Haynes (AKA Dick-Boy) 1766 -1800
of Oldland Common.
makings of a villain
Whilst most of the crime committed in the Oldland
area in the late 1700's was of a petty nature and
carried out by shadowy individuals whose identity
has been lost in the passage of time, a few became
quite well known. The following occurences are from
the life of one notorious individual recounted to
a person who knew him from his infancy.
Richard Haynes, alias Dick Boy, born of poor
parents in 1766 at Oldland Green, in the parish
of Bitton, Gloucestershire. His father was a collier,
with whom he worked til he was about 13 when he
was put apprentice to a hatter. After some time,
a disagreement happened, he beat his master and
From the age of 7 or 8 years he was addicted
to pilfering from the neighbours where he lived.
He was connected with a gang of wicked boys about
9 or 10 in number (possibly from the Cock Road Gang),
of which himself and one Carey were the principle
heroes; Haynes would frequently steal great quantities
of provisions from his parents and the neighbours
to carry to his companions.
One curious theft in particular, he commited,
when about ten years old: he watched a nieghbour putting
some white pot and pudding into an oven; about half
an hour previous to the time of drawing, he forced
a way through the back part of the oven, plundered
it, and after stopping the breach, carried its contents
to his companions, who highly applauded his genius.
When the woman returned she exclaimed, "I am
sure this is done by a witch!"
Richard embarked on a life of Highway Crime in
conjunction with his father. It is recorded that
on one occasion he challenged his father to a race
around the lanes of Oldland and beach and the winner
would be the one who got the furthest whilst at
the same time taking every opportunity to attack
and rob people they came into contact with.
Richard was more than halfway round when he noticed
his first unfortunate victim Richard sprung on the
unsuspecting traveller and was just about to strike
the victim again with the toe of his boot when he
heard the feeble words " Dick our Dick! "
for Gods sake its your father and with the sudden
realisation of the probable injuries he had inflicted
knelt down by his father and burst into tears, he
then carried his father the three miles home to
tend to his injuries.
Through either good fortune or skill and helped
by inefficient constabulary it was many years before
Richard Haynes was first committed to prison on
a charge of stealing provisions and clothing from
a house in Beach near wick. However his luck continued
with the assistance perhaps of a bribe he was acquitted
and allowed to return to his life of crime.
Richard Haynes moved away from Oldland and spent
the next few years throughout the south of England
and Wales living the life of a purloiner in partnership
with his childhood friend John Carey.
Near Oldland Common, they one day met a man who
sold Gin, after each had taken a bottle they ran
off; the man had them apprehended for robbery, and
commited to Gloucester, but after he accepted a
bribe from the pair's friends they were released.
Both then returned to the adventurous crime of Highway
Sometime during the 1780s a Mr Crach was held
up at gunpoint and robbed whilst travelling near
Downend. Not prepared to simply hand over his property
he bravely but foolishly resisted after increased
threats Dick Boy pointed the trigger at Mr Crach
and pulled. The trigger did not go off to the relief
of Mr Crach Dick now angry at the impertinence of
Mr Crach leant down from his horse and hit Mr Crace
hard across the head and then both men fled the
scene leaving the dying man. There were no witnesses
to the crime and by the time the body was discovered
the two were long gone.
In the beginning of the year 1787, Haynes and
Carey robbed a gentleman near Saltford, of his watch
and five shillings, but no prosecution resulted.
After commiting various depradations in many
parts, they directed their course towards Keltston
Road, robbed a man of one guinea and a silver watch,
for which they both apprehended and tried at Taunton
Haynes stood firm during his incarceration and
was not intimidated by the thought of the impending
prosecution. He then managed to convince the magistrate
that he was innocent of the crimes with which he
was charged accordingly he was acquitted and set
However Cary was not so lucky, confessing to
being involved in a number of Highway robberies
(but for some reason making no mention of Haynes).
He also admitted to have robbed the Butcher James
Chapple from Brislington.
It was on the 25th August 1787 in the Somerset
town of Ilchester that John Carey took the long
painful walk to the hangman's noose. A few days
after Carey was buried, Haynes took the body out
of the grave, and brough it to Oldland, his native
place, to bury it there.
His next offence after Carey's execution was,
robbing a man of his watch at a public house in
Hanham. From thence he went to Brentford, near London,
there he commited a robbery and travelled on to
Botany Bay to Oldland Common
After commiting many villainies, he was apprehended
for robbing a gentleman of his watch on Westminster
bridge, for which crime he was transported to Botany
Bay. When he had been there between three and four
years he escaped in a fishing canoe. After some
time at sea, with about three days provision on
board, he threw the luckless fisherman overboard,
and submitted himself to the mercy of the sea for
his escape. After many days, his provisions being
quite exhausted, he landed on a small island, where
he met with great civility form the inhabitants,
as a distressed seaman.
He departed the island, and made his way back
to europe subsisting on the charity of local people
on the way, finally boarding a ship in which he
worked his passage. When he landed Haynes made his
way to Germany. After meeting with a variety of
adventures, he heard of an English gentleman there,
to whom he applied, and was engaged as a servant.
He lived with him for a few months, robbed him,
and immediately returned to England.
Haynes later returned to Oldland sporting a wife
who he claimed was the daughter of a German nobleman.
In reality she was the daughter of a couple from
Westerleigh, however the Oldland people seem to
have been taken in. They soon left again and went
to London, she commited a robbery, and was hanged
in 1794. Haynes himself got acquainted with the
famous boxer, Big Ben, and being strong and powerful,
he also became a 'bruiser', in which he generally
proved successful. When that amusement was slack,
he would have recourse to the trade of robbing.
In the late 1790s Haynes returned to live in
the Oldland area on one of his trips to Bristol
he was recognised and accused of stealing a silver
tankard during the resulting Melee' Haynes shot
the constable John Driver wounding him. With the
help of bystanders the police arrested Haynes and
he was sentenced to death.
A Mr Bundy was a visitor and stayed with him
in his dungeon employing the time with prayer and
the singing of hymns and the exhortation of his
worldly thoughts so he could meet his redeemer washed
and cleansed of his sins.
Around midday on the 25th April 1800 34 year
old Haynes declared that he had no ill feelings
against anyone and began his last journey from Newgate
Prison Bristol to the Gallows on ST MICHAELS HILL.
Mr Bundy went with Haynes in the prison cart both
appear to have continued with their hymn singing
as the cart trundled through the streets of Bristol.
According to an article in the Felix Farley Bristol
Journal 26th April 1800 he was also accompanied
(in a seperate coach) by the Rev Walcom of Newgate
Once at the gallows Haynes expressed his desire
that there should be the minimum of delay (not quite
what the Reverend wanted as he had the prospect
of delivering what would amount to a very sanctimonious
sermon). Either in respect of Haynes' wishes or
possibly because of the weather, the Rev offered
up a final short prayer and Haynes departed this
An Account of Haynes' life, behaviour whilst
under sentence and at the place of execution was
printed by W. Matthews, Broad-Meade in 1800, price