Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

The Wilberforce Oak

William Wilberforce is said to have discussed the abolition of slavery with William Pitt the Younger, then prime minister, under an oak, Quercus robur, tree in Keston, now in the London Borough of Bromley, in, it is thought, May 1787.

In 1862 a commemorative stone bench was placed nearby, but this is now enclosed in a fence and cannot be used.  However a more comfortable wooden seat is available.

The original oak tree, which presumably was dead by then, is said to have fallen in 1991, and now only a few rotten pieces of it remain, often with flowers left on them (florists’ lilies, Lilium cv., and roses, Rosa cv. on 29 September 2021).  A replacement tree, planted in 1969, stands nearby.


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