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gallows plaque.jpg

As the name suggests, Gallows Bank was once the site of public hangings arising from the decisions of Ludlow's local court. Under powers granted in 1627 people could be condemned to death for a wide variety of offences under England's “Bloody Code”. It is thought that, in Ludlow, the condemned were hung from a black poplar tree at the top of the bank. A local history of Ludlow refers also to the presence of “a gibbet visible from many parts of the town”.

While most of the surrounding fields were eventually developed for housing Gallows Bank retained its open character, increasingly valued as a public amenity. However, until almost the end of last century, by which time it was under the ownership and management of South Shropshire District Council, it had no special protected status. This changed in 1998 when, in response to plans for housing to be built on the land by South Shropshire Housing Association, a local action group registered the area as common land.

At this time the Millennium Commission and Natural England  combined efforts  to allocate money from the National Lottery for the creation of Millennium Greens described  thus :

The Millennium Greens initiative set out to provide new areas of public open space close to people's homes that could be enjoyed permanently by the local community, in time to mark the start of the third millennium. They were to be breathing spaces - places for relaxation, play and enjoyment of nature and pleasant surroundings. They could be small or large, and in urban or rural locations. 

As a result of intense efforts by local action groups Ludlow was fortunate in securing two such spaces – one at Gallows Bank and the other on the site of the former swimming pool at Dinham. In both cases formal responsibility for the site passed to a registered charity set up for the purpose. The Gallows Bank Millennium Green Trust was registered in August 1998. To simplify day-to-day management the Friends of Gallows Bank Trust was set up in 1999 as an unincorporated voluntary organisation.

In 2000 the local authority granted a 999 year lease of the land to the Trust and an opening ceremony of the Millennium Green took place on 2nd December that year. Formal ownership was transferred to the Official Custodian for Charities in July 2005. The covering letter accompanying the transfer document points out that “the Official Custodian takes no part in the management of the land” which, in practice has always fallen to the Committee of the Friends.

Several of the original Trustees and Committee members have been tackling the practical tasks of maintaining the Bank for more than two decades.

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