Wandering around Selborne when visiting Gilbert White’s House, I can see why the village so enthralled him. OK – so in the mid 1700’s, it would have been a little different obviously but there is charm by the bucket load in this little village.
During a delicious repast at the excellent Queen’s nearby, the most amazing peal of bells rang out time and time again – obviously bell ringing practice on a Tuesday – or maybe just a little nudge to go and pay our respects to the church. We took the hint.
The church probably dates from around 1180 with quite a few later embellishments and was probably built on the site of the church recorded in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book in 1086. With a pooch in tow, we obviously couldn’t enter the church itself. I am told however that the core of the church is late Norman with extensive restoration undertaken by Gilbert White in the 1700’s. More recently, there are apparently two fine stained glass windows, commemorating Gilbert White himself.
Just by the entrance of the church, there lies the remains of a great yew tree, brought down by the gales of 25th January, 1990.
Thought to have been around 1,400 years old when it died, The Selborne Yew, as it’s known, was recognised by the Tree Council at the time of HM Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in June 2002 as one of the 50 Great British Trees in recognition of its place in the national heritage. A cutting from the original tree is now thriving in the churchyard, just a few feet away from its mother.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
For more information on the Domesday Book, see http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/