Combe Gibbet

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Combe Gibbet and Long Barrow
Combe jibbet jan 7 2007 128.jpg
The 1992 replica gibbet, seen in 2007
TypeGibbet and Long barrow
LocationCombe, Berkshire
Coordinates51°21′21″N 1°29′04″W / 51.35594°N 1.48439°W / 51.35594; -1.48439Coordinates: 51°21′21″N 1°29′04″W / 51.35594°N 1.48439°W / 51.35594; -1.48439
OS grid referenceSU360620
Built1676
Rebuilt1992
Official nameLong barrow at Combe Gibbet, Gallows Down.
Designated26 August 1924
Reference no.1013198[1]
Combe Gibbet is located in Berkshire
Combe Gibbet
Location of Combe Gibbet and Long Barrow in Berkshire

Combe Gibbet is a gibbet at the top of Gallows Down, near the village and just within the civil parish of Combe in Berkshire (formerly Hampshire).

Location[edit]

The gibbet is located at grid reference SU360620, on the Test Way close to the Berkshire-Hampshire border, it is named after the village of Combe, but it is also close to Inkpen. The nearest sizeable town is Newbury in Berkshire. It is built on top of a long barrow known as the Inkpen long barrow. The long barrow is 60 m long and 22 m wide, and is a Scheduled Monument.[2][3][4][1] Walbury Hill (the highest point in South East England) is just a little further to the east.

History[edit]

It was erected in 1676 for the purpose of gibbeting the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman and has only ever been used for them. The gibbet was placed in such a prominent location as a warning, to deter others from committing crimes.[5]

Broomham and Newman were having an affair and were hanged for murdering Broomham's wife Martha, and their son Robert after they discovered them together on the downs. Unfortunately for the lovers, the murder was witnessed by "Mad Thomas", who managed to convey what he had seen to the authorities. The pair were hanged in Winchester before being gibbeted at Combe.[5][6][7][8]

After the 1676 gibbet rotted, a total of 7 replica gibbets have stood in its place, the most recent having been erected in 1992.[5][9]

Tourism and leisure[edit]

Nowadays it is a popular local tourist attraction with good views of the surrounding area. It is also popular with hang gliders and paragliders. The hill is frequently used by the Thames Valley Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club.

The Combe Gibbet is also the start of a scenic 16-mile (26 km) off-road race to Overton organised by the Overton Harriers and Athletic Club. The race, which is typically in late March / early April of each year, is one of the few true off-road point to point running races in the UK, coaches taking competitors to the start.[10]

The "Combe Gibbet" Race takes in the highest hill in the South East of England, Walbury Hill; the highest in Hampshire, Pilot Hill; as well as Ladle Hill and the edge of Watership Down before entering Overton the source of the River Test.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Historic England. "Long barrow at Combe Gibbet, Gallows Down. (1013198)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Combe Gibbet - MWB1574". Heritage Gateway. West Berkshire Council. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ L. V. Grinsell (1940). "An Analysis and List of Berkshire Barrows" (PDF). Berkshire Archaeological Journal. Berkshire Archaeological Society (40): 55–56. doi:10.5284/1000017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  4. ^ F. M. Underhill (1946). "Notes on Recent Antiquarian Discoveries in Berkshire" (PDF). Berkshire Archaeological Journal. Berkshire Archaeological Society (49): 51. doi:10.5284/1000017. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Combe Gibbet". Hungerford Virtual Museum. Archived from the original on 7 February 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Spirit of the South: The hilltop with more than a grisly tale to tell". www.itv.com. ITV. 29 August 2018. Archived from the original on 31 August 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Combe Gibbet - MWB1576". Heritage Gateway. West Berkshire Council. Archived from the original on 30 May 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Berkshire Way - Hungerford to Combe Gibbet". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Unveiling the new Combe gibbet" (PDF). Newbury Weekly News. 1992. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 February 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  10. ^ Steele, Jacqueline (27 June 2021). "Combe Gibbet: The wooden post in Berkshire with a grim history". www.getreading.co.uk. GetReading. Archived from the original on 7 July 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.

Further reading[edit]