• A total Shambles

    Not as bad as it sounds - here's a new image for the archives. The Shambles Oak or Robin Hood's Larder was an ancient oak that was still clinging to life in Sherwood Forest back in the 1880s when this photograph was taken. We don't know who took the photograph or who the two gentlemen were who pose guardian-like either side of the tree. Maybe they were forest guides or wardens or simply a couple of walkers who happened along as the photograph was being taken?

    The tree derived its name from the reputation that it was the tree where Robin Hood hid the venison poached from the king's deer. The meaning of the word shambles was once a term denoting an open-air slaughterhouse or meat market and is taken from the Anglo-Saxon word - fleshammels - the flesh shelves (where butchers displayed their meat).

    In the summer of 1878 the poor old tree had been set on fire by a party of tourists from Sheffield. It survived this arson attack, and another in 1913, but finally succumbed to strong gales in 1962. The size of this oak and its obvious antiquity just about make it possible that it was a fair-sized tree back in the 13th century when Robin Hood was supposed to be about.

    More info. about this tree in my book "The British Oak" - new edition to be published in September. Rather wish I'd had this image to hand when I was doing the revisions a couple of months back.


Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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