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tree, and is probably but little altered during the last century. The difference between the two engravings of it was so great, that we wrote to the Duke of Portland to ascertain the present state of the tree; and we have been informed by His Grace, that Major Rooke's portrait still affords a correct representation of it. “In 1724, a roadway was cut through its vene
1608 rable trunk, higher than the entrance to Westminster Abbey, and sufficiently capacious to permit a carriage and four horses to pass through it.” (Strutt's Sylva.) The dimensions of this tree are thus given by Major Rooke : “ Circumference of the trunk above the arch, 35 ft. 3 in.; height of the arch, 10 ft. 3 in.; width of the arch about the middle, 6 ft. 3 in.; height to the top branch, 54 ft.” Major Rooke's drawing, which is the same view of the tree as that in Hunter's Evelyn, which we have copied in fig. 1609., was made at the same time as that of the Gamekeeper's Tree, viz. in 1779. ACcording to Hunter's Évelyn, about 1646 this oak was 88 ft. high, with a trunk girting 33 ft. Iin.; the diameter of the head 81 ft. « There are three great arms broken and gone,and eight very large ones yet remaining, which are very fresh and good timber."
The Parliament Oak (fig. 1610.) grows in Clip- 1609 stone Park, and derives its name from a parliament having been held under it, by Edward I., in 1290. The girt of this tree is 28ft. 6in. Clipstone Park is also the property of the Duke of Portland, and is supposed to be the oldest park in England, having been a park before the Conquest, and having been then seized by William, and made a royal demesne. Both John and Edward I. resided, and kept a court, in Clipstone Palace. In Birchland, in Sherwood Forest, there is an old oak, which measures, near the ground, 34 ft. 4 in. in circumference; and at 6 ft., 31 ft. 9 in. “ The trunk, which is wonderfully distorted, plainly appears to have been much larger; and the parts from which large pieces have fallen off are distinguishable. The inside is decayed and hollowed by age; and I think,” adds Major Rooke," no one can
1610 behold this majestic ruin without pronouncing it to be of very remote antiquity; and I might venture to say that it cannot be much less than 1000 years old.” (p. 14.)
In Worksop Park, according to the record quoted in Hunter's Evelyn, there were some noble trees about 1646. One of these, when cut down, measured from 29 ft. to 30 ft. in circumference throughout the bole, which was 10 ft. long. Another tree had a head 180 ft. in diameter, and was computed to cover hålf an acre of ground. Other trees, 40 ft. in the bole, gave 2 ft. square of timber at the upper end. The Lord's Oak girted 38 ft. 4 in. The Shire Oak, which is still standing, had then a head 90 ft. in diameter, which extended into three counties (York, Nottingham, and Derby), and dripped over 777 square yards.
Oxfordshire. Of the Magdalen, or Great, Oak of Oxford, Gilpin gives the following interesting notice:—“ Close by the gate of the water walk of Magdalen College, Oxford, grew an oak, which, perhaps, stood there a sapling when Alfred the Great founded the university. This period only includes a space of 900 years, which is no great age for an oak. It is a difficult matter to ascertain the age of a tree. The age of a castle or abbey is the object of history: even a common house is recorded by the family who built it. All these objects arrive at maturity in their youth, if I may so speak. But the time gradually completing its growth is not worth recording in the early part of its existence. It is then only a common tree; and afterwards, when it becomes remarkable for age, all memory of its youth is lost. This tree, however, can almost produce historical evidence for the age it boasts. About 500 years after the time of Alfred, William of Waynfleet, Dr. Stukely tells us, expressly ordered his college (Magdalen College) to be founded near the Great Oak (Itin. Curios.); and an oak could not, I think, be less than 500 years of age to merit that title, together with the honour of fixing the site of a college. When the magnificence of Cardinal Wolsey erected that handsome tower which is so ornamental to the whole building, this tree might probably be in the meridian of its glory; or rather, perhaps, it had attained a green old age. But it must have been manifestly in its decline at that memorable era, when the tyranny of James gave the fellows of Magdalen so noble an opportunity of withstanding bigotry and superstition. It was afterwards much injured in the reign of Charles II., when the present walks were laid out. Its roots were disturbed; and from that period it declined fast, and became reduced to a mere trunk. The oldest members of the university can hardly recollect it in better plight; but the faithful records of history have handed down its ancient dimensions. (See Dr. Plot's History of Oxfordshire.) Through a space of 16
yards on every side from its trunk, it once flung its boughs; and under its magnificent pavilion could have sheltered with ease 3000 men. In the summer of 1788, this magnificent ruin fell to the ground. It then appeared how precariously it had stood for many years. The grand taproot was decayed, and it had a hold of the earth only by two or three rootlets, of which none exceeded a couple of inches in diameter. From a part of its ruins a chair has been made for the president of the college, which will long continue its memory." (For, Scen., i. p. 140.)
