Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Hempen Jig

Whilst tidying up this evening I came across an Ordnance Survey map that had slipped behind a cupboard and was pleased to note that it was the Eastern continuation of my local area. I have found of late that I quite enjoy looking over my maps just to find any areas or features of interest that I could run out to and tonight I was not to be disappointed.

Regular readers may remember my plans in February to have a night run in March 2011 to visit haunted areas of the local area with stories of a ghost, phantom horses or a headless woman. Little did I know then that Kent was awash with smugglers, highwaymen and ne'erdowells due to the ease of access to the Thames and English Channel in earlier days. Imagine my joy when I saw a place called Gallows Hill, Wrotham Heath.

Research shows that in fact many a criminal were hung there and were seen doing the 'Hempen Jig'. So why a Hempen Jig? This was because the ropes were often made of hemp was the old pirate term for being hung and for the body to quiver and struggle in the noose like a person dancing a jig.

All this from reading a map!

4 comments:

  1. Jerry
    Do you have any plans to resurrect the haunted night run. I think it could be a good laugh.

    Clive

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ever wondered why Worlds End Lane is so called and why there is a gap half way along where there are no houses? The gap is where the original lane ended and where the gallows stood. No-one has dared build on that land to this day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Clive, as discussed this evening, YES the haunted night run will be going ahead in July :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dave B, that is a brilliant fact that I will store up for a good mention when going through there next time.

    ReplyDelete