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What`s New – December 2013

Three end of year tales
1          A Surrey church, whose churchyard falls within a Conservation Area, recently submitted plans to fell a large number of its trees. Permission was granted by the local authority’s tree officer who said that it was the business of the church to decide their planting and felling policy and that he was not empowered to intervene. Since this site also contains one of England’s last remaining 166 ancient churchyard yews I asked how his department would respond to a request to fell the ancient tree. His reply was that its age would make no difference and reiterated that since this was church business he would not be in a position to get involved. In the past Tree Officers have refused to give TPOs to trees in Conservation Area churchyards, saying that they are already protected. This instance, along with the felling of an ancient yew in Ashford Carbonell’s churchyard in 2012 shows that being in a Conservation Area does not provide the protection we thought existed. 
2          The following proposal was submitted to carry out work on an ancient churchyard yew in Hampshire ‘deadwood, remove breakouts, crown lift to 2m. Reduce long laterals all round by 2-4 m, and balance’ All of this work was said to be required as high priority. The removal of dead wood, particularly that seen at
would destroy part of the essence of an old yew, namely a section of dead sapwood which will not decay for centuries and can provide the scaffolding on which new wood can be laid down.    
3          On Saturday 4 January The Times led on a story of the 20 largest threatened ancient woodlands in England. One of these is Chilling Copse in Hampshire, home to an ancient yew. Since there are at the moment only 49 ancient yews recorded outside of churchyards in England, this would be a significant loss.

December 2013

What`s New – November 2013

Bala Lake-Glan Llyn 
It has been pointed out by Paolo Bavaresco that the veteran yew at this location appears to be in the centre of an enclosure. This can be clearly seen on Google Earth. Does anybody have any information about this site’s former use that might throw some light on why a veteran yew grows here?  
Under the heading Church in Wales, new information has been added at the following places:
Diocese of St Asaph
Aberhafesp: Buttington: Castle Caereinion: Clocaenog: Cyffylliog: Garthbeibio (Foel): Glyn Ceiriog: Gwyddelwern: Gwytherin: Henllan: Hirnant: Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog: Llanarmon-Mynydd-Mawr: Llandegla: Llandrillo: Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd: Llangernyw: Llangower: Llangwm: Llansanffraid Glan Conwy: Llansdantffraid-ym-Mechain: Llansilin: Llantysilio: Llanuwchllyn: Nannerch: Nantglyn: St George (Llan St Sior): Ysbyty Ifan
Diocese of St Davids
Abergwili: Cenarth: Cilrhedyn, Golden Grove; Llandybie: Llandyfeisant/Dinefwr Park: Llanfihangel-ar-arth: Llangoedmor: Llansadwrn: Nash: Silian: Trefenty (Llanfihangel Abercowin): Upton Castle: Ystradffin
Diocese of Swansea and Brecon
Defynnog: Llanbadarn Fawr (Crossgates): Llanspyddid
New photos
Compton Dando: Hemyock: Hurst: Kentisbeare: Payhembury: Remenham: Ruscombe: Waltham St Lawrence: White Waltham - Peter Norton
Barrow House - Katy Moore
Berriew - Owen Johnson
Disserth: Llanddetty: Llanddewi’r Cwm: Llandefaelog (Fach): Llanedeyrn: Llangasty-Talyllyn: Llanilid: Llansantffraed (juxta Usk) - Tim Hills
Nicorps - Wim Peeters

