Lady Belinda The Happy Fox Page List



 Oliver Cromwell

In 1658 Cromwell died a premature death of cancer. Members of the Royal Court began creeping back into England and bribing their way back into Parliament.
By 1660 royalist landowners had enough Members of Parliament in place to restore the monarchy. The witless son of Charles 1st was dragged from the continental brothels he had come to adore and crowned Charles 2nd.


The so called 'Sporting King,' below, had Oliver Cromwell disinterred from his grave in Westminster Abbey, hung from a scaffold for a day and then beheaded.




King Charles 2nd's England

1660. The "Sporting King", Charles 2nd, left, ended Oliver Cromwell's Rule of Law.
All the nude theatres, child brothels and bawdy house's Cromwell had closed down were suddenly back in business. 
Cut-throats, highwaymen and pot holes returned to England's roads.
The Sporting King believed public money should be spent on refurbishing and guarding royal palaces. Not on repairing and guarding public roads - as Oliver Cromwell had believed.  





Claude Duval was a handsome young man with a wicked sense of humour. Born in Normandy in 1643 the son of a miller Duval came to believe the rich should pay more for their daily bread than the hapless poor. At the age of fourteen he was thrown-out of his family home and business for cheating rich customers. He walked to Paris - to seek his fortune. Aged sixteen he caught the eye of the Duke of Richmond. The Duke was a member of The Royal Court who had moved to France when it became obvious Oliver Cromwell would end the monarchy. The idle-rich did not see eye-to-eye with Cromwell's Puritan Republic. The Duke had no idea how Duval felt about the rich when he employed him as a footman...

Charles 2, ended Cromwell's Rule of Law. The idle rich returned to England.
The Duke of Richmond returned to London with his handsome French footman. Claude Duval by this time had plans of his own. He stole fifty Guineas from his employer and disappeared into the night.
North London's Seven Sisters road junction is where five other roads meet with Hornsey Road and Holloway Road.
The junction was also the Holloway Turnpike. Duval took a room in the Devil's House, a notorious bawdy-house on the Hornsey Road. He lived near the busy Turnpike in order to watch the movements of the coaches and learn who owned them.


The charming young Frenchman became a much loved local hero by pulling-off extremely cool and exceedingly cheerful armed robberies. The London Gazette first reported him in June 1661. Working alone with a pair of well-balanced pistols a pleasant smile and a fast horse. Duval would appear on a foggy night on Hampstead Heath and waylay a coach - or a lone gentleman rider.

A day or two later he would materialize from the trees lining the Windsor Castle Road - to take the purses of titled gentlefolk travelling in the finest of coaches. Within days he would emerge out of the morning mist on the Dover Road to rob a merchants coach. After a week or so on the road Duval would take things easy at the Devils House where the serving girls worked in the nude. The Devils House had it's own moat & drawbridge guarded by a team of blade-scarred bouncers to keep-out officers of the law!

Apart from the frightening rise in crime following the demise of Cromwell's Republic Londoners had to live with the horrors of the plague throughout 1665, then came the Great Fire of 1666. The daring exploits of Claude Duval always acted like a tonic. Cheering-up the common people. On one occasion he stole the purse of the Master of the Royal Buckhounds and left the King's man tied to a tree.

One summer night Duval and five other armed horsemen, all smelling of drink, appeared out of the dusk on Blackheath. They rode alongside an expensive looking coach and four. The coach belonged to a member of the House of Lords.

The driver came to a halt fearing the worst. Duval dismounted, opened the coach door and asked the noble lord therein if he could have the pleasure of a dance with his beautiful wife! One of the lady's maids swooned and fainted at the suggestion.

The couple were not so easily swayed. Smiling at his wife, twenty-five-years his junior, the noble Lord answered. 'That. Sir. Is rather up to the lady. Don't ya think.'
The lady smiled and said. 'I will be delighted to oblige the gentleman.'
To the laughter and approval of Duval's gang, she stepped out of the coach. Duval started singing and the laughing villains clapped-time as he bowed and led her into a fashionable dance. Before they parted company the noble Lord handed over his purse and thanked the dancing highwayman for his 'courtesy and consideration.'

The London Gazette had 'Gazetted' Duval as 'Most Wanted Highwayman' but in London taverns his Wanted Notices were altered to read 'Most Wanted by Noble Ladies.'

Ladies of the Royal Court had nothing better to do than arrange secret meetings with their lovers. Duval was happy to oblige for a service charge. Several attempts were made to capture Duval by jealous husbands. Fortunately the Gazette had given him an un-paid network of admirers. Pageboys, footmen, ladies-in-waiting and thrill-seeking Establishment wives went out of their way to warn Duval whenever the gentry plotted to trap him. From the same informants came news of rich pickings on the move across the Home Counties.
Only once was Duval reported as being somewhat less than a gentleman. That was the time he relieved a babe-in-arms of a solid silver feeding bottle. On that day his intelligence was faulty. The coach he stopped contained not the rich couple he expected, but their baby, a nanny and three bewildered chambermaids. Over the years the press lost count of Duval's robberies but no-one lost sight of the fact that he never fired a shot or raised his voice in anger.


The Great Fire of London 1666. In a desperate effort to stop the fire spreading the King's troops used cartloads of barrels of gun-powder to blow-up whole streets.





The Great Fire Of London

The Great Fire that devoured eighty-percent of the City of London started one Sunday morning in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane, near the river Thames. Every evening of the following week people gathered at the top of Hornsey Road and along Hornsey Lane to watch the smoke and flames spreading.

Light winds fanned the fire to the Tower of London in the
East and across the city towards Fleet Street in the West.
King Charles ordered his brother, James Duke of York, to take control of the fire.



The Duke of York was Commander of the King's Army. Working round-the-clock the London regiment's created fire-breaks by destroying whole streets with cart-loads of gunpowder. As the explosions reverberated up through Islington - up the Holloway Road and rattled the chimney-pots of Hornsey - Claude Duval kissed the nipples of the nude serving girl sat on his lap in the Devil's House. 'Fire?' He said. 'What fire?' Nothing distracted the laughing Frenchman from his pursuit of gold and pleasure.  



Crafty Dick

Richard Turpin was the opposite of the fun-loving Claude Duval. Turpin was always reported as a low conniving thug. He was born 1705, in his father's pub, in the Essex village of Hempstead.
As a teenager he was sent to London's bustling Smithfield market to train as a butcher.
In 1732 he was charged with selling stolen meat from his market stall in Waltham Abbey. Rather than face jail by appearing in court Turpin disappeared.

Smuggling was rife in those days and it wasn't hard to break into the 'Owler’s Trade.' Turpin went one better than most. He impersonated a Revenue Officer! When he appeared around the marshy creeks of Canvey Island wearing the Kings uniform 'Crafty Dick' completely fooled the Owler’s.
He offered his services as a look-out in return for a share of the booty.

It took two years for his deception to be discovered. When Turpin left the county two gangs of Essex smugglers were arrested. Leaving little doubt Turpin had sold a list of smugglers names to the real Revenue men.

He next appeared in 1735, in Edgeware, North London, working with a gang of cut-throats. One freezing night in February the gang broke into the home of an elderly farmer. They tied up the family, raped the shapely young house-maid, then ransacked the place looking for money. Not finding any, they roasted the farmer’s bare backside on the fire and poured a kettle of hot water over him. The gang committed similar violent crimes in Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.

a A curious arrest then took place in pub in Westminster. Officers of the law suddenly appeared and overwhelmed the gang. Somehow Turpin escaped. It was later reported ‘Crafty Dick’ had set-up the arrest. Buying his own freedom from arrest by selling-out his pals.

London October 1736. Turpin stopped a lone horseman on Stamford Hill and demanded the traveler's purse. The man burst out laughing. And so did Turpin as he realised the man was Tom King. Gazetted as 'Most Wanted Highwayman.' King suggested a drink at his local inn near Chigwell.
The pair decided to work together.



Working from a dug-out in Epping Forest they preyed on the busy London - Suffolk road. In May 1737 a forest worker found their hide-out. Turpin panicked and shot the man dead. The pair decided they would be safer in the busy East End of London. They were wrong. Acting on information received officers of the law laid an ambush at a pub stable on the Whitechapel Road. One of the officers dragged Tom King from his horse. King shouted for Turpin to shoot the man. Turpin fired but the shot hit King. True to form Turpin abandoned his dying pal and spurred his horse towards the sunset.

In the fairy tale version Turpin now rides his faithful Black Bess from the City of London to the City of York. However, there never was a horse called Black Bess and such a ride was beyond the capabilities of Crafty Dick Turpin. He was seen in Wapping the following day. Crafty Dick had doubled-back to an area of the city where officer's of the law were loath to go. He was next heard of in Yorkshire where he probably arrived by one of the hundreds of colliers carrying coal from Newcastle to London.



John Nevison

In truth the famous ride to York took place before Turpin was born. The Yorkshire highwayman John Nevison was the proud owner of the remarkable bay mare that raced for fifteen hours to the fair City of York. Covering over two-hundred-miles. To save her master’s life.
Once a year, when his bills were due, Nevison would spend a few weeks committing robberies in the south of England. At three o/clock one morning in the summer of 1667, in the county of Kent. He buckled the saddle on his bay mare and set-off from his liar in Maidstone woods - to take a purse, or two, on Gads Hill. (Where, according to the Bard, plump Jack Falstaff had gained and lost a purse or two in the dubious company of Prince Hal.)
Around 4 am. As the sun was rising. Nevison robbed a lone gentleman rider on the west-side of Gads Hill. Something about the man's eyes gave the highwayman cause to think he had been recognized. He could have saved himself from the noose by shooting the man dead.
But Nevison liked to think of himself as 'A Gentleman of the Road.' Instead of going back to the woods, as he had planned. He spurred his horse north. Galloping hard for the river Thames. At Gravesend he boarded the 5 am ferry to Tilbury.
From Tilbury he rode hard for the City of Cambridge where two of his old army pals lived. With their help he could easily establish an alibi against any allegations. He stopped for half-an-hour by the River Chelmer north of Chelmsford. When he got back in the saddle he noticed his bay mare was going exceptionally well. Obviously full of herself and obviously enjoying the run.
As they approached the outskirts of Cambridge the ideal climate for riding and the excellent condition of his horse gave the highwayman an idea that would have been absurd. Were it not for the fact that his life was at stake. He decided not to stop in Cambridge but to carry on to Newark where he knew a horse dealer - who could supply a fresh horse. Newark was more than half-way home to Nevison, who lived in York. And where better than home in York to establish an alibi? If he could prove he was home on the day in question. No Judge would convict him of a robbery, over two-hundred-miles away, in Kent.
He skirted round Cambridge heading west for Huntingdon where he stopped for a while by a stream before joining the Great North Road.

The bay-mare knew the Great North Road well. She took the miles in her stride as if she'd guessed her master was intent on going home. Sixty miles later, south of Newark, the highwayman began to ponder. Should he delay his journey by making the necessary detour to change horses? Or should he ask the gallant mare for another ninety miles?
He decided to carry on. North of Newark he stopped for half-an-hour by the River Trent. By now he was aching all-over. He knew his brave mare was feeling the pace. He welcomed the breeze that sprang up as he climbed back in the saddle. Sixty odd miles later almost exhausted they stopped near Selby, just twenty miles from home, Nevison slid from the saddle and lay in the cool grass.
Man and horse had most definitely had enough. Had not his life been at stake the epic ride would have ended there and then. After half an hour or so he forced himself back in the saddle. Knowing every muscle in his brave mare was already groaning with pain. He asked her for the last twenty miles, of the two-hundred-and-twenty-miles, they raced that memorable day.

At seven that evening Nevison unbuckled and removed the saddle from his grateful mare - fifteen hours after they sped away from Gads Hill. He peeled off his filthy riding clothes and bathed his aches in the tub. While he changed into his best clothes, his wife saddled another horse. Which he then rode to the town centre bowling-green, where the gentry of York gathered every evening at the clubhouse.

He had indeed been recognized by the man he robbed at Gads Hill. He was summoned before the Bench. His bay-mare saved his life. The Judge threw the case out when the Mayor of York testified 'he had supped with Nevison on the eve of the robbery in Kent. And no man can fly.'

King Charles 2nd liked nothing more than a wager. Most of his court agreed with the Judge that Nevison was innocent. The King's bother, the Duke of York, had his doubts. Nevison had served under the Duke. The Duke and the King had a wager with their cronies who were sure Nevison was innocent. Nevison was invited to attend a strictly secret Royal Audience. 'To settle a sporting point.' The King assured him there would never be any mention of their meeting during their lifetime. Nevison sportingly obliged.

At a lavish supper surrounded by the King's cronies in the King's private chambers, the highwayman admitted to the robbery at Gads Hill. He described every mile of the historic ride to York to the assembled company. The King and the Duke collected thousands of Guineas off their cronies. Nevison was thereafter known as Swift Nicks, a name coined by the King at the secret supper.

Swift Nicks and the smiling young Frenchman Claude Duval deserve the epithet 'Gentlemen of the Road.' But, like the graceless Dick Turpin they died a nasty death - dangling on the end of a rope. Too many eye-witnesses finally ended Swift Nicks career in 1684. He was 45 when the noose tightened on the scaffold in York. Eighteen years after his bay mare had sped him safely home.

In 1739 Dick Turpin's handwriting hung him. Turpin was living under the name of Palmer in Yorkshire when he wrote home to his brother in Essex. The village Post Master who handled the letter just happened to be Turpin's old school-master. He reconised the handwriting, and there was still a handsome price on Turpin's head...  Aged 34 Turpin “stepped-off” the very same scaffold at York Castle that swung Swift Nicks in1684.

Claude Duval was just 27 years old when he got hopelessly drunk in a London pub,* the Hole In The Wall, and started bragging about his exploits. Someone couldn't resist the price on Duval's head. Officers of the law were called. Amiable as ever Duval made no attempt to resist arrest. Thousands of women from all walks of life petitioned King Charles to give the 'Dancing Highwayman' a Royal Pardon. But Duval had laid too many wives of the King's cronies.
He was strung-up at Tyburn
surrounded by weeping women.

*now the Marquis Of Granby. Chandos Street. W1.

also see The Great North Road 


England's Black Economy

The Smugglers Song

 if you wake at midnight and hear a horse's feet
 don't go drawing back the blind or looking in the street
 them that asks no questions is them that's told no lie
so watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by
 five-and-twenty ponies trotting through the dark
 brandy for the parson
 baccy for the clerk
 laces for a lady
 letters for a spy
 so watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by
 if you meet King George's men dressed in blue and red
 you be careful what you say and mindful what is said
 if they call you 'pretty maid' and chuck you 'neath the chin
 don't you tell where no one is
nor yet where no one's bin


 five-and-twenty ponies  trotting through the dark
 brandy for the parson
 baccy for the clerk
laces for a Lady
letters for a spy
so watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by
 watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by

Rudyard Kipling


King Charles 2nd's

Nell Gwyn, grew-up in a Drury Lane brothel. 
Aged twelve Nell much preferred selling flowers and fruit in the street to turning tricks for dirty old men.
Aged thirteen she was selling oranges in Covent Garden when the so-called "Sporting King", Charles 2, happened to see her.
She was in his bed hours later. 
hadn't noticed Nell's bubbling personality. "It was the sight of her young tits the King flew to." Charles used public money to finance Nell's career as an actress. Nell was one of sixteen "royal mattress's"
who gave birth to "The King’s Brigade Of Bastards".

 also see The Real Queen




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