Horse Chestnut tree at St Stephens

The magnificent horse chestnut tree, a well known landmark in St Stephens churchyard, is no more. It was dying having succumbed to various tree diseases over several years, the main one being the horse chestnut leaf miner which causes the leaves to die and drop prematurely. Although the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Stephen’s made a concerted effort to save it, it has been to no avail. It has had to be felled.

The tree, which stood close to Watling Street in the corner of the churchyard, was remarkable because we know exactly when it was planted – 22nd November 1785 – in commemoration of James Howard who died that year. James Howard was a one time owner of the St Julian’s estate and mansion which was situated further down Watling street where the Tithe Barn Estate is. He purchased the estate in 1770 from the Barker family. James is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard.

It was one of the many ancient trees in St Stephen’s churchyard which were measured (by hugging) in July 2008 as part of the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Hunt Campaign called “The Summer of Hugs”. The black and white image below of the tree taken 100 years ago shows its former glory.

Leave a comment

  • (will not be published)