SU7433 : The Selborne Yew

taken 4 years ago, near to Selborne, Hampshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 3 images, with title The Selborne Yew in this square
The Selborne Yew
The Selborne Yew
Sadly this enormous stump is all that remains of the once mighty Selborne Yew.
Gilbert White in his famed "Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne" described it thus:
"In the churchyard of this village is a yew tree whose aspect bespeaks it to be of great age: it seems to have seen several centuries, and is probably coeval with the church, and therefore may be deemed an antiquity: the body is squat, short and thick, and measures twenty-three feet in girth, supporting an head of suitable extent to its bulk. This is a male tree, which in the spring sheds clouds of dust and fills the atmosphere with its farina."
But the ancient tree did not survive the "Burns Day Storm" of 25th January 1990. At about 3pm it crashed to the ground. Lying across the path, it retained the circular bench which surrounded its trunk the centre of which was revealed to be hollow. Most of the branches which had fallen amongst the gravestones were hewn from it, and it was righted and replanted in the hope that it might survive and grow new shoots. Unfortunately this was not to be, and the greenery now seen around it is not of the Yew itself, but of plants that have grown in and around it.
Despite its ruined and dead condition, in 2002 it was nevertheless declared to be one of just 50 trees selected to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee as "Britain's Greatest Trees" ( see Wikipedia list here LinkExternal link )
When the Yew was uprooted a considerable number of ancient bones were revealed - these dated back to Saxon times when the original church was built, and this great old tree was planted, at least 1200, and possibly as long as 1400 years ago.
Gilbert White and the Natural History of Selborne
The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne
Gilbert White's seminal work on Natural History was first published (by Gilbert's brother Benjamin) in 1789 and has never been out of print to this day having gone through a remarkable 300 editions.
The book consists of 44 letters to his friend and fellow naturalist Thomas Pennant, and 66 letters to the Hon. Daines Barrington, a lawyer, antiquary and amateur naturalist.
A third group of letters, numbering 26, concern the local "antiquities" - e.g. palaeontological and archaeological discoveries in the area. This section is often omitted from editions.
Many of the "letters" were never actually sent through the post (none of the "antiquities" ones were) - but were more like extensive diary entries.
The original manuscript of this work can be viewed (through glass) at Gilbert White's house and museum in Selborne - see LinkExternal link for a lot more information.
A "fairly complete transcript" of the work can be read online here LinkExternal link
Gilbert White
Gilbert White was born on 18th July 1720 at The Wakes where his grandfather was the vicar. Being educated firstly at The Holy Ghost School in Basingstoke and by a private tutor in the same town, he then went to Oriel College, Oxford. He became a deacon at the age of 26, and was fully ordained three years later. He became curate of a number of Hampshire and Wiltshire villages including Newton Valence and Farringdon, both near to Selborne. He became the curate of Selborne itself on four separate occasions - why there were breaks in the tenure I don't know. Gilbert moved back into The Wakes on his father's death in 1758 and inherited the property outright five years later. His final tenure as Curate of Selborne commenced in 1784 and he held the post until his death on 26th June 1793, four years after the publication which has ensured his enduring fame.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for Large scale mapping
Change to interactive Map >
Grid Square
SU7433, 320 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Saturday, 23 May, 2015   (more nearby)
Saturday, 13 June, 2015
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Place (from Tags)
Tree (from Tags)
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 7410 3376 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:5.9020N 0:56.5886W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 7410 3376
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Image classification(about): Geograph
This page has been viewed about 177 times.
View this location: KML (Google Earth) · Google MapsExternal link · Bing MapsExternal link · Geograph Coverage Map · geotagged! More Links for this image
W Go E
You are not logged in login | register