Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: Robert Drummond

The Lives of ROBERT DRUMMOND, a Highwayman and FERDINANDO SHRIMPTON, a Highwayman and Murderer

Highwaymen etc

Robert Drummond was the brother of James Drummond, whom we have before mentioned. He had formerly dealt in hardwares, and thereby lived with some reputation in the town of Sunderland, nobody ever dreaming that he went upon the highway for money. But it was not long that he continued even to put this mask upon his villainy, but on the contrary gave way to his wild and debauched temper, and committed a thousand extravagancies, which soon created suspicions, and occasioned his being apprehended on suspicion of a robbery. This clearly being made out at the ensuing assizes, he was thereupon convicted, pardoned, and transported. But he soon found a way to return into England, and grew one of the most daring and mischievous robbers that ever infested the road.

The multitude of his robberies made his person so well known that it is wonderful he should so long escape, especially considering the roughness and cruelty of his temper, he never using anybody well, firing upon any who attempted to ride away from him, and beating and abusing those who submitted to him. He drew in, as has been said before, his brother James, and deserting him when pursued and in danger, he was the occasion of his death. It was also suspected that Shrimpton and he were the persons who committed those robberies for which Knowland and Westwood were executed. However it were, he continued for a considerable space after the two Shrimptons and he robbed together, committing sometimes nine or ten robberies in one night, until they were all three apprehended, and William Shrimpton became an evidence against them.

Ferdinando Shrimpton, the other malefactor, was a person well educated, though his father was one of the greatest highwaymen in England. He [the father] lived at Bristol, and behaved in outward appearance so well that he was never suspected, but unluckily one evening some constables coming into an inn hastily to apprehend another person, his guilty heart making him afraid that they were come in search of nobody but himself, he thereupon immediately drew a pistol and shot one of them dead, for which murder being convicted, he readily confessed his former offences, and after his execution for the aforesaid crime, was hung in chains.

As for this unhappy man, his son, he had been bred to no trade, but after his father's death served as a foot-soldier in the Guards and eked out his pay by taking the same steps which his father had done before him. Never any fellow was of a bolder and of a more audacious spirit than he, and after he had once associated himself with Drummond, they quickly forced William Shrimpton, who was Ferdinando's cousin, to commit one or two facts with him, and afterwards he would never suffer him to be quiet.

On Hounslow Heath, it seems, Shrimpton robbed a man of a horse, a silver watch and some money. The man applied himself to Shrimpton when he was apprehended, begging that he would find a way to help him to his horse again. Shrimpton promised he would, and for a guinea was as good as his word, though the gelding was worth fifteen pounds; but for his watch, nothing either was, or as they pretended could be, told about it. But that was only for fear of disobliging the pawnbroker where they had sent it, for Shrimpton afterwards, upon the owner's thirty-four shillings by his wife, had it again, though Ferdinando was very much disobliged that he received but half a crown for his trouble.

Drummond, he and his cousin being seized, William turned evidence against them, and at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, Shrimpton being indicted for the murder of Simon Prebent, Mr. Tyson's coachman, and Robert Drummond for aiding and abetting, and assisting him, they were both upon full evidence convicted, as they were also convicted for a robbery on the highway, on Mr. Tyson, after the death of the coachman. They were a third time indicted together for assaulting Robert Furnel on the highway, taking from him a watch of great value, a guinea and a half, some silver and a whip, together with some other things of value. They were also indicted afresh for assaulting Jonathan Cockhoofs on the highway, taking from him a bay gelding, value nine pounds, several roasting pigs and pieces of pork, etc.; of all which they were found guilty, the fact being as clear and as strong against them as possible.

Under sentence of death, they behaved themselves with great obstinacy and resolution, refused to give any account of their crimes, but in general would say that they were great and notorious offenders. As to the fact committed by Knowland and Westwood, they would not positively say it was done by them, though they could not deny it. Only when pressed upon it, Drummond would say in a passion, "What, would you have us take upon us all the robberies that were committed in the country?" This was all that could be got from him, even when he was at the point to die and the wife of Knowland earnestly begged that he would tell the truth, as he was now entering into another world, and the owning or not owning of those facts could no ways prejudice them.

As to the barbarous murder committed upon Mr. Tyson's coachman, it did not seem to make the least impression upon their spirits. Shrimpton, by whose hands the man was killed, never appeared one whit more uneasy when the sermon on murder was peculiarly preached on his account, but on the contrary talked and jested with his companions as he was wont to do. In a word more hardened, obstinate and impenitent wretches were never seen; for as they were wanting in all principles of religion, so they were void even of humanity and good nature. They valued blood no more than they did water, but were ready to shed the first with as little concern as they spilt the latter. Inured in wickedness and rapine, old in years and covered in offences, they yielded their last breaths at Tyburn, with very little sign of contrition or repentance, on the 17th of February, 1730, Drummond being about fifty, and Shrimpton about thirty years of age.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals