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What were ordinary people's attitudes towards highwaymen?

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Firstly you have to forget the romanticised idea of a highwayman. They did not rob only from the rich.
The real highwayman was simply an armed thug and the common people would have thought of them as we do today about criminals. they would have shown levels of interest from disgust through to nonchalance about them.

Dick turpin who has been enshrined as a gentleman thief was actually a burglar, deer poacher and horse thief.

Our concept of the highwayman is mostly governed by Hollywood who portrays them as a debonaire smartly dressed rogue whom women swoon over. In fact Turpin was an ugly pockmarked thug who was only brought to fame as a character in 19th century pocket books.

Ask yourself what do you think of gangs who commit crime today and you will have something akin to the way people thought of highwaymen in the 17th century.
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