Last highwayman hung in Hemel Hempstead

The last man convicted of highway robbery executed in 1802

By Richard Foster

Boxmoor Common

Robert Snooks (1761-1802) became the last man in England to be hung for highway robbery on 11th March 1802.

Snooks, a resident of Hemel Hempstead, Herts, was convicted of robbing a post boy on Boxmoor Common, and the scene of his crime became the place of his execution and subsequent grave. A memorial plaque was placed there in 1904, and Snooks had a bar named after him in the town.

This page was added on 03/11/2009.

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  • His name wasn’t ‘Robert Snooks’; It was actually ‘James Snooks’. The grave-stone/marker shown in the picture was erected by a Victorian historian club who thought his name was Robert, but this was a misunderstanding caused by the corruption of him being referred to as the “robber Snooks”. Images of him being a young dashing highwayman on horseback are very misleading – he was of average hight, rather rotund, in his late ’30s/early ’40s and his face was pitted with small pox. He did ride on a horse to aid his highway robbery, though.

    By Rob F (19/08/2012)