The mistletoe so extensively used in England at Christmas is largely derived from the apple orchards of Normandy; a quantity is also sent from the apple orchards of Herefordshire.
From Macclesfield a descent was made on Manchester; from Oakengates in South Shropshire came extensions to Herefordshire, Glamorganshire and Wiltshire, where the famous Brinkworth circuit was established.
In Great Britain in the breeding-season it seems to affect exclusively hilly and moorland districts from Herefordshire northward, in which it partly or wholly replaces the common linnet, but is very much more local in its distribution, and, except in the British Islands and some parts of Scandinavia, it only appears as an irregular visitant in winter.
Pedigrees, elaborated by Cecil himself with the help of Camden, the antiquary, associated him with the Cecils or Sitsyllts of Altyrennes in Herefordshire, and traced his descent from an Owen of the time of King Harold and a Sitsyllt of the reign of Rufus.
The connexion with the Herefordshire family is not so impossible as the descent from Sitsyllt; but the earliest authentic ancestor of the lord treasurer is his grandfather, David, who, according to Burghley's enemies, "kept the best inn" in Stamford.