Happy birth­day to 200-year-old ‘Waterloo’ tree

Macclesfield Express - - NEWS -

A TREE planted to mark Eng­land’s vic­tory at Waterloo was be­ing cel­e­brated this week on the bat­tle’s 200th an­niver­sary.

The mag­nif­i­cent Weep­ing Ash tree was planted by the Whis­ton fam­ily at their home on Clarke Lane in Langley af­ter the Duke of Welling­ton’s vic­tory over Napoleon.

Mar­cus Lonyon, who now lives in the house, said the story of the tree has since been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

He posted birth­day mes­sage on the Mac­cles­field Ex­press’s Face­book page on June 18 to wish the tree a ‘happy birth­day’.

Mar­cus told the Ex­press: “When the bat­tle was won they held a party at the house and then they planted this tree in the gar­den.

“It is a weep­ing ash and it is mag­nif­i­cent.

“I woke up this morn­ing and took a photo of it be­cause it is ba­si­cally its birth­day. I’ve never come across a tree whose birth­day you could tell for cer­tain be­fore.”

The 47-year-old said the story about the tree had been passed down from owner to owner over the two cen­turies since.

Mar­cus added: “The Whis­ton fam­ily sold the house in around 1900 and told the man they sold it to that the tree had been planted to com­mem­o­rate the end of the bat­tle.

“Then in 1963, his widow sold the house to us and told us the story.

“So it’s been passed down over the years.”

Around 45,000 men were killed in the bat­tle, which took place in Bel­gium in 1815 and marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

The French Em­peror, Napoleon had es­caped ex­ile and was fi­nally de­feated by a coali­tion of Bri­tish, Prus­sian, Aus­trian and Rus­sian forces.

He was again sent into ex­ile and died on the is­land of St He­lena in the At­lantic Ocean in 1821.

Mar­cus, who was born in the house, added: “It was a piv­otal mo­ment in our coun­try’s history.

“The first light of day I saw was prob­a­bly from that tree.”

It’s not the only sig­nif­i­cant tree on his prop­erty whose past has come to life for Mar­cus.

A child evac­u­ated to the house dur­ing the Sec­ond World War carved his name on another when he was just six years old.

A few years ago he called Mar­cus out of the blue ask­ing if it is still there. Mar­cus said: “Of course the tree has grown a lot since then.

“Af­ter more than 50 years, the house still man­ages to sur­prise us.” ●● HUN­DREDS join trek to Waterloo mon­u­ment White Nancy. See p10.

Na­tional Army Mu­seum

●● Mark Lonyon and dog Rory stand be­neath the tree planted to celebrate the end of the Bat­tle of Waterloo (left)

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