Knowl Hill Highwaymen in the 1650's
Knowl Hill, between Twyford and Maidenhead, was a community that flourished on the back of the coaching trade along the Bath Road. Many interesting stories are told of its old inns, though sadly ones like the Seven Stars have now been converted into private homes.
"The old Seven Stars at Knowl Hill was especially popular because it stood right on the parish boundary and criminals could escape the local authorities by simply moving from one room to another. It was outside this inn that Captain James Hind shot and killed a man. He had thought the man was chasing him after he had robbed the regicide, Colonel Thomas Harrison, of £70 on Maidenhead Thicket. Hind was an infamous highwayman of the early 1650s who only robbed roundhead supporters. In the early 19th century, Knowl Hill was famous for its illegal prize fights which could attract up to 5,000 spectators. Being on the Bath Road, the organisers could escape over the county boundary either east or west, or even north, if the authorities arrived on the scene. The boxers, who were often based at the Seven Stars, included the famous Young Dutch Sam who won his debut fight there in 1825. Unfortunately, the fighting had a tendency not to stay within the ring and often spilt out into the rough crowds looking on."
An extract from my book, 'East Berkshire Village Histories,' available from me at http://www.berkshirehistory.com/east_berkshire_town_and_village_histories.html