What we might casually think are ancient churchyard yews are most often nostalgic nineteenth century plantings, I learnt from the local authority’s Trees and Woodlands Officer last month. It certainly appears that way at St Nicolas’ where this week I’ve taken another photograph of the way trees now shield the view of much of the building (this time lined up to match a photograph form about 1900, although the earlier picture was clearly taken in the winter).
A hundred years ago, the churchyard appears to have been managed more like a controlled parkland (including the quite new yew plantings), and this does set off the building magnificently. But, notwithstanding this historical perspective, the more recent less controlled woodland approach has allowed mature cyprus and yew trees in particular to provide their own magnificence.
It is clear how the large walnut prominent in the front left of the earlier picture was replaced by another walnut in about 1990 on exactly the same spot; there are mature and ancient walnuts along the southern edge of the churchyard as well. I also notice that we still have the same railings. The other main feature is the main Grimsby to Immingham road which was driven through what was the Rectory grounds in the 1950s; the previous gracious driveway entrance is clear in the earlier picture.