[Published with permission]
A Bronze Age burial mound on Bredon Hill, Worcestershire, with the remains of punishment stocks still in place next to it. During the Anglo-Saxon era ancient barrows, chambers and tombs were regarded as haunted places to be avoided, portals to the underworld where ghosts and elves lurked. This tradition was woven into the work of JRR Tolkien, becoming the “barrow-wights” that attacked the hobbits inside their burial chamber. Such a shame this wasn’t woven into the film adaptation!

Criminals would often be sentenced at a moot or later court leet to be shackled to the stocks and to spend the next couple of nights alone on a barrow, to face whatever supernatural entities were imagined to inhabit the place of dread.

For those interested in reading more about the strange places and events of Bredon Hill I go into a lot of detail in my book The Mystery Of Mercia – available here.