Old Knobbley grows in an area of woodland on Furze Hills, Mistley, Essex, England. It is thought that he could be as much as 800 years old, but it is very difficult to tell. When a tree reaches that kind of age growth slows down considerably, to the point that time seems to stand still.
Old Knobbley was most definitely pollarded in it's youth. It has been ravaged by fire and at one point had a hornets nest amongst it's boughs. It was and remains an excellent tree for those young at heart to climb.
|Circumference||(at 1.3m from base)||9.5m|
|Hollow||(from top of trunk, down)||3.4m|
|(diameter at top)||1.3m|
|(diameter at bottom)||.55m|
|Tree||Span||(at widest point)||11.5m|
Measurements taken March 2000 and are approximate.
Prior to the mid 1700's the land on which Old Knobbley stands was part of the Earl of Oxfords Estate. During this time the area was Park Land, it is believed that Old Knobbley was a part of the park and is one of 3 or 4 remaining trees of similar age that stretch, in a line, across 2 (or so) miles.
During the mid 1700's the land was divided up, the new owners the Rigby family planted Oak trees to be pollarded and used locally for many different purposes. Some of the Rigby's Oak trees remain in the woodland today, however the majority of the oaks are much younger, less than 100 years and are either self sown or unwittingly planted by Jays.
The Rigby family and their descendants, the Normans, held the land until around 1945 when Furze Hills was taken over by the British Army. The army proceeded to build about 20 huts on the land. When the Army vacated the huts, at least one family squatted there. The huts have since been demolished (although there are some areas of overgrown concrete floors within the wood).
Later when the cold war was prominent in everyone's minds, a 'Secret Bunker' for nuclear defence purposes was constucted nearby. Government officials would shelter there and govern the region if the worst happened. A vast hole was dug out of the ground and the concrete structure slowly took shape as local kids played footie on the playing field next door. The 'Secret Bunker' remains today, although not so secret and currently empty (after a spell of being open to the public). Mistley Parish Council purchased Furze Hills after the 2nd World War and it remains in their careful hands.
If you have any informaton (or photos) about Old Knobbley or the surrounding area please email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to add information to this page.
Many thanks to D Webb for information that lead to recent changes to this page.