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Dick Turpin: is he famous in the USA?

DigiTrad:
BONNIE BLACK BESS
BONNIE BLACK BESS (2)
BONNIE BLACK BESS (3)
DICK TURPIN AND THE LAWYER
TURPIN'S VALOUR


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Turpin Hero / Turpin's Valour (30)
Review: Turpin play with songs (4)
Tune/Chord Req: Turpin Hero (19)


GeoffLawes 13 Jun 06 - 08:07 AM
Midchuck 13 Jun 06 - 08:10 AM
MMario 13 Jun 06 - 08:21 AM
pavane 13 Jun 06 - 08:57 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jun 06 - 09:01 AM
pavane 13 Jun 06 - 09:01 AM
MMario 13 Jun 06 - 09:02 AM
IanC 13 Jun 06 - 09:08 AM
Rapparee 13 Jun 06 - 09:18 AM
Bill D 13 Jun 06 - 09:31 AM
Blowzabella 13 Jun 06 - 09:32 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jun 06 - 10:00 AM
Big Mick 13 Jun 06 - 10:01 AM
Peace 13 Jun 06 - 10:05 AM
Peace 13 Jun 06 - 10:08 AM
Rapparee 13 Jun 06 - 10:56 AM
georgeward 13 Jun 06 - 01:28 PM
georgeward 13 Jun 06 - 01:32 PM
Cool Beans 13 Jun 06 - 02:24 PM
GeoffLawes 13 Jun 06 - 02:42 PM
Geoff the Duck 13 Jun 06 - 05:53 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jun 06 - 06:51 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Jun 06 - 10:31 PM
frogprince 13 Jun 06 - 10:47 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 06 - 10:59 PM
Geoff the Duck 14 Jun 06 - 08:47 AM
kendall 14 Jun 06 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Jun 06 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Phil Beck 27 Jun 06 - 02:07 AM
Snuffy 27 Jun 06 - 08:39 AM
Bassic 27 Jun 06 - 09:44 AM
Alice 27 Jun 06 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Jun 06 - 10:14 AM
IanC 27 Jun 06 - 10:33 AM
Artful Codger 28 Jun 06 - 01:43 AM
Slag 28 Jun 06 - 02:41 AM
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Subject: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:07 AM

Dick Turpin is the most famous highwayman in the British Isles and most people here know of him. Is he as well known in the USA? Are there any Turpin songs that have been collected over on the far side of the Atlantic? Given that Turpin lived and died well before Independence it seems likely that Turpin songs will have been sung when he was still hot news but have any of the songs made it down the oral chain?


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Midchuck
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:10 AM

Was he the one whose horse was Black Bess? Margaret MacArthur had a good song about the horse, but I may have my highwaymen mixed up.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: MMario
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:21 AM

I think many people would at least recognize the name; though they might not have a clue as to the history. I learned about Dick Turpin from children's TV shows - but that was *ahem* some years ago.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: pavane
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 08:57 AM

I understand that he was NOT really the one with Black Bess, despite the traditional belief. I expect someone will dig out the true story.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:01 AM

Black Bess was the British standard army musket. Dick Turpin rode Black Beauty of course.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: pavane
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:01 AM

A quick check, and yes, he DID have Black Bess BRIEFLY after he stole her.

But he may NOT have made the famous ride to York, that was someone else many years before. And if he did, it wouldn't have been on Black Bess.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: MMario
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:02 AM

article on Dick Turpin


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:08 AM

DT's main ranging area was the bottom end of the Old North Road (Ermine Street) and into Essex (he had a hideaway in Epping Forest).

My village (Caxton, Cambs) is on Ermine Street and there was quite a lot of local folklore when I was a child. Till I was about 10 or 11, Dick Turpin always came at the end of the village fete (held in June) on a black horse, dressed in black with a black mask and handed out presents to the children from a sack. Rather like Father Christmas.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:18 AM

Not really. He's more of a literary figure here: some people know of him, fewer know who he was. Not part of the culture, like Jesse James or Pretty Boy Floyd (both of whom were supposed to have robbed the rich and given to the poor) were and in some places still are.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:31 AM

Roy Harris' (Burl) recording of "Turpin Hero" is what brought the story to my attention. As noted by Rapaire, he is not a common part of our lore.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Blowzabella
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 09:32 AM

Err - I think the musket was actually a BROWN Bess, Paul....oh... I see..you knew that...it was a joke....sorry


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:00 AM

No, Brown Mess was its effect on the soldiers- of both sides.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:01 AM

Didn't InOBU write a song about this man?

Mick


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:05 AM

Snippets:

"Turpin, Dick, 1706–39, English robber. After a short and brutal career of horse stealing and general crime he was hanged at York. The fame—or notoriety—that he later achieved derives mainly from W. H. Ainsworth's romance, Rookwood (1834), which is based upon his life. Turpin's famous ride from London to York on his mare, Black Bess, is fiction, and his actual exploits were not of a romantic character."

Also here.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:08 AM

My grandmother mentioned Dick Turpin a few times when I was a kid. She was English. He didn't rank up there with Blackbeard, but I had the impression from my grandmother that he wasn't very nice.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:56 AM

I have my smallsword and 18th century pistol hanging on the wall, ready for my new career if I lose my job as a librarian.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: georgeward
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:28 PM

Our late mentor and friend, the Adirondack mountain (northern New York state) singer Lawrence Older had a Turpin ballad from his uncle "Thede" (Theodore). Thede's text - of which I have his handwritten copy - is almost word-for-word that of the broadside that begins: "When Fortune's blind goddess had fled my abode/ And friend proved ungrateful, I took to the road..." I've sung it occasionally for over forty years. Lawrence performed it a lot.

