The Capon ‘Hanging’ Tree
The Capon ‘Hanging’ Tree The Capon Tree is one of the few remaining original trees of the Jed Forest. Possibly as much as 1,000 years old, the hollow oak has a huge ten-foot diameter trunk, now split in two. The tree, designated as one of the 50 most significant trees in the United Kingdom, gets its name from the Capuchin monks of Jedburgh Abbey who were known to rest under it.
The Capon Tree, a popular meeting place for border clans during the Middle Ages, became known as ‘The Hanging Tree.’ Today, the Capon Tree is the scene of one of the ceremonies held during The Callant’s Festival. The Charter of 1502 named the festival after Jethart Callant, founder of the Borders Games Festival.
The festival is held in early July of each year, where the Callant and his cavalcade proceed to the Capon Tree where a sprig from it is pinned to the Callant’s lapel by the president of the festival. The Turnbulls were notorious reivers who ignored the laws of the king. They were indeed a rowdy group that had little or no respect for the laws meant to keep the lower class down. Reiving was not only a way of life but also another way to thumb their noses at the authorities that tried to control the clan.