"Dick Turpin, Highwayman" is a song from the television series Horrible Histories debuting in the first episode of the third season. The song comes from the perspective of the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin, who recounts his criminal past and the circumstances that lead to his hanging.
The song is sung by Mathew Baynton who plays Dick Turpin in the sketch.
Everyone thinks they know the story
Of Dick Turpin’s highway glory
But my past was far more gory-
Was no saint.
You think life is one big antic,
My profession is romantic.
Hate to be pedantic
But it ain't.
As a butcher down in Essex I was handy with a knife,
Had a sideline as a poacher led a lest than honest life.
The notorious gang of Gregory liked my style and dedication
They signed me up and gave me a real robber's education
We rampaged through the Essex farms, we stole and robbed and fought
But when the law came for us I escaped and they got caught!
I became a highwayman
Was daylight robbery.
I was no prince charming
Nothing dandy about me.
The truth is, I was violent and with my good mate, Matt King,
Robbed travelers at gunpoint – money, watches, anything!
My horse wasn’t called black Bess although that’s what you’ve read.
Was no romantic hero, shot not one but two men dead.
The legend that surrounds me misses out the crucial part:
I was a ruthless killer with a ruthless killer’s heart!
I was a vicious highwayman
A source of pain and tears.
When you hear how my story ends
You won’t believe your ears!
I ran away to Yorkshire changed my name to John Palmer-
Was sent to prison for stealing chickens from a farmer.
Wrote a letter to my family, a plea it did relate-
The postman saw the envelope and here’s the twist of fate:
He had taught me how to write so he’d knew I’d lied,
“That’s not John Palmer’s hand – That’s Dick Turpin’s!” he cried!
I was a vicious highway man
My crimes had brought me fame
Was stitched up by a postie
That’s not glamorous
No more stand and deliver
You’ll remember this I hope.
It’s no fun hanging with highwaymen
When you’re… Hanging from a rope!