The Creepy Legend of the Chained Oak

By Gary Rogers, CC BY-SA 2.0, LinkBy Gary Rogers, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The Chained Oak is an oak tree, tied in chains, near to the village of Alton, Staffordshire, England. The tree, referred to as “The Old Oak”, is the subject of a creepy local legend.

According to legend, on an autumn night in 1830’s, the Earl of Shrewsbury was returning to his home at Alton Towers when an old woman stopped his carriage and begged for a coin. The Earl cruelly dismissed her, so the old woman stated that she would place a curse on him. The old woman told the Earl that for every branch on the Old Oak Tree that fell, a member of the Earl’s family would die. The Earl dismissed this and carried on his way. That same night, a violent storm caused a single branch from the old oak tree to break and fall. Later that evening, a member of the Earl’s family suddenly and mysteriously died.
Now firmly believing the power of the curse, the Earl is said to have ordered his servants to chain every branch together to prevent other branches from falling. To this day, the Oak tree remains chained up. There are slight variations in the story, however the core remains the same.
Since then, a considerable proportion of the chained oak has collapsed. It is thought that one of the chains, having become integral to the tree’s structure, rusted through resulting in the collapse of part of the lower side of the tree.
The legend was adapted and fancifully elaborated to form the back-story for the ride Hex – the Legend of the Towers at the nearby Alton Towers theme park.
info source: wikipedia

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