In the early Seventies, an ex-soldier, wanderer and freelance conservationist called Allen Meredith began having mystical dreams. A group of people in long gowns and hoods were sitting in a circle, instructing him to look for the “Tree of the Cross”. “It was called by another name,” he remembers, “but I knew it was a yew.”
There were doubtless many dreamers of Druidical figures and sacred trees in those psychedelic years, but Meredith acted on his visions. He became obsessed with the yew, began to believe that it held crucial lessons for humankind and, finally, had a revelation that it was the true Tree of Life. Almost single-handedly he revived a fascination with the yew – and especially its longevity – that had begun three centuries before. His arguments, together with the evidence he began collecting, persuaded many tree scientists that ancient churchyard yews were older than all previous estimates by some thousands of years; and that one in particular, the Great Yew in the churchyard at Fortingall in Scotland, might be the oldest living thing on Earth.
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Source Credits: Richard Mabey in The Telegraph UK