Welcome to the information and download page for ‘Romancing the Gibbet: The Lay of the Two Deadly Brothers’. This is one of 4 events as part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 14–23 November. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see beinghumanfestival.org. You can book the event at the Avonmouth Community Centre (15 November 19-21.00) HERE


You do not have to try out the app if you don’t want to – if you are simply curious, or want to know more about these historical events or how we made the trails you are very welcome to just book and come along. BOOK HERE.

‘Romancing the Gibbet’ is a collaboration between poet Ralph Hoyte and historian Steve Poole. We explore themes of ‘dark tourism’ using ‘mobile immersive media’. This innovative use of technology allows you to experience Ralph Hoyte’s poetic responses to four notorious Georgian era murders and the subsequent extraordinary public executions ‘on the ground’, where the events actually took place.

To experience this, you download an app to your smartphone or gps-enabled tablet and then follow the audio-trail on foot. The example below shows a ‘soundpool’ placed overlooking the Avon. You follow the blue line (checking your phone every now and then to make sure you’re on track). When your phone encounters ‘a soundpool’ it vibrates. You can then put earphones on and listen to Ralph Hoyte’s poetic response to the events on the Avon below which took place during Sir John Dinely-Goodere’s abduction by his brother, Capt. Samuel Goodere. Then you take your headphones off and wander on, enjoying the scenery. It’s free to download and use and you DON’T need any sort of network signal or online connection: all the information is in the app, it is merely triggered by location!

At the actual Avonmouth Community Centre ‘Being Human Festival’ event Steve Poole will explain the historical background to this notorious case of fratricide from 1740, when Capt. Samuel Goodere had his brother, Sir John Dinely-Goodere, abducted at Hotwells, transported by yawl down to his Majesty’s man o’war, The Ruby, to be strangled by his crewmen. This story has everything: an aristocratic family feud, abduction, murder – in fact ‘fratricide’: the killing of one family member by another, that most heinous of crimes! – and the subsequent hangings and gibbettings (of one of the crewmen, Mahony, on The Swatch, a sandbar at the mouth of the Avon very near the venue for the talk).

Ralph Hoyte will then perform extracts from his poetic responses, and we will both introduce the project’s four free audio trails and explain how they were made. You are then invited to sample some of ‘The Lay of the Two Deadly Brothers’ soundpools which have been relocated in and around the venue for you to try out the experience and the technology.

It is essential to download the app to your phone or gps-enabled tablet beforehand if you wish to do this (instructions on how to do this will be posted on Monday 4 November). Don’t forget your headphones: this is an audio-trail!

Warning: some strong language and themes of murder and public execution