Out walking yesterday - one of those November days that feels like a gift. Sunday, the rain lashed down. Monday, the sun came back and warmed the sodden earth. Had arranged to walk with my Gloucestershire walking friend who picked out a route that stuck to green paths where possible. We set off at from the little village of Yanworth (near Chedworth Roman villa) and walked to the village of Hampnett. Hangman's Stone is marked on the OS map about halfway between the two villages, just off the Salt Way and on the Macmillan Way. The stone itself lies on its side and is well camouflaged by the Cotswold stone wall behind it. Now in two parts with a hole through what looks like the top half. (Just read tsc's post which indicates the stone has always been two stones - to me it looked like one standing stone that had split naturally through weathering)
Curious this one - came upon it by chance and it doesn't really want to be seen.
Taking the minor road west out of Northleach you come to a junction where the road joins another road to your left. At this point there is a large parking area on the left – park here. Walk around the road to the left and you will see two metal gates and a wooden stepped stile on your right. Over the stile and follow the lane (radio mast in trees to right) until you see a public footpath sign. The stone is next to the wall on your left hand side – on the bend in the wall. The stone is approximately 2 metres long and about 1 metre high with an unusual 'key hole' type hole in it – quite large. An unusual stone and worth a visit to have a look when in the area. Access is easy although the metal gates were padlocked when I visited.
Visited 5.9.2009 after a quick look at Hampnett barrows. According to "Old Stones of The Cotswolds & Forest of Dean" (D.P. Sullivan 1999 Reardon) there are two stones, one of them built into the wall as a stile in a way that is quite common in the area. This proved to be the case, but I would have thought it's the "holed" stone that carries the name Hangman's Stone, rather than the slab.
The dry stone wall has been rebuilt since the earlier pictures posted here, so the stone now stands away from it. The "stile" slab is built into the wall.
Whether this was part of a long barrow at some point or something else is not possible to say. Position-wise it fits the usual Cotswold long barrow pattern of not sitting on top of the hill but on the slope. The stone is somewhat buried in undergrowth and right next to a dry stone wall, no sign of any mound is visible. A curiousity, but not one carrying much atmosphere when I visited.
This is near Northleach off the old A40.It is easy to park and access is over the 5 barred gate or a rather difficult stile.Walk along the lane to the end of the lefthand hedge/fence to where the lane gets wider.Just round the corner is the stone sort of lying against the wall.There is a radio mast nearby.It has a hole and is split at the other end.
According to DP Sullivan (Old Stones Of The Cotswolds & Forest Of Dean - 1999 Reardon), this is another of those hangman's stones that takes its name from an idiotic thief:
It obtained its name, apparently, from an incident involving a sheep rustler who, when getting over the stile with his spoils fell and was hung by the entangled sheep. ... It is possible that this stone once marked a gibbet, giving a more plausible reason for its name.