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At the approximate centre of Scotland, at the eastern end of one of its longest glens, grows what is Scotland's, and possibly Europe's, oldest tree.
Table of contents

But there they continue to sit, topographically entangled with the much younger buildings of our official religion; the wild and serpentine next to the stolid and devout. Two centuries on, it was squat and fulsome, with the repose of a country alderman.

Solčava Yew tree

What I loved most was the interior of the trunk. Old yews are almost invariably hollow, and the inside surfaces of the Selborne tree were patched with a satiny sheen of lilac and grey, like the lustre of mother-of-pearl.

Yew - The Sacred Tree

It was a cheerful tree. It even had a seat around it, from which to watch the world pass by. If so, it was flourishing before the making of Stonehenge and the digging of the Neolithic burial chamber at Maeshowe in the Orkneys. The Christian church, they suggest, appropriated sites of earlier tree cults, and the presence of an old yew by a church is a sure sign of the Old Religion.

Poland's oldest yew tree - tjobfimicadlo.ga

In consequence a florid New Age folklore has begun to blossom around ancient yews. The Fortingall tree in particular has become a kind of tree goddess, revered by Druid revivalists, nostalgic wood folk and patriotic Celts. Even some freethinking Christians have begun to mythologise it. Now churchyard yews everywhere are being anatomised, measured, mapped, blessed and danced around.

We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph Culture Books What to Read. World Record Breaking Animals. Only the Great Yew tree in Doveridge churchyard can disentangle fact from forklore and he is too much of a gentleman to tell. The Yew Tree In Doveridge churchyard a mighty yew tree stands. I am King of fiddlers and swear Iis the truth, and call him that doubts it a gull.

The bumpkins are beaten, put up thy sword Bob, and now lets dance into town. Before we came in we heard a strange shouting, and all that were in looked madly, and some were a black bull, some dancing a morrice, and some singing Arther a Bradley. They all drank a health to Clorinda and told her Bold Robin was a fine man. When dinner was ended, Sir Roger, the parson of Dubbridge, was sent for in haste. He brought his mass book and bid them take hands, and he joined them in marriage full fast. And then as Bold Robin and his sweet bride, went hand in hand to the sweet bower, The birds sung with pleasure in merry Sherwood, and it was a most joyful hour.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Ash — Fuinseog Fraxinus excelsior. Aspen — Crann creathach Populus tremula. Birch silver — Beith gheal Betula pendula.

Cherry bird — Donnroisc Prunus padus. Blackthorn — Draighean Prunus spinosa.

The Yew and the Church

Hazel — Coll Corylus avellana. Hawthorn — Sceach gheal Crataegus monogyna. Holly — Ilex aquifolium.