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Bernards Heath Junior School

'Knowing Every Child'

The Highwayman


The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes


Over the next three weeks we are going to set some work about this famous narrative poem which was written in 1913. (A narrative poem is a story told in verse.)

Before we look at the poem, we need to find out what a Highwayman was and when they lived.


Watch these two clips and make a few notes.


See if you can find out any more facts by looking at these sites:


Task 1

Now that you have found out about highwaymen, make a poster to explain what a highwayman is.


You could include:

  • A title
  • Subheadings
  • When they lived
  • What they did
  • How the authorities stopped them
  • Stories of one or two famous highwaymen and women
  • A labelled picture


Task 2

Listen to the poem – it is set in the winter of 1770 and takes place over three days.



Discuss the poem with a parent if you can to make sure you have understood what has happened.

This is a timeline of the events.


Day 1 – at night

  • Bess and The Highwayman meet.
  • Tim the Ostler overhears their conversation .

Day 2

  • The King’s soldiers arrive at the inn.

At night

  • They tie Bess to the bed and lay a musket across her chest
  • Bess hears The Highwayman coming and she shoots herself
  • The Highwayman hears the shot and flees

Day 3 – morning

  • Highwayman hears Bess is dead and gallops back to the inn
  • He gets shot by the King’s men 

The future:

  • The Ghosts of Bess and the Highwayman continue to haunt the inn.



We will do more work on this poem next week.