An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

A couple of Hayling island churchyards offer some quirky historic gems.

St Mary’s churchyard has reputedly the oldest yew tree in England arches over its porch. It is thought to be 2000 years old and boasts a 9 metre girth. The mortar of this ancient church is also decorated with shells and pebbles from the nearby beaches.

Location: GR SU722 000; What3Words cornfield.materials.perfume; Postcode PO11 0NT)), along Church Road towards the south of the island

St Peter’s church  is the final resting place of Princess Catherine Yourievsky, who was the daughter of Tsar Alexander II. She was born in 1878 and after her father was assassinated she fled the country, wandered around Europe and eventually settled on Hayling in 1932. She fell on hard times though and after her last servant died, a retired Southsea cafe owner volunteered out of pity to act as an unpaid handyman around the house. She had a weekly standing order for spirits at a Havant off-licence, and reportedly sold her last piece of jewellery for £40 and a bottle of gin.

Location: Grid Ref SU730 031; What3Words info.stability.cosmetic; Post code PO11 0RX

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