In recognition that the property had been named after the famous historic oak, Oak Villa's current owners, the Hancke family, decided to name their first gin in tribute to the historic significance of the Villa, the Oak itself and those fighting for freedom from yesteryear. They also paid tribute to the Hancke family roots, by naming their first gin 'Vryheid'

‘Vryheid’ means 'Freedom'

One year after launching Vryheid, now an International Award-Winning spirit, OakVilla Distillery in Wymondham launched a second beautifully hand-crafted Oak rested Dry Gin 'Heart of Oak' to celebrate Nelson's County's strong nautical heritage and to pay tribute to the "Hearts of Oak" who have kept us safe from time immemorial.  Heart of Oak won two international Awards in the first International competition it was entered into and continue to excel. 

‘Heart of Oak’ – 'a brave person'


2020 the Hancke family supported the University of East Anglia Scientists by supplying ethanol for handsanitiser production for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital during the Covid pandemic.   

April 2021 OakVilla Distillery opens its doors to the public for the first time at our new premises at St George's, Roudham, Norfolk.  

The Hancke family offers this tribute to the brave from the past and present, acknowledging the sacrifices made to achieve and retain freedom in its many forms, with special regard towards Norfolk's Lord Nelson and all generations of the naval service's 'hearts of oak'. We sincerely wish the drinkers of Vryheid and Heart of Oak their full enjoyment of a healthy measure of Freedom, the gift of the Brave, while toasting its providers: past, present and future.  

OakVilla won numerous awards in the International Wine and Spirit Competition.   Vryheid Gin won a Bronze in the London Dry
 Gin category 2018, Silver medal in the Contemporary Gin category 2019 as well as a Bronze medal in the Gin and Tonic category.  Heart of Oak won a Bronze medal in the Wood Finished Gin category 2020 and a Bronze medal in the Gin and Tonic category during the same year.

OakVilla Distillery History

OakVilla Distillery was founded in 2017 a stone’s throw from the historic Ketts Oak in Wymondham, Norfolk, UK at a Villa dating back to the early 1850’s.

Ketts Oak was selected by The Tree Council in 2002 as one of 50 great British trees in honour of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The tree is named after Robert and William Kett of Wymondham, whose grievances included the enclosing of common land, hampering free movement and preventing common grazing. They assembled their men at the historic oak in 1549, before marching on Norwich to seek reinstatement of these ancient freedoms.

Historic documents and Title Deeds held at Oak Villa show the property shared its South West boundary with the historic Kett family's land.

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