The Chained Oak Tree of Alton Towers
The history of Alton Towers and the Chained Oak Tree is encompassed by local folklore. Legend has it that this is the Old Oak Tree of Legend given fame as the back story to the hex ride at Alton Towers.
The legend goes that late one evening the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury was traveling to his home in Alton Towers when his coach was halted by the sudden appearance of an old beggar woman (some say man), standing under this very oak tree.
The woman asked of the Earl a single coin. To which he refuses and shuns her quite cruelly. The old beggar then proceeds to place a curse on the Earl saying, ‘For every branch that falls from this old oak tree, a member of the Earl’s family will die!
The Earl dismissed the woman’s words and carried on his way.
Later that night a violent storm broke out and a bolt of lightning struck a branch and it fell to the ground below. The Earl’s son suddenly became ill and died!
The Earl, now crazed and consumed by his fear of this curse, ordered the tree be chained up so that no other branches could fall. The fallen branch was taken to the towers where in a deep vault the Earl performed experiments in an attempt to break the curse.
After no success and with much fear of the branch, the vault was bricked up and hidden for centuries. Only recently was the wall to the secret vault found behind a bookcase during renovation work.
In 2009, the latest branch fell. The Talbot family reported that no lost family member coincided with the felling.
The tree today isn’t located in the grounds of Alton Towers but close by. The local don’t like to tell people where it is as a. It’s on private land. And b. Since the tree has gained notoriety, it has attracted lots of visitors and with that some vandalism. Although to my eye I didn’t see any signs of obvious vandalism. There was however litter and one piece of paper, had directions to the tree that someone had used to find it.
Hope you enjoyed!