‘Behold the Head of a Traitor’

On the 13th of May, 2015, Gyles Brandreth, writer, actor, popular television host and Patron of Nottingham Castle Trust hosted an event at Nottingham Castle, in which he delved into the fascinating history of his Nottinghamshire ancestors, and helped to promote the appeal for funds for the Nottingham Castle Trust Redevelopment Project.


Brandreth, of the ‘The One Show’, ‘Gadget Show’ and ‘Countdown’, is a firm supporter of the Nottingham Castle Redevelopment Project and during the night, went on to deliver a speech, predicting that the future of the Castle will be ‘extraordinary, exciting and ambitious’.

Gyles with Heather Mayfield and Ted Cantle

Alongside Gyles, this private event was attended by members of the Nottingham Castle Trustee Board, local dignitaries and representatives from local businesses and community groups – all of whom came along to support the Castle.

Brandreth and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham

The Former MP himself was particularly excited to discuss the history behind his most famous ancestor, Jeremiah, who was in fact the last man ever to be beheaded for treason at Nottingham Castle in 1817. The ‘hopeless radical’ – a nickname Brandreth himself adopted when running his political campaigns – was the leader of just one of the major rebellions to be exhibited in the new Rebellion Gallery being developed by the Trust.

Gyles Stands Behind The Execution Block

The rather gory title of the exhibition; ‘Behold The Head of a Traitor’ is a quote taken from reports of the execution itself, with Jeremiah’s executioner holding his head up for the watching crowd to see. And as shown in the photograph above, the very block that Gyles leans upon was the same one taken from where his rebellious ancestor lost his life. He believes that the story of this final rebellion ‘has never been properly told’, that an event such as this one will put Jeremiah’s history on the map.