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1812: Deserters attack brewer and wine-merchant

Between seven and eight o'clock, on last on Tuesday evening, as Mr W Chapman, brewer, and Mr T Blaker, wine-merchant of this town, were on their return from Cuckfield, in a one horse chaise, they stopped between were Patcham and Withdean, by two foot-pads. who each presented a horse-pistol at their heads and demanded their money, which they prudently delivered, as the peremptory tone of the villains marked their desperation. They immediately made off with their booty, which consisted of a guinea, and about twenty, shillings in silver.

Persons were soon afterwards sent in pursuit of the robbers, who were in consequence taken, after a stout scuffle, on Friday, and prove to be deserters from a Regiment of Horse. The sergeant of the troop to which they belonged considers it very fortunate that the gentlemen made no resistance, as he has little doubt but a contrary conduct, from the determined ferocity of one of the villains, named Langford, would have induced him to have fired without the least hesitation.

The surrender of the guinea by Mr Chapman, has been since made the subject of much jocularity; as he seemed to take a pride in exhibiting it, in company, as a great curiosity. It is reported that a gentleman on horseback was robbed, on the same evening, near Cuckfield, of 30s. and if so, most likely by the same fellows.

Sussex Advertiser, 3 February 1812

Drawing: Highwayman holds up a coach, by illustrator EA Holloway. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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