Sunday, 16 June 2019

The bleeding yew and other treasures

Wales: Like many of our old churchyards, Nevern Church has an avenue of ancient yew trees, some 700 years old, leading from the gate to the church door. One of these trees is famous as 'the bleeding yew', something I've never seen before. Where a limb has been sawn off, the tree 'bleeds' with a deep red sap, the colour and consistency of blood. It has been bleeding for as long as anyone can remember and no-one really knows why. Myths and legends abound, but perhaps the most obvious of them is that it is bleeding in sympathy with Jesus as he died on the cross. 

Within the church, set into the windowsills, are more ancient treasures - a beautiful Celtic braided cross dating back to the 10th century:

and another stone, known as the Maglocunus Stone, dated to the 5th century. It is inscribed in Latin (which you can just about see along the wavy edge at the back) and in Ogham, a curious early medieval script consisting of marks and slashes, which you can see along the edge below.


  1. How amazing that tree is! I'm glad someone can still read Ogham,and wonder what it says.