All Saints Church
FEBRUARY Sunday Services
25th Morning Prayer 10.00am (Rev. J Ellison)
Mrs. Anne Charrington - 01420 588200
Mr. Andrew Black - 01420 588220
Wedding? Funeral? Christening?
The first point of contact is Rev. Carrie Walshaw. Email: [email protected] Tel. 01420 511706
Records date back to 1558, although the church dates back further. There are over 3000 people buried in All Saints churchyard. In 2017 a one-off Burial Memorial Book book was (voluntarily) written which details all those people buried at Farringdon from 1558-2017. If you have a genealogy query about Farringdon Churchyard please email: [email protected]
The ancient yew tree close to the West Tower is classified as Ancient Exceptional and is listed on the Ancient Yew Tree Inventory as a “Tree of National Special Interest”. Considered by arboriculturists to be over 3000 years old, it is one of ten most important trees in Great Britain. Classified as “ancient exceptional”, the tree measures 9.27m (30ft 6in) at its narrowest point. It is the older of the two ancient yews in the churchyard, the other being approximately 1750 years old.
The English yew tree is one of Britain’s oldest native species. Many yews are found in churchyards, where their sacred status has protected them for centuries. Many of our oldest yews were planted by pagans, Norman church-builders and others by Celtic Christians. It’s the tree of life, death and resurrection and a symbol of everlasting life. It is not too far-fetched to consider that All Saints church is built on a pagan site of worship or a burial ground.
Over the centuries the two ancient Farringdon Yews have been written about in many books and journals. The world famous naturalist Gilbert White, when curate of All Saints in the 18th century mentioned in his journal of January 6th 1781, chapter xiv that: ‘In the churchyard are two male yew trees, the largest of which measures 30 feet in girth’. We would like to think that Gilbert White, one time curate of this parish, would approve of this churchyard and that all who visit will enjoy its natural beauty.
Naturalist and ornithologist William Henry Hudson, writing in Hampshire Days 1903 reported that: ‘The Farringdon yew in its biggest part, about five feet from the ground, measures thirty feet, and to judge by its ruinous condition it must have ceased adding to its bulk more than a century ago. It has in its usual manner decayed above and below, the upper branches dying while the trunk rots away beneath, the tree meanwhile keeping itself alive and renewing its youth, as it were, by means of that power which the yew possesses of saving portions of its trunk from complete decay by covering them inside and out with new bark.
Hudson continues: ‘The Farringdon tree has decayed below in this way; long strips from the top to the roots have rotted and turned to dust; and the sound portions, covered in and out with bark, form a group of half a dozen flattened boles, placed in a circle, all but one, which springs from the middle and forms a fantastically twisted column in the centre of the edifice. Between this central strangely shaped bole, now dead, and in the surrounding ring there is a space for a man to walk around’.
In 2019 an appeal was set up to save the tree from potential collapse and October 2022; this reached its target of £13,500 enabling the construction of the support frame. If you would like to make a contribution to the ongoing upkeep of the tree, please use the Card Reader and QR code which can be found inside the church.