The Crowhurst Yew, one of the oldest trees in Sussex, pre-dating the arrival of William the Conqueror, has been shortlisted by the Woodland Trust in its Tree of the Year contest, to crown England’s favourite tree.
Now in its fourth year, tens of thousands of people have already taken part in the conservation charity’s competition which celebrates the UK’s finest trees. The shortlisted trees are also in with a chance of winning a £1,000 care award. The award can be used to arrange a health check from an arboriculturist or to hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree. Dr Michael Brydon, rector of St George’s Church, where the tree resides said: “Crowhurst is very proud of its oldest resident, which was a focal point for our 1066 commemorations. The yew is frequently visited by walkers on the nearby 1066 Way.”
Hope Muntz’s 1948 novel The Golden Warrior, which is all about King Harold and the events of 1066 describes how his reeve was hanged from the Crowhurst Yew for refusing to reveal where his master’s treasure was hidden. It has also been claimed that the invading Normans made some of their bows from the wood of the tree.
Down the years some distinguished persons and groups have received young yews grown from her seed. These include the writer, Rudyard Kipling, King George V and the Cambridge Botanical Gardens.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive said: “Once again the public has nominated many fantastic trees with truly inspirational stories, which highlight how intrinsic they can become in peoples’ lives.
“It’s a reminder of why we need to care for individual trees and that they still need true protection in law from development or mismanagement.”