Royal Oak (tree)
Table of contents
After the defeat of Charles's Royalist army at the hands of Cromwell's New Model Army, the King fled with Lord Derby, Lord Wilmot and other royalists, seeking shelter at the safe houses of Whiteladies Priory and Boscobel House.
The King was among those sheltered at Boscobel House, where he was disguised as a woodman by the owner of the property, Charles Giffard, and the Pendrill family. Their initial attempt to escape to Wales was thwarted by Commonwealth troops, and the King returned to the house. He there met with Colonel Carlos, one of the last royalists to escape the battlefield.
As Commonwealth troops approached the house, searching for Royalists, the King and Colonel Carlos spent a day hidden in the Royal Oak, and the next day hidden in a priest hole at Boscobel House. After this, Giffard and the Pendrills were able to smuggle the King and Carlos to France.
When King Charles returned to the Kingdom of England and took the throne in 1660, he granted annuities to the Pendrills for their services, and the Pendrills and Colonel Carlos were permitted to amend their coats of arms to depict an oak tree and three royal crowns.
The Oak today
Also, today, hundreds of pubs bear the name Royal Oak, many of which bear a sign featuring an image of an oak tree and crown.