Since ancient times the Yew has been viewed as a protector of the dead. The Yew tree has become a common feature in graveyards across Europe as a guardian against evil and negative forces. Some people even believed that the removal or cutting down of the tree would result in misfortune and dire consequences. The location of churches has often been associated with Pagan sites of worship and perhaps this is one reason why so many are found together. The tree is also a symbol of immortality, with the tree being able to live to considerable age. This could also be a reason for the proximity of church and tree. A sacred tree in many old European mythologies often planted in churchyards to provide protection from witches. The tree may live for 1000 years and so has become synonymous with everlasting life. (Branches also used to line freshly dug graves for eternal life and smooth transendence).