The Beggars' Oak

The Beggars' Oak was a great tree which stood on the Bagot Estate near Abbots Bromley, a meeting place for itinerants. It was believed to be about 1000 years old when it had to be removed in about the 1940s.

From A History of British Forest Trees published in 1842:

The Beggars' Oak in Bagot Park, Staffordshire (the seat of Lord Bagot) is also a fresh and vigorous tree with a trunk upwards of twenty-seven feet in circumference at five feet from the ground. It contains eight hundred and seventy-seven cubic feet of timber, and Sir T. D. Lauder informs us would have produced, according to the price offered for it in 1812, £202 14s 9d.

From Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum published in 1838:

The roots rise above the ground in a very extraordinary manner, so as to furnish a natural seat for the beggars chancing to pass along the pathway near it.

from Charlotte S. Burne, “What Folkore is, and how it is to be collected”, North Staffordshire Naturalists’ Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1896.:

At Bagot’s Park a “Beggar’s Oak, beneath whose branches, so the popular belief has it, any wayfarer has the right to a night’s lodging. [This seems to indicate] some prehistoric common right, disregarded at the time of the enclosure, but still existing in the popular imagination”.


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