Despite falling in the winter storms of 1990 this ancient churchyard yew continues to thrive. Local residents were worried at the time that the oldest feature in the parish may have perished, but fortunately the fallen tree was not 'tidied' with the chainsaw and is still valued by local residents. An article featured in the local parish magazine in 1990, soon after the storm.
In 2001, Tim Hills from the Ancient Yew Group managed to measure the girth despite the almost impenetrable mass of branches around the trunk. The girth was 4.27 metres which indicates an age of about 600 years using a simple equation devised by Paul Tabbush from the Forestry Commission. Read more about the 'fuzzy science' of aging yews in an article by Fergus Kinmonth on the Ancient Yew Group website.
Yew trees are dioecious which means there are separate male and female plants. This yew tree is female, producing red berries called arils. These are popular with birds that eat the red aril and, in doing so, distribute the seed inside.
After 25 years based in Paris, London born artist William Callow returned to England. He settled in Great Missenden in 1855 and he and his wife both made studies of the church and yew tree.
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