Trysting Tree, Harthill, South Yorkshire

Legendary Tree (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SK 508 824?

Folklore

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.

References:

  1. Garbett, Harry, The History of Harthill-with-Woodall and its Hamlet Kiveton Park, Arthur H. Stockwell: Ilfracombe n.d. (c.1948)
  2. Gomme, Laurence, Primitive Folk-Moots, Sampson Lowe: London 1880.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
This entry was posted in Brigantia (Northern England), Trees, Yorkshire, South and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trysting Tree, Harthill, South Yorkshire

  1. Actually, the Trysting Tree is in Todwick, not Harthill. My stepfather, John Wells, along with members of the Lord Conyers Folk Club and Morris Men planted a sapling close to the site of the original in the 1970’s. The Morris Men still perform a dance there i believe every winter solstice, and the original tree was – if my memory serves me – mentioned in the Domesday Book.
    I grew up about 3 miles away.

  2. megalithix says:

    Thanks Lis – hugely appreciated! :) – Could you perhaps send us info on the whereabouts on a map, so I can correct its whereabouts? I’ll amend the info and give you due acknowledgements. …So I presume we could get a photo of the site (he sez hopefully). Thanks again – P.

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