A story of ancient sacred oaks, a Victorian mystic and a Very Rare Tree.
The sacred Whiteleaved Oak was originally a different tree from the ancient sacred Sessile Oak tree that burned down in the summer of 2020. It was a very rare variegated oak for whom the Whiteleaved Oak Hamlet was named in Herefordshire. This legendary tree did have some cuttings that were taken and grown in the hamlet but they died eventually, probably because the graft was infected or the root stock was unsuitable.
The variegated oak Quercus Robur ‘Albomarmarata' is a very beautiful tree whose leaves are like snowflakes with no two the same. It is also very rare with only 69 of these trees known in the UK.
How Do We Know there was a White Leaved Oak at Whiteleaved Oak Hamlet?
"...a greate Oake caulled the white leved Oake [which] bereth white leaves."
In 1877 Edwin Lees wrote in 'The forest and chace of Malvern, its ancient & present state: with notices of the most remarkable old trees remaining within its confines',
"The "White-leaved Oak" valley between the Ragged-stone and Keysend-hills, keeps in its name the memory of an oak that existed there within memory, whose leaves being variegated with white blotches, caused it to be considered a curiosity and prodigy."
Clearly a very ancient tree by Victorian times the tree finally succumbed or was chopped down at that time.
James Bateman the Victorian Plant Collector, Gardener and Mystic
Both the Sessile Oak and the White Leaved Oak trees grew near the hamlet at the point where three counties meet and said to be a centre of an earth mysteries site where many ley lines converge. It could be that James Bateman the renowned Victorian plant collector, gardener and mystic visited the hamlet and collected a cutting from this very tree. In any event there is now a Variegated oak Quercus Robur ‘Albomarmarata' growing in his now famous National Trust garden at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire, England. It is a remarkable garden full of all sorts of mystical references including an Egyptian temple and Chinese pagoda.
Gary Biltcliffe following in the footsteps of people such as James Bateman, is continuing exploring earth mysteries traditions as a well respected earth mysteries author and he is now resurrecting the spirit of these trees. You can find out more in the two articles Honouring The Whiteleaved Oak Part 1 and Whiteleaved Oak In Memorium Help Us Plant A Living Legacy