After consulting with the experts (mum, friend, their books, the internet) I thought that the nobly, noble, small tree in my garden was a ‘Sambucus nigra’ more commonly known as an Elderberry and before that as aeld.
Like many trees the Mythical history of the Elderberry proposes, or describes its traditional uses. The name may come from the Anglo-Saxon term ellaern or aeld which means “fire” or “to kindle a fire“. It was associated with female-centric goddess systems then over time gradually perverted to represent ‘mischievious faeries’ by both the celts of Ireland and England. Traditionally the Elder is placed by the back door of a home, where mine grows, to keep evil spirits from influencing or entering the home and used to pin the thatch to a roof. The runic association is with Feh, the first rune, indicating where one sequence ends and another begins, the cusp of transition, renewal.
British Christians gave the Elder a more sinister press, claiming that Judas committed suicide by hanging himself from this tree. He must have been short or the tree leaning over a decent drop. Along with many other trees it is claimed Jesus was crucified on an cross made of Elder.
Then a garden specialist happened to wander by saying that’s a Viburnum tinus…