Local families will know of the famous tree known as Kett’s Oak, just up the road (B1172) from the school between Hethersett and Wymondham. It allegedly marks the spot where, in 1549, the rebel Robert Kett and his peasant army stopped for a pep talk on their way to Norwich to protest against rich barons, who they said had stolen common land.
However, according to the official Government heritage website, the name actually comes from the fact that nine of the rebels were hanged there after their defeat… perhaps not a story to share with our little ones! A local legend also claims that the tree’s roots spread all the way from Wymondham to Hethersett.
The oak is alive but not in great shape. It split down the middle where it divided into two huge branches; one branch has been lopped off, the other is supported on a wooden truss. The crack has been filled with cement and the trunk was bound with iron bands in 1967. The second picture below shows the tree being trimmed just after the iron brace was fitted, and the third, taken recently, shows how the tree has grown around the brace.
You can park in the layby next to the tree to get a good look at it…but you may not want to when the wind is howling on a dark Hallowee’n night!
Did you know…
- Kett’s rebellion started in Wymondham, with more and more men joining the force as they headed to Mousehold Heath in Norwich. By their arrival, they are said to have numbered 15,000.
- They were defeated by an army led by the Earl of Warwick and Kett was captured, held in the Tower of London, tried for treason, and hanged from the walls of Norwich Castle on December 7 1549.