Keys to the Past

Glossary

Gallows

A place of execution by a rope around the neck of a criminal and suspended from a beam. These were often situated at the limits of towns or by roads. The dead body could be left for some considerable length of time in a metal cage called a gibbet as a deterrent - where the criminal was executed or somewhere else, e.g. the body of William Winter was hung at Winter's Gibbet/Steng Cross, Northumberland after he was hung at Newcastle. Burials sometimes took place at the gallows. Folk-medicine often involved pieces being taken from a gallows site.

To explore more glossary entries click on a letter.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z 1-9