Sir Adam de Gurdon, Highwayman
During the reign of Henry III (1216-1272), the main road
from Winchester and Southampton to London passed close to Basingstoke. This part
of the road was so dangerous it was known as the "Pass of Alton".
Most notorious of the outlaws at the time was Sir Adam de
Gurdon, a man of noble birth. Like Robin Hood, he fought the law for political
reasons, his being that he was a member of the obscured De Montfort faction.
Gurdon created such notoriety as a Highwayman that
he eventually came to the attention of Prince Edward, who finally cornered him.
The legend was told that the Prince challenged Gurdon to single combat. Gurdon
gave such a good fight that the prince offered him his life if he would swear
never to return to his outlaw trade.
Gurdon accepted the offer and that night he dined
with Prince Edward at Farnham Castle. he became a faithful servant of the Crown
and died well into old age, a rich and honoured man.