In the current debate on the magnitude of modern-day climate change, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of long, high-resolution proxies of past climate1-3. Such records provide an indication of natural (pre-anthropogenic) climate variability, either singly at specific geographical locations or in combination on continental and perhaps even hemispheric scales4. There are, however, relatively few records that are well dated, of high resolution and of verifiable fidelity in terms of climate response, and conspicuously few that extend over a thousand years or more5. Here we report a tree-ring-based reconstruction of mean summer temperatures over the northern Urals since AD 914. This record shows that the mean temperature of the twentieth century (1901-90) is higher than during any similar period since AD 914.