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Mrs Nevison Lived Long and Prospered

Nevison was married and had a daughter called Elizabeth, she died when she was eight years of age. Nevison's wife apparently lived to be 109, and died in 1732 at South Kirkby in West Yorkshire. (3)
John Hobson's Diary notes on 10th March 1732:
March 10th Coz. Beet at our house, who sayd the wife of Nevison, the hywayman, is dead at Kirkby, aged 109. Wee hear Mr. John Morton, of the Alienation Office, is dead. Mr. Dennis Hayford, aged 100, is dead.
(5)

The Nevison Chair
When he was arrested in the old Three Houses (the former Magpie), Nevison was said to have been asleep in a chair - perhaps after a couple of pints, who knows! The chair was later given by the Hardcastle family to St Helen's Church. The Nevison Chair. (2)

Nevison's Leap
Nevison's Leap is a deep cutting through which now runs Ferrybridge Road, a modern highway on the outskirts of Pontefract, not far from Monkhill Station and Old Hall Farm. According to legend, William Nevison, was being pursued by constables, he spurred his horse on to make the jump and made a spectacular escape. The spot has borne his name ever since. A pub and a local beer are named after this infamous villain. Click here for more.

Wortley, near Sheffield
Nevison's father may have been a steward at Wortley Hall, at least, according to one story. Nevison went on to become an excise man in the Barnsley area before turning to a life of crime. Wortley Hall was the ancestral home of the Earls of Wharncliffe. No precise date can be given as to exactly when the building of Wortley Hall on its present site first commenced, but Sir Thomas Wortley, born in 1440, lived at the Manor Wortley, presumed to be Wortley Hall until 1510.

At St. Hellen Wells there was a room called the yellow chamber, thro’ which, if any one attempted to carry a candle in the night, it would burn blue and go out immediately: and over the kitchin there was an open gallery; and this Mr. Skelton, as he has sate by the fire, has often seen the apparition of a boy or a girl walk along the gallery. This house is now pulled down, and lately rebuilded by Mr. Sydney Wortley, for a habitation for a mistress of his, Mrs. Grace Bingly, who now resides there. At the same time, there lived with this Skelton . . Nevison, who afterwards was an exciseman; but, being out of his place, became an highwayman, and was ordered to be transported; but, returning before the time limited, he was thereupon executed at York. (5)

Brierley
According to legend, William Nevison had several hideouts in Yorkshire, one of them being Ringstone Hill, Brierley, West Riding (now South Yorkshire). There is an entry in the records of the Magistrates Sessions at Rotherham (South Yorkshire) for 1676, ordering that Adam Hawkesworth, an inn-keeper at Ringstone Hill should have his sign taken down for having harboured Nevison, a notorious highwayman. (4)

Ferrybridge - The Angel
"Of the three old coaching houses at Ferrybridge the first on entering the village is the GreyHound, although the most important house of the three is the Angel, whose vast buildings have long ago been converted into private residences. My great Grandmother, Eliza Holmes, resided here for a time during her marriage to Isaac Glew. My mother said she was told that Dick Turpin, the famous highwayman, had slept in one of the rooms, but as I said earlier this was more likely to be Nevison She said a stone had been pointed out to her where he had supposedly lain his head. The principal coaches branched off on several routes: the Edinburgh coaches by Tadcaster to York, the Glasgow , Carlisle and Newcastle coaches by Aberford, and the Leeds coaches by Peckfield Bar- and from the very earliest days of stage coaching it was the great rendezvous for the private travelling carriages of Yorkshire nobleman and gentlemen who wish to join the London coaches". (Pamela S. Welford's Genealogy Site, see note 6)

St Felix Church, Felixkirk Yorkshire
Nevison House
(OS Map National Grid Ref.458849), once a farm, now a restored private house, was reputed to have been the home or refuge of William Nevison the highwayman.

Information Sources include:

  1. On this site: the Newgate Calendar (Nevison's story) and the Preface for more on the identity of the horseman who made the epic ride.
  2. On this site: Sandal Magna, A Yorkshire Parish and its People (see Links Page);
  3. John Nevison, the Glamorous Highwayman by Nicholas Rhea (http://www.heartbeat.demon.co.uk/yorkshire_folklore.htm) - no longer available;
  4. Brierley, Yorkshire, England, http://www.brierley59.freeserve.co.uk/ - no longer available;
  5. John Hobson's Diary (covering the period 1725 - 1735) - no longer available;
  6. Pamela S. Welford's Genealogy Site - no longer available;
  7. A Complete History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts & Cheats of Both Sexes, Capt. Alexander Smith, edited by Arthur L. Hayward, reprinted from the 5th edition published in 1719; George Routledge & Sons Ltd., 1926 & 1933
  8. Lives and Exploits of English Highwaymen, Pirates and Robbers, Capt. Charles Johnson, 'revised and continued to the present time' by C. Whitehead, Esq., 1842, Henry G. Bohn, York St., Covent Garden, London
  9. Ballads and Songs of Yorkshire, 1860.
  10. Chronicles of Old Pontefract, Lorenzo Padgett, 1905, Oswald Holmes, Advertlser Office, Pontefract.
  11. Julie Moore, writing in the Wakefield Express 28/3/1985.

 


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