Dick Turpin was born in 1706 in rural Essex, the son of John Turpin, a small farmer and some-time keeper of the Crown Inn. Some biographers say he was born in Thackstead, others name Hempstead. Young Dick probably served an apprenticeship with a butcher in Whitechapel- in those days, a village on the fringes of the capital. During his apprenticeship he "conducted himself in a loose and disorderly manner." When his apprenticeship was over, he opened a butcher shop, and began to steal sheep, lamb and cattle. Caught in the act of stealing two oxen, he fled into the depths of the Essex countryside to save himself. After resurfacing, he tried his hand at smuggling, but proved as inept at this venture as he had at cattle rustling. Before long customs agents compelled Turpin and his gang to lay low. Many people think of Dick Turpin as a lone highwayman, however for the majority of his criminal career he was a member of the Essex Gang (also known as the Gregory Gang). Members of Turpin's gang are known to have included: Thomas Barnfield, Mary Brazier, John Fielder, Jasper Gregory, Jeremy Gregory, Samual Gregory, Herbert Haines, John Jones, James Parkinson, Joseph Rose, Thomas Rowden, Ned Rust, William Saunders, Richard Turpin, Humphry Walker, and John Wheeler. There may have been other members who were either not identified or who were only occasional associates of the Gang.
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