As you can tell from this photo, this tree is massive!
Its girth is a whooping 5.6 metres, making it larger than the Nettleden Yew which is also recorded as special.
The trunk is quite hollow in places. These holes have been filled with concrete. In the past hollow trees were often treated like this in an attempt to preserve them by reducing rot. It is a practice that is no longer carried out.
The tree is also very tall, dwarfing the church next to it. The mainly Norman church dates from before the 12th Century and evidence has been found of ancient dwellings around the church. The Church now sits in solitary splendour on a south-facing ridge, deserted by the villagers, who built a new village about a mile to the north. The old village was probably abandoned after the Black Death (bubonic plague) in 1348 which killed about a third of the population; the Yew survived.
Local legend has it that an attempt was made to build a new church in the present village, but the Devil objected to the site and destroyed the structure thereby giving the name of Hell Corner to the spot.
For more information on the history of Ibstone go to the UBP website.
In 1958, Swanton published a book on the yews of England. He writes:
"The church is in a very secluded spot high up on the hills; Mr Giltrow and I measured it on October 15th, 1954. The trunk is not hollow and there is much spray on it. Girth about 18ft 6ins. The crown of 9 branches has an umbrage 61ft. in diameter."
His girth measurement equates to 5.6 metres, so it has not grown much in the last 60 years.
Yew trees are still being recorded throughout the British Isles by the Ancient Yew Group.
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