The Hanging Stone NT8919 : Hanging Stone from below
was used as a boundary marker between the East and Middle Marches, divisions of the Anglo-Scottish Border, often an area of dispute and lawlessness. The name is said to derive from the tale of a packman who was strangled when his pack of cloth slipped over the edge, tightening the rope around his neck. The same thing is said to have happened to a robber who was carrying off a stolen sheep, both man and sheep being hanged. The Denham Tracts: a collection of folklore (1892) Link
Sitting here for my lunch, I was careful to place my rucksac on firm ground. Geologically, the rock is a hornfels, a metamorphic rock altered by the action of intrusive Cheviot granite on a sedimentary rock, especially shale.
James Logan Mack in The Border Line (1924) writes that the story regarding the naming of the outcrop is unlikely as the name has been in use since medieval times (as Hanging Shaw or Hanging Brae). Similar names from around the country usually arise from the nature of the outcrop, in this case, the central mass of fractured rock appearing to hang over the solid outcrop at the lower end.
Interestingly, as well as Hanging Stone itself, he illustrates a very similar, although smaller, outcrop somewhere nearby which he dubs 'The False Hanging Stone'. He says of this, "... the one which does not possess the title more readily resembles a Hanging Stone, than the one to which the appellation is usually given". He doesn't provide an exact location for this feature, but one candidate may be NT8919 : Outcrop of rock below Auchope Cairn
. Only comparison of this outcrop to his photograph in Fig. 76 will prove this, but if it can be so identified, he was clearly a long way adrift from the real Hanging Stone on his first visit, and not something he would care to admit!