Great Britain’s oldest tree is known as Llangernyw, a yew tree in Wales (with a spelling like that would you expect anywhere else?). It was seeded in what is now St. Digian’s Church about 4,000 years ago, in Llangernyw in northern Wales. To give you some context, the builders of Stonehenge were still alive when this tree sprouted. The local residents did not always know the tree was as old as it was. St. Digian’s dug a hole next to it to store their oil tank. It was removed in the 1990s when the age of the tree became known but the tree has a split in it thanks to the tank. While not related to the tree, the church is believed to be inhabited by an ancient spirit that on Halloween foretells the names of parishioners who will die during the following year.
Another yew tree, the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, Scotland is believed to be about 2,000 to 3.000 years old with some scientists suggesting the tree could be up to 5,000 years old or older. This yew grew up around Bronze Age and Iron Age villages and a cult was formed around it. The tree was already a holy site when Scotland was Christianized during the Dark Ages and legend says that Pontius Pilate (the future governor of Judea) grew up and played underneath the tree as a boy. Parts of the tree were removed at one time to make drinking cups but that was stopped and a wall was erected around the tree.