There was, of course, more than one Turpin ballad, and more than one was in oral tradition in the States a generation or so ago. My late wife Vaughn, a New Mexican, dug out at least one cowboy version from a different broadside.

Accurate or not, the ballads were universal enough in theme to carry on over here. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find a previously uncollected variant in some family's memory even now. Serendipity is everything.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: georgeward
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 01:32 PM

And, of course, if you type "Turpin", "Bonny Black Bess", Turpin's Valor", "Turpin Hero" or any part thereof into the DT search you'll find more.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:24 PM

Dick Turpin may be known to Mudcatters and other folklore scholars but not to the general US populace. The highwayman and Bess the landlord's raven-haired daughter are known in the US from the Alfred Noyes poem and the Phil Ochs song that set it to music. Different highwayman, of course, but I imagine some Yanks believe he and Turpin are the same guy.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 02:42 PM

Thank you all, that has cleared that up for me.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 05:53 PM

By the way, the ride from London to York was not Turnip it was "Swift Nick" Nevison.
another Nevison link.
Ballad of Bold Nevison
A friend used to sing a song with chorus line "Ride on, don't look back" about the York ride, but I can't find lyrics on the web.
Quack!
GtD


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 06:51 PM

One of the favourite spots for both Turpin and Swift Nick was Gad's Hill, near Higham, Kent, the place of the probably apocryphal highway robbery (in drunken jest) by John Falstaff of Henry VIII


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:31 PM

"My Bonnie Black Bess" is on Lawrence Older's Folk-Legacy CD - CD-15. I first learned of Turpin from hearing Ewan MacColl sing "O Rare Turpin Hero." Later heard our own "Burl" sing it. Turpin probably "robbed from the rich and gave to the poor" about as much as Jesse James did, but it makes a nice bit of folklore, eh?


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: frogprince
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:47 PM

I'll risk showing my own ignorance, to let it serve as a probably-typical bad example. When I saw the name Dick Turpin, I immediately knew I had heard it occasionally, but I was thinking he was a comedian in silent movies. After I got into the thread, I realized I had heard of him and "Black Bess" a few times, but I couldn't have placed him within a century of the correct dates. I've never known any of the songs about him.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 06 - 10:59 PM

No

I teach British Literature to 12th year students in the USA

Is there a particular reason, authorship, that we should include your Mr. Turpin with our curriculum?

Three reasons would suffice. However, he does not appear to fall within the new educational standards required by the American Standards national education board.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 08:47 AM

frogprince - Ben Turpin was the silen movie star.
GUEST - Dick Turpin was a historical character (if somewhat exagerated or miscredited). I am not aware of any particular literary worth. He appears to have appeared as a character in one novel Scroll to bottom of link page

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 08:55 AM

Randy Turpin was a well known light heavyweight boxer.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Jun 06 - 09:34 AM

In answer to the original post - no, he is not famous. The only time I've ever heard of Dick Turpin was in a long, dreary poem in a children's poetry collection, c. 1956. I started reading it, decided I didn't like it, and quit.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GUEST,Phil Beck
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 02:07 AM

Turpin's real name was John Palmer, a particularly unpleasant character who at least managed to die well by all accounts. He was hanged at Tyburn (named in imitation of the more famous metropolitan location) in York, at a place called Knavesmire on the Tadcaster road on 7th April 1739.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Snuffy
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 08:39 AM

The Knavesmire is now York racecourse, although the bbokmakers don't wear masks any more!


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Bassic
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 09:44 AM

Dick Turpin , according to local legend, was finally captured near Hull East Yorkshire, at his lodgings in The Green Dragon pub in the village of Welton. Scroll down to Final Capture for the story. The pub is still there and I would expect, externally at least, both the pub and the village centre would still be recognisable to DT nearly 300 years later. This is the pub as it looks now.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Alice
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 09:49 AM

DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
No, he is not.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 10:14 AM

Thanks for the pub pic, bassic. Nice flower boxes.


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: IanC
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 10:33 AM

Given the Welsh slate on the roof and the low rise of the roof, I'd suggest that the pub probably wasn't built in the 1730s, but nearer to 1800. If it was there before, say, 1790 it will have changed enormously in appearance. The roof pitch would have been steeper and it would most likely have been thatched or tiled (less likely stone slates).

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 01:43 AM

Didn't he write "Harlem Rag" and "A Ragtime Nightmare"?

Wait, that's Tom Turpin...


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Subject: RE: DICK TURPIN_is he famous in the USA?
From: Slag
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 02:41 AM

In response to the original query, Yes. At least to the educated. However, watch a few installments of Jay Leno's "Jay-Walking" and it will lead you to despair. In a nation where we graduate people from high school who cannot read, write, or do basic math (because their teachers, in part, cannot read, write, or do basic math) many do not even know who their President is.

Editorial comments aside, I assume Turpin was the legend in mind for Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman" ca 1906 I believe. I learned that poem in the 6th grade for recitation and it really stuck with me as that was in 1960/61.

And Paul Burke: I believe he was riding Black Bess, or rather Bess, the landlord's daughter, the landlord's black eyed daughter!!!


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