It is just outside the ancient market town of Cowbridge, near to the remains of the Roman road known as Route XII, which linked together a string of forts across South Wales from Caerleon (Isca) to Carmarthen. Stalling Down itself was the site of a battle where the forces of Owain Glyndwr defeated an English army during the 15th century Welsh revolt against King Henry IV.
The identifiable stand of trees at the crown of the hill was the site of the town’s gallows in the Eighteenth century, and before.
“When found guilty of stealing sheep or other capital offences, prisoners were transported to their execution up the steep, stony Roman road on the east of the town known as Primrose Hill to Stalling Down. They travelled by horse and cart with the noose already around their necks. Here, close to the grove of trees that stands at the top of the southern part of the Downs today, prisoners would have had their last view of life across the green fields to the Bristol Channel and the hills of Exmoor in the distance. Prisoners were hung from the branch of a tree of their choice alongside the main road, and tradition has it that anyone alive after hanging for an hour would be set free, because by that time they had proved their innocence.”
From “Aspects of Cowbridge”; A. Leijerstam; Profile Publishing; (1992); ISBN 0 9519213 0 4.