January 2023 Update

At the Novemer meeting of the Edwinstowe Historical Society, members and visitors
welcomed Dennis Hill whose talk focussed 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 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 of the main ones was finding 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”.