Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Weeping ash

My sense of historical continuity was greatly tickled when a new weeping ash was planted in St Michael’s churchyard yesterday by those who have been doing so much work there recently. It is ‘succession planting’ for the day when the huge weeping ash at the churchyard gate has to come down. It was showing signs of needing to do so a couple of years ago, but since then it has revived remarkably. Putting in the new tree was a condition of the planning permission for the disabled access at the gateway lest our work damaged the roots of the old tree and shortened its remaining life.

An 1880 painting of the church (in the days when its parish had ten dwellings) shows a small tree with a weeping shape in about the right position so the old tree is probably about 135 years old. A former Churchwarden and his wife have paid for the new one to mark their Diamond Wedding. Her grandfather was active in the church a hundred years ago (when Grimsby was spreading across the parish boundary and the parish population was beginning to grow) so the span of the family's impact will be notable if the new tree lives as long.

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