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Circles under churches
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m6
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Re: Circles under churches
Nov 27, 2005, 15:11
i agree with the following - is this importation theme folklore, or were all the stave-bearing yews used up in Britain, at an earlier stage?

"yew - in Britain, Ireland, Europe, N.Africa and Asia Minor its the same one - Latin tag or not... I merely state that the yew that was growing in those countries which could export to Britain is EXACTLY the same species of tree that was growing in Britain. So if "English" yew was brittle and unsuitable for bows, so was the imported yew because its exactly the same. Only variation would be that caused by climate and soil condition affecting growth".

"Cheshire place name survey "Thorn and ash are the commonest trees in English placenames (also Welsh and Cornish)...but yew is apparently ABSENT.."

see below on placenames

"On churchyard yews...are supposed to have been sacred trees before the churches were built. As far as I know, however, there is nothing to connect yews with any of the pagan religions of Britain",

see below re MacKillop and druid wands

"- though there may be a connection with early Christianity. The theory that churches were built on pagan sacred sites has received disappointingly little support from excavation. If yews were a feature of early churches, why are there no place-names such as Yewchurch?"

see below re placenames and, i cannot believe this? - look at Alton Priors, look at Knowlton, look at Avebury - even St Paul's is supposed to occupy the site of a pagan temple in the heart of London - all these are former pagan sites sat upon by the Church . . . excavation? forget excavation! - just use good old fashioned eyes!

"(Yews were not grown for longbows, which were normally of elm or imported yew.)"

check out the neolithic Meare Heath yew bow from Somerset - a very fine bow (now in Cambridge, i understand?), and don't forget Oetzi?

"red berries and resurrection elements are most likely Christian..."

so why the yew over the holly; or pine, ivy, fir, as far as the evergreen symbolism goes - why the terrific emphasis on yew, there has to be a reason?

"Irminsul, Yggdrasil and all that? Oak, ash and thorn are the real pagan trees of British myth and legend aren't they? Anyone know of any really genuine old folktales about yews and yew magic ? (apart from the Greek and Roman ones)"

James MacKilop has this (and more) to say -

'Druids preferred yew wood for making wands, more than other favourite woods, apple and oak ... several Irish and Scottish placenames allude to the yew tree, notably Youghall [Eochaill, yew wood] in County Cork ... Lugaid mac Con and Eogan hear the magical music of the yew tree over a water fall; the musician is revealed to be Fer I [man of yew]'

Celtic Mythology, 1998
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