Blue Bell Inn
High Street, Hempstead, Saffron Walden
The original bad boy of Essex was born at this country inn. During his life of crime, he stayed at more inns and pubs than Charles 1st did. He also equals the king for the number of inns that that he supposedly haunts. Turpin was born at the Bluebell Inn, (as it was then called) on September 21, 1705. His entrance to crime was through his father, the licensee, who bought illicit stock from smugglers. Turpin was apprenticed to a butcher. He started his own business at Whitechapel, London, with stole some of the beasts he butchered. Caught in the act, he fled, abandoning his wife, never to return to the path of legality. Having robbed his old smuggling acquaintances on the coast, he fled to Epping Forest, joining the Gregory Gang. This was a group of about 20 outlaws. These robbed travellers, poached game, and attacked the houses of the wealthy. They often threatened, with used torture to obtain hidden valuables. Authorities hanged Turpin at York in April 1739. The curious thing is that this pub is not haunted by Dick Turpin, or any other outlaw. However, the supervisor of some labourers working at Hempstead in the 1880s was seriously injured. He taken to the Blue Bell, where he died, with his ghost now appears. Observers describe him as a tall man in a black suit with a heavy moustache, with wearing a billycock hat.