Monday, 2 January 2017

The beheaded oaks of Bradgate Park

The 'beheaded' oak trees in Bradgate Park.
We revisited Leicester a few days ago and went for a stroll in Bradgate Park. The manor house, of which only ruins now remain, was the family home of Lady Jane Grey, known as the 'Nine Days Queen' on account of having reigned for just that period before her half sister, Mary (later Queen of the Scots) deposed her and had her executed in the Tower of London on 12 February 1554.  Mary was a Catholic and Jane was a Protestant and the two religions were striving for power at that time.

The popular story is that after Jane's execution all the oak trees in Bradgate Park were beheaded in sympathy and indeed one can see that they have been pollarded. Whether this was in mourning for Jane or in the cause of good forestry I dare not surmise but it is understood that an oak tree will live for another couple of centuries if it is pollarded.

I will leave you to decide on the worth of the story whilst you peruse these fantastically distorted ancient trees.

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