Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

The Hardy Tree

Posted on by royvickery |

010The churchyard of St Pancras Old Church, near Euston station in the London Borough of Camden, contains an ash (Fraxinus excelsior) tree surrounded by displaced tombstones, known as the Hardy Tree.

Christian worship is reputed to have continued on the site since the 4th century and at one stage the Church had a more extensive graveyard, but in the 1860s part of it was cleared of graves – it’s said that over 10,000 graves were removed – to make way for the growth of the Midland Railway Line.  The excavation of the graves was undertaken by the Covent Garden based architect Arthur Blomfield, who in turn passed the task over to his pupil Thomas Hardy, later famous as a poet and novelist but a from 1862-7 student of architecture in London.  During the course of this work tombstones were placed around the young tree, which has now become one of the churchyard’s noteworthy features.

Update:  According to the Evening Standard of 9 August 2019,  the Hardy Tree is ‘under threat from “suspicious fruiting bodies”‘, presumably toadstools.

Image: April 2016.

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