Fortingall Yew Tree

The ancient Fortingall Yew Tree believed to be over 3000 years old.

The celebrated Fortingall Yew Tree is without doubt the most ancient specimen of vegetation to be found in Europe and has stood in the village for many centuries; how many nobody really knows exactly, but from observations made by eminent botanists and other knowledgeable persons, it seems certain that it is at least 3000 years old.

In 1769 Thomas Pennant when on a visit to Colonel Campbell of Glenlyon, measured this historic tree and found it to be 56.5 feet (17.5 m) in circumference. Some years later other well known botanist of the time visited the tree equally impressed by its size.

In 1852 the main trunks had fallen away, no doubt due to the fact that for the last 200 years it had been subjected to vandalism by the local populus who lit their Beltane between the separated parts, and from souvenir hunters who cut and removed pieces from the famous Yew Tree.

In the middle of the nineteenth century the local authorities were forced to build a wall around it for protection, and to brace up a number of its limbs with stone pillars which are still visible today. In 1870, the late Sir Robert Christison, after careful examination, pronounced the Tree to be about 3000 years old.

Beneath the Tree's branches is the burial ground of the Stewarts of Garth, while behind, in an elegant enclosure, lies the remains of Sir Donald Currie of Garth, Glenlyon and Chesthill, who in 1900 was responsible for restoring the time-worn church to its present condition, as well as the village of Fortingalll itself.


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