Last Friday, the highwayman ‘Swift Nicks’ Nevison fled further north-west than he has ever done before, trouble hot on his heels as usual, all the way to a school near Kendal. There, his old friend, one of the teachers, was happy to hide him until it was dark, and the gregarious Nevison was very pleased to find he would have good company for the day.
The children had never met a highwayman before, and so the loquacious rogue began telling them tales of his adventures. Here he explains the usefulness, indeed the necessity, of a pistol and a pair of formidable words, ‘stand’ and ‘deliver’, to a gentleman of the road such as he.
Of course, he added, not only does he follow the fashion and have the air and carriage of a gentleman, he has the manners too – being most courteous when he takes purses, and always saying thank you.
Once he discovered that the children were accomplished scholars, he asked for volunteers to read out some of the stories about him, so that he could tell the class the much more exciting, true versions, in which, of course, he is more of a hero than a villain, just like Robin Hood.
The children went on to write letters of complaint to the London Gazette (concerning the lies printed about him), as well as improving a ballad so that he wouldn’t be turning in his grave at the singing of it! They even corrected the erroneous stories. Later on, the children helpfully came up with some new tricks he could try, to escape goal or a pursuing constable. They even fashioned some portrait likenesses to accompany the tales of his deeds.
If you would like Nevison to regale your children with his stories, immersing them in the world of historical highway robbers, perhaps because they are studying the famous poem, or mastering the art of persuasive writing, then do be in touch. Or perhaps you might be interested in one of my other characters, such as Sir William Petty (Great Fire of London or the Great Plague of 1665), Guy Fawkes, Captain Burwash the pirate or one of Drake’s sailors? If so, please have a look at the variety I can offer on my page of Characters.
I hope to hear from you.
(Thank you to Mr Turley for sending me the pictures.)