Latest Posts

Osbornes witch swimming

A Hertfordshire witch-swimming

One day in 1745 in the hamlet of Gubblecote, near Tring in Hertfordshire, an elderly woman named Ruth Osborne went to beg for some buttermilk at a local farm. She lived in poverty with her husband, John, neither of them able to get much work or support from their neighbours. The Osbornes were shunned for the dual reasons that they were thought to be both witches and Jacobites (1745 also happened to be the year of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rising). Read More

Noose & Gibbet Inn Sheffield

Death of a highwayman

The gaffer sits by a lantern with his tools:
hammer; rivets; hood; a pot of tar.
He anoints the face with a thick brush,
stroking against stubble, sealing mouth

and nostrils. It’s like caulking a boat
he says. He dips the brush in,
sweeps down the eyelids. A further
thick layer all over and he’s done.

They lift him again and put him in the iron,
snapping a finger and flaying some skin
from the thumb. Finally he’s in,
the rivets hammered home.

(‘His Body is Put Up at Dead of Night’ – Rob Hindle)

Read More