Yew at Breamore St Mary’s Church
The giant Breamore Yew looks incredible from the distance – an eternally green crown rises above a trunk of gargantuan size. A closer view reveals that the main part of the tree is lost and the numerous smaller separate stems create an illusion of a giant tree trunk. Nevertheless, all of this is a single, unusually impressive tree!
Map of the site
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Similar to most of the major yew trees in the United Kingdom, this giant is located next to a church.
This church, by far, is not a common church. Breamore St Mary’s church is one of the best-preserved examples of Anglo-Saxon architecture. The church was built around 1000 AD and, similar to other great yews + churches, we could assume that the yew tree was there before the church.
The yew stands in front of the church. It is a magnificent, very impressive tree, a feast for the eyes. When looking closer at it, turns out that the middle of its trunk is gone. The crown of the tree is supported now by a ring of many, more than 10 smaller trunks. The former hollow now is similar to a hill of tree roots.
The tree is female, but two trunks are male and have grown from the seeds of this yew. The circumference does not include those trunks.
The church garden is flanked by a row of some 40 younger yew trees – a noble framing for the church and the tree – jewels of English heritage.
- European Yew in the parish churchyard in Breamore, England, United Kingdom, Monumental Trees. Accessed on December 27, 2022.
- Yew/Yews at Breamore England, Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on December 27, 2022.
Yew at Breamore St Mary’s Church is included in the following article:
The natural and cultural wonders of England are very diverse and here are found some of the world’s most impressive landmarks in several categories, such as churches and museums.
The category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees in the world. The total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess – maybe 10,000 and maybe 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including Western Europe.
Hampshire is rich with many valuable man-made landmarks. Numerous medieval churches and country houses form a varied cultural landscape, enriched with country parks, avenues, and graveyards. Several cities and towns, including the ancient ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, still have medieval fortification walls.
With its bright red, poisonous berries to its dark evergreen foliage, the yew tree is a familiar sight in ancient churchyards, as well as the carefully manicured and sculpted grounds of stately homes. Beyond its striking appearance and amazing longevity, the humble yew has played a surprisingly important part in European history throughout the ages: A sacred tree to the pagan druids of old, as well as a key ingredient of medieval warfare.
The gnarled, immutable yew tree is one of the most evocative sights in the British and Irish language, an evergreen impression of immortality, the tree that provides a living botanical link between our own landscapes and those of the distant past. This book tells the extraordinary story of the yew’s role in the landscape through the millennia, and makes a convincing case for the origins of many of the oldest trees, as markers of the holy places founded by Celtic saints in the early medieval ‘Dark Ages’.