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Oak Tree

Features

Learn what oak timber was used for in times gone by, and come with us as we investigate the mystery of Seahenge and the ancient symbolism of the oak. And how come so many pubs are named the Royal Oak?

Building in Oak

What links Nelson's Victory, Shakespeare's Globe, the roof of Westminster Hall and the Anglo-Saxon ship buried at Sutton Hoo? The answer is that all had timbers of oak, a favourite building material in England for almost 4,000 years.

Building in Oak
Tree of the Thunder God

Tree of the Thunder God

Throughout Europe, the oak was once viewed as a sacred tree. In particular, the mighty oak was linked with the sky god who sent thunder and lightning - whether his name was Zeus, Jupiter, Taranis, Thunor or Thor.

The Mystery of Seahenge

In the spring of 1998, shifting sands revealed a 4,000-year-old secret on the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. Nicknamed "Seahenge", it was a circle of 55 oak posts enclosing a huge central oak stump - a tree which had been uprooted and planted upside down in the ground, its roots stretching out like fingers.

The Mystery of Seahenge
The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak

Throughout Britain, there are hundreds of pubs and hotels called "The Royal Oak", a name also given by the Royal Navy to several warships. Both pubs and ships are named in honour of a particular tree in the grounds of Boscobel Hall, Shropshire. This tree is famous as the hiding place, in 1651, of King Charles II.

The Symbolic Oak

When Thomas Hardy was choosing a name for his hero in "Far From The Madding Crowd", it’s no coincidence that he chose one that would sum up the qualities of the shepherd whose proposal of marriage is rejected by Bathsheba Everdene, but who remains steadfast and true to her: Gabriel Oak.

The Symbolic Oak
Ten Things…

Ten Things…

Just how strong is your knowledge of the oak tree?