November 2013

What's New – October 2013

The condition of the yews at Old Sloden has concerned Peter Norton for many years. While finding out more of the woodland’s recorded history, he came across an 1877 report which described the sweeping away of all the fine old trees in the area, whose numbers are said to have included “300 ancient yews, many of which were probably in existence in Saxon times……all have been ruthlessly cut down and destroyed….”
The discovery that such a large ancient yew woodland could have been so recently destroyed led to a comprehensive survey of the present Old Sloden yew population. This is an important site, as it is the only surviving yew wood in the New Forest with sufficient trees to form a close canopy. But Norton’s survey shows a woodland once more under threat, with a sixth of the yews he recorded being dead, and with many more dying. Senior management within the Forestry Commission and the New Forest National Park have been informed and it is hoped that they will carry out research to discover the reason or reasons for this decline. The article is found in Yew Articles - Non-churchyard yew - Peter Norton surveys of non-churchyard yews   
Wiltshire: The Longleat Yew  by Tim Hills
This is found under Yew Articles – Non-churchyard Yew – Individual reports:
The ancient yew is at Temple Farm, now part of the Longleat Estate, and has been known about since 1780. A comprehensive account of the tree appeared in The Journal of Forestry and Estate Management in 1877 and is reproduced here.
Yews in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon
Continuing with reports from churchyards in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, this month a further 27 sites have been added, featuring 37 ancient or veteran trees. 
Cilmery: Gladestry: Llanafan-fechan: Llanbedr (Paincastle): Llanddewi Fach (Cwm): Llandefalle: Llandegley: Llandeilo’r Fan: Llanfaredd: Llanfihangel Rhydithon: Llanfihangel Tal-y-llyn: Llanfrynach: Llangattock: Llangenny: Llangunllo: Llangynog-pwll-du: Llanhamlach: Llanlleonfel: Llanrhidian: Maesyminis: Penpont: Rhulen: Talachddu: Upper Chapel (Dyffryn Honddu): Whitton: Ystradfellte   
New sites
Badgworth – two trees with a known planting date of 1740 and girths between 8' 11'' and 9' 6''.
Biddisham – Tim Hills
Priors Dean (Sunken Lane) – Although this location has been known about and recorded in the Gazetteer (List of Yews) for many years, it is only now that the trees have been properly recorded. Five are included, of which two are veteran.
New photos
Cudham, Downe, Farleigh, Knockholt, Warlingham – Peter Norton
Little Hereford – Tim Hills
St Ursin - Wim Peeters

October 2013

What`s New – September 2013

Yews in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon
Churchyards in this diocese contain more old yews than any other diocese in Wales or England. Ancient or Veteran yews have been found at 67 sites, some of which boast up to 8 of these significant specimens. Unlike the earlier reports from the dioceses of Bangor and Llandaff, which deal with the tree populations in a single document, the yew sites in this diocese are dealt with individually. The first 25 of these, featuring 64 ancient or veteran trees, are available on the Church in Wales webpage.
Aberedw: Abergwesyn: Aberyscir: Alltmawr: Battle: Bryngwyn: Cantref: Cascob: Cathedine: Capel-y-ffin: Cefnllys: Cregrina: Crickadarn: Garthbrengy: Heyope: Ilston: Llanafan-Fawr: Llanbadarn-y-garreg: Llanbedr (Ystradyw): Llanfeugan: Llanfihangel-nant-Bran: Llanfihangel-Nant-Melan: Llanstephan: Llywel: Patrishow   
New sites
Llanfachreth: Llanfairisgaer  - Paolo Bavaresco
Emborough: Middleton Court: Sodington Hall - Tim Hills
Bignor Hill: Chandler’s Ford-Valley Park Wood: Railford Bottom, Whatley - Peter Norton
Brix: Le Chefresne - Wim Peeters
Tickenham - Sue Smith
New photos
Gwytherin yew in 1885
Barlavington: Bignor: Langley Park - Peter Norton
Norbury: Dougald Purse
Lost yew sites
Llanedwen - Paolo Bavaresco

September 2013

What`s New – August 2013

Papers inspired by Borrowdale is a new heading found under Yew Articles. It contains a new article Borrowdale Stone Monument by Lesley Elphick and Toby Hindson, who describe it as ‘A first survey of the large stones among and near the Borrowdale yews with some reflection on their possible deliberate placement, relationship with the yews, and noting numerous apparently deliberate alignments both internal to the site and relating to astronomical and local geographical features’. Toby Hindson’s 2012 article 'The Fraternal Four' also appears on this page.
Lost Welsh Churchyard Yews is a compilation of information about yews that once formed part of the churchyard landscape of Wales. Seventy eight locations are featured on the Church in Wales webpage. 
New Sites
Waterlooville-Park Wood – Ancient Tree Hunt
Dorking-Ten Acre Field – Jenny Desoutter
Hackhurst Downs – Peter Norton
Hampton-in-Arden: Longnor: Monyash: Sudbury – Tim Hills
Llanfrothen – Paolo Bavaresco
Tickenham – Sue Smith
New Photos
Ankerwyke: Little Somborne-Winter Down Copse: Selborne-The Wakes – Peter Norton
Duffield – Linden Weaver
Glasbury: Wraxall – Tim Hills
Great Witcombe – Robin Gilbert
Portbury – Sue Smith
Archive images of Blaina and Patterdale
Lost yew sites
Blore Ray: Bourton-on-the-Hill: Caterham: Chalgrove: Llangua: Lullingstone: Moreton: Newchurch: Pulborough: Winfrith Newburgh

