I DON’T LIKE THE RESTORATION
To be honest I preferred this as it was before restoration.
In the walled garden there was originally a circular yew hedge with alcoves and arches in which stood statues representing the five continents. The statues were reflected in the great circular marble basin which occupied the centre of the Yew Circle. My understanding is that some or all of the statue were sold at auction.
When I first photographed this folly there was still a basin but it was full of stagnant water and weeds and there were no statues. The yew hedges were in an overgrown state and needed some attention.
An account from 1873 (W. Heale, 1873) describes the yew circle in detail: ‘On the east side of this [Dutch style flower] garden is an amphitheatre some 150 feet in circumference; the outer portion is a well-kept Yew hedge with five entrances; equidistant from each entrance are four marble statues representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America; Australia is not yet represented. The centre is a costly marble basin with fountain and stocked with gold and silver fish.’
A symbol of immortality, a typical yew tree can be very long lived, with some churchyard trees thought to be over 1,000 years old. A specimen in Muckross Abbey is known to be 900 years Old.
Yew trees were sacred to the preChristians in Ireland and were then adopted into the Christian religion and used in the sacred ground of graveyards. The yew is also associated with palm trees like the palm which is received on Palm Sunday. Locals refer to the trees as “Palm trees”.
Taxus baccata is a species of evergreen tree in the family Taxaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe (including Britain and Ireland), northwest Africa, northern Iran, and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may now be known as common yew, English yew, or European yew. It is primarily grown as an ornamental. Most parts of the plant are poisonous, with toxins that can be absorbed through inhalation and through the skin; consumption of even a small amount of the foliage can result in death.