There was a wonderful programme on BBC 4 a couple of weeks ago called Pagans and Pilgrims, which was presented by the poet Ifor ap Glyn. In Episode 3, he ‘sets off on a journey to understand why trees and mountains have been such important symbols in Britain’s spiritual history’ At one point he visits St Brynach’s Chapel at Nevern, to visit ‘a very unusual tree’ The Bleeding Yew – the tree bleeds an unidentifiable red liquid which has apparently baffled scientists and tree experts. There are several local legends concerning it: that it bleeds in sympathy with Christ, that it has been bleeding ever since a man was hung from it’s branches ,and that it bleeds until a Welshman sits on the throne at nearby Nevern Castle. That’s it in the photo at the top of the post.
Last week I was having a look at some of the work done in the Garden by the ‘Community Payback’ team when I came across this …
We have our very own Bleeding Yew!
Unfortunately this part of the Garden is always in shade so the colour hasn’t come out as vividly as it is in the flesh. It’s slightly better with a flash. Unfortunately the payback team have completely mangled it, *sigh* but hopefully in a couple of years it will have recovered a little. I stuck my finger in the hole to see what the fluid is like. It’s very runny, a bit like tea, and not at all sticky, which is how I envision sap. It leaves a red stain on the fingers, but nothing so gory as fresh blood, it’s more like cranberry juice. Needless to say I was very careful to wash it off thoroughly when I got back to the Office!
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about my discovery, maybe I should invent a legend 🙂 Anyway, I shall make sure I visit it regularly and see what it can tell me.