The Spitalfields Mulberry
Yesterday, Richard Chartres, Bishop of London presented Christ Church, Spitalfields, with a Mulberry tree to plant in the churchyard in memory of the twenty-thousand Huguenot refugees that came here in the seventeenth century. It was both the eve of the anniversary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes on 18th October 1685, which became the catalyst for the mass migration of French Protestants, and the day upon which the United Kingdom accepted the first child refugees from the camp in Calais.
Of Huguenot descent himself, the Bishop was far from unaware of the significance of the timing of his action, describing the Mulberry tree as emblematic of the prosperity brought by migrants – as demonstrated by the affluence of the former Huguenot silk industry in Spitalfields. The Mulberry sapling itself was a scion of seventeenth century tree planted as one of London’s only functioning Mulberry plantation in Chelsea, offering homegrown sustenance to silk worms.
Christ Church, Spitalfields
You may like to read my other stories about Mulberry trees