Heathens 2 – Christians 0

Today I went in search of a Thor stone, an ancient monument thought to be one of Thor’s thunderbolts, just kind of leaning on somebody’s fence in the tiny village of Taston (which was known as Thorstan, or Thor stone until about the 13th century). You can see from the photograph, that it’s pretty tall (I’m 171cm, for reference). Thor didn’t seem to mind me leaning on it.



Directly across the road is what’s left of an old stone cross. Local legend has it that the cross was built strictly for the purpose of offsetting the evil heathen energy of the Thor stone. But the cross has fallen off and the Thor stone, which is much much older, is still there.

So. Heathens 1, Christians 0.

Then, later this afternoon, I went for a walk through the village I’m staying in and ended up at the little Norman church at the top of the hill. I was delighted to see some Saxon carvings in the porch. It’s likely that a church of some kind has stood on this spot since late 11th century, because the 1085 Domesday survey of the area records 48 inhabitants, including a priest.

But the real star of this church is the ancient yew tree in the graveyard. The Conservation Foundation has confirmed that it’s around 1300 years old. As you can see from the pictures, it’s an impressive, living monument. Yew trees are often in graveyards because they are symbols of eternal life, and they were very important to heathens. You do the maths. The tree is 1300 years old, the church not quite 1000 years old. That means the tree was already a very old tree when the church was built: it was probably the reason the church was built on the site in the first place. Much easier to convert heathens if you put their prospective new place of worship where the old one is. So, Heathens 2 – Christians 0.*

The old yew tree, wide view

And close up, taken from down near the roots

And then I had an AMAZING idea for the last novella in my collection, “The Lark and the River”. I’m going to go sit under that yew tree with my notebook some time before I leave and write all my ideas down. It’s going to rock.

*Yes, I know that Christians actually won in the long term. Well played, Christianity. Not bad for a woman-hating death cult.

12 thoughts on “Heathens 2 – Christians 0

  1. Now I’ve stopped laughing at your fabulous postscript – Wow! So excited for your novella, and all of the ideas pouring out of you. Sitting under that yew tree will bring all sorts of wonders forth, I am sure. Just the teenciest bit jealous. 😛

  2. Very exciting times. I’m envious. That tree is extraordinary. BTW… I read and loved Angel of Ruin. It’s on my bookshelf between The Resurrectionists and The Autumn Castle 🙂

  3. Hi Kim,
    Christianity is about trees too, the main one being the tree that Jesus died on on Calvary for you and me. Things of stone, including hearts, do not feature in Christianity. Perhaps that is why the stone cross is no more, but the living tree beckons.
    As for hating women, whilst hanging on his tree Jesus organised a new home for his mother. And he saved many women from being stoned by ignorant religious people.

    • thanks for your comment, karen. it is such a pity, isn’t it, that the teachings of jesus have been so misused historically. i’m afraid you won’t convince me, however, that he was anything other than a mythological figure. nonetheless, i welcome all opinions.

      • Hello again, Kim.
        I too used to think that Jesus never existed. I remember my grandmother, who was educated at Trinity College Dublin, telling me earnestly that there was ample historical proof that Jesus had lived. But it didn’t mean much to me – only words.
        However after seven or so years of pain I’d had enough and I reached out to Jesus in an AOG church service. I heard Him knocking on my hard heart and I invited Him in. Since then life has never been the same – so much better and filled with joy and hope.
        I invite you to attend a Pentecostal / AOG / COC church service and see whether Jesus becomes real to you.
        With affection,

      • Dear Kim,
        That is quite funny because we describe a ively church service as being “on fire” and the goal of participating is to catch some of the fire.
        Best wishes,

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