Bishop’s Tree

‘In Skelbrooke Park stood an immense tree which has now disappeared, though the ground on which it stood is still called ‘Bishop’s Tree Root.’ Tradition says that the Bishop of Hereford with a numerous train of attendants, when travelling to York came upon some seeming peasants who were roasting venison on the King’s highway. In just indignation at this flagrant infringement of the forest laws, he asked them what they meant. They answered him that they meant to dine. He then gave orders to his attendants to seize and bind them and lead them captive to York. They prayed for mercy, but he swore by St. Charity that he would show them none. Robin Hood then drew his bugle horn from beneath his smock-frock and blew three blasts upon it, on which the Bishop and his train were instantly surrounded by sixty bowmen in Lincoln green. The Bishop was not only held up for a ransom of three hundred pounds, but was compelled to dance an undignified jig beneath this oak tree in Skelbrooke Park, before he was allowed to proceed on his journey’. (Camden’s Britannia) It is suggested that the Bishop could have been Thomas Cherlton, who was Bishop of Hereford from 1327 to 1344.(1)

1. This paragraph is taken from A History and Guide to the Parish Church of St. Michael And All Angels, Skelbrooke, Canon Stanley K Reynolds, Former Rector of Skelbrooke, (1992).



Dobson and Taylor (Rymes of Robyn Hood, p. 308) give the location of Bishop’s Tree as, 51SW SE:517121, from the Seventh series of one inch Ordnance Survey Maps.