For those who have noticed the spectacularly knotted and twisted tree in the front grounds of our Jacobean treasure, Charlton House, may not know it is a mulberry tree. It is purportedly over 400 years, believed to have been planted when Charlton House was built (1607-1612), for Sir Adam Newton, tutor to Henry, Prince of Wales, son of James 1. It is regarded as somewhat of a ‘celebrity tree’, due to its great age (one of the oldest trees of any species in the city) and its heritage.
Due to the mulberry’s singular ability as a provider of food for the silkworm, it has had a huge influence across the globe both culturally and economically, bringing prosperity to ancient China and other nations through the art of silk production. Its fruit also has strong medicinal benefits, and mulberry trees were an integral part of planting in medieval monastery gardens.
Dr Peter Coles will talk us through the significance of the mulberry tree over the centuries.
Peter Coles is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths and manages the Morus Londinium, a database of heritage mulberry trees in London. A book accompanying the project, Mulberry, has just been published.
We look forward to seeing members there.