The specific origin of the Christmas tree is lost in the dim and distant past. It may have started when pre-Christian rituals involving evergreen boughs were merged with Christian celebrations and beliefs. It seems to be generally recognised that the people who lived in what is now Germany were the first to develop the tradition of the Christmas tree. One tradition is that about 1000 years ago, in Germany, St Boniface came across a group of pagans worshipping under an oak tree. He was so annoyed that he cut down the tree. To his surprise he found that a fir tree grew in its place and the fir was thereafter associated with the primacy of the Christian faith. Martin Luther is credited with first placing candles on the Christmas tree. After being banished from the Catholic Church he spent a great deal of time walking through the forests of evergreen conifers thinking through his beliefs. The candles are said to have represented the stars which he saw through the trees. The custom of a decorated Christmas tree appears to have started in Britain in the early middle nineteenth century. Albert, the Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, brought the tradition from his homeland of Saxe Coburg which is now part of Germany. The example set by royalty became a general fashion.