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Bury St Edmunds: Is the world’s scariest tree lurking right here in Suffolk?

12:00 14 June 2011

Roger Catchpole next to the eerie beech tree which is causing such a stir

Roger Catchpole next to the eerie beech tree which is causing such a stir


WITH bulging eyes and what appears to be a gaping mouth crammed with crooked teeth, this gruesome-looking tree has become an overnight phenomenon.


The eerie beech, which stands in the grounds of Stowlangtoft Hall in Stowlangtoft near Bury St Edmunds, has been attracting crowds of curious visitors since it was snapped by a passing photographer.

David Garnham, from Bury, took a picture of the tree’s gargoyle-like features when he dropped his mother to work.

Cath Catchpole, one of the owners of the home, said the 70ft beech had been getting a lot of attention.

“He has become a minor celebrity,” she said. “We have had no end of people who have come up here, taken photos then left again.”

Built in 1859 for the Maitland Wilson family, the impressive estate was a regular haunt of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Sitting in seven acres of grounds, the building was used as an evacuation centre for mothers and babies from London in World War Two before being turned into a nursing home in 1969.

Mrs Catchpole said it was possible the tree had been planted as part of the original landscaping of the grounds 152 years ago and had been a part of the place ever since.

“He’s quite ugly, but quite fun,” she said. “He’s just another quirky thing about this estate.

“Everything here is so beautiful then you have this one thing which is totally different.”

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