What’s New - July 2013

In a Parliamentary debate in 2011 the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked “What steps the Church Commissioners are taking to ensure that ancient trees in churchyards are protected” and “Does my hon. Friend agree that the protection of such trees is extremely important in maintaining the historic settings of our great churches?”
In his reply Tony Baldry said “my hon. Friend highlights the fact that a number of older yew trees, designated as ancient or veteran, have not had adequate statutory protection. The Church of England is determined to do all that it can to ensure that every yew tree in our churchyards is properly protected”.
Regular visitors to our website will have noticed that we have added two new headings this month, in order to create a more prominent position for both the Church of England and the Church in Wales. This is an acknowledgement that the majority of Britain’s oldest and finest yews grow in their churchyards. Within a year from now it is anticipated that the accumulated information, histories and photographs of every ancient and veteran churchyard yew will be available on their webpages.
We eagerly await measures from the Church of England that will at last ensure that every old yew tree in their churchyards is properly protected. It is hoped that the Church in Wales will take similar action.

This month we have also been given permission by the Royal Forestry Society to publish Exceptional Yew Trees of England Scotaland and Wales by Dr Andy Moir et al. Its content reinforces the need for urgent action to prevent further losses of our oldest trees.

July 2013

What`s New – June 2013

New sites 
Chester Approach - Alistair Wrenn
Masham: Spennithorne - Edwin Pretty
Dumfries Estate, Shaw Wood - Karen Findlay
Wilmington, Kent – Penelope Stanford
Benson: Great Fontley Farm: Hammer Hill: Hindhead - Peter Norton
Chislehurst: Cutler’s Wood: Linton, Kent: West Cliffe - Tim Hills
Thanks to art work produced 200 years ago, the small girthed yew at Linton in Kent can be recognized as a fragment of the original tree. The yew at Chislehurst, as with that seen at Llanelieu, would seem to have once been used as a punishment tree. 
National Trust 
Two National Trust sites were visited to confirm information provided by the Ancient Tree Hunt.
In the Croft Castle Estate three exceptional veteran/ancient yews were found, growing at the present time in a plantation of Western Hemlock.
At Dudmaston Hall, two of three yews to be found here were confirmed. 
Yews with a known planting date
Mersham: West Farleigh - Tim Hills
Lost yew
Catherington - Peter Norton
Coldred: Lower Hardres - Tim Hills
New photos/information is added at the following sites:
Alfold: Angmering: Blewbuey: Brightwell Baldwin: Brightwell-cum-Sotwell: Britwell Salome: Bulley: Capel (Surrey): Charlwood: Coln Rogers: Didcot: Dunsfold: Hambledon (Surrey): Heythrop: Horley: Huntley: Iffley: Le Mesnil Aubert: Little Bookham: North Moreton: Ower: Peper Harow: Rycote: Slaugham: South Moreton: Steventon (Oxfordshire): Sutton Courtenay: Uplyme – Peter Norton
Challock: Elmsted: Harrietsham: Kennington: Lea: Molash: Rolvenden: Sellindge: Stowting: Ulcombe: Waldershare Park: Waltham: Weston-under-Penyard - Tim Hills  

June 2013

What`s New – May 2013

Peter Norton has completed a survey of the Churchyard Yews of Hampshire.  It is found on the Church of England webpage.
He visited 403 sites to to add to the 366 surveyed in Dorset and 365 in Wiltshire. The three counties cover an area of 4000 square miles. 
This work gives an unprecedented amount of information about the number and condition of churchyard yews in a large area of southern England. It is hoped that church records will provide information about when many of these trees were planted. Most of those in the list below are from new churches built on sites not previously occupied by an older church and I am assuming that they were planted at the time the church was built. KPD is where a planting date has been found from church records. Of particular interest is Winsley, where 14 yews were planted in 1844. Eleven of these were measurable, and girth range was between 6' 1'' and 10' 8''.        
West Winterslow, Wilts                       1707     (KPD)        8' 2''   
Privett, Hants                                      1727    (KPD)         9' approx
Stratfield Saye, Hants                          1758                     10' 7''
Mosterton, Dorset                                1833                     10' 1''
Sarisbury, Hants                                  1835                     9' 3''
Botley, Hants                                       1836                     8' 11'' 
Beauworth, Hants                                 1838                     9' 7''
Burley, Hants                                       1839                     9' 3'' largest of six
Swallowcliffe, Wilts                               1843                     9' 3'' and 9' 6''
Broad Town, Wilts                                 1844                    9' 10'' and 8'
Winsley, Wilts                                      1844    (KPD)        8' 4'' average  
Baughurst, Hants                                  1845                    10' 6''
Swanmore, Hants                                  1845                    9' 2'' and 9'
Melplash, Dorset                                   1845                    12' 5''  
Beanacre, Wiltshire                               1846                     8' 5''
Blendworth Holy Trinity, Hants                1851                     9' 7'' and 9' 7''
Hyde, Hants                                          1854                     9', 8' 7'' and 7' 6''
Rownhams, Hants                                 1855                     10' 3'' and 9'        
Woodmancott, Hants                             1855                     9' 1''
Kington Langley, Wilts                           1856                     8' estimated
East Orchard, Dorset                             1859/61                 9' 1''
West Milton, Dorset                               1859                     9' 4''
Broadoak, Dorset                                   1860                     8' 2''  
Hatherden, Hants                                   1867                     3 yews – each 8'
Compton Abbas, Dorset                          1868                     8' 6''
Dottery, Dorset                                      1882                      8' 10''
Preston Candover new church, Hants       1884                      9' 9''

May 2013

What's New - April 2013


Wim Peeters completes his translations of Eibenfreunde’s 2006 field trip to Southern England, with their visits to Butser Hill/Oxenbourne Down and Merdon Castle. They appear on the Eibenfreunde webpage (About Us).  

A trio of entries from Wim Peeters is completed with an article he wrote about the survival strategies employed by yew. This article first appeared in Bomen (Trees), the Dutch magazine for tree care. It provides further confirmation that our old yew trees are known about and celebrated throughout Europe. It appears on the Yew Literature webpage (Yew Articles).
The Selborne Yew, known to Gilbert White in the 18th century, was felled during a storm on Burns Night in January 1990. Peter Norton tells the story. The article appears on the Lost Yews webpage.
At Westbourne in West Sussex a famous yew avenue was planted at some time between 1440 and 1540. The slow growth rate of its trees over many centuries is confirmed by measurements taken in 2000 and 2013. The article appears on the Individual yew reports for churchyard yews webpage (Yew articles-Churchyard yews).
Peter Norton and Tim Hills 
New sites:
Clearwell, the Secret Forest at Stock Wood – Tim Hills
Feock  – Tim Kellett
New information and measurements of the Ormiston Yews – David Alderman

April 2013

What`s New – March 2013

Wim Peeters’ has translated the account of Eibenfreunde’s visit to Druids Grove as part of their 2006 field trip to Southern England. It appears on both the Eibenfreunde webpage (About Us) and the Survey of England’s Most Important Woodlands (Yew Articles) web pages.     
New sites
Leyburn – The Shawl - Edwin Pretty
Epreville-en-Roumois: Santa Coloma – Han van Meegeren
Battlefield – Tim Hills/Rob McBride
Goathouse Copse: Norbury Park – Peter Norton
Lost yew
A lost yew is recorded at Kington Magna – Peter Norton

