THE ROYAL OAK.
In Harrod's Postal and Commercial Directory of Norfolk for 1872, a fairly long list is given of the trades and occupations of the chief inhabitants of Feltwell. And in this list is the name of Robert Rice, whose occupation is shown as licensee of the Royal Oak Inn. This, if correct, is interesting, as it leads one to suppose that the Feltwell Oak was formerly known as the Royal Oak, owing no doubt to the tradition that King Charles II sat under it. For close on two centuries Royal Oak Day was celebrated annually throughout the country on May 29th, being the day of "His Majesty's Birth and Happy Return to His Kingdoms." There was a special Form of Service in the Prayer Book but it was removed by Act of Parliament in 1859. The picturesque name of Royal Oak Day was due apparently to the highly coloured exploits of Charles II in the oak tree at Boscabel when pursued by Cromwell's soldiers. He is said to have concealed himself among the leaves and branches of the tree while the soldiers rode underneath. As a matter of fact it was an old tree, hollow with age, and died not long after, And old oak trees, as any Feltwell person can testify, do not suffer from a superabundance of foliage in which to hide. The truth of the matter is that when run to earth by Cromwell's men, Charles very wisely hid himself in the hollow of the tree. In any case the tree died; the present Boscabel Oak is from a sapling that grew in its place.
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