St. Andrew's Church - Kenn
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St.Andrews Churchyard

WELCOME TO THE CHURCHYARD OF ST ANDREW’S KENN

Our present church building is old- mostly 600-700 years but on a site used by Christians since 1200 AD at least. Our churchyard is even older and has been the site of Christian usage for nearly 1000 years although the regular practice of marking graves with headstones and crosses only started in the 1700s.

The Living Past

The areas near the church surrounded by stone walls enclose a remarkable collection of plants and creatures largely untouched by modern farming methods-no herbicides, no pesticides and no tractors. Earlier generations kept the meadows short by grazing sheep and geese and later the scythe was used at the end of the summer when the grasses and flowers had formed seed heads. So our churchyard is an unique living record of the plants and creatures that used to be common in the Kenn valley years ago. It is home to the yellow meadow ants, a resident badger, green woodpeckers and nuthatches and a host of spring wild daffodils and summer meadow flowers.

Trees

Most of the trees have been planted on purpose by parishioners in the past often to commemorate some great event or to remember a particular person. Take a look at
the Tulip and Monkey Puzzle trees as well as counting all the yews.

Kenn’s Great Yew - Taxus Baccata

Our large and ancient yew tree is even older that the present stone built church. Some authorities say it is 1500 years old and some much more possibly 2000 years. Its girth is 40 feet and it is reckoned to be one of the oldest yews in the country. It was probably planted to mark a holy site before Christianity became the main religion and was later adopted by
the early Christian church in Kenn as a holy place. It is a significant tree. A. Meredith- (The Sacred Yew- 1994 and recent communication 2014)

Please note how the yew is hollow in the middle and how the fallen needles have filled the hole and created a mound around the base of the tree which contribute to the tree’s nutrition. The indigenous Iris plants are often found as close companions to yews but whether by nature or ritual is unclear.

In the Middle Ages the wood from yews was specially grown by Royal command to make the long bows which the English archers used with such success in our many wars against the French .The yews in churchyards may have been excused from this military service and so survived. Many parts of the tree including the berries are poisonous to human beings. Extracts of the poison taxine have been used in chemotherapy for cancer.

Ian Goodrick Hon Sec to PCC 2004 e mail goodrick@btinternet.com

Services each Month

Service Times

1st Sunday
10:00am - Morning Worship & Sunday School
2nd Sunday
8:15am - Eucharist
3rd Sunday
10:00am - Sung Eucharist & Sunday School
4th Sunday
8:15am - Eucharist
5th Sunday
10:00am - Joint Service
Every Thursday
9:00am - Eucharist