Thursday, November 06, 2008



New life from Richard Jefferies' ancient yew tree at Coate

6th November 2008

The 160th anniversary of the birth of Richard Jefferies was marked today with the planting of a small seedling yew tree in the Jefferies' garden at Coate.

The tiny three inch high plantlet was rescued growing under the ancient yew tree removed by Swindon Borough Council in September that had towered above the old house, now a Museum, built by Richard Jefferies' grandfather in 1826.

Richard Jefferies, born at Coate Farm on 6th November 1848, was particularly fond of the ancient yew tree that was home to a family of thrush that, for generations, he had observed nesting in the old tree. He recorded the birds' activities in his second novel Restless Human Hearts published in 1875.

Visitors to the Museum and devotees of the Victorian nature writer expressed great sadness at the loss of the ancient tree and wanted it to be remembered in some fashion.

A spokesperson for the Richard Jefferies Society said:

"The yew tree is associated with long-life and was most commonly planted in sacred places. One of Richard Jefferies' themes in his writing was the timelessness of nature. We hope that this little tree will be allowed to grow in the Jefferies' garden and mark the writer's spiritual attachment to his birthplace."