The wind is whipping across the North Wessex Downs. A conspiracy of ravens battles the weather, and so does Nicola Chester, author of On Gallows Down. She guides me along the Neolithic long barrow on the hill that lends its name to the title of her book. I finished reading her memoir about place, protest and belonging last night, but I’m not prepared for the eerie stillness that surrounds the gallows, or gibbet. This replica, which has been replaced several times over the years, towers over us at four metres high.

This gibbet was only used once. As we walk beneath it, the story from On Gallows ...


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