March 2013

What's New February 2013

New Survey
Peter Norton and Hugh Milner report on the yews at Idsworth Common, near Portsmouth.
New Yew Sites 
The following have been added, many discovered as part of the Ancient Tree Hunt initiative. 
Roxburgh Castle – Diane Bennett
Ballencleroch House-Clachan of Campsie – Bryan Bowes
Belleau – Jeremy Sharp
Knutsford – James Blacklock
Hirsel - Antony Chessell
Long Mynd – Andy Gordon
Forest of Dean, Speech House - John Harper
Little Hadham – Paul Hewitt
Blackburn – Peter Jepson
Penjerrick – Tim Kellett
Aston Rowant – Dave Kenny
Reeth – Fremington Edge: Rutherford Bridge: Whitcliffe Scar – Tim Laurie
Habberly, Shropshire (1) and Habberley, Shropshire (2) – Rob McBride
Rossdhu House, Loch Lomond – Michael Murray
Aldershot: Goathill: New Forest, Anderwood – Peter Norton
Gartochraggan – Kenneth Rybarczyk
Additional photos have been added at the following sites:
Balbirnie House – Judy Dowling
Cranborne/Damerham area, Blagdon Hill Wood – Sean Cooch
Yvignac-la-Tour – Rob McBride
Fareham: Portchester - Peter Norton

February 2013

What’s New January 2013

Diocesan surveys
Two new surveys appear this month
Diocese of Canterbury
Contained within 43 of its churchyards are no fewer than 75 ancient or veteran yews. These include England’s most exceptional multiple tree sites: Elmsted, Harrietsham, Kennington, Molash, Ulcombe, Waldershare Park and Waltham.
Diocese of Guildford
Nine sites are recorded  with Hambledon in Surrey perhaps the most outstanding.
Woodland Survey
Peter Norton’s first published survey of 2013 records the yews on Harting Down and North Marden Down in Sussex. 
Old yews in the churchyards of northern France
Wim Peeters and Han van Meegeren have given us permission to publish in our Yew Gazetteer information and photographs of old yews they have visited and recorded in northern France. This has almost doubled the number of known specimens, and we have to wonder how many more are still waiting to be discovered and recorded. Among the new sites added are ancient specimens at Pommerit-le-Vicomte, Saint-Pierres-des-Ifs, Pierres, Saint Maudez and Lalacelle, with veteran specimens at Kergrist Moëlu, Chapelle-Caro, Villy-Bocage, Yvignac-la-Tour, Boulleville, Gouy and Sainte-Marguerite-des-Loges. 
The following new sites were first recorded by Wim Peeters:
Angerville l’Orcher (notable), Bonneville-sur-Touques (veteran and a lost yew), Bouquetot (notable), Bulat-Pestivien (notable), Chapelle-Caro(veteran), Kergrist Moëlu (3 veteran and 3 notable), Plougrescant (notable), Pommerit-le-Vicomte (ancient), Vieux-Bourg, église Notre-Dame (notable), Villy-Bocage (veteran and notable)
The following new sites were first recorded by Han van Meegeren
Boulleville (veteran), Fauguernon (veteran), Gouy (veteran), Illeville-sur-Montfort (notable), Lalacelle (ancient), Notre-Dame-de-Courson (notable), Pierres (ancient), Sainte-Marguerite-des-Loges (veteran), Saint Maudez (ancient), Saint-Pierre-des-Ifs (ancient and 2 notable), Vieux-Bourg, église Saint-Lormel (notable), Yvignac-la-Tour (veteran)
Yews at Mandeville, Troncq and Truttemer-le-Petit are recorded by both Wim Peeters and Han van Meegeren.
In addition to these new yew sites, new photos by both recorders have been added at: Foulbec (HvM), La Lande Patry (WP), La Lucerne d'Outremer (HvM), Mesnil-Ciboult (HvM and WP), Montgardon (HvM), Nicorps (HvM), Offranville (HvM), Saint-Rémy-sur-Orne (HvM), St Aubin Routot (WP), St Mards de Blacarville (WP), Triqueville (WP). A total of just under 100 new photos have been added this month by these two contributors. 
I apologise that our Gazetteer entries have not been able to use accents in place names. It seems that the computer programme interprets the accent as a code and modifies all that follows. Similarly it cannot cope with capital and lower case letters in place names like Angerville l’Orcher, which appears as Angerville L’orcher. I will bring it to the attention of the web designers and hope it can be rectified in due course.  

January 2013