Major Hayman Rooke: 300th anniversary celebrations

by | 26 February 2023 | Environment, Heritage, Sherwood

Most Nottinghamshire people have heard of the Major Oak. Fewer know that this forest giant is actually named after Major Hayman Rooke. Fewer still know who the Major was. But this year – the 300th anniversary of his birth – all that will change!

As part of the Miner2Major Project, The Sherwood Forest Trust, Mansfield Woodhouse Heritage Link and The Ramblers (Notts Area) have created a new heritage walking trail to commemorate the life of Major Hayman Rooke. This year is the 300th anniversary of his birth on 20th February 1723.

Who Was Major Hayman Rooke?

The Major retired from a distinguished army career to live in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1777, settling at Woodhouse Place. Hayman was an early archaeologist – exploring and sketching many local archaeology sites. He discovered a Roman villa near Mansfield Woodhouse, a model of which can be viewed at Mansfield Museum. He was one of the first people to celebrate the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest, and wrote several pamphlets about them. His favourite oak was ‘Queen Oak’ and after his death, in 1806, the tree was renamed in his honour to the ‘Major Oak’. Read more about the Major at

The Trail

The new heritage walking trail has been designed to give a feel of what Mansfield Woodhouse would have looked like at the time Hayman Rooke lived there. The trail starts from the Library on Church Street, and includes Old Manor Road, Priory Road and Station Street with an extension to the blue plaque outside Woodhouse Place, along Mansfield Road. Trail leaflets will soon be available from Mansfield Woodhouse Library.

Other commemorations in the pipeline include a community celebration at Mansfield Woodhouse library, talks, and an educational video about the Major’s work, details of which will follow.