It was incredibly windy over the weekend and into Monday, and at some point over that period of time this poor (and rather old) hawthorn failed quite majorly. On the windward side, an area of bark inclusion lead to a large crack propagating down the main stem. This crack allowed the tree to fold open in the wind, much like how a cupboard opens (hence the term ‘cupboard door failure’). I managed to capture this on video, which can be seen here (short version, complete with me talking) and here (longer and different version, without me talking). Please let me know if the video links don’t work, and I’ll re-upload them (at any time).
The hawthorn was felled that afternoon (given the risk of members of the public), and inspecting the hawthorn today revealed a very extensive decay column (a white rot fungus, which I suspect is Ganoderma australe) throughout the stem and up into the principal branching structure. In terms of t/R however, it was perhaps (at a glance) ‘sound’ enough to remain standing when looking at the lower trunk (if it hadn’t failed so gloriously, further up!). I have included some photos below of the aftermath.