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CRIME CHRONICLES: The history behind the Hemel Hempstead grave of the last Highwayman executed in England

 Published on: 15th December 2021   |   By: Lizzie Ellis   |   Category: Uncategorized

Many Hemel Hempstead residents enjoy regular walks around Boxmoor Common, but few are aware that amongst the 500 acres of Box Moor Trust land is believed to be the gravestone of the last highwayman executed in England.  

‘Snooks Moor’ was named after a notorious highwayman James Snook, often referred to as Robert Snook. “Highwayman” was a term used in Britain during the 17th and 18th centuries to describe a criminal who robbed people travelling along public highways.

Way back on a Sunday evening in May, 1801, Snook stole post worth the value of £80 from post-boy John Stevens in Boxmoor. He was caught out and found guilty for his crime because of a broken saddle left at the scene of the crime which identified him and he was executed on Boxmoor Common.

In 1904, one hundred years after the execution, the Box Moor Trust provided a small gravestone (pictured). The stone still stands today, around 20m off the A41 on Boxmoor Common between Bourne End and Boxmoor.

Picture credit Hungerfood Virtual Museum

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