– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –
Today we are continuing our theme of ‘Quirky Dorset’ and this is Part 23. As we have seen, there are lots of quirky things in Dorset if you just keep your eyes open, and some of them involve trees! This is just one such place, and it is a place that perhaps should have been part of the NHS 🙂 ! This is The Remedy Oak.
The Remedy Oak
So, why the name? Well, it is an oak tree, and an ancient one at that, so that takes care of that part. Remedy suggest a cure for something, so perhaps the leaves had some special powers when boiled, or maybe the wood had healing properties? Neither of those. In fact the tree had no curative powers at all, it is something much stranger than that!
Way back in the 16th century, King Edward VI came to the throne at the age of just 9 years – he was known as The Boy King for obvious reasons. He apparently had special powers whereby he could cure people suffering from a skin disease known as scrofula, which was a disease that affected the lymph nodes in the neck, and which was commonly known as ‘King’s Evil’. It was believed that if you were touched by the monarch of England or France, you would be cured of this horrible illness. The process was known as being, ‘touched for King’s Evil’!
Apparently this miraculous power had been passed down from Edward the Confessor who himself had received it from St Remigious. So common was this healing process that a ceremony for it was included in the Book of Common Prayer. At the same time as the ceremony was carried out, it was tradition that the now healed person would be given a gold coin by the monarch as a memento of their healing.
So how does this involve this very old tree in order for it to be given the ‘Remedy’ title? Well, it seems that the Boy King used to sit under this oak tree in Dorset and touch local people for ‘King’s Evil’. Apparently there are no records of how many people were healed……..or whether the treatment was available under the NHS 😉 !
Truth or legend? Well, who knows! What we do know though is that this is a beautiful and very ancient oak tree which itself is now in need some serious need of healing as it is nearing the end of its life. Half has already rotted away and steel cables are now needed to prevent it collapsing into the road, and to prolong its life for as long as possible because it is part of Dorset’s ancient heritage. When that eventuality does come, as it surely must, another oak tree (son of Remedy Oak?) is growing nearby 🙂 !
Oh, and there is one other interesting point – it seems that the Boy King himself suffered from scrofula so its maybe a case of ‘physician heal thyself’ 🙂 !
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler
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