Introduction

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.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

HIGHWAYMEN OF CHESHIRE




I have already written about Edward Higgins and Dick Turpin on my blog. But in this section, I will add more tales as I hear of them.

The first I will tell you about is John Proudlove and he was the last man to be hanged in Cheshire for Highway robbery.

THE MIDDLEWICH GANG


This gang was a ruthless band of thieves that had been terrorising the area during the 1820's. They didnt travel on horseback and shout "stand and deliever" but they attacked on lone country roads and rob you at force and they would also break into your home. They would follow on foot after they had watched you for a while.


The members of this gang were:- John Proudlove (age 25), John Leir (age 21), James Harrop (29), James Statham (age 26), John Bostock (age 33), James Walker, brothers Peter (age 28) and John Alcock (age 19) and Samuel Patterson.

John Proudlove was married with two children and his wife was pregant again. They lived in Sandbach and he was a shoemaker by trade. He had had a poor childhood but he had seemed to have made a good living and a respectable member of society but his past had been mard with the death of his father, his mother travelled with a horse and cart selling various goods and he had also witness his brother's death. John had only been about five or six years old when his brother, William, was hung at Chester for thieving.

John Leir was not married but he came from a good family. He was well educated. He worked for Messrs Bull and Co of Sandbach, as a silk weaver.

There seems to have been another member of this gang. Some say he was the leader and very violent but no one ever found out who he was and he was never caught (that we know).

John Proudlove was caught when he robbed a farmer on the Sandbach to Betchton road. And this was thought to have been his only crime until his trail. It was then, he was connected with the gang and other offences came to light, He was sentenced to be executed at Chester in 1829. James Harrop and James Statham had been drinking with John that night, when they singled out the farmer, Robert Moseley. It was Christmas Eve 1828. Both Jame's were sentenced to a death being recorded against them, which meant they were transported away and never to return to this country.

John Leir, John Bostock, James Walker, Peter and John Alcock, and Samuel Patterson were all charged with aggravated burglary. After they had broken into and robbed the home of Rev Bloor at Cross Lanes near Middlewich. They left him bably beaten and close to death. John Leir was found guilty and sentenced to death. Everyone else was found not guilty apart from Samuel Petterson. He too had been found guilty but I dont know his punishment.

John Leir and his friend John Proudlove were both hanged at Chester on Saturday 9th May 1829.

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GEORGE GROOM

He was a 32 year old labourer, married with five children, living in Alsager. George was found guilty of attacking James Kennerley. James (a disabled pensioner) was driving his horse and cart through the village of Odd Rode in Astbury at about 5am on the morning of 27th February 1822.

This was not George's one and only offence but it was his most brutal. He was convicted at the Spring Assizes in 1822 at Chester and executed on Saturday 4th May 1822.


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JOHN GREEN and THOMAS ALLMOND

John lived just outside Shavington with his wife, Elizabeth and five children. They lived with Elizabeth's sister, her husband, Thomas and their six children.

John Green and Thomas Allmond had been charged and tried for burglary. John was 34 years old and Thomas was 27 years old. Their victims were Samuel Dean, age 65 and his wife. They lived in an isolated cottage at Bridgemere. Just after midnight on the 16th May 1826, they were woken up by someone knocking their front door down. Two men were in their house and Samuel recognised John. Samuel and his wife were threatened and their house was ransacked.

John and Thomas made their escape but as they did, they left a trail of goods following them lying on the ground. A local constable, Samuel and some neighbours went to John's house and after finding more of Samuel's items, both John and Thomas were arrested.

John Green was found guilty and hung at Chester on the 26th August 1826. Thomas Allmond had been acquitted. It was said that John had threatened Thomas into helping him. John knew the area very well and could have attacked Samuel anytime travelling home. John also carried a pistol and he could have also been responsible for some smaller roadside hold ups but this was never proved.

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WILLIAM HEATH

William attacked a group of men returning home from a Nantwich Fair in 1841. He was charged with assult rather than robbery. He had stolen some money off one of the men he had hit but he ran of when they had shouted "murder". At his trail, William got two months hard labour.

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JOHN SMITH

John led a gang of about six men who around the 1590's, wreaked havoc around Haslington, Nr Crewe. They used swords, daggers and even canons.

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ROBERT SPONNE

In and around 1602, Robert was a notorious theif and general trouble maker. His area was Warmingham, Sandbach and Middlewich.

Everyone was scared of him, he would even fed his own cattle on other people's land.

Eventhough many of his band of men were caught and hung, Robert always escaped justice.

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HARRISON GANG

These highwaymen terrorised the area between the River Mersey and the River Severn (warrington and Shrewsbury). The members were:- two brothers - Thomas and Richard Harrison and John Norman (age 19 yrs).

Their reign of terror ran during the late 1660's. Thomas and Richard also stole horses and John would find safe houses for them.

In 1668, the gang were respinsible for stealing -
... 2 male horses and 1 mare from Mr Gill at Cuddington (these were later found abandoned on Bartington Heath)
... a mare stolen from John Massey from Bickerton
... a mare stolen from Mr Ashbrook from near Tattenhall
... a horse stolen from Mr Alderman from near Over

Thomas and Richard were nearly caught outside Whitchurch after negotiations with John Carnhill to exchange a stolen horse went wrong. But John was caught at Acton Bridge after trying to find a safe house.

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