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The Spitalfields Mulberry

October 18, 2016
by the gentle author

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

The Oldest Mulberry in the East End

The Haggerston Mulberry

The Dalston Mulberry

The Whitechapel Mulberry

The Mile End Mulberry

The Stoke Newington Mulberry

The Oldest Mulberry in Britain

Three Ancient Mulberry Trees

A Brief History of London Mulberries

5 Responses leