The Gallows Hill of Nottingham

by Joe Earpgallows

James Granger, Old Nottingham, 1904:

Up to 1800, the gallows, which was simply two uprights and a transverse beam, about four yards or a little more in height, remained permanently on the hill near the summit of Mansfield Road as one of the standing ‘institutions of the Country’. Thus the first object that met the eye of the traveler from the North on is approach to the Town was the apparatus of death- and it was regarded by many with deep curiosity.

The gallows appears to have been erected on the level ground which now forms the portion of the Church Cemetery, and it was probably 100 yards, or rather more, from Mansfield Road. At that time the old road on the top of the Forest (Forest-side) was for a distance from Mansfield Road included in what is now the Church Cemetery. I consider it probable that going northwards, the site of the gallows was about 100 yards from the southern boundary of the cemetery, and probably rather more from Mansfield Road, according to the contour of the ground as depicted on the official map. There is so much likelihood that the gallows was erected near to where the last windmill on that side of the Forest then stood or was afterwards constructed.

It should not be forgotten that in former times criminals belonging to the County as well as the Town were hung upon the Nottingham Gallows. The course taken to the place of execution from the County Hall, High Pavement (now Galleries of Justice Museum) and the Town Hall, Weekday Cross was by way of Bridlesmith Gate, High Street, Clumber Street, Milton Street and Mansfield Road to Gallows Hill.

The last execution carried out at the old place near the top of Mansfield Road was on 2 April 1827. The culprit was a man named William Wells, condemned for highway robbery. In those days death was the penalty attaching to many crimes, and a few years passed without one or two executions.

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About nottinghamhiddenhistoryteam

Originally formed in 1965 to try to save or at least record before destruction the cave sites continually discovered during the major redevelopment of the City that took place in Nottingham in the 1960′s. Almost every day new sites were unearthed and destroyed before anyone was notified; last thing they wanted was someone telling them to stop what they were doing; TIME is MONEY. The word HIDDEN in the Team’s title is because a lot of what was being invisibly lost in the redevelopment was our early history in the caves, they are under most, if now all, of Nottingham. In the 80’s and 90’s the Team conducted with the help of Dr Robert Morrell and Syd Henley, research and work on Nottingham’s history, folklore and local archaeology. The Team published quarterly magazines on their findings. The Team lapsed for a few years after the death of Paul Nix who was the team leader for thirty plus years. The Team has reformed and is now back working on Nottingham local history. On this blog you will find a series of history, folklore and archaeological related articles and information. Most of the material published will be specifically related to Nottingham/shire local history.
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