A glimpse of Norfolk’s other Kett’s Oak
It may not have quite the renown of its illustrious namesake near Hethersett, but this Kett’s Oak at Ryston Hall, near Downham Market, has its own link to Kett’s Rebellion.
The tree is believed to mark the spot where rebels from the region met up during the 1549 uprising, before marching across the county to Norwich to join up with Robert Kett’s main force. And its history can be traced back even further, to the mid 13th century, when it was planted.
Yesterday, the Pratt family, who have lived at Ryston Hall since it was built in 1670, opened their gardens to allow access to their Kett’s Oak, as part of a charity garden fete.
The event raised funds for The Haller Foundation, an organisation that supports communities in East Africa, and for St Michael’s Church, Ryston, where Sir Roger Pratt, who designed Ryston Hall, is buried.
One of his descendants, Louisa Pratt, who organised the day, said: “People have shown a great deal of interest in Kett’s Oak, which is on private land, and not normally open to the public.”
At the time of Kett’s Rebellion it stood in a seven-acre field, and the rebels left a carved wooden tablet beside it.
That has disintegrated, but it was replaced by a stone tablet in the 19th century with the same message on it. It reads, “Dear Mrs Pratt, your sheep are very fat, and we thank you for that. We have left you the skins, to buy your lady’s pins, and you’ll thank us for that”.
Kett’s Oak near Hethersett was also a meeting point for the rebels. It has been preserved by Norfolk County Council, and a new plaque was unveiled in 2006.
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