the highwaymen

who frequented Putney Heath

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gibbet hill at Putney Heath

graves of highwaymen at Putney Heath

a deal is made

Dick later found himself invited to the Bald-Faced Stag - the old inn at Putney Vale. His host was Jerry Abershaw. A deal was made whereby Dick would provide information in return for payment.

who was Jerry Abershaw?

Lewis Jeremiah Abershaw grew up in the Kingston and Hampton Wick area, ten miles south-west of the City of London. Having learned to manage horses from a young age, he readily found employment. Prefering women to horses, he turned to crime. The name Abershaw is unusual and may have originated in Yorkshire.

Jerry Abershaw's career lasted a few years. He was arrested at the Green Man Inn on Putney Hill and was tried at Croydon for the murder of David Price, a Bow Street Runner, who he had shot at a tavern in Southwark, though he was convicted on another charge.

Jerry Abershaw was hanged at Kennington, south of London. He was allowed to kick off his boots and leap to his death in stockinged feet. His body was hung in chains at Putney Heath, eventually being buried only yards away. His death allowed Dick Ferguson to take to the road in his place. It was 1795.

A botched robbery saw two men captured and later hanged. A third man escaped on a very fast horse. The weekly rags got the story and within days the legend of Galloping Dick Ferguson was born.

Dick Ferguson was tried and hanged at Aylesbury, west of London. His death in 1800 ensured that no known highwayman persisted into the 19th Century.