Wivenhoe Park – Tales for the Telling

Thoughts in the Snow

Early morning snowfall in Wivenhoe Park frames the view to the Lake, featured in one of John Constable’s paintings, commissioned by owner General Rebow.

Wivenhoe Park in the Snow

Wivenhoe Park in the Snow

Wivenhoe Park is not only a “seat of learning”, providing the setting for Essex University, but is a landscape with historic connections and wild places to explore and enjoy.

The Park was landscaped in the 1800s by Richard Wood but there are many more layers of landscapes and memories to be discovered.

History and nature can set us off on the trail of old stories and stimulate us to create new ones.

What was the connection between the Rebows who once owned the Park and the taciturn hero, Rebow, from Baring-Gould’s Essex coast melodrama, Mehalah? Has anyone compared Baring-Gould’s description to¬†portraits of the Rebows which may survive?

General Rebow returned from the Peninsular War with cuttings of cork oaks in his boots (Wellington Boots one presumes). Two of these survive as contorted sprawling trees by Wivenhoe House.

One of Rebow's Cork Oaks at Wivenhoe House

One of Rebow’s Cork Oaks at Wivenhoe House

General Rebow is recorded as serving in the Peninsular War in 1812. Was he at the Battle of Salamanca? Using archive research and DNA testing, it might be possible to follow the trail of the cork oaks and find their origins. A tale waiting to be told?

In winter, trees lay bare their secrets but a fall of snow can cover the clues.
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