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Borough of Harrogate
| Yorkshire and the Humber|
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Cowthorpe is a village in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Wetherby, 7 miles (11 km) from Knaresborough and 13.5 miles (21.7 km) from York.
St Michael's Church in the village is a Grade I listed building, built by a Brian Roucliffe, and consecrated in 1458. In the choir, on a large flat stone, are the effigies, in brass, of a man and his wife, bearing betwixt them the model of a church, and supposed, from the inscription, likewise in brass, now scarce legible, to be in memory of the Founder and his wife.
Cowthorpe is the home of an enormous tree, the Cowthorpe Oak. Its circumference is 60 feet (18 m); its principal limb (which is propped) extends 48 feet (15 m) from the bole. The tree is decaying fast; tradition speaks of its being in decay for many generations. "Compared with this," says Dr. Hunter, in Evelyn's Silva, "all other trees are children of the Forest." According to an early history of Knaresborough, "The leading branch fell, by a storm, in the year 1718; which, being measured with accuracy, was found to contain five tons and two feet of wood. Before this accidental mutilation, its branches are said to have extended their shade over half an acre of ground; thus constituting, in a single tree, almost a wood itself". Image of Cowthorpe Oak
Langdale's Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire (1822) records that "This oak in Yorkshire, attracted many visitors on account of its age, it girth and its history ... the circumference of which, close by the ground, is 60 feet (18 m), and its principal limb (which is propped) extends 48 feet (15 m) from the bole. This venerable oak is decaying fast, the trunk and several of the branches appearing to be completely rotten, except the bark; tradition speaks of its being in decay for many generations. The intermixture of foliage amongst the dead branches, show how sternly this giant struggles for life, and how reluctantly it surrenders to all conquering time.