182 Interesting and historical facts about England.
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Many legends surround the mighty 'Major Oak' of Sherwood Forest, but one thing can be certain and that is its incredible size, for this ancient tree not only has a girth of 10 metres (33ft) but also a spread of 28 metres (92ft) making it the largest oak tree in the whole of Britain. It also weighs an estimated 23 tonnes!
Due to its enormous spread, many of its branches are supported with props, and have been since Victorian times, helping the tree to stay intact and healthy. The area directly around it has also been fenced off to keep visitors feet from compressing the soil above and around its roots.
People think that it was named because of its size, but in fact it was named after Major Hayman Rooke, a local historian who described the tree in 1790.
People from all over the world decend on Sherwood Forest to see this remarkable tree, which is said to have been a favoured hideout of Robin Hood and his merry men.
St Mary's Church, in the historic village of Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, is where Robin Hood is said to have married Maid Marion.
On 23rd March 1540, Watham Abbey was the last working Abbey or Monastery to be surrendered to the crown during the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' which happened under King Henry VIII between 1536-1540 after his falling out with the pope. Over 800 religious buildings, including Monasteries, Abbeys, and Convents were disbanded during this period.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries happened between 1536 and 1540, lasting 4 years, and was started after the pope refused King Henry VIII permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon. Henry then broke away from the Catholic Church and formed the 'Church of England' of which he became head. He then went about the seizure and destruction of over 800 Roman Catholic Abbeys, Monasteries and convents across England, Wales and Ireland, using the proceeds from the seized wealth to help fund his wars against Scotland and France.
Sometime during the late twelfth century at Glastonbury Abbey, monks were said to have discovered the burial site and bones of King Arthur and Guinevere between two stone pyramids and buried deep within the earth in a hollow oak. The monks then brought the remains into the church and placed them in a marble tomb where they remained for a further 300 or so years until 1539 when the site was abandoned after the monastery was suppressed and looted by King Henry VIII, who also ordered Glastonbury's abbot drawn and quartered. Whether King Arthur was really buried here nobody knows, some say it was a story made up by the monks who were trying to cash in on the legend after a great fire in 1184 destroyed many of the abbeys buildings and the monks needed to find money for the reconstruction of the place. However, many believe it to be true and to this day people visit the site drawn in by the legend and stories of the famous King.
Hesket Newmarket, a picturesque village in Cumbria, is home to England's first registered co-operatively owned pub - The Old Crown, which is owned by some 150 customers and supporters from the local and wider community.
A tale has been told for over 800 years that Tintagel Castle in Cornwall was the birthplace of the noble King Arthur, who was protected by Merlin the wizard who lived below the castle in a cave.
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, 1998. New excavations on the eastern side of the island uncovered high-status imported Mediterranean pottery of the 5th and 6th centuries, along with some fine glass believed to be from Malaga in Spain and dating back to the 6th or 7th century. Even more incredible was the discovery of an ancient 1,500 year old peice of slate, on which were two latin inscriptions, with the second one reading: "Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had (this) made." Nobody knows who Artognou was, so that opens a new mystery for this enchanting and special ancient place.
The Mermaid Inn along Mermaid Street in the pretty town of Rye, East Sussex, is reputed to be Britain's most haunted pub.
Beverley Westwood is a pasture to the West of the town of Beverley and is one of the largest areas of common land in the UK. It was granted to the people of the town by the lord of the manor in 1380. The land is home to a racecourse and a golf course, with a famous landmark on the common being the black sail-less windmill, known locally as Black Mill, which stands where a windmill has stood since the 1650's.