The tree is mentioned as early as 1583. According to Alan Warwick in his book ‘The Phoenix Suburb’, it stood at the high point in Norwood where four parishes (Battersea, Camberwell, Croydon and Lambeth), met. John Aubrey wrote in 1719, 'there was in the great wood called Norwood, an antient, remarkable tree call’d the Vicar’s Oak, where four parishes meet at a point. This wood wholly consists of oaks'. It is thought however, that the tree had already been felled by the late 17th century. The Norwood Society give a page to the Vicar's Oak.