Once upon a time …
What is a tree house??? For someone it’s just a childhood dream, for others is a real house or a shelter from animals and for others again just a wonderful place far from the city routine of everyday, anyway tree houses exist since a long time.
The first buildings were in South Pacific and Southeast Asia’s people lived in trees to provide secure homes from animals’ attacks and they used baskets that were raised and lowered down the tree trunk to come and go.
Trees were also used for meditation and religious purposes: in the Middle Ages, Franciscan monks used tree-rooms to meditate, while Hindu monks lived in tree houses to free themselves from earthbound considerations.
In the Ancient Rome, the Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula was so impressed with a plane tree’s resemblance to a house, who ordered to built a house on it and when it was finished, he invited 15 guests to join him on the tree.
In the Renaissance period (1500s) tree houses changed their roles becoming a status symbol in Florentine gardens, one of this was a Medici family tree house depicted in a 17th century engraving included a table, seats and fountains all carved f marble, and the only way of reaching it was by climbing one of two marble staircases. Then in 19th century, not only in Italy but also in all Europe, this became a must-have for rich people. We have examples in Montibo, Piedmont, in Italy were visitors could climb up onto platforms to appreciate countryside views.
The town of Le Plessis–Robinson, close to Paris, was a popular meeting point with treehouse restaurants for chic Parisians to enjoy evening dances or just eating during their leisure time. They were built in chestnuts trees covered in rambling roses. Meals were raised in a basket and consisted of roasted chicken and champagne.
British nobility also built tree houses and became important in Tudor’s culture. Tradition said that Queen Elizabeth I dined in a huge linden tree. These houses were built just using ropes, which were tied in summer and un-tied in winter to allow the tree to grow. One of the most ancient English tree house, was erected on a 500 years old lime tree in Shropshire in 1600s, designed in the popular Tudor style and known as “The Tree with a House in It”. The english Queen, Victoria, when she was thirteen year old visited in 1832 this house and later she wrote on her journal that she “went up a little staircase to a little house in a tree”.
In Enfield, in the north of London, Sir Thomas Lipton –the creator of Lipton tea brand- built a tree house where he took tea party with his friends.
Finally, Winston Churchill constructed a 20 feet high tree house always in a lime treat his Chartwell Manor home.