This month, we are in Crowhurst, a village first recorded in documents from 1189 – the name simply means ‘Crow Wood’.
Apart from the early church and Grade 1 listed manor house, Crowhurst’s other claim to fame is being home to one of the oldest trees in the country. Reputed to be around 4,000 years old, the Crowhurst Yew can be seen in the churchyard (as in the picture of around 1910).
Its girth was first recorded at 30 feet in parish records of 1630. In the early 19th Century, the dead core was hollowed out, a table and benches inserted and a door added to the front: during the work, a large cannon ball dating from the civil war was discovered, embedded in the tree.
The tree was then later used, at various times, as a summer house, a meeting room for the parish council and a dwelling for the homeless. It now measures some 34 feet in circumference, and is still thriving, albeit with the addition of some wooden supports.