Apr 14, 2019 —
Llanilid, near Bridgend, in South Wales, is the place Joseph of Arimathea came to meet the Druids of Siluria and I believe he brought a branch from a very special yew, to be planted there south of the church. Part of that branch was later taken to Glastonbury where it was planted and grew into a tree and then excavated from Chalice Well in 1964. The yew wood bore marks of a Roman axe and was dated by Leeds University to the 1st century.
Joseph of Arimathea met the Druids in Rome, where Caradog, King of the Silurians had been taken for execution along with his father, Bran the Blessed and the rest of his family, after being betrayed and arrested following some 40 pitched battles against the Romans. In Rome, his eloquent speech delivered in Latin, led to a pardon on condition he never again took up arms against Rome, and on condition he spend the next 7 years there under their watchful eyes. During this time he met St. Paul who also came to Llanilid, following the family’s release and writing to Timothy in his letter in the New Testament, to ‘come before winter’ as Aristobulus (made First Bishop of Britain by St. Paul at Llanilid), Linus, Pudens and Claudius (Caradog’s children) sent their greetings and awaited him. The Druids were converted to Christianity and it was not long before this group of early Christians moved to Llantwit Major (Llanelltyd Fawr), probably due to the heavy presence of the Romans watching Caradog’s every move, as well as to make a clean break. An earthwork called a Cor, a major Druid Temple, one of 3 in Britain, was left behind and is the only one still extant, standing adjacent to Llanilid church, the 2 circles forming a figure 8. This less known history of the first church is documented in ‘The Genealogies of the Saints’, the Welsh Triads and several other Church documents and was later asserted by Elizabeth 1st as taking precedence over the Church of Rome.
Last week we went to Llanilid and cleared the 2,000 year old ancient yew of bramble, ivy and nettles. Like other trees we have cleared, I am sure this yew will repay our efforts and take on a new lease of life. I expect it to look quite refreshed in just a year’s time. Communities with an ancient yew should consider adopting and looking after their tree and will find it very rewarding, removing ivy which prevents it from taking a hold, blocking light to the yew and acting like a sail in the wind which then breaks branches. We have seen yews return to good health and vigour within a very short time, even those looking really decrepit, respond quite quickly once ivy is removed.
I have been advised to postpone presenting our petition to DEFRA at Westminster due to Brexit continuing to take up politicians time and focus. I hope to give a new date for this event soon. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused. Thankyou all so very much for all your help and support for the Tree of Life. The Countryman magazine has a 5 page article on Yew Conservation and the Campaign out now. Meanwhile, please keep signing and sharing the petition.
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