Shropshire. The Shelton Oak (fig. 1611.), growing near Shrewsbury, measured, in 1810, as follows :- Girt, close to the ground, 44 ft. 3 in.; 5 ft. from the ground, 25 ft. 1 in. ; 8 ft. from the ground, 27 ft. 4 in.; height to the prin. cipal bough, 41 ft. 6 in. (Gent. Mag., Oct. 1810.) The tree was very much decayed in 1813, and had a hollow at the bottom sufficient to hold with ease half a dozen persons. (Beauties of England and Wales ; Shropshire, 179.) This oak was celebrated for Owen Glendower having mounted on it to observe the battle of Shrewsbury, fought on June 21. 1403, between Henry IV. and Harry Percy. The battle had commenced before Glendower arrived ; and he ascended
1611 the tree to see how the day was likely to go. Finding that Hotspur was beaten, and the force of the king was overpowering, he retired with his 12,000 men to Oswestry. We have received the following account of the present state of this remarkable oak from John F. M. Dovaston, Esq., M.A., of Westfelton, near Shrewsbury :
“ To the numerous descriptions and histories of this venerable and venerated tree there remains little more necessary to add, than that, of late years, it has shown but slow tendency to farther decay; and that it is now somewhat protected by having been taken within the grounds of a very chåstely ornamented house, built in the ancient fancy Gothic, by Robert Burton, Esq., whose very pure taste, and extensive improvements, have made the elevated and conspicuous village of Shelton one of the most beautiful in a county eminent for the beauty of its villages. With regard to the far-famed tree itself, however, there may be some who will think it has lost much of its grotesque and commanding wildness, now surrounded with shrubberies, dressed grass-plots, and gravel walks; since it towered with rude but majestic grandeur over groups of gipsies, cattle, or casual figures, amid the furze, bushes, and wild-flowers of a rough uncultured heath.” It has lately received a poetical inscription from the pen of Mr. Dovaston.
Staffordshire. The Royal Oak of Boscobel, in which Charles II. took refuge after the battle of Worcester, was prematurely destroyed by an ill-judged
passion for relics; " and a huge bulk of timber, consisting of many loads, was taken away in handfuls. Several saplings were raised, in different parts of the country, from its acorns, one of which grew near St. James's Palace, where Marlborough House now stands; and there was another in the Botanic Garden, Chelsea. The former has been long since felled ; and of the latter even the recollection seems now almost lost.” (Mart. Mill.)
The Swilcar Lawn Oak (fig. 1612.), in Needwood Forest, measures 34 ft. in circumference near the ground, though it is supposed to be 1000 years old, and is known by historical documents to have been a large tree more than 600 years : it is still in a growing state. Strutt states that, about 1830, it measured, at 6 ft. from the ground, 21 ft. 44 in. in circumference; and that 54 years before, when measured at the same height from the ground, it girted only 19 ft. This oak is celebrated in
