Winter's Gibbet – Northumberland, England - Atlas Obscura

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Winter's Gibbet

A lone pole once used to display a man's corpse now stands empty, but the memory remains. 


A lone gallows in the middle of the stunning Northumberland countryside refuses to stop reminding visitors of a grisly murder. 

On August 10th, 1792, William Winter, along with two female accomplices, killed Margaret Crozier of Raw Pele, a hamlet two miles south of Elsdon. Winter and his companions were hanged near the site of the crime, and while the women’s bodies were given over to local physicians, Winter’s body was left to hang from the gibbet until his clothes rotted off. Once his body was cut down, the gibbet remained until weather and local custom destroyed the wood. The gibbet has been remade a number of times since the original stood, but no matter how many times the executioner’s pole has been stolen or destroyed, it is always rebuilt. It is also the local custom to hang a stone or fiberglass head from the noose, although this too tends to disappear regularly.

Know Before You Go

The nearest large town is Rothbury, around 12 miles away. There are no signs or markers and the gibbet is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. The gibbet is nearly three miles (four kilometers) southeast of Elsdon, about midway between Elsdon and Harwood, at the edge of the forest. The gibbet stands 120 feet (36 meters) from the road on the south side.

From the A696 out of Otterburn, take the B6341 road about two or three miles, the Gibbet will be on your right. There will be a Northumberland National Park marker where you can park, the Gibbet is across the road.

The moors are very exposed, so take care. 

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