Reprinted from Newsletter 117, dated 2005 November–December

A century-old postcard of Gog and Magog

A very old photograph of two ancient trees with gnarled wood. A fence has been built from the left edge of the photo to the leftmost of the two trees, and then between that and the next tree, though it becomes obscured in bushes before reaching the tree. Closer to the camera, we are in a field. The trees, though clearly ancient, look to be somewhat healthy, with a lot of leaves. We see only up to the lowest parts of the trees’ canopies. The trunks are extremely thick. Overlaid along the bottom edge of the photo in white, handwritten-looking text, are the the title “Gog and Magog”, and then “Wick, Glastonbury”. In the bottom-right corner is the word “copyright”.

A rare photo of Gog and Magog taken in about 1903 by Walter Tully, Glastonbury’s pioneer photographer, when the ancient oaks were in a healthier condition than today — Gog, which looked the healthier of the two in the 1980s, seems now to have died.

The two trees, at the edge of Wick Farm, at the eastern foot of the Tor, are all that remain of an ancient oak row.

Adrian Pearse procured the postcard via Ebay, the online auction, where it was hotly contested. He wonders when the trees first received their appellation; it is already in use on the century-old postcard.