Was Dick Turpin Married? Did He Have Kids?

In the fourth episode of Apple TV+’s historical series ‘The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin,’ John Turpin expresses his wish to become a grandfather, especially after Dick Turpin fails to display any indication of starting a family. Instead of fulfilling the wish of his father, Dick lays an egg after getting turned into a chicken by the Reddlehag, a witch freed by the highwayman. As the episode progresses, Dick and Nell’s fellow gang members and the Reddlehag herself say that they doubt whether the two of them are together. In reality, Turpin did form a family but not with the real-life counterpart of Nell!

Dick Turpin’s Wife

The details concerning Dick Turpin’s family are scarce. However, historians agree that the highwayman did marry once, even though parish records concerning the marriage were not discovered. “Turpin also married, although there is no surviving parish register entry, and it is impossible to discover the date of the union,” wrote James Sharpe in the biography ‘Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman.’ The identity of his wife is also more or less a mystery. “The identity of his wife is uncertain, although she was probably an Elizabeth, or Betty, Millington, and she may have been a maidservant when she married,” added Sharpe.

Image Credit: London Walking Tours

According to Sharpe, Elizabeth was even arrested with her maid Hannah Elcombe and a man called Robert Nott, only for them to get imprisoned in Hertford gaol/jail. “The Hertford assize records show that the three were committed to Hertford gaol ‘on a violent suspicion of being dangerous rogues and robbing upon the highway’ but when they came to trial on 28 February, the two women were acquitted,” reads the biography. The trio was previously with Turpin at Puckeridge in Hertfordshire but the highwayman was able to escape from the authorities and leave towards Cambridge.

Elizabeth reportedly had been a part of Turpin’s life even before he joined the Essex gang and became a highwayman. After their marriage, they moved north to Buckhurst Hill in Essex, where he ran a butcher’s shop.

Dick Turpin’s Children

There are several accounts regarding Dick Turpin’s kids. Still, numerous historians or experts have claimed that Turpin and Elizabeth at least had one child. According to Jonathan Oates, who published ‘Dick Turpin: Fact and Fiction,’ the highwayman and his wife welcomed a son they named John in 1737, and the boy was baptized at St Leonard’s church in Waltham Abbey. Oates also added that Turpin probably didn’t attend the baptism since there was a £200 reward on his head. Sharpe’s ‘Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman’ also states that the highwayman reportedly had a child.

Turpin imagined in William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel ‘Rookwood’

“He [Turpin] distributed hatbands and gloves to several other people, and left a gold ring and two pairs of shoes and clogs to a married woman with whom he had consorted, despite reports that he had a wife and child living in the south, while he lived under an assumed identity at the Humberside township of Brough,” reads Sharpe’s book. According to Ancestry, however, Turpin and Elizabeth had a daughter named Elizabeth Turpin, born in 1730 in Stannington, Northumberland. The profile of the supposed daughter also reveals that she married Thomas Dixon and the couple had ten kids.

MyHeritage, another genealogy platform like Ancestry, offers different information. According to Turpin’s profile on the platform, Turpin and Millington had two children, and one of them was named Edward.

Read More: When and Where Does The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin Take Place?