The church at Ilam is named The Church of the Holy Cross and is dedicated to Saint Bertram. It is situated in a beautiful valley in the #StaffordshirePeakDistrict just to the front of #Ilamhall and has some lovely trees in its grounds.
The original village cottages were located somewhere around the church and it was also where the Battle Stone down by the river was most likely originally sited. The #BattleStone was discovered under the foundations of a cottage when they were relocated to their present position outside the halls gates.
It should be noted that on the surrounding hills are sited #Neolithic burial mounds. If the cross was originally a standing stone it may well have linked with these mounds and the surrounding hills. The Peak District was covered in forest til it was cleared by the Neolithic farmers converting it to farmland and imposing their own world view upon the landscape.
As you enter the church yard a tree stump has been turned into a seat. Once through the gate there are a variety of trees including a #redwood.
There is also what appears to be an ancient yew tree in the grounds.
Centred in the valley this little church is in a really picturesque setting. It is a very old building with parts dating to #Saxon times with later #Norman and Early English additions. It would not be unreasonable to assume the yew tree was growing here before the church.
The church itself is dedicated to #SaintBertram and his tomb can be found inside. On the accompanying Ilam Hall tree tour you can see the bridge dedicated to him. There are two local holy wells in the locality which I didn’t get to see so I will do a return visit sometime.
Here is a short film I've made dedicated to the Ilam yew. I hope you enjoy it.
Poem for the Ilam Yew
On those holy hills they buried their dead
While down in the valley they were wed
By river and holy well
Under the trees and in the dells
Days have come, days have gone
As sun and moon have shone
The saint he came and made a place to pray
For the words of his god he wanted to say
They came and put a holy cross
For all the souls they thought were lost
While all around the hills do rise
Holding the hermit and the pilgrims sighs
A hymn to sun, to moon, to day, to night,
A prayer offered up to the holy sky
While down in the valley gentle and green
That ancient yew tree can still be seen
Those stories were a long time ago
But in our hearts we all know
Our connections to the land
And its' stories go hand in hand
Be it Pagan or Christian born
The wild land makes pilgrims of us all
There is no end to your gods' power
In every tree and every flower
When we allow beauty to be dressed in green
Then love comes easily seen
For both Christian and Pagan see
The lovely, old, and sacred yew tree
We at Ancient and Sacred Trees believe that our ancient trees and sacred places in nature should be recognised and protected by law with each being designated as a #PlaceOfWorship. In this way we will begin to make some kind of reparation for the damage we have caused to our land. By providing protection we will be changing our culture for a better world where humans and other animals can live in a sustainable ecosystem.
On our AST website you will find links to petitions for you to sign and do your bit to help mother nature. You can also find videos, tree temple and lots more. This website is an expanding resource and we welcome your contributions. We have Facebook groups for places around the world. Ancient and Sacred trees is run by Tree Lovers for Tree Lovers for trees. It is Free to join us just sign up via this blog!
Thank you and wishing you all many blessings
from Amanda Claire
AST founder x
Check out my other tree tour here for more trees to see around Ilam and info on parking, disabled access etc. It would be nice if you can click on the little red heart at the bottom to show me you've read this. :-)
www.jackinthegreen.org is an ethical gift shop raising money for trees.