The Crowhurst Yew, has been shortlisted by the Woodland Trust in its Tree of the Year contest.
The Yew is one of the oldest trees in Sussex, pre-dating the arrival of William the Conqueror.
The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year contest will crown England’s favourite tree.
Hope Muntz’s 1948 novel The Golden Warrior, describes how a local official was hanged from the Crowhurst Yew for refusing to reveal where treasure was hidden.
It has also been claimed the invading Normans made some of their bows from the wood of the tree.
Some distinguished persons and groups have received young yews grown from the seeds of the old tree.
These include author, Rudyard Kipling, King George V and the Cambridge Botanical Gardens.
Dr Michael Brydon, rector of St George’s Church, where the tree resides said:
“Crowhurst is very proud of its oldest resident, which was a focal point for our 1066 commemorations.
“The yew is frequently visited by walkers on the nearby 1066 Way.”
Now in its fourth year, tens of thousands of people have already taken part in the conservation charity’s competition.
For the first time one tree will be chosen from the four national winners to represent the UK in the 2018 European Tree of the Year contest.
Expert panels have shortlisted 10 trees in England and six in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for voters to choose from.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive added:
“Once again the public has nominated many fantastic trees with truly inspirational stories, which highlight how intrinsic they can become in peoples’ lives.
“It’s a reminder of why we need to care for individual trees and that they still need true protection in law from development or mismanagement.”
The shortlisted trees are also in with a chance of winning a £1,000 care award.
The £1,000 care award can be used to arrange a health check from an arboriculturist, provide educational materials or hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree.
Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery added:
“We are delighted that with our players’ support, the Woodland Trust is able to provide this opportunity for communities all over Britain to celebrate and care for their fantastic trees.”
The Woodland Trust is still calling for better protection for ancient trees and woodland.
The current Conservative Manifesto pledges to ‘provide stronger protections’ for ancient woods and trees.
This reinforces recommendations in to increase protection through changes to planning policy in England.
The Government is expected to produce its response later this year.
To vote in the Tree of the Year contest click here.
Photograph of the Crowhurst Yew at St Georges Church by Julian Hight.