by Jem Croucher


In Buckingham’s expansive green
Stands an ancient chestnut tree
Its gnarled and massive girth attests
to the ages it has seen

As a sapling it was planted
two hundred years ago
To line the driveway leading
to the grand house portico

The house now long a ruin
the drive no longer there
Yet the chestnut stands in parkland
which the public now all share

It’s seen many generations
pass by over time
Yet here in twenty-fifteen still
Remains and in its prime

Shoreham’s original Buckingham House was built c.1655 and, although now long since laid to ruin, this proud chestnut survives. The only one of many planted either side of a long carriageway leading up to the grand portico of the old house as a part of its 1820 rebuild across what is now Buckingham Park. Part of the original 1820 facade of the house survives, complete with its east-facing portico. But, due to a still unforgivable oversight of early 1960’s planning permission, a block of flats was built in its interior. This now sits in a housing area known as ‘Woodview’ just outside the 38 acre Buckingham Park, sold to the local council from part of the original 55 acre estate in 1931.

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