River Ravensbourne

This guide also works on a smart phone or tablet. Load this page when visiting.

Click/tap the numbers on the plan of the church or churchyard to view each point of interest.

Lewisham High St.

Heritage Trail

Research and notes by Julian Watson

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

   or download smartphone app

Select View

St.Mary the Virgin, Lewisham Lewisham High Street  SE13 6LE


Yew Trees

The trees which line this path are evergreen Yews (Taxus baccata). The Yew was planted in places of burial for centuries and there are many explanations for this: they have particularly strong and durable wood and were needed in medieval times for making longbows and arrows but they could not be planted in fields as they were poisonous to cattle.

And so they were planted in churchyards which would also keep passing drovers out. For early Christians the tree symbolised everlasting life and the patient wait for the Resurrection. Edward I decreed that yews should be planted to protect the entrance of churches, Being toxic they are considered trees of death.


St.Mary the Virgin Lewisham

346 Lewisham High Street

SE13 6LE   020 8690 2682

Registered Charity

Number 1182343