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Yew at Broadwindsor Church

St. John's Church in Broadwindsor. The ancient yew is seen in the left side.
St. John’s Church in Broadwindsor. The ancient yew is seen in the left side./ Philip Pankhurst, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

In former times there was a giant yew at Broadwindsor Church – the circumference of its its trunk exceeded 10 m. Now, it seems, the trunk is buried under debris and 15 trunks rise above it – the tree in a way has turned into a bush.

2.6 out of 10 stars 26.3%

GPS coordinates
50.8205 N 2.7991 W
Location, address
Europe, United Kingdom, England, Dorset, Broadwindsor, in the churchyard of St John’s church, east from it
European Yew (Taxus baccata L.)
10.34 m (ground level, 2012, 1.)

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Broadwindsor is a picturesque, old village in Dorset. Surnames of many local people are the same as mentioned in written sources from the 13th and 14th centuries, such as Hallett, Studley.

St John the Baptist church

A church in its (approximate) present location has existed in Broadwindsor since the Anglo-Saxon times.

The current church building to a large extent was formed during the rebuilding in 1868, but some parts of the church are much older.

The southern arcade, most likely, was built in the late 12th century (around 1180), Norman times, in Romanesque style. The northern arcade is somewhat younger, constructed in Early English Gothic style. The core part of the western tower was built in the 15th century, in Perpendicular Gothic style.

The ancient yew

In the churchyard, east of the church, stands a large bush – the top of an ancient yew. The ancient trunk now is buried, most likely, in the debris that was created by the tree itself, creating a 1.2 m high mound. From it rise 15 trunks, each with a circumference of 0.9-1.8 m.

It is possible that the ancient, collapsing trunk of the yew was cut down during the reconstruction works in 1868. The power of the ancient yew, though, was sufficient to survive this and grow again.


  1. Yew/Yews at Broadwindsor England
    , Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on December 10, 2023.
  2. Broadwindsor St John the Baptist, Tinstaafl Transcripts. Accessed on December 10, 2023.

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WorldYellow Recommended books

The God Tree

The God Tree is a great read and will make people think again and again about Yews’ – David Bellamy, the Naturalist. This is the first book to take up the quest for the Golden Bough since JG Frazer’s classic study in 1915 with the discovery of the bough growing once more, as the rare adornment of a small number of ancient Yews.

The Ancient Yew: A History of Taxus baccata

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’.

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