Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Posy Tree removed

Posted on by royvickery |

001The Posy Tree, a dead sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) in the parish of Mapperton, west Dorset, having been condemned as unsafe was removed on Saturday 6 August 2011:
‘Residents … gathered at the village’s famous Posy Tree with glasses of cider to toast the historic landmark.’
According to legend, Mapperton church is built on solid rock, so burials traditionally took place in the neighbouring parish of Netherbury. When bubonic plague arrived in the village, in the 14th century, Netherbury people repulsed their neighbours and prevented them from burying their dead in their churchyard. About 80 plague victims were buried in a pit which was dug on South Warren Hill, and ‘people … dropped posies under the tree on their way back from the burial’.
As sycamores tend to be short lived, it is thought that the dead tree was not the original Posy Tree. Moreover, according to Preston et al., 2002, sycamore was not introduced to the British Isles until the 16th century. A new tree will be planted to replace the old one.

Bridport & Lyme Regis News, 13 October 2000.
Western Gazette, 11 August 2011.
C.D. Preston, D.A. Pearman & T.D. Dines, New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora, Oxford, 2002: 439.

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