Shakespeare's Oak

William Shakespeare & Stoneleigh Abbey

The Shakespeare’s Oak within the grounds of Stoneleigh is thought to be around 1,000 years old and draws tree lovers from all over the country. It is said to have shaded William Shakespeare as he travelled through the area looking for inspiration for his many plays and sonnets. The oak also inspired Chandos Leigh to compose his own poem dedicated to the Oak.

The tree was issued a preservation order on 8th April 2016.

Or nobly towering, rank o'er rank,
Along the gently swelling bank.
Or in the river glassed —
It proudly stands, 'mong many more
Coeval oaks, now as of yore.
Majestic in repose :
And maidens fair, knights proud and brave,
Their plighted troth received and gave

Beneath its ample boughs,
See, where pre-eminent it rears
Its swelling foliage o'er compeers.
Like patriarchal sage.
Thus looked the matchless Shakspere, placed
Among those master-bards, who graced
Eliza's golden age.

Our present race it will survive.
By those who may hereafter live
In veneration held :
If by the lightning's stroke unrent,
Still flourishing, too prominent
In grandeur to be fell'd
And youth elate, in sportive mood,
Outrushing from the deep'ning wood 

That bounds the interspace
So green, where couch the antler 'd deer.
Shall strive with laughter-moving cheer
The giant to embrace.
How many changes, dark and bright,
Shadow and smi-burst, has the flight
Of years around it cast !
It flourishes, while things decay
That had their birth but yesterday,
It braves the tempest's blast. 

How many hearts shall beat with joy,
And cease to beat, ere time destroy
Its storm-defying frame :
How many scenes of weal and woe
Shall acted be, ere earth will shew

No vestige of its name.
This forest-scenery among
Rise others beautiful and strona:
Perchance in after times,
As yon untiring sun returns,
To canopy a bard who mourns
In meditative rhymes.
Of their columnar greatness proud,
Their leafy fulness, like a cloud
Of verdure to the eye ; 

Outlasting rising hall or tower,
They unborn Dians will embower.
As summers onward fly.

Chandos Leigh Esq

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Humphry Repton

Find out more about Repton and his Red Book

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Jane Austen

Jane stayed at Stoneleigh Abbey in 1806 with her mother a relative of the Reverend Thomas Leigh

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Tickets and Bookings

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