A 2,000-year-old holy tree which was chopped up by vandals is set to make a full recovery – in a miraculous ‘second coming’, experts claimed today.
Locals were reduced to tears after the Holy Thorn Tree in Glastonbury, Somerset – which can be traced back to the death of Jesus – was hacked down last week.
The branches were sawn off and dumped on the floor and just the 6ft stump was left standing.
But caring Christians have dressed the tree’s wounds in pine resin and beeswax and it has been wrapped up to protect it from the frost.
Experts plan to cover the ground in bonemeal to feed the roots in spring and believe the holy shrine will sprout again.
Arborist Peter Wood Frearson said: ”I am 75 per cent sure the tree will survive.
”There are tears and nips to the main trunk that have been dressed, but the root system looks to be healthy.
”I can almost guarantee it will shoot again in the spring.”
Christian legend dictates that Jesus’s great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, came to Britain after the crucifixion bearing the Holy Grail – the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
He visited Glastonbury and thrust his staff into Wearyall Hill, just below the Tor, planting a seed for the original thorn tree.
Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads felled the tree during the English Civil War, when Parliament waged a vicious battle against the Crown.
But locals salvaged the roots of the original tree, hiding it in secret locations around Glastonbury.
It was then replanted on the hill in 1951, where it had stood – revered and untouched until last Wednesday, when it was sawn to pieces.
The Holy Thorn’s branches have now been gathered up and will be stored at the nearby Glastonbury Abbey.
The community will decide how to use the branches and suggestion boxes have been set up for locals around the town.
One Glastonbury resident, Richard Chisnall, said the branches could be used to create saplings and sent all over the country in a message of peace, compassion and unity.
He said: ”Although the people who did this, did it with bad intent, they have bought the whole town together.”