The Chained Oak – Alton, England - Atlas Obscura

The Chained Oak

Alton, England

A creepy tree with a local legend that inspired a nearby theme park ride.  

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The Chained Oak is an old tree wrapped in chains to prevent its branches from falling. This is due to an alleged curse put upon the tree when, in 1821, the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury refused a woman’s pleas for money. It is said she then put a curse upon the nearby oak: For every branch that falls from the tree a member of the Earl’s family would die. Later that night, one of the Earl’s relatives died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. Convinced that the curse was true, the Earl ordered that the branches of the oak should be chained up to prevent more from falling. 

Whether the legend is true or not, the oak has been fastened with chains for many years. At the nearby theme park Alton Towers, the legend of the Chained Oak was used as basis for a ride that opened in 2000. Naturally, the experience takes liberties with the legend, but does stick to its general outline. 

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