The Groaning Tree of Baddesley

by Unknown

The curious story of the groaning tree at Baddesley, one of the small villages. Under the influence of the wind, trees often creak, or crack, and they may sometimes whistle, but 'groaning' is very unusual, and hence the surprise this tree caused many years ago. Very likely, if there was such a tree anywhere now, the railway would run excursion trains for people to visit it. Even at that time many persons came from long distances to hear this natural marvel.

The tree was discovered by a cottager, whose wife was ill in bed. She was much frightened by a peculiar moaning sound that seemed to come from some one in dreadful pain; and she asked her husband what it was. He told her that he thought the noise arose from the stags in the forest, but the neighbours also heard it, and found that it came from an elm-tree, young and apparently vigorous, at the end of the cottage garden. The villagers were greatly alarmed. Several naturalists came to see the tree, but they could not explain the noise. News of this strange tree spread, and many people travelled a long way to hear it. Some members of the Royal Family, who were staying on the coast not far off, paid it a visit. A little book was actually written about the groaning tree.

Some people said the noise came from the twisting of the roots, and others that there was water or air in the wood of the tree which could not get free. The noise seemed to come from the roots, and people fancied it groaned least when the weather was wet, and made most noise in dry weather. This went on for nearly two years, until at last a meddlesome gentleman took an opportunity to bore a hole in the trunk. The result was that the elm ceased to groan. It was then decided to take the tree up by the roots and examine it; but nothing has ever been discovered to account for the noise.