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Morus Londinium - A celebration of the Mulberry Tree

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust is excited to be taking part in Morus Londinium, a celebration of the mulberry tree across London. The project will be unravelling the tale of London's mulberry tree heritage and providing a wealth of activities for schools, community groups, heritage buildings and the public to get involved. You can help uncover this heritage, and London's prized mulberry foraging sites, by following the research and attending the many free guided walks, visiting the online map and adding a mulberry tree to the survey, planting a sapling, trying a recipe and lots more.  At Charlton House, with the help of movable mirrors, you will be able to explore the history of our tree whilst looking up into its branches.

The Charlton House Mulberry Tree is thought to have been planted by Adam Newton, who built the house between 1607 and 1612, as part of James I plan to introduce the silk industry to England. James I wrote to all landed gentry to encourage them to plant mulberry trees to provide leaves to feed the silk worms. Although his plan was ultimately unsuccessful, many of the trees do survive today.  At over 400 years old, Charlton’s tree with its sprawling, twisted and gnarled branches, is a sight to behold and a source of mulberry fruit for the House and local community, which has many culinary and medicinal uses.

Tracy Stringfellow, Chief Executive of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust said  “the history of our mulberry tree is very important to the Charlton House Estate. Morus Londinium is an exciting project putting our special tree at the forefront of the estates 400 year history and we are looking forward to being a part of the programme across London.’’

David Shreeve, Director of The Conservation Foundation, says “we're delighted to be hosting the Morus Londinium installation at Charlton House. It is one of the oldest mulberry trees in London and, like the house, has bared witness to centuries of history.”

Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust was set up in 2014 by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The Trust operates independently and is a registered charity (charity number 1157164). The Trust cares for several heritage assets in the Royal Borough of Greenwich including Charlton House and its ancillary buildings; Greenwich Heritage Centre, museum and archive; Tudor Barn, Eltham; several war memorials across the borough.

Charlton House is described in Sir Nicolas Pevsner’s The Building of England as, “the only Jacobean mansion of the first order remaining in the precincts of London”.