Yews are a mystery, we haven’t a great understanding of them as they are a bizarre tree. They don’t behave like most trees that we have. We know that they grow very slowly and then they appear to stop. Then they appear to be dying and look full of decay. It then decides that it will start growing again of its own accord.
The dating of Yews is notoriously difficult, as I have said above, they don’t have a normal growth pattern. Most trees we can date from tree rings but with the Yew, which piece of wood is the tree!? What we do know is down to one mans drive and determination to try and understand the Yew and that is a man called Allen Mereidith. He has spent a lifetime researching the history, age, growth and their social standing in our culture. It is he who has convinced many confused botanist that are Yews are much older than we first thought with many being older the baby Jesus.
The Fortingall Yew is now believed to be over 9000 years old! Wow.