Gallows

A structure used for execution by hanging, usually made of two upright pieces of wood and a cross piece from which the noose was suspended. Gallows were often located at the edges of towns, by roads, or in prominent locations (such as hilltops), where victims could be seen, to act as a deterrent.

Gallows rarely survive in the archaeological record, but evidence for their existence can be traced on the mound upon which the gallows may have stood, or in a place names, such as ‘Gallows’, ‘Gally’ or ‘Forches’ deriving from the latin ‘furcus’, an old term for gallows. Several such place names are known in Surrey, such as Gally Hills in Banstead, and a cluster of place names including Gallows Street-Lane, Gallows Green and Dead Hills on the boundary between Epsom and Ewell.

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