Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.

I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Gentleman Higgins, The Highwayman.

This gentleman was of good birth and took up residence in Knutsford, Cheshire around 1756. What he had done before and where he was born is uncertain. But what we do know is in 1754, he was convicted of housebreaking in Worcester and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Shortly after he arrived in Boston,America. He stole a large amount of money from a house of a rich merchant and bought himself a passage back to England. This happened within a few months of being in the country. He lived in Manchester first, then moved to Knutsford. He bought 19 Gaskell Avenue. Then met Katherine.
Edward Higgins married Katherine Birtles on 21st April 1757.
He lead people to think he was a member of the gentry and rode hounds with them and even owned several horses. He claimed that he had property in various areas.
Edward and Katherine had five children.

But this was not his true career. He was in fact a burglar. He used his charm and charactor to make friends with higher class people. Edward and his wife would dine with their neighbours and friends. He hunted, fished and shot with them. This enabled him to be fimiliar with the layout of their homes, so that he could come back later and take their personnel things at a later date.

Edward was also a highwayman. He rode the road between Knutsford and Chester. He told his wife that he was out collecting rent from the various properties.

Time was starting to catch up on our gentlman highwayman. He rode out on one of his rent collections but went to Carmarthen. He was caught after breaking into a house and was identified as an escaped prisoner. He was sentenced to death. He tried to get out of it by handing over a fake offical pardon. But this did not work and the authorities realsied that it was a forgery. Edward must have loved his wife and children because after being sentenced to death, he wrote " I beg you will have compassion on my poor disconsolate widow and fatherless infants, as undoudtedly you will hear my widow upbraided with my past misconduct. I beg you will vindicate her as not being guilty of knowing about my villany".

Edward Higgins died on the gallows at Carmarthen on 7th November 1767.
There is a plaque on his house explaining who he was.

Some say that in the dead of night, Edward Higgins can still be seen riding his horse through the streets of Knutsford still searching for a house to pay a visit to or off on one of his highway visits. Is he still looking for coaches to stop?


Unknown said...

Did you know that supposedly their was.A tunnel that ran under knutsford heath from Higgins house to the Longview hotel,supposedly so Higgins could escape from.his house if caught the tunnel was supposedly bricked up. This was what we were told as kids in knutsford have you every heard this Gill?

Unknown said...

Hi I was also told this and have grown up believing that this was true to his legend I also tell my children the tales of his highway encounters with of course the tunnel so as not to be seen leaving or entering his property. . Perhaps we'll never know but as a child of knutsford I treasure such tales of the past and our heritage.
Lindsay B.