SNOWDEN DUNHILL was orphaned as a young boy; he lived on the Yorkshire Wolds in the 18th century and became a notorious thief.

He worked on a farm as a young man, but soon drifted into a career of crime. He robbed farms of their corn, which he sold on to millers at a very cheap price, but his downfall was when he married a young widow who was already versed in the art of theft.

She incited Snowden to rob poultry, apples and a hive of bees from her neighbours.

Having accumulated a tidy sum of money from his activities he made good use of local farmers to whom he lent money, and on occasion they trusted him with their money to keep safe for them – he was the only person they knew that would ask no questions as to where they obtained such amounts.

The successful thief and his followers decided to rob one of the local gentry whose property backed onto the River Ouse. At the dead of night they sailed along the river.

As Snowden climbed a fence he was spotted, almost immediately a gun was fired into the dark, its shot hit him in his back. After lying low in his own blood he was rescued by his compatriots, hauled back to the boat and taken along the river to Howden to recover.

Although he might have deserved to be punished for his many dishonest deeds over the years he was eventually convicted of highway robbery, which he claimed he never did, but he was such a renowned thief that there were plenty who were willing to swear he was involved.

No one believed him and he was sentenced to transportation, but never sailed to Australia, he served his sentence in the Thames Hulks for his six years. On return to his village he found that his family had suffered hard times, his wife married again, but continued her thieving ways and was transported.

His favourite daughter had been imprisoned in York Castle and on release committed more crimes, was imprisoned at Wakefield and never heard of again. His other daughter was imprisoned then transported and his thieving son also suffered the same fate, but died on arrival in Australia.

The above information was taken from Snowden Dunhill’s own autobiography, but he couldn’t finish the book as you will see below.

Snowden Dunhill had lost everything, including his house and most of his family were in Australia. There was only one thing he could do and that was to join them.

He started his petty crimes again and was caught, tried and sentenced to transportation – his prayers had been answered. On his arrival in Australia he soon returned to his old ways and was given a life sentence for theft and was left to rot in the prisoners’ barracks.

It is strange that a criminal could achieve recognition in his own country by the gentry, but in March 1858 it was announced in the Hobart Courier that in the stable of Lord George Bentnick was a thoroughbred racehorse with the name of Snowden Dunhill

The Facts

Distance - 25miles/40km

Terrain - Typical Wolds roads with sweeping hills and narrow lanes

Best Map - Ordnance Survey Landranger 106

Start/grid Ref. - Market Weighton. GR878418

Parking - Market Weighton Town centre near the William Bradley statue

Refreshments - Market Weighton and pubs along the way especially the Pipe & Glass at South Dalton. This is an upmarket pub with fantastic food, try one of their great sandwiches

Public Toilets - Market Weighton near town centre on Londesborough Road

Your Route

Starting from the town centre leave giant Bradley behind you to ride towards the church, then in a few metres turn left along Londesborough Road signed to Londesborough, Goodmanham and Driffield. Cycle along past the public toilets then in about a quarter of a mile turn right signed to Goodmanham, soon pass under an old railway bridge then enter the village of Goodmanham. Climb through, then out of the village past the church for a long but steady ascent to the top of Goodmanham Wold.

Enjoy the good all round views now as you climb following a sign for Kiplingcotes Station and the Hudson Way then one for Middleton on the Wolds. Mainly long, straight roads now with little traffic along this decent cycling road but eventually you start to descend to reach a t-junction. Go right here signed to Dalton and Beverley then in about half a mile turn left signed to South Dalton and Holme. Continue along round a few corners then down a long straight road which leads you to Holme on the Wolds, cycle through the village to a t-junction then turn right signed to S. Dalton. The country road leads you to South Dalton village with its beautiful church and magnificent spire.

Cycle past the church, if you are feeling hungry and would like a gourmet bite take the next right turn along West End to visit the Pipe & Glass. If not, continue along through the village to join another long, straight road following signs for Etton. Soon you descend to a t-junction, go right here signed to Gardham, cycle through this small village to eventually reach the A1079. Take extra care here at these busy crossroads and go left, then immediately right signed to Newbald along a narrow road. Watch out for some sharp bends and take care past a house as you bear left to continue on typical Wolds roads to pass a Wind Farm to then descend on another long road but take care at the end of the road as it reaches a t-junction.

Go right here signed to Newbald and you soon reach north, then South Newbald villages. At North Newbald a man was whipped to death in 1624 on the stone base of a cross on the village green called ‘The Whipping Stone’. At a complicated junction of roads bear left past the Tiger Inn and the Gnu Inn then turn left again to cycle past the church on South Newbald Road. Cycle along through the village keeping to the main road to eventually reach a crossroads, go left here then immediately right signed to Hotham. Not far and you reach the village of Hotham, follow the road round past the church then at the large war memorial turn right signed to North Cave. At the crossroads keep straight ahead signed to North & South Cliffe and Hotham Carrs.

A narrow tree lined road now to soon face a steep descent to another crossroad, turn right here signed to South Cliffe & North Cliffe. Cycle along for about five miles passing through villages of South Cliffe and North Cliffe to reach a t-junction onto the busy A1079. Go left here with care to cycle along for about a mile then turn right at the small sign for Market Weighton, then keep straight ahead to return to the town car park.