The two Ancient Yews in All Saints Churchyard are, by a very long way, the oldest living residents in Farringdon but the older tree, one of the ten most important ancient trees in the country, has been feeling its age, and in February 2019, a heavy snowfall proved too much for the old pre-war supporting cradle and parts of the tree collapsed into the Graveyard and across the path from the Lych Gate.
Steve Watts erected some temporary props to support the fallen trunks and prevent any further damage but if this Ancient Yew, considered one of the ten most important trees in this country, was to survive, a more permanent structure was needed.
In the autumn of 2019 the Parochial Church Council launched a "Save The Yew" fundraising campaign headed by Bryan Orchard, to provide funds in order to install a new support cradle and essential pruning to preserve the tree for future generations.
Most of the tree survived the damage but as can be seen from the image on the right, taken earlier this year, the tops of the sections of the trunk that fell have died back and will need to be trimmed back to sound timber to make them safe.
The Project was put on hold awaiting approval from the East Hants Council Arboriculture advisors as both trees are subject to tree preservation orders.
In May this year, after a thorough inspection of both the Older tree to the West of the Church and the "Younger" yew on the South side of the path, the conclusion was reached that the Older tree is around 3,000 years old and the "juvenile" companion has been around for a mere 2,000 years.
If this assessment is accurate, and it is unlikely anybody from around that time will challenge the estimate, the older tree was a seedling during the latter part of the Bronze age in Britain and the "young upstart" across the path was planted around the time of the Roman Invasion.
Approval to proceed with the project has now been given but since the original plan was put forward, the original contractor has ceased trading.
The current Arboricultural contractors have taken a fresh look at the problem and have recommended that a more substantial support "cradle" is required, if the older tree is to be preserved for the future.
The new design will require more funding and the "Save the Yew" campaign will need to raise another £6,000 to cover the extra costs involved.
This will require some "delving into pockets, wallets, piggy banks and bank accounts but, as Bryan Orchard put it . . . .
" . . .Today, visitors to the churchyard and walkers following the Jane Austen trail from nearby Chawton, marvel at the hollow centre and wonder just how the tree continues to grow . .
But grow it does, which is why this nationally important tree should not be allowed to deteriorate any further.
To ignore its plight would be a dereliction of duty to the heritage of UK and to future generations. . . "