Legendary Tree (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – SK 49751 83799
This was one of the many sacred trees beneath or next to which, in pre-christian days, tribal councils met. Thanks to the local historians Paul Rowland and Lis Tigi Maguire Coyle (see ‘Comments’, below), the whereabouts of the tree has been located (contrary to my earlier idea that it had sadly died). The local writer Harry Garbutt wrote of it in the 1940s, saying:
“The importance of Harthill in Saxon days may be adduced also from the fact that of the Three Hundreds of the Wapentake, Harthill was one. The Hundred was the Court of local justice and government, and at Harthill would meet under the old Trysting Tree.”
The very word trysting relates to any species of tree that has importance, be it by its appearance or position, and relates to those that were used as traditional or popular meeting sites.
- Garbett, Harry, The History of Harthill-with-Woodall and its Hamlet Kiveton Park, Arthur H. Stockwell: Ilfracombe n.d. (c.1948)
- Gomme, Laurence, Primitive Folk-Moots, Sampson Lowe: London 1880.
Acknowledgements: Massive thanks to Paul Rowland (‘Comments’, below), for information pointing us to the exact spot where our Trysting Tree lived; and to Lis Tigi Maguire Coyle for the additional folklore ‘Comment’, below. Huge thanks to you both!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian