Yew at Kingston St Mary Church

WorldBlue  In short

Today the ancient yew at Kingston St Mary Church is not a single tree anymore – long ago its trunk was divided by a hollow and now it has several separately standing trunks. The circumference around them is 10.03 m.

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GPS coordinates
51.0613 N 3.1105 W
Location, address
Europe, United Kingdom, England, Somerset, 6 km north of Taunton, in Kingston, in the churchyard south-west of St Mary Church
European Yew (Taxus baccata L.)
10.03 m (January 2001, at the ground level, 1.)

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WorldYellow In detail

The medieval St Mary Church in Kingston was constructed around 1225. The church has a prominent, beautiful tower that was constructed around 1490ies or a bit later.

Most likely, the ancient yew tree southwest of the church was a giant tree in earlier times. Now it has been divided into four to five separate parts. This is characteristic of ancient yews – they get hollowed out until the hollow divides the tree into several parts. Nevertheless, these parts continue to grow and the yew still looks like a single tree from afar.

In such cases the girth is measured around all these parts, even is each of these parts (to some extent) now lives its own life.


  1. Yew/Yews at Kingston St.Mary England, Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on December 29, 2023

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The yew is one of the most fascinating and versatile life forms on Earth, botanically rich and intriguing, and culturally almost without comparison. This impressive study of the yew reveals that in history, mythology, religion, folklore, medicine, and warfare, the yew bears timeless witness to a deep relationship with mankind. It is the tree that Darwin often rested beneath and under which he wanted to be buried.

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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