This article considers the trope of the Royal Oak across several centuries of history. The article argues that the events following Charles Stuart’s defeat at Worcester in 1651 have become a central part of the memory of the period and the construction of the “Cavalier”. In considering the “afterlife” of this event, the article looks at the way that cultural memory is constructed, in particular, and makes some suggestions about models of memory, “afterlife” itself and historiography. I analyse various versions of this remembered tree to make some assertions about the idea of the “Cavalier”, about the ways that knowledge is constructed, about historiography and about the 1640s and 1650s in the cultural imagination. Throughout I suggest that considering responses to and memorialisation of this particular event allows us to examine types of historical rendering, representation, memorialisation and historiography.