Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Trysting Tree ~ Folklore

Many a romantic story features trysting trees, including the tales of Robin Hood and his merry men. In the 1845 version of the story, Maid Marion and Robin Hood are buried together under their 'Trysting Tree.' Scott's Ivanhoe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The White Company make several references to trysting trees.
Tom Cadrin.jpg
And named a trysting day,
And bade his messengers ride forth
East and west and south and north,
To summon his array.
~ A poem by Macaulay.
In Sir Walter Scott's Waverley the large decaying trunk of a Trysting tree lies on Tully-Veolan moor and is still used as a meeting place.
Old Photograph The Covin Trysting Tree Bemersyde Melrose Scotland
Trysting trees are trees of any species which have, through their individual prominence, appearance, or position, been chosen as traditional or popular meeting places for meetings for specific purposes. Names, dates, and symbols are sometimes found carved on the bark, favouring trees with smoother bark, such as beech, hornbeam and sycamore.
Many other forms of landscape features have served as trysting places, such as the Lochmaben Stone on the border of Scotland and England. It was a well known, well recognised and easily located 'marker' on the Scottish Marches and where a number of functions were performed prior to the Union of the Crowns, such arranging truces, exchanging prisoners, etc.
Smaller Lochmaben Stone (Clochmabenstane or Old Graitney) (Standing Stone or Menhir).
A 'tryst' is a time and a place for a meeting, especially of lovers. In Old French the word meant an appointed station in hunting. It is likely from an Old Norse source sharing its origin with 'traust', and the Modern English 'trust' (and thus also related to the Old English 'treowe' which survives as the modern 'true'). A trysting day is an arranged day of meeting or assembling, as of soldiers, friends, lovers and the like.
There is a trysting tree to the memory of Robin Hood, situated in the small wood just off the left-hand side of Kiveton Lane on the south exit of Todwick in South Yorkshire. The "venerable oak" was stated as "great trysting tree in the Hart-hill Walk" which was, in earlier times, a private road owned and maintained by the Dukes of Leeds, and now forms that part of Kiveton Lane between the Rectory glebe land and Kiveton.
On the sandy heath of Barnhamcross Common in East Anglie used to be a pine tree about which curious customs have gathered. Called variously the Trysting Pine, Kissing Tree or Wishing Tree, the trunk had twisted and curled itself into a loop not far from the ground. One tradition said that a person had to pull off or knock down a single fir cone, hold it in the right hand, place one's head through the loop and make a wish. Another version told that couples must hold hands through the loop, then kiss and pledge undying love, hoping the tree would bind them to it with its magic.
Robert Burns writes of a trysting thorn tree (see below) at the Mill of Mannoch at Coylton in South Ayrshire. A new hawthorn tree was planted on the site and iron railings placed around it. This tree still survives (2012).
The Millmannoch Trysting Tree
The National Burns Collection holds a cross section of thorn wood from a tree which grew at the Mill of Mannoch, Coylton, Ayrshire which was said to be Robert Burns' "trysting thorn", a romantic meeting place.
One polished surface of the thorn wood reads:

"At length I reached the bonnie glen,
Where early life I sported,
I pass'd the mill and trysting thorn,
Where Nancy aft I courted"
The 'Kissing Beech' is located at Kilravock Castle, Inverness-shire. This ancient 'layering' beech took its name from an occasion when a member of the local laird's family was caught in the middle of a kiss with a maid under the tree's canopy. It carries the names of many pairs of lovers and symbols of their devotion inscribed in its venerable expanse of smooth bark.
Source HERE
The 'Great Fraser Yew' may be as much as 700 years old and once served as the rallying point of the Clan Fraser members in times of trouble.
Great Fraser Yew
Kelso, in the Scottish Borders has a 'trysting tree' which is connected with the annual Common Ridings.
The locally famous trysting place of the 'Three Thorns of Carlinwalk', this being an old name for Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway, are recorded in the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland.
Winston Howes, 70, spent a week planting each oak sapling in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, after his wife of 33 years Janet died. The farmer planted thousands of oak saplings in a six-acre  field – but left a heart-shaped  area in the middle, with the  point facing towards his wife’s childhood home.
Josephine Wall.
The Trysting Tree at Oregon State University, in the USA, is a large Gray Poplar (Populus × canescens) located southeast of Benton Hall, and was a popular gathering spot on campus. According to one story, George Coote, a faculty member in Horticulture, planted the tree between 1880 and 1885. An early alumnus claimed that the Trysting Tree was so named because of its "magical effects on students, especially in springtime". The tree's popularity was such that the Board of Regents felt obliged to place two arc lights on the cupola of Benton Hall (then the administration building) "to keep the tree from being overworked". On September 27, 1987, the original Trysting Tree was cut down because of advanced disease in its trunk and limbs. Prior to its removal, Jack Stang (Department of Horticulture) took several cuttings from the tree and rooted them. One these "off shoots" (Trysting Tree II) was planted in 1982 near the original tree.
A poem, published in 1908, entitled The Trysting Tree, begins:
Beneath the faithful Trysting Tree,
A youth and maiden stand:
The youth, a noble lad is he,
Who claps the fair white hand;
The light that fills those earnest eyes,
Who can understand?
Its final lines are:
Long may'st thou live, thou worthy friend
Thou dear old Trysting Tree
Long may thy branches proudly wave
Majestic'ly and free
To mind us of those happy days
Spent at old O. A. C.*
More lore HERE
Gwynne estate and cottage
What would your choice of trysting tree be?
This would be the trysting tree of my choice, in Calageata. :o) 
It would be like a larger form of Hawthorn. Flowering as a Jacaranda/Blossom/Willow.
Photograph Cherry blossoms at night by Noriko Tabuchi on 500px.
Love and light,

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