The Original Oak pub, the Skyrack, Shire Oak Road – familiar names which connect Headingley to a thousand years of history. The village dates back before the Domesday Book.
Its principal claim to fame over the centuries was the huge oak tree which stood on the green, overshadowing the narrow lane which wandered through fields and moorland down to Leeds. Known as the Shire Oak (Skyr-ak is the Danish version) the tree was the focus of a wide area of government called a wapentake, and as a result Headingley was home to some important figures in Leeds history. The slowly decaying tree finally collapsed in 1941, in the middle of WW2 – look out for the faded plaque in the wall next to the Original Oak which marks its place, and for the oak tree in the nearby corner, planted 60 years ago to keep the tradition alive.
Author of Headingley "This Pleasant Rural Village" Clues to the Past
Northern Heritage Publications, 2008
Copyright: The Thoresby Society, the Leeds Historical Society