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Yew at Norbury All Saints’ Church

Yew at Norbury All Saints' Church
Yew at Norbury All Saints’ Church. / Matthew Hatton, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

Formally there are yew trees with a larger circumference of the trunk in the United Kingdom, but the circumference is measured around several separate trunks. The Yew at Norbury All Saints’ Church has a single trunk with a circumference of 10.72 m.

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GPS coordinates
52.5296 N 2.9389 W
Location, address
Europe, United Kingdom, England, Shropshire, north-east from Bishop’s Castle, Norbury, south from All Saints Church
European Yew (Taxus baccata L.)
10.72 m (at the ground level, September 2016)

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WorldYellow In detail

All Saints' Church in Norbury, Shropshire. The giant yew tree is seen behind the church.
All Saints’ Church in Norbury, Shropshire. The giant yew tree is seen behind the church. / Christine Johnstone, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

The yew tree in the ancient church graveyard in Norbury belongs to the largest trees in the United Kingdom.

Compared to many other giant yew trees, the Norbury Yew is in excellent condition. It has retained a single, giant trunk, while other giant yews have a divided trunk with several stems. Its trunk is covered with numerous smaller trunks, twigs, and bulges and, due to this, it is hard to make an exact measurement of the circumference.

The circumference is measured at the ground level as further up it becomes wider.


The yew is visible in a drawing from 1790 and this drawing shows the stone wall around the tree. This stone wall exists up to this day, but, as the trunk of the tree has expanded, it has pushed the wall outwards and broken it.

Yew at Norbury All Saints’ Church was first mentioned in 1888 when it was noticed and documented during the excursion of the North Staffs Botanical Society.

Locals take good care of the tree. It is considered that the tree is very old and on the information shield it is mentioned that the yew is 2 700 years old. It is hard to check whether this is true.

All Saints’ Church

The All Saints’ Church was rebuilt in 1879-1880, but some parts of the church and the font inside are from the 14th century.

  1. Norbury, Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on March 30, 2023.
  2. Yew/Yews at Norbury England, Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on March 30, 2023.
Yew at Norbury All Saints Church is included in the following article:

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The Yew-Trees of Great Britain and Ireland

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 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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