Britain in the home to a five thousand-year-old Tree. This tree is a yew tree and is part of the majesty in an old welsh church-yard. It is understood to have been 3,000 years old when Christ was born according to tree experts.
Awe-inspiring: The ancient yew (pictured) in a Welsh churchyard
Experts have run tests on the tree in the St Cynog’s churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, including DNA and ring-dating.
How A Tree Is Aged?
The process of aging a tree is called dendrochronology and many techniques are used such as measuring the circumference of a tree’s trunk, the amount of rings in a tree to complete DNA Testing of the tree.
When a tree grows each year, the rings form anew and so one can accurately measure the age of a tree in linear time. This is not the sort of tree that is easily removed and tree removal is not an option because these trees are revered so much. It is said that its evergreen leaves and longevity is a symbol of Christ’s transcendence of death, which is why they are revered in old church yards.
Tree aging expert Janis Fry, 64, who has studied yews for more than 40 years, said: ‘I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe.
‘It was planted on the north side of the ancient burial mound which is now the churchyard,
probably in honour of a neolithic chieftain.
‘It is so old that it has split into two halves – one 40ft (12 metres) wide and the other 20 ft (6 metres) wide.
‘Its DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch which makes it [more than] 5,000 years old.’
The yew tree is native to western and southern Europe and normally only live up to 600 years old. Many that have gone far beyond this time scale are because of the ability of the tree to split under its very old growth, and it normally never falls victim to disease in any fracture of the trees branches like some other species.
Pagan religions and other spiritual orders give great reverence to the tree treating it as sacred because of its evergreen appearance and symbol of longevity, of life. Furthermore, many high priests and religious people believed the tree had mystical powers being able to summon those who lived in the spirit world. However, another reason why the tree was thought to have magical powers is because of the gas it emits on a hot day called taxine, which has the ability to cause hallucinations.
Trees not only have a spiritual and cultural significance, but they provide us so much more benefits. It is important that we look after our trees and treat them well. They can tell a story of lifetimes.