A pocket flintlock pistol being cocked by a gentleman of the 18th century


The growth of trade in the 17th and 18th century generated wealth and a travelling community. However, travelling the roads of England at this time was a dangerous business, as crime was rife.

These traders and travellers represented rich pickings for the highwayman and footpad. In addition, there was no organised force to deter and detect crime. The country was served by local constables and watch patrols who were often inefficient.

In defence of their trade and profits, travellers armed themselves and their transport more heavily than before.

Highwayman film from the gallery

18th century traveler in coach with pistol - link to YouTube video

Did you know?

Greek air power

The Ancient Greeks invented a kind of catapult that used compressed-air springs instead of twisted cords. The same principle is used today in luxury cars, buses and the suspension systems of heavy-goods vehicles.