Yew is associated with the longbow, an early weapon of war developed in Northern Europe, and as the English longbow the basis for a medieval tactical system.
The oldest surviving Yew longbow was found at Rotten Bottom in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland and dates to c. 4000 BC.
The tradition of planting these valuable Yew trees in graveyards has lead to much speculation.
One theory was that it prevented archers from cutting branches suitable for making bows and thus having good weapons to oppose the King’s men.
Another theory was that Yew trees thrived on corpses which made the soil fertile!