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Ashbrittle Yew

Round Barrow(s)

This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Nearest Town:Wellington (9km E)
OS Ref (GB):   ST052214 / Sheet: 181
Latitude:50° 59' 0.99" N
Longitude:   3° 21' 2.49" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Visited 18.1.14

From the town of Wellington, take the A38 south. After a couple of miles you will see a sign to your left for Ashbrittle. Although you have to navigate a maze of lanes to get to Ashbrittle it is well sign posted so you should be ok. Take an O/S map just in case!
You will need to park on the main road and walk along a path to the church, which is behind a couple of houses.

Although it was only 4.30pm, being the middle of January on a wet and dreary day, it was already starting to get dark. I was keen to visit this site so hoped I would get there in time. As it turned out we got there before it got too dark – phew!

I love these old church sites. I was planning on having a look around inside the church but there was (what sounded like) an organ recital going on so a stayed outside.

It felt very much like a scene from a Hammer House of Horror. There I was rummaging about in an old grave yard, at dusk, with organ music in the background and crows adding to the atmosphere – fab!

As for the Barrow itself it is easy enough to find. Just head for the church porch and look for the large yew tree with an old weathered metal information board next to it. You will immediately notice that it has been planted on the top of the Barrow in question.

The Barrow is approximately 1.5m high x 15m across. A couple of ‘modern’ graves reside in the outer edges of the Barrow, beneath the canopy of the yew tree.

The information board states that the yew tree is over 3,000 years old and further advises the reader that this was a mature tree when Stonehenge was in use. As you would expect the tree is large and has what appears to be 7 trunks – one in the centre and six forming a ring around it. I have seen this type of thing before when visiting other ancient yews (particularly the one in Fortingall, Scotland). Although it looks like several trunks it is in fact the same tree.

Ashbrittle is a bit out of the way but if, like me, you appreciate an old church/graveyard, particularly one with a prehistoric slant, then this is a good place to visit. Certainly one I would recommend.
Posted by CARL
22nd January 2014ce

Barrow-like mound surmounted by a yew tree at ST052214. {1}

The mound is circular, although slightly truncated at its N side. E-W diameter is 9m, N-S diameter 7m and c1.25m high. The centre of the mound is about 17m due S of the E wall of the chancel. It is crowned by a massive yew stool with a number of trunks and is clearly very old. {2}

NGR should be ST052213. {3}

Very doubtful. {4}

1 Mention - Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society Aston, M 1976 "Somerset Archaeology 1974-5" vol 120, 71
2 Personal communication - Burrow, I SCPD 07.03.84
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1976 ST02SE(M) SCPD
4 Mention - Quinell, NV quoted in Grinsell, LV "Somerset Barrows: revisions 1971-87" Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society 131 (1987), 22.

Record created by:
Ian Burrow in March 1984

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2003

The authenticity of the mound as a barrow is in question.
With thanks to the Somerset Museums Service for their help.
jimit Posted by jimit
29th November 2003ce