Today Carolyn and I visited an ancient Yew in the grounds of St Bartholomew’s Church, Chipping in The County Palatine Of Lancaster. The church was established at some time before 1230 and rebuilt in 1506. As well as the fine specimen which grows at the SE corner of the church, there are a further 6 yews in the churchyard. The largest of these girths 2m 30cm at 20cm. This amazing tree has had a major branch supported for hundreds of years by two iron struts. The tree is in remarkable condition and commands an impressive location in the centre of the village.
Across the road from the church is The Sun Inn, a 17th Century local’s pub steeped in history and haunted by the ghost of Lizzie Dean.
Lizzie was a scullery maid who liked to dress in colourful clothing. In 1835 the poor girl had the misfortune of meeting a local lad who told her he loved her deeply. He played a cruel trick by proposing to her, in the hope that he could have his wicked way.
After he had conducted his plan successfully, he informed poor Lizzie that he no longer wished to marry her. Lizzie’s heart was broken in two, and to add to her heartache her ex-lover proposed to her best friend, and she, against Lizzie’s wishes, agreed to marry him.
On the day of the wedding at St Bartholomew’s Church, Lizzie made her way up to the pub attic that overlooked the church yard. She wrote a suicide note, placed a rope around her neck, and hanged herself in the Sun Inn’s attic.
In her suicide note she wrote “I want to be buried at the entrance to the church so my lover and my best friend will always have to walk past my grave every time they go to church.”
Her grave is under the huge Yew tree in the graveyard of St Bartholomew’s Church, and she is said to walk in and through the ancient yew on the way to her resting place.