Unknown attacker poisoned ancient yew trees that have survived the two world wars as well as seven monarchs. Everybody in small village of 550 has been made suspect.

  • Unknown attacker poisoned an ancient yew plant in a Wiltshire Church
  • It has a minimum of 200-year-old age, and it was contaminated with a deadly ‘bathful.’ 
  • This stunning yew survived seven British monarchies and two world Wars. 

Furious residents claimed that the poisoning of a magnificent yew-tree in a Vale of Pewsey churchyard was done to try and kill it.

The 40-foot tall yew is estimated to have lived for at least 200 years and has survived the reigns of seven British monarchs as well as two world wars.

It is located in Milton Lilbourne’s graveyard, 12th-century St Peter’s parish church, Milton Lilbourne. Every person in this tiny village of only 550 residents has been considered a suspect. 

It was reported that it was suffering from an illness. Tests revealed that a deliberate effort was made to remove it using poison.

It is a mystery why anybody would want to hurt the old yew. There are fewer than 500 residents in the village.

A magnificent yew tree (pictured) in a village churchyard in the beautiful Vale of Pewsey has been deliberately poisoned in a bid to kill it, furious residents said

Residents furious that a magnificent yew-tree (pictured) was deliberately poisoned at a Vale of Pewsey village churchyard has claimed it had been intentionally poisoned to endanger its life.

Peter Crofton Atkins noticed that the yew was only yards away from his cottage.

“It looked sick, and half the branches were brown,” said Mr Crofton Atkins. He was so concerned that he ordered chemical laboratory tests.

The tree was laced in toxic chemicals believed to have been glyphosate, which he found out horrifying.

“They took soil samples, and determined that my garden contained 15 parts per thousand chemicals. However, below the tree the chemical levels were 10,000 parts per millions.

“The tree man stated that this was what makes it so remarkable – they had to have taken a bath with the stuff.

Milton Lilbourne’s parish council was asked by he to investigate the possibility of saving the tree.

‘I’m so angry. It is important to question yourself, “Who would commit such an act of vandalism?”

William Price, another villager, said: “I’m shocked someone would deliberately poison a 200 year-old tree.”

Mystery surrounds why anyone should want to harm the old yew, which is in St Peter's Parish Church in Milton Lilbourne, near Marlborough, Wiltshire

There is mystery surrounding why someone would want to damage the old yew in St Peter’s Parish Church, Milton Lilbourne (near Marlborough), Wiltshire

“This would be equivalent to the destruction of a building with a history of 200 years that is listed.

“That tree is part our heritage. It does a great job of absorption carbon. It is so stupid to say this about a living being.

“Please do not allow others to chop or cut any branches, as this will only increase the stress on the tree. You should give it a break for one year so that you can see how the tree does.

I have heard that some poison can be removed by watering the tree frequently. It is important to make every effort possible to save the tree.

Get good advice about how to best help your tree. Highlight the acts of barbarism committed by unknown persons to the parish council.

This act of vandalism should make the community furious. This is not acceptable.

Paul Oatway (chairman of the parish Council) said, “Peter wrote to me about this, and I asked him for more details. He hasn’t yet provided me with all details.

“But this issue will be on agenda at the next parish Council meeting. He doesn’t know exactly what he wants from the parish council. Perhaps he needs to contact the Environment Agency.

According to experts, poisoned trees may sometimes be revived when they are watered in dry periods. The dry spells will help to flush out toxins and to replace soil that is contaminated. 

Why is it that yew trees are so common in church cemeteries?

Many yew trees have been associated with British churches for over 1000 years.

According to historians, they were either planted next to churches for safe wood supply in English longbows or because their poisonous leaves and fruits discouraged hungry cattle from entering graveyards.

Pagan connections could also exist as yews were often associated with death or the passage of souls from one life to another for many thousands of years.

It was sacred for Hecate, the Ancient Greek Goddess of Death, Witchcraft, and Necromancy.

Pictured: A close-up drawing of a yew tree, which is also known as Taxus baccata

Photo: Close-up illustration of a yew trellis, also called Taxus baccata

The tree purified the dead when they went to Hades.

Celtic druids considered yew sacred too and placed it next to their temples in order to perform death rituals.

Although the symbol of death is the yew, it’s also alive and well. The Tree of Life can be linked with many religious and philosophical beliefs.

While the sap of the tree’s heart is white, its core is red. These colours may symbolise Christ’s blood, body and blood.