by Kelsee Jackson, dramaturg
Hindhead is well-known for it’s beautiful scenery. This beautiful scenery is often referenced in Misalliance, with lines like, “Shall we stroll over to the Gibbet?” or “…take a walk through the heather and admire the scenery of Hindhead.” While visiting Hindhead this past spring, a friend and I decided to try one of the more basic hikes to admire the scenery and get a glimpse of the beauty of Hindhead.
Hindhead is home to a large, natural amphitheater called the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The Devil’s Punch Bowl is an area protected by England’s National Trust. This beautiful location is next to Hindhead and has many well-traveled hikes and nature walks for visitors and locals to explore.
One of the first things we came across was the Sailor’s Stone. Like all good English towns, there was a local story attached to this sailor’s stone. In this story, an anonymous seaman was murdered in Hindhead in 1786. His body was laid to rest at the Thursley churchyard and this sailor’s stone (in remembrance of the sailor, not his gravestone) was place on Gibbet Hill, where the men who committed the crime were hung. The front of the stone reads:
In detestation of a barbarous Murder
Committed here on an unknown Sailor
On Sep, 24th 1786
By Edwd. Lonegon, Mich. Casey & Jas. Marshall
Who were all taken the same day
And hung in Chains near this place
Whoso sheddeth Man’s Blood by Man shall his
Blood be shed. Gen Chap 9 Ver 6
Near the head of the hike, there was a beautiful lookout point. This was perhaps my favorite part– being able to see all the beauty of Hindhead and surrounding areas from the top of a large hill. The day we went was quite overcast and chilly, making the land around us look even lusher and greener than normal. This began our decent back down and the discovery of beautiful long-horned cattle grazing in the greenery near the exit of the hike.
The walks that the Tarletons talk about frequently in this play would have been taken through the beauty of Hindhead. These places and more would have been familiar to them. It is quite the lovely setting for a play such as this!