Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Honor Oak and One Tree Hill

Posted on by royvickery |

Honor Oak is an area of south London, partly in the borough in Lewisham and partly in Southwark.  The area gets its name from a oak (Quercus robur) tree under which Queen Elizabeth I is said to have rested while a-maying on May Day 1602.  According to legend the Queen intended to bestow a knighthood, but was so befuddled after her lunch that she knighted the tree, rather than the intended recipient.  However, information boards placed at  entrances to the area state ‘there is no truth’ in this.

By late in the nineteenth century the area was cleared of woodland, leaving only the Honor Oak.  Thus it became known as One Tree Hill.  The Oak was struck by lightning in 1888.  In 1905 the area became a public park, and a replacement oak was planted on the day of its opening, 7 August.  Initially it was managed as a formal park, but later nature was allowed to take over, so that the area is now considered to be an important wildlife site.

Photographed October 2021.

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