All of his seventy-seven years were reflected in Talbot’s wrinkled jowls. “Please! No more gifts for my wife, parson, she might get used it! Now, is this your nephew you’ve promised to my daughter?”

“Indeed! And I’ve brought along a few close friends, I hope there’s room at the table...”

“Of course! Now come in, let me’ missus’ take care of these young men while we go down to the basement and take a peek at what I promised ye?”

“Again, I don’t want to impose but would ye mind if my friends came along also?”

On May 9, 1671, the group descended into a basement below Talbot Edward’s apartment. They’d met only a month before when Talbot had taken the parson in to treat his wife for a bout of dizziness and they’d hit it off immediately. Now Talbot was about to give a free tour of his workplace.

As he opened wide the heavy door at the bottom of the staircase, Talbot felt the smash of a wooden mallet against the back of his head. He crumpled to the floor and heard the door slam behind him.

“Parson!” he screamed.

“No parson here,” came the reply as a sack was slipped over his head. “Blood is my name. I believe the King is familiar with my work...”

After the long con, Thomas Blood and his companions almost escaped with the Crown Jewels. Almost, except for the surprise arrival of Talbot’s son. Blood and his gang were arrested after a desperate struggle. The trip to his prison cell was short, just a few stories up from where the crime occurred in the Tower of London.

Oddly enough, King Charles II not only pardoned the “bravo” but gave him a plot of land that entitled him to £500 a year.

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