A common assumption is that these old Mulberry trees dotted around the city are left over from the failed attempt by James I to start a home-grown silk industry in the seventeenth century. I’ve never eaten mulberries and will look forward to tracking down some jam. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Spitalfields Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. The berries perish soon after being picked, so could not be imported. Thank you for another fascinating piece. Home / Mulberry Trees / Black English mulberry. There is both a black and a white Mulberry in the grounds of the Tudor Fulham Palace, former home of the Bishops of London. I am still up in the trees chasing the best of the fruit. More information about the white mulberry . This brings me to the dual purpose behind the Morus londinium project itself. So, what of the Charlton mulberry’s heritage, besides the house itself? I don’t gather the berries, but leave them for the fun of watching the fox squirrels and a variety of birds share together from the annual abundance of the tree. Shiploads of white Mulberries were sent over, although the silkworm was found to be happy with the native red Mulberry (Morus rubra). What a brilliant post, thanks so much. In 1609, James wrote letters to all his Lord Lieutenants. It is said to be the best mulberry for home gardens as it is a small tree which does not produce fruit that stains. In my memory, it was in the street, on the pavement, not in anyone’s garden. That’s nice they all have location names. The London Chest Hospital developers’ website makes no mention of the historic Mulberry. There was a mulberry tree in the communal garden of the mansion block I used to live in the 1980s in Highbury Crescent. As The Gentle Author discovered, it is fairly straightforward to trace the history of some veteran Mulberries, like those at Syon House and Charlton House, back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An orphaned tree can be the starting point for a fascinating journey back in time. Tree appears to be in the process of relaxing into a … i think these are some sort of native north american species, and i’ve never heard of them used for silk, just jam & pastry . Girth records In this table of girth records worldwide only girth measurements made at a height between 1.30 m and 1.50 m are listed. This is often blamed on the choice of the ‘wrong’ Mulberry but the truth is probably more complex. Chelsea physic garden has a large old mulberry. I saw a great one at Down house recently, where Darwin lived – he looked out fondly over it and allegedly wrote origin of the species there… It is so old and weathered by the years that at one stage somebody has poured concrete into the hollow trunk to keep it standing – it is just about clinging on! Yet there is another strand of the capital’s Mulberry heritage which goes back much further than James I and has nothing to do with silk. Probably planted widely as source of fresh food. The trees were widely grown in the 18th and 19th centuries to host silkworms, to supply the lucrative silk trade. The Big Trees Are Worth Growing Mulberries are members of the Moraceae family, which includes the fig, breadfruit and sassafras trees. So would it be possible to ‘bar code’ these old special 400 year old trees to see whether they are all linked and extrapolate their DNA to compare – perhaps with help from the Kew Gardens expert dendo-chronologists or the Oxford team with Dr Martin Bridges ? A toddler walked up to the railings, pointed and said in a helium voice, “Look how old this tree is mummy. I suppose I thought I could visit the Charlton mulberry any time. It would be interesting to discover if there is any evidence for raising silkworms in the East End. Perhaps the climactic conditions made it harder to get the timing right to match the supply of Mulberry leaves – even those of the black Mulberry –  with the hatching of silkworm larvae? I had not realized that the big black Mullberry tree in my Michigan, USA. The Native American travelled to England in 1616 with husband John Rolfe after helping save a colonialist's life. A mulberry (Morus nigra) is a deciduous, self-fertile tree growing from 5-20m. I recently discovered Mulberry trees in what used to be the grounds of the Chaplaincy of St. Andrew’s Church house in Hornchurch. A tree like this ideally deserves the patient eye of the artist, or the unencumbered eye of the contemplative. Spitalfields Life is published daily by Spitalfields Life Books Ltd, http://facstaff.columbusstate.edu/burgess_kevin/website/Kevin_S_Burgess_lab.html. The Tudor Lambeth Palace has fine old black Mulberries and there is one next door, in what is now the home of the Garden Museum, near to the tomb of landscape gardener, John Tradescant. However older mulberry trees can ocasionally become "dioecious". I don’t know if there’s a link between the Mulberry tree and religion or whether the Mulberry was seen as a kind of arborial aristocrat, the tree that denoted the high status of the owner. When he showed me around, Mark could point out thirty-five named varieties held in the collection, mostly white Mulberries and just a few decades old. Maybe it dates back to the Thrale family who had an estate here? If you know of a Mulberry or wish to find out more about London’s Mulberries, visit www.moruslondinium.org. Or how to find out when it was planted. Fascinating article, thank you. I came looking for more information on the Victoria Jubilee trees in Middle Temple and found so much more that was hugely interesting. As silk historian John Feltwell, points out, mature white Mulberries in England can be counted on the fingers of one hand and none can be traced back to the silk industry. Note: Comments may be edited. The oldest specimen is a cutting from Shakespeare’s Mulberry, taken long after the Bard’s death. Police Sports ground in Chigwell Essex Part of Bartholomew Close, adjacent to the infirmary of the priory church of St Bartholomew-the-Great, was once a Mulberry garden. Your email address will never be published. Other Recent Reviews “Lovely & safe” 09/09/2020 “Fascinating!” 08/09/2020. I’m fairly sure one, if not both, are still there. These texts also say that silkworms will eat the leaves of the black Mulberry but that the silk is coarser and the thread breaks more easily. Certificate of Excellence. I hope it’s still there. In the garden was a mulberry tree, and a local told us that mulberry trees were common, as they were built to provide silk for silk weavers. I think it survived for a while but thought it had died. Our house dates from 1710 so it could be quite old. This should prevent sap bleeding f… There was a last-ditch attempt to revive London’s silk industry around 1718, when the Raw Silk Company established a plantation of two thousand Mulberry trees and a silkworm nursery in Chelsea Park, between Fulham Rd and King’s Rd – which may have been upon the initiative of Huguenot weavers in Spitalfields. We’re in Mulberry season now! While this was the heart of silk weaving, it was never a place where Mulberries were grown on a scale required to produce silk commercially. Yet it was the white Mulberry (Morus alba) that underpinned China’s silk industry, a lesson the Italians and French also learned. The first mulberry was planted in England in the 1500s. 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