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THE HUNTINGFIELD OAK F . W . SIMPSON

T h e r e are a n u m b e r of very old oak trees remaining in the County; a few are covered by preservation Orders. O n e such tree is the historic Q u e e n Elizab e t h ^ O a k of Huntingfield. The age of this tree is uncertain. Its t r u n k i s m u c h decayed and riven, with branches dying. One m a j o r bough is supported by an old p r o p , which needs a replacement. Since the parkland in which this tree flourished was ploughed up, its growth and health appear to have considerably d e t e r i o r a t e d . In 'Arboretum et Fruticetum Ă&#x;ritannicum' by J. C. L o u d o n , 2nd edition, 1854, there is an interesting account, with a small engraving showing the a p p e a r a n c e of the tree. In Davy's Letters of 1772 it is stated that this tree is 34 ft. in girth at 5 f t . . and nearly 33 ft. at 7 ft. from the ground. 'A Topographical and Historical Description of Suffolk'. published in 1829, gives the following description: 'An oak in the park which Q u e e n Elizabeth was particularly pleased with, afterwards bore the appellation of the Q u e e n ' s O a k . It stood about two bow-shots f r o m the old romantic hall and, at the height of nearly 7 ft. f r o m the ground, measured more than 11 y a r d s i n circumference; and this venerable monarch of the forest, according to all appearance, could not be less than 500 or 600 years old. Q u e e n Elizabeth, it is said, f r o m this favourite tree shot a buck with her own h a n d . ' H o w e v e r Mr. D. B a r k e r , Aorist of H e v e n i n g h a m Hall, writing in N o v e m b e r 1836 to his friend Mr. T u r n e r , C u r a t o r of the Botanic G a r d e n s , Bury St. E d m u n d s , stated: 'It is decidedly Q. pedunculata, and according to a historical account in my possession, it is now between 1000 and 1100 years old. Some parts of the tree are in great vigour, having healthy arms 10 ft. in circumference, and one even larger. The boughs cover a space of 78 yards; but the trunk has long since gone to decay, it being now quite hollow in the interior. The circumference of the trunk is 42 ft. at 5 ft. f r o m the g r o u n d , and the height 75 f t . ' T h e G r e a t Hall of the ancient mansion, dating from the 13th or early 14th Century and demolished about 1770, was r e m a r k a b l e for being built round six straight massy oaks, which originally supported the roof as they grew. Upon these the foresters and yeoman of the guard used to hang their nets, crossbows, hunting-poles, great saddles, calivers and bills. Q u e e n Elizabeth was entertained here by her cousin, Baron H u n s d o n . F. W. Simpson, 40 Ruskin R o a d , Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1PT.

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc. 18 part 4.

The Huntingfield oak  
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