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vast oak,* with a short squat kody, and huge horizontal arms, extending almost to the extremity of the area. This venerable tree, surrounded with stone steps, and seats above them, was the delight of old and young, and a place of much resort in summer evenings; where the former sat in grave lebate, while the latter frolicked and danced before them. Long might it have stood, had not the amazing tempest in 1703 overturned it at once, to the infinite regret of the inhabitants, and the vicar, who bestowed several pounds in setting it in its place again : but all his care could not avail; the tree sprouted for a time, then withered and died. This oak I mention, to show to what a bulk planted oaks also may arrive; and planted this tree must certainly have been, as appears from what is known concerning the antiquities of the village.t
times, to be the scene of recreation for the youths and children of the neighbourhood; and impresses an idea on the mind, that this village, even in Saxon times, could not be the most abject of places, when the inhabitants thought proper to assign so spacious a spot for the sports and amusements of its young people.”—W.J.
* Two species of oak only are admitted into the British Flora, quercus robur, and sessiliflora. Several others, however, have been introduced, and grow well; the quercus robur is, nevertheless, superior to all of them. The other species are said to be more susceptible of the dry rot.-W.J.
+ The celebrated Cowthorpe oak, upon an estate near Wetherby, belonging to the Right Hon. Lady Stourton, measures, within three feet of the surface, 16 yards in circumference, and close by the ground, 26 yards. Its height is about 80 feet, and its principal limb extends 16 yards from the boll. The Greendale oak, at a foot from the ground, is in circumference 33 feet 10 inches, The Shire oak covers nearly 707 square yards; the branches stretching into three counties,—York, Nottingham, and Derby. The Fairlop oak in Essex, at a yard from the ground, is 36 feet in circumference. Damory's oak, in Dorsetshire, at the ground, was in circumference 68 feet, and, when decaying, became hollow, forming a cavity capable of containing 20 men. An oak, felled at Withy Park, Shropshire, in 1697, was 9 feet in diameter without the bark, The Baddington oak, in the Vale of Gloucester, was 54 feet in circumference at the base ; and Wallace's oak, in Torwood, in the county of Stirling, must have been at least 11 or 12 feet in diameter.-W. J.
The Galynos oak was one of the largest trees of the kind in England op record. It grew in the county of Monmouth. Five men were each twenty days in stripping and cutting it down ; and a pair of sawyers were constantly employed 138 days in its conversion. The expense alone of doing this wa 821. The main trunk of the tree was nine feet and a half in diameter. I had been improving for 400 years, as found from the rings in its butt. When standing, it overspread 452 square yards. Its prodr :e was 2426 feet of soli timber, as ascertained from the navy office returns. The bark produced 604 pounds. -Ed.
On the Blackmoor estate there is a small wood called Losel's, of a few acres, that was lately furnished with a set of oaks of a peculiar growth and great value: they were tall and taper like firs, but, standing near together, had very small heads,-only a little brush, without any large limbs. About twenty years ago, the bridge at the Toy, near Hampton Court, being much decayed, some trees were wanted for the repairs, that were fifty feet long without bough, and would measure twelve inches diameter at the little end.* Twenty such trees did a purveyor find in this little wood, with this advantage, that many of them answered the description at sixty feet. These trees were sold for £20 a-piece.
In the centre of this grove there stood an oak, which, though shapely and tall on the whole, bulged out into a large excrescence about the middle of the stem. On this a pair of ravens had fixed their residence for such a series of years, that the oak was distinguished by the title of the Raven Tree. Many were the attempts of the neighbouring youths to get at this eyrie : the difficulty whetted their inclinations, and each was ambitious of surmounting the arduous task. But when they arrived at the swelling, it jutted out so in their way, and was so far beyond their grasp, that the most daring lads were awed, and acknowledged the undertaking to be too hazardous. So the ravens built on, nest upon nest, in perfect security, till the fatal day arrived in which the wood was to be levelled. It was in the month of February, when those birds usually sit. The saw was applied to the butt, the wedges were inserted into the opening, the woods echoed to the heavy blows of the beetle, or mallet, the tree nodded to its fall; but still the dam sat
At last, when it gave way, the bird was flung from her nest; and, though her parental affection deserved a better fate, was whipped down by the twigs, which brought her dead to the ground.t
• The greater part of these trees still support the bridge.-ED. + A similar instance of parental affection occurred, a few years ago, in Richmond Park. Some tall spindly trees had to be taken down. A squirrei had built her drey on the top of one of them, and had just brought forth some young. The axe was applied to the roots of the tree; the cord swayed it backwards and forwards; and at last it fell ; and the affectionate niother was killed in the fall, refusing to the last to quit her hapless offspring.--Ed.
TO THE SAME.
The fossil shells of this district, and sorts of stone, such as have fallen within my observation, must not be passed over in silence. And, first, I must mention, as a great curiosity, a specimen that was ploughed up in the chalky fields, near the side of the Down, and given to me for the singularity of its appearance, which, to an incurious eye, seems like a petrified fish of about four inches long, the cardo passing for a head and mouth. It is in reality a bivalve of the Linnæan genus of mytilis, and the species of crista galli : called by Lister, rastellum ; by Rumphius, ostreum plicatum minus ; by D'Argenville, auris porci, s. crista galli; and by those who make collections, cock's comb. Though I applied to several such in London, I never could meet with an entire specimen; nor could I ever find in books any engraving from a perfect one. In the superb museum at Leicester House, permission was given me to examine for this article ; and though I was disappointed as to the fossil, I was highly gratified with the sight of several of the shells themselves in high preservation. This bivalve is only known to inhabit the Indian Ocean, where it fixes itself to a zoophyte, known by the name gorgonia.
Cornua ammonis* are very common about this village. As we were cutting an inclining path up the Hanger, the labourers found them frequently on that steep, just under the soil, in the chalk, and of a considerable size. In the lane above Wellhead, in the way to Emshot, they abound in
* There is a village in the west of England, remarkable for the quantity it possesses of the “ Cornu ammonis.” The name of it is Keynsbam, between Bath and Bristol. This has given rise to a fabulous legend, which says that St. Keyna, from whom the place takes its name, resided here in a solitary wood, full of venemous serpents, and her prayers converted them into stones, which still retain their shape. - See Espriella's Letters from England, rol. üi. p. 362.- Rev. J. MITFORD.