The growth of trade in the 17th and 18th century generated wealth and a travelling community. However, travelling the roads of England at this time was a dangerous business, as crime was rife.
These traders and travellers represented rich pickings for the highwayman and footpad. In addition, there was no organised force to deter and detect crime. The country was served by local constables and watch patrols who were often inefficient.
In defence of their trade and profits, travellers armed themselves and their transport more heavily than before.