Legendary Tree (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – SK 508 824?
This was one of the many sacred trees beneath or next to which, in pre-christian days, tribal councils met. It’s whereabouts has long since been forgotten, but local historian 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.”
I can find no further information nor further reference to the moot spot in question. However, as the description tells, local meetings (otherwise known as moots) were had at the Tree, so it is highly likely that this ancient creature stood at the meeting of the three boundaries at the grid reference given near Kiveton station. Moots were extremely important sites in tribal days (see Gomme 1880). Indeed 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.
We’d be very grateful to anyone who may be able to locate any further information about this once-important place.
- 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.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian