Higher than Gilderoy's kite. To be hung higher than Gilderoy's kite is to be punished more severely than the very worst criminal. The greater the crime, the higher the gallows, was at one time a practical legal axiom. Haman, it will be remembered, was hanged on a very high gallows. The gallows of Montrose was 30 feet high. The ballad says:—
Of Gilderoy sae fraid they were They bound him mickle strong, Till Edenburrow they led him thair And on a gallows hong; They hong him high abone the rest, He was so trim a boy ....
He was “hong abone the rest” of the criminals because his crimes were deemed to be more heinous. So high he hung he looked like “a kite” in the clouds.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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