Sunday, 9 October 2016
The Remarkable Oak Tree and the Alderman
Nothing scary about this photograph, the ghostly forms are simply raindrops on the camera lens. I wanted to get a photograph of this particular tree, though, so I nipped out of the car to get one. I sank up to my oxters in mud, but at least I got the shot!
It is an oak tree, a most remarkable oak tree, because it is reputed to be over a thousand years old. In 1841 it was measured as having a trunk circumference of 33' with the trunk being a mere shell, yet here it still is, almost two hundred years later.
Even the earliest Ordnance Survey maps had it shown as 'Remarkable Oak', so safe to say, it is an ancient oak and has been witness to great changes since it was a sapling. They reckon that oak trees grow rapidly for the first 120 years, not producing acorns until they are about 40 years old, and continue to grow until they are about 300 years old.
They mature for another 300 years and then gradually decay for 300 years, or more, as in this case. It is a truly ancient oak, that's for sure.
Moving on, I visited a small country church dedicated to St Oswald.
There has been a church here for over 800 years, although this is the 1856 restored church, which retains some interesting earlier windows and monuments. The restoration and rebuilding cost £500, with another £400 being spent a couple of decades later on restoring the chancel.
This monument got my attention - it is fairly high up on the wall, so difficult to take a good photograph.
It portrays a family group. The man is William Ballett who was an Alderman of London. Facing him are his two wives and above them, their nine children. He died when he was 99 years of age, in 1648. Remarkable, when you think that in those days the average expected lifespan was about 40 years!
This long-lived man lived just a few miles from this church, at Woodthorpe Hall, which is located right next to the field in which the Remarkable Oak is located! He and his family could well have sat in the shade of this tree, which would simply have been in its' mature stage at that time. Could there be something in the water around there, I wonder.
There are lots more interesting snippets about the church and the people who used it, which I'll share another time.