a form even more like the ballad -- of William Davis, "The Golden Farmer" (died c. 1689). Evidently it's a "zipper" highwayman legend.
For the rest of Turpin's history, see the notes to "My Bonny Black Bess (II) (Poor Black Bess; Dick Turpin's Ride)" [Laws L9]. - RBW
Broadside: Street Ballads of Victorian England [circa 1850-1870] site, Folder 150, "Turpin Hero," J. Cadman (Manchester), 19C - BS
The Ballad Index Copyright 2011 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.
There's a Colin Meloy recording of "Turpin Hero" at YouTube.