Trimming and preserving the old oak tree.
NEW LIFE FOR OLD OAK TREE
One of the oldest oak trees in Britain has been saved from decay and was given a new lease of life at Wilburton. Believed to be the 4th the oldest tree in the country it is said by its owner Mr Beauchamp Pell of Wilburton Estates to have been planted by Henry VII. The King was then on his way to Ethelreda’s Shrine at Ely Monastery travelling on the last pilgrimage. He stayed at Wilburton Rectory with the young Prince Hal (Prince of Wales and future Henry VIII), where he was entertained by the Rector, Thomas Alcock.
Mr Pell, a barrister, told Cambridge News that he had recently spent quite a sum of money on preserving the 600 years old oak. But the tree will not live for ever. The tree surgeons carrying out the final stages of the work is East Anglian and Metropolitan Tree Surgery Company, Cambridge. They say the tree has died and they can only extend the time before it becomes completely rotten.
”Normally an oak tree lasts for 1,700 years but the Wilburton oak is well into dead stage,” said the tree surgeon. Steel cables are now being used to support the boughs of the tree and 30 ft of its span has been trimmed.
Another workman said yesterday: ”All the villagers will be pleased that the tree is being preserved; if only for a few years.”
Mr Pell said he had an expert on trees visit his estate and confirmed that the tree was around 600 years old. ”I was anxious it should not be cut down,” he said. ”There are far too few trees in the Isle of Ely, this one was said to be dangerous. I didn’t want see it go so I had it preserved professionally.”