At the November meeting of Edwinstowe Historical Society, members and visitors welcomed Dennis Hill.
Dennis’ talk focused on Major Hayman Rooke, who was born in London in 1723. He was well educated, mixed with royalty and joined the army at the age of 12, working his way through the ranks and becoming a Major in 1761. After retirement, in 1777 he moved to Woodhouse Place, in Mansfield Woodhouse, where he lived until his death in 1806.
He was a man of many interests and was involved in the community. His knowledge of natural history and meteorology enabled him to become a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians and a Fellow of the Royal Society. In his travels around the country, he made many observations and discoveries; one such was the discovery of a Roman villa on land just west of Mansfield Woodhouse.
He was a keen artist, the proof of which is to be found in his books about local great estates such as Welbeck, Bolsover, Haddon Hall and Thoresby, and his pamphlet entitled ‘A Sketch of the Ancient and Present State of Sherwood Forest’.
Reputedly, the Major would often be seen sitting beneath the ‘Queen’s Oak’ (or Cockpen tree) which led the local villagers to refer to the tree as ‘The Major’s Oak’, later becoming known as The Major Oak. A remarkable legacy.
The Society took part in St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival, decorating a tree provided by the RSPB. The chosen theme was ‘Sherwood Forest and Edwinstowe’s Historical Celebrities’.
Meetings are held in the Church Rooms, Mansfield Road, Edwinstowe NG21 9NJ on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm, lasting approximately two hours. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available. The annual subscription is £12.00, and visitors are welcome at a charge of £3.00.
There are no meetings in December and January, with Welbeck Abbey the subject of February’s talk.