Table made from 5,000-year-old oak tree to be unveiled at Ely Cathedral in honour of The Queen

This table made from a 5,000-year-old fossilised black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17

This table made from a 5,000-year-old fossilised black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17 in honour of the Queen. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Company

A 5,000-year-old fossilised black oak tree that has been transformed into a large sculptured table is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral this month (May) in honour of The Queen. 

The 13-metre table, that is large enough to seat 50 people, will be unveiled at the cathedral on May 17 and has been described as ‘a table for the nation’. 

This table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17.

This table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

The unique Fenland Black Oak Project has seen a team of craftspeople preserve the tree since it was unearthed in the Fen peat of Southery in March 2012 (Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year). 

The team's vision for the table was for it to sit in Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel as its on high grounds surrounded by fields which, very occasionally, still yield buried ancient Black Oaks. 

Now, after 10 years of hard work with key sponsors, the tree has been transformed into an iconic sculptured table and the team’s vision will soon come to life. 

The table will commemorate the Queen’s long reign to the throne during her Platinum Jubilee year. 

The giant 13-metre 5,000-year-old black oak tree was found in Ely fens during March 2012.

The giant 13-metre 5,000-year-old black oak tree was found in Ely fens during March 2012. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

The black oak tree's 5,000-year-old boards were put on an articulated lorry and transported to The Building Crafts College

The black oak tree's 5,000-year-old boards were put on an articulated lorry and transported to The Building Crafts College in Stratford, London ahead of construction of the table in 2019. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

Hamish Low, project leader, said: “This project has been entirely funded by private individuals who have shared the vision of the project as well as some charitable foundations and trusts. 

“Other support has come from The Building Crafts College in Stratford, London, who allowed the use of their workshop facilities and encouraged students from their cabinet making and woodworking courses to get involved.” 

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Upon discovery, the massive 5,000-year-old boards were put on an articulated lorry and transported to the college ahead of construction in 2019. 

18 people had to lift each board into a specifically designed and constructed 14-metre drying kiln. 

After 10 years of hard work with key sponsors, the 5,000-year-old tree has been transformed into an iconic sculptured table.

After 10 years of hard work with key sponsors, the 5,000-year-old tree has been transformed into an iconic sculptured table. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

After 10 years of hard work with key sponsors, the 5,000-year-old tree has been transformed into an iconic sculptured table.

After 10 years of hard work with key sponsors, the 5,000-year-old tree has been transformed into an iconic sculptured table. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

Hamish added: “The table will make its journey from workshops in Kent to Ely on May 9 to be installed in readiness for its residency in Ely Cathedral from May 18 onwards. 

“The private unveiling event on May 17 at the cathedral will host many sponsors of the project and dignitaries from Cambridgeshire.” 

Key sponsors who have supported the project from day one includes Peter and Claire Shropshire, John and Trish Shropshire, Ely-based Malco Freight, Logosol UK, Sackville Oak Frames and Kent and London based furniture design makers Steve Cook and Mauro Dell’Orco. 

For more information and to support the project, visit www.thefenlandblackoakproject.co.uk.  

The table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17.

The table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project

This table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17.

This table made from a 5,000-year-old black oak tree is being unveiled at Ely Cathedral on May 17. - Credit: Fenland Black Oak Project