Welcome to the information and download page for ‘Romancing the Gibbet: The Morrismen Murder’. 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 (23 November 13.30-15.30HERE


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 2 ‘soundpools’ placed outside the old Fish Inn and the Cotswold Way. 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 which took place here. 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 Broadway Tower ‘Being Human Festival’ event (‘The Morrismen Murder’), Steve Poole will explain the historical background to this ‘crime-scene execution’ case from 1772, when William Keeley was found guilty of murdering Joseph Dyer after spotting him flashing his money at the old Fish Inn on Broadway Hill. The Oxford Journal at the time commented: “It seems that Keeley is a famous Morrice dancer, and on Sunday morning before the fact was committed, he was teaching a set of fellows to dance. Warner used to play on the tabor and pipe to the dancers. It is to be hoped the Justices will suppress such nurseries of idleness and drunkenness as morrice-dancings have generally proved!”

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 ‘Morrismen Murder’ 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