A beautiful old-fashioned English oak tree resides, in all its summer splendour, on a tiny green at the junction of Horn Hill and the Milton roads – does it have a story?
Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated nation-wide on 21st June, 1887. Adderbury marked this occasion by declaring a public holiday with a sit-down meal of beef, mutton and plum pudding for 350 men and boys and a meat tea for 650 women and children, costing a magnificent £75.13s.10d; the money was collected during the year. Also a loyal telegram was sent to the Queen.
Having fed a thousand people there was still a goodly sum of money left over – £12.13s.11d. It was decided to spend this money on three flagpoles (for where was not recorded) and six trees to be planted in the autumn in Adderbury and Milton
The Parish Magazine for January 1888 reported that on 31st December 1887 three trees were planted on the west side of Adderbury East green; these are the chestnuts we see today. Two were planted by the Reverend Henry Gepp’s sons and one by Miss Clara Gardner (presumably the daughter of Thomas Gardner who headed the fund-raising committee). A tree was planted by Master Cecil Granville on what is now Butler’s green at the junction of Horn Hill Road and Manor Road. The last, an oak tree, was planted by the Misses Bennett on the little green at the junction of Horn hill and the Milton road (then known as Bloxham Road). The Milton tree, a beech, was planted opposite Milton’s church by another member of the Turner family.
This jubilee year was an auspicious one for Adderbury as the new Banbury & Cheltenham Railway was opened on 6th April, 1887
The Misses Bennett lived with their two brothers at nearby Oak Tree Cottage on the corner of Berry Hill Road and Horn Hill Road.
A proper sit-down meal with meat, and trimmings, would rate as a special occasion as most of Adderbury’s male population worked in agriculture and were appalling badly paid so they and their families would rarely have been able to afford meat even once a week – and then only scrag-ends or, if fortunate, a rabbit caught while they were out in the fields.
Barry Davis has noticed a reference in the Banbury Advertiser for 1905 that reports that the Little Green (Colin Butler Green) was “the site rich in history where there growing upon it were three Waterloo trees and three Jubilee trees”.