A Great Photography Location in Hampshire
The hanging gallows of Combe Gibbet, on Gallows Down near the village of Combe, West Berkshire / Hampshire border is a great location for photography. While a gibbet is the name for any device that is used to carry out a public execution, the term gibbeting more commonly refers to a hanging gallows. These can be used for executions, and for the display of dead or dying bodies of criminals as a warning to others not to commit crimes. Combe Gibbet is a double gibbet and is pretty high, standing at 7.6 metres tall. Its location on the summit of Inkpen Beacon, exactly on the border between Inkpen and Combe, meant that any bodies hung here could be seen for miles around.
The history of Gallows Down is very interesting. Oddly enough, the gallows here have never been used to hang anyone in the form of an execution, and were only ever used once. The local authorities erected it in 1676 purely to display the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman. The couple were convicted of murdering George’s wife and their son, in order to get them out of the picture and be able to continue their illicit affair.
The couple were tried and convicted at the Winchester Assizes.
The gibbet was placed in this prominent location, right on top of a neolithic long barrow. It was meant as a warning to others of what happens to murderers. The current gibbet is actually the 7th, the previous six having been replaced due to rotting, lightning strikes, vandalism and being blown down by the wind.
You can read more about the history here:
I grew up near here and often visited this place, but only thought of photographing it now. As luck would have it, I arrived as a storm was blowing over at sunset, blessing this region with stunning light as the clouds cleared over from the west.
As you can see by the map above, Combe Gibbet is easy to get to and you can drive right to it, park in the car park and take a very short walk to the gibbet itself.
If you are coming from Andover get on the A343 and just past Hurstbourne Tarrant take the left turn towards Faccombe and follow the signs for Combe. If you are coming from Newbury head towards Wooton Hill, Heath End until you pick up signs for Combe or Inkpen.
Great views from this hill
It’s not only the gibbet you can photograph. This hill provides commanding views across Hampshire and West Berkshire downs.
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