Trees and Hedges
In a rural landscape trees have always been important markers and feature in people’s accounts of their lives in the village. Tree Cottage, for example, had an old tree near the gate which was hollow and was used as a village notice board. The children also used it for hiding in. It was the place designated for meeting the evacuees from London at the beginning of the second world war and Helena Deneke describes it as a ‘trysting place’.
Scoring a six in cricket when the village team was playing in Home Close was marked by hitting the ball beyond the horsechestnut. An old oak marks the path down to Woodeaton and what until 1991 was the parish boundary. This is often called the ‘King Charles Oak’ and in November 2008 the village held a competition to guess the age of the tree. When the oak was measured its girth was found to be 5m. 25 cm. so using Forestry Commission guidelines we calculated it was 334 years old (dating to 1674 when Charles II was on the throne.)
The Women’s Institute banner embroidered in 1920 shows elm trees, because it is a feature of the village. Their explanation for the logo embroidered on the banner is ‘that Elsfield is a hill -top crowned with elm trees and with a rookery’.
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