Memories of when Caton Oak stood tall

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A Guardian reader has got in touch to tell of his Caton Oak memories after we reported on its damage.

The Caton Oak tree, which has stood in Caton village for centuries, was discovered in pieces on June 20.

Sam Ashton, of Hornby, was saddened to hear of the Catok Oak’s fate and remembered a link between the tree and a shoe horse employee.

He said: “In my boyhood, in the 1940s, we had here in Hornby a thriving blacksmiths business in Post Horse Lane, behind the Castle Hotel.

“It was owned and run by Mel` Titterington and his son Ken. In those days much of their work was shoeing horses, mostly from the farms. One of the employees was Ted Shuttleworth and at least one day a week Ted loaded up a portable forge into a van and set up shop under the boughs of the Caton Oak, not that I remember it having a grand title, and the local farmers would bring their horses to him.

“At that time I was commuting daily by Ribble bus (service 39) to the Friends School in Lancaster. In the morning on my outward journey Ted could sometimes be seen getting ready, and occasionally he would still be there when I returned in the late afternoon.

“Incidentally his father, also Ted, in the 1930s, was head horseman on the Hornby Castle estate and can be seen in David Kenyon`s book on Wray, `snigging` felled trees with his horses.”