Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Scarlett Fever

A few weeks ago, we went to the cinema to see 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. Ever since, Mrs WP has remained enthralled by stories of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII (and has read several books on the subject) and I have remained enthralled by, erm, Scarlett Johansson (and have looked at many pictures on the subject).

So I read with interest this excerpt from a posting on the 'Virtual Voyage' blog:

"During the time that we lived in Worcester Park in Surrey, which had originally been one of Henry's 'Great Parks' for deer hunting, we could see the remains of a large cork-oak stump opposite our house.

Tradition had it that this tree was used as a post-box or meeting stage when Henry was illicitly courting Anne - his riders from Hampton Court Palace on the Thames would meet the riders coming from Hever Castle at this tree."

Through a process of exhaustive and tireless research (well, OK, I just e-mailed the blog author), I have tracked down this tree stump - and here it is:

If you wish to visit it, pay homage, perform a weird dance around it, or merely sit near it and dream of Scarlett Johanson, then you can find this tree stump at the entrance to Malden Green Farm (near Worcester Park station, for those who didn't realise it was there).

Who knows whether this is historical fact or merely a fanciful local urban myth. If you draw a straight line on a map (go on, you know you want to) from Hever Castle to Hampton Court, then you'll pretty much strike Worcester Park.

And of course, as a curious local you'll know all about the history of Worcester Park being one of King Henry VIII's hunting grounds.

Either way, I love the idea of a humble tree stump in Worcester Park being the setting for exchange of ye olden text messages between the two lovers.

Or perhaps it's just a reason for me to think a little more about Scarlett Johansson.