Skip navigation |

Law Day Oak

Discover more about the judicial past of this ancient oak in Kent...

24 July 2007

A long standing friend of the project recently told us the tale of the Law Day oak, in Bonnington, Kent. With such an intriguing name, we had to learn more about this legendary tree.

It is alleged that from at least the time of Queen Elizabeth I this oak tree has played an important role in the governance of this village on the edge of Romney Marsh. Indeed, in bygone years the oak has provided a setting for the local courts to hear pleas, and to this day the Bonnington Annual Parish Meeting is held under its branches.

Learned journals have also recorded the myths associated with this ancient oak, including a passage written by Mrs White in 1889:

"In the out-of-the-way villages on the borders of Romney marsh, the former home of shepherds and smugglers, the light of civilisation has not long shone, and many rites and superstitions connected with the worship of the oak are still persisted in by the inhabitants. A special sacredness appertains to the vows of lovers exchanged beneath the Bonnington oak, and its leaves, gathered with a certain formula at a certain time of night, are still sought by childless women and made into a medicinal draught, with the same intention as in Druidical days."

It seems that this tree is part of the fabric of village life, and we hope it stays this way for many more years to come.

Law Day oak in Bonnington, Kent