1612 Mundy's poem of Needwood Forest, and by Dr. Darwin.
In Bagot's Park, near Blithefield, about four miles from Lichfield, there are several very remarkable trees. Bagot's Park is the seat of Lord Bagot, who may be regarded as one of the greatest planters of oaks“ in the kingdom; having planted two millions of acorns on his estates in Staffordshire and Wales.” (Strutt.) The Squitch Oak (fig. 1613.) has a clear trunk 33 ft. high, which contains 660 cubic ft.; one limb, 44 ft. long; and 14 other limbs containing altogether 352 cubic feet; making a total of 1012 cubic feet of timber. The total height is 61 ft.; the circumference, near the ground, is 43 ft. ; and at 5 ft., is 21 ft. 9 in. The Rake's Wood Oak is a very old tree, and has lost many of its branches, and several feet of its height. It is now about 55 ft. high, and pretty nearly 30 ft. in circumference at 5 ft. from the ground. The Long Coppice Oak is rather
1613 smaller than the last : it is very old and unsound, and has lost many heavy branches, and many feet of its height. Bett's Pool Oak is a bull oak'; that is, it is hollow, and open on one side. The hollow is 9 ft. in diameter; but the trunk is only about 8 ft. high. The Lodge Yard Oak is an old hollow tree,
1614 capable of holding a dozen people, 33 ft. 6 in. in circumference at 3 ft. from the ground. The Beggar's Oak (fig. 1614.) is also in Bagot's Park, and has a trunk 27 ft. 3 in. in circumference at 5 ft. from the ground : the height is about 60 ft. “The roots rise above the ground in a very extraordinary manner, so as to furnish a natural seat for the beggars chancing to pass along the pathway near it; and the circumference taken around these is 68 ft. The branches extend about 50 ft. from the trunk in every direction. This tree contains 877 cubic feet of timber ; which, including the bark, would have produced, according to the price offered for it in 1812, 2021. 14s. 9d.” (Lauder's Gilpin, i. p. 254.) We have been favoured with the dimensions of the above trees by Messrs. Thomas and George Turner, through the kindness of Lord Bagot. In Beaudesert Park there is a very large oak, the trunk of which is now a mere shell, sufficiently roomy to allow eight people to stand within it. The late Lady Uxbridge often sat within this tree; and there is a circular hole in the bark, through which she used to place a telescope, in order to amuse herself by looking at objects in the surrounding country. Near Newee gate, in the same park, stands the Roan Oak, the branches of which are almost all partially decayed, and distorted and twisted into the most fantastic forms. One of these resembles a writhing serpent, and another forms no bad representation of a lion cowering, and just ready to spring on his prey. The trunk of this tree is 26 ft. 3 in. in circumference. The Magii Oak, which is supposed by the country people to be haunted by evil spirits, has a hollow open trunk, and is nearly 30 ft. in circumference. Another, situated in a ravine, called the Gutter Oak, is also hollow, and has a trunk nearly 40 ft. in circumference. (See Gard. Mag., vol. xii. p. 312.)
Suffolk. The Huntingfield Oak. The following account of Queen Elizabeth's Oak (fig. 1615.) is copied from A Topographical and Historical Description of Suffolk, published in 1829 :-“ Hunting field. An oak in the park, whích Queen Elizabeth was particularly pleased with, afterwards bore the appellation of the Queen's Oak. It stood about two bow-shots from the old romantic hall; and, at the height of nearly 7 ft. from the ground, measured more than 11 yards in circumference; and this venerable monarch of the forest, according to all appearance, could not be less than 500 or 600 years old. Queen Elizabeth, it is said, from this favourite
1615 tree shot a buck with her own hand. According to the representation of its appearance in Davy's Letters, the principal arm, now dry with bald antiquity,' shot up to a great height above the leafage ; and, being hollow and truncated at the top, with several cracks resembling loopholes, through which the light shone into its cavity, it gave an idea of the winding staircase in a lofty Gothic tower, which, detached from the ruins of some venerable pile, hung tottering to its fall.” Mr. Turner, curator of the Botanic Garden, Bury St. Edmund's, who sent us the above extract, has also obtained for us the following statement of the present appearance of this venerable tree from his friend Mr. D. Barker, florist, Heveningham Hall :-" It is decidedly. Q. pedunculàta; and, according to a historical account in my possession, it is now between 1000 and 1100 years old. At this time (November, 1836), some parts of the tree are in great vigour, having healthy arms 10 ft. in circumference, and one even larger. The boughs cover a space of 78 yards ; but the trunk has long since gone to decay, it being now quite hollow in the interior. The circumference of the trunk is 42 ft. at 5 ft. from the ground; and the height 75 ft.” The great hall of the mansion, within “two bow-shots” of which this oak grew, according to Davy's Letters, was remarkable for being "built round six straight massy oaks, which originally supported the roof as they grew. Upon these the foresters and yeomen of the guard used to hang their nets, crossbows, hunting-poles, great saddles, calivers, bills, &c. The roots had been long decayed,” continues Davy, writing in 1772," when I visited this romantic dwelling; and the shafts, sawn off at the bottom, were supported either by irregular logs of wood, or by masonry.”. (Letters, &c., i.p. 240.) No trace of this old hall is now remaining, the ruins having been taken down about the end of the last century.
Surrey. The Grindstone Oak, near Farnham, was once an enormous tree. Its circumference, near the ground, is still 48 ft.; and at 3 ft. high, 33 ft. It is, however, fast waning to decay. (Amen. Quer.)
Sussex. The venerable oak at Northiam, famed for its size, and for having given shelter to Queen Elizabeth, who once breakfasted under its extensive branches, on her way through the village to London, was partially blown down in a storm in 1816. (Gent. Mag., Suppl., 1816, p. 619.)
Warwickshire. The Bull Oak, in Wedgenock Park (fig. 1616.), is a remarkable specimen of an oak of this kind. It measures at 1 ft. above the ground 40 ft., and 6 ft. from the
ground 37 ft., in circumference. The height of the trunk is about 17 ft before it throws out branches. The inside is quite decayed; and, being open on one side, cattle are generally found sheltering in it. The head is still in a vigorous and flourishing state. The Gospel Oak (fig. 1617.) stands near Stoneleigh Abbey; and it" derives its name from the custom which formerly prevailed, when the minister and other officers of the parish went round its boundaries in Rogation Week, of stopping at remarkable spots and trees, to
1617 recite passages of the Gospel.
Westmoreland. The Earl of Thanet's Hollow Oak, in Whinfield Park, measured, in 1765, 31 ft. 9 in. in circumference. (Bath Soc. Papers, vol. i. p. 66.) Wiltshire. In Savernake Forest there are many
large and noble oaks. The
1619 Oak (fig. 1620.) is a very remarkable tree. The following are the dimensions of this tree, as given in Hunter's Evelyn :- Close to the ground, it measured 78 ft. in circumference; and at 3 ft. from the ground, 48 ft. The following account was sent to us by a correspondent
1620 in Yorkshire, in October, 1829:-“Cowthorpe is a small village on the right bank of the river Nidd, in the wapentake of Clare, in the West Riding of the county of York, and about a mile and a half on the right of the great road from London to Edinburgh, where it crosses the river by Walshford Bridge. This stupendous oak stands in a paddock near the village church, and is the property of the Hon. E. Petre of Stapleton Park, near Ferrybridge. On a stranger's first observing the tree, he is struck with the majestic appearance of its ruined and riven-looking dead branches, which in all directions
appear above the luxuriant foliage of the lateral and lower arms of the tree. In 1722, one of the side branches was blown down in a violent gale of wind; and, on being accurately measured, was found to contain upwards of five tons of wood. The largest of the living branches at present extends about 48 ft. from the trunk; and its circumference, at about one yard from the giant bole, is 8 ft. 6 in. Three of the living branches are propped by substantial poles, resting upon stone pedestals. The diameter in the hollow part, at the bottom, is 9ft. 10 in.: the greatest height of the dead branches is about 56 ft. It is evidently of very great antiquity, as all tradition represents it as a very old
tree.” The Wellbred Oak, on Kingston Hill, near Pontefract, is supposed to be 800 years old. Its height is 70 ft., and its trunk 33 ft. in circumference : it is Q. pedunculata. The trunk is quite hollow, and open on one side; and the asses and other cattle grazing on the common often shelter in it.
Scotland. — Dumfriesshire. An oak at Lochwood, in Annandale, is mentioned by Dr. Walker, in his Essays, &c., as measuring, in 1773, 60ft. in height; with a trunk 14 ft. in circumference, at 6 ft. from the ground; and a fine, spreading, circular head, about 60ft. in diameter. Through thekindness of Hope John