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Interpretation of Irregular Fragments

Fragmented Yew in Churchyards The Process of Fragmentation Fragmentation Creating 2 Trees
Interpretation of Irregular Fragments Yews on Mounds Conclusion

Interpretation of irregular fragments

The Dunster Yew in Somerset was described in 1898 as a “venerable yew of large dimensions”. Girth around its remaining fragments is over 25ft. The shaded areas on the plan denote dead wood which will decay and leave three separate and oddly shaped trunks growing at unexpected angles in relation to each other. The dotted line suggests where the original outline of the tree might once have been. 

The Dunster Yew © Tim Hills The Dunster Yew cross section © Tim Hills
The Dunster Yew with cross section © Tim Hills

While dead material still links the Dunster fragments, the Molash yew shown below grows as completely separated fragments.

Yew at Molash © Tim Hills
Yew at Molash © Tim Hills

At Kingston St Mary in Somerset 4 fragments remain of the 33ft girthed yew that must have lost its centre many centuries ago.

The Kingston St Mary Yew © Tim Hills The Kingston St Mary Yew cross section © Tim Hills
The Kingston St Mary Yew with cross section © Tim Hills

At Sandhurst in Berkshire 3 small fragments are all that remain of a yew that probably once girthed about 18ft.
The first drawing shows the possible line of the original tree, the second is an impression of what might happen as each of these fragments becomes more rounded, leaving what might appear to be a line of young yews growing close to each other. When looking at any unusual clusters of yews we need to be alert to the possibility that these were once part of a larger ancient tree.

Cross sections of the Sandhurst Yew © Tim Hills Cross sections of the Sandhurst Yew © Tim Hills
Cross sections of the Sandhurst Yew © Tim Hills
Fragmented Yew in Churchyards The Process of Fragmentation Fragmentation Creating 2 Trees
Interpretation of Irregular Fragments Yews on Mounds Conclusion