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Monday, 18 June, 2001, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Tennyson's tree faces the axe
Tennyson's Tree
Two years ago the tree appeared healthy
A giant sycamore tree in Lincolnshire, mentioned in the works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is being cut down for safety reasons.

Experts estimate the tree is anything between 250 and 350 years old.

Tree surgeons say the sycamore is so badly diseased that it could fall at any time.

The sycamore is in the grounds of the King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth.


It's been known as Tennyson's tree for as long as anyone can remember

James Wheeldon
The poet was a pupil at the school between 1816 and 1820.

It is thought that he wrote about the tree in the piece "In Memorium":

Witch-elms that counterchange the floor
Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright;
And thou, with all thy breadth and height
Of foliage, towering sycamore;

The school's headteacher James Wheeldon said the loss of the tree was "very disappointing".

"It's extremely sad to lose the tree. It's been known as Tennyson's tree for as long as anyone can remember.

Tennyson's Tree
Now disease has taken hold
"It's a major feature of the school and will leave a huge gap once it's gone."

A large branch fell off almost two years ago and since then a safety fence has kept the public away.

Alfred Tennyson was born on 6 August 1809, at Somersby, Lincolnshire.

He is not thought to have fond memories of his school days.

Sue Gates, from the Tennyson Research Library in Lincolnshire, said he disliked his time at the school so much that he refused to walk down the street it was on after he left.

He was later educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and was first published in 1830.

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