Abbey view without ‘Fergie’s tree’

This tree in the Museum Gardens was dubbed ‘Fergie’s tree’ because it was planted by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, in the late 1980s. Trees in the gardens aren’t generally given a name, as far as I know, but this one came to public attention because of plans to fell it. These were mentioned in earlier pages on this website. News of the plan even reached the national newspapers – well, one of them, briefly.

Medieval abbey ruins with seating for plays constructed in front, tree in middle of seating
Here’s the tree earlier this summer, surrounded by the seating being constructed for the massive Mystery Plays production. I don’t have any photos from this angle without the seating in the way, but please try to blot that out and focus on the large tree, normally standing alone without a load of metal around it.

This is a young tree still, just a few decades old, getting its roots down. Imagine the size of it later.

And here’s the same view in September, tree gone.

Medieval abbey ruins
There’s not a lot of our old abbey left, in terms of impressive ruins. This bit is the classic view, much photographed. It’s clearly admired by visitors to our city, and, crucially, the original garden designer seems to have intended it to be visible from this side as an unbroken vista, without a big tree in the way.

Your thoughts? Better or worse?

See also

The Duchess and the tree and a later update.

Elsewhere on the web: Tree Planted By Duchess of York Removed – on “The news will come as a blow to Sarah.”

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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One comment

  1. I’m a founder member of a tree planting charity but I think the abbey looks better now the tree has gone. Someone suggested in the Press that Sarah Ferguson should be asked back to help chop it down which would have been amusing. A missed opportunity.

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