Adam’s Oak, Brierley, South Yorkshire

Legendary Tree:  OS Grid Reference – SE 4280 1015

Also Known as:

  1. Adam & Eve’s Oak
  2. Wind-gap Oak

Archaeology & History

Highlighted on the 1854 Ordnance Survey map close to the township boundary line as Adam & Eve’s Oak, between Brierley and South Kirkby, I can’t find too much about this once great tree.  However the Wakefield historian W.S. Banks (1871) told us the following:

“Upon the common at Ringston Hill grows the remarkable ‘old Adam’ oak, much decreased in size in late years.  It is an ancient and large tree measuring twenty-seven feet in girth at a yard above the ground.  The trunk is hollow and the north side is broken away.  Most of the branches are also gone.  In 1868 a very large branch was blown off by the wind; but on the southerly side are still some very vigorous limbs.”

The old oak on the 1854 map
The old oak on the 1854 map

Even when Banks wrote this he said how the tree “must be many centuries old.”  In the time of King Charles II there used to be an old inn by Adam’s Oak at the foot of Ringston Hill, where the famous highwayman, Nevison (much-loved by many Yorkshire-folk because of his Robin-Hood-like character), used to stay.  The inn was owned by one Adam Hawksworth, but was ordered “to have his sign taken down for harbouring Nevison.”


W.S. Banks also wrote of this once great tree:

“The people at Brierley tell of Nevison the highwayman lodging in it and hiding stolen treasures in it, things which probably did not happen, though Nevison’s name is connected with Ringston Hill.”

The treasure legend may have more to do with the adjacent stone circle, as we find ‘treasure’ a common motif at such places.


  1. Banks, W.S., Walks in Yorkshire: Wakefield and its Neighbourhood, Longmans, Green  Co.: London 1871.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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