One Tree Hill

In the first edition of this book I listed seven “One Tree Hills” within reasonable distance of London. I also noted the widespread disagreement among various authorities as to which one of those Gilbert may have meant. Since then, George Williams (317) has submitted a rather poor photocopy of a cartoon by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). Entitled “The centre of attraction at Greenwich Fair: One Tree Hill,” it presents a wild and bawdy scene, which we have carefully copied and reproduced below. As you will note, among other disreputable actions, it shows several couples rolling down the slope while locked in close embrace. Some of the well-fed “ladies” with legs akimbo offer no evidence whatsoever of wearing undergarments. This surely is the sort of social activity that should revolt a person of Lady Sangazure’s refined tastes. In my opinion those other six hills are out of the running. This conclusion is strengthened by Rees (254) who has uncovered an 1865 comic drama named One-Tree Hill.

Act 1 is set in “Greenwich Park, Summit of One-Tree Hill.”

Enter a young husband and wife.

Annie: Tom, you won’t do anything to oblige me.

Tom: Why, haven’t I brought you here today to roll down the hill if you like?

For I suppose that is one of your reminiscences of happiness.

[Note: For those of you who don’t know London, Greenwich Park is in the southeast environs of that city. The fair had become such a nuisance that it was closed down in 1870 (161).]

I often roll down One Tree Hill
Act II
Sketch of One tree hill