Alton’s famous chained oak tree has been nominated for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition. Voting has now opened on the national competition and one of the shortlisted entrants is Alton’s famous chained oak tree.
The legend of the chained oak and mystery surrounds the tree and it is said that chains were added by the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury in a bit to prevent branches falling in an attempt to break a curse put on his family.
The local legend has also been turned into a ride at Alton Towers the once home of the Earl of Shrewsbury
Voting in the tree of the year competition can be done on the woodland trust website before September 24th.
The woodland trust put a brief description about the tree on their website.
“The Chained Oak is swathed in chains and a mysterious, sinister legend. As the Earl of Shrewsbury was passing the oak, on his way home to Alton Towers (back when it was a stately manor, and not a theme park), an old beggar woman stepped out in front of his carriage and asked for a coin. The Earl refused, and so the old woman cursed the Earl and his family. Whenever a branch of the mighty oak broke, a member of the Earl’s family would die. He dismissed her and carried on his way. That night, a raging storm broke one of the branches, duly accompanied by the death of one of the Earl’s family that same night.
To escape the curse, the Earl ordered that every branch of the tree be secured with chains, to prevent any more from falling. The legend has now taken on a second life, adapted and retold as part of the haunted house ride Hex at nearby Alton Towers.”