The Perils of the Highway in Hanoverian England [Manuscript]. [Highway Robbery]. [Document Recording a Reward Granted for the Conviction of Highway Robber Benjamin Branch]. [London, February 28, April 6, 1728]. 10-1/2" x 7-1/2" vellum leaf, text in neat hands to recto and verso. Light soiling, a few smudges and minor stains, text affected by trimming with minor loss to legibility. $1,500. * This fascinating document concerns a robbery committed by Benjamin Branch, a notable footpad. One side, affected by trimming, is dated February 28, 1728. It gives the details of the case and information concerning a ?40 reward, the statutory reward for information leading to the conviction of street robbery in London and Westminster. The other side, not affected by trimming, is dated April 6, 1728. It attests to the payment of the reward and is signed by the victim of the crime, Jane Marshall, the two men who came to her aid and apprehended Branch, Simon Trowell and Edward Beezley, and a witness, "J. Chambre." Branch was part of the infamous James Dalton gang, a band of street robbers. Along with Christopher "Kit" Rawlings and William Holden, Branch and Dalton specialized in snatching women's purses, which were usually tied inside the waist of a skirt. Prowling around Lincoln's Inn Fields and Fleet Street, this gang managed to steal more than 500 purses. Branch's career was ended by Trowell and Beezley. He was convicted of violent theft and assault and hanged. See "Benjamin Branch" in Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org).
Book number 74615