Colour-tinted postcard, postmarked 4th July 1907, showing the Shire Oak on Otley Road. This decaying remnant was all that was left of the once-magnificent tree believed to have stood there for more than a thousand years. The first known reference was in Ralph Thoresby's 'Ducatus Leodiensis' (1715) in which he suggested that the tree, being ancient even then, may have been the very oak that had given its name to the 'Skyrack' wapentake (the ancient division of the county) as Skyrack was interpreted as 'Shire Oak'. This led to speculation about the tree being the focal point of Headingley in Anglo-Saxon times, where clans gathered to hold court and make decisions, but no hard evidence has been found for this. The tree itself eventually succumbed to age and collapsed in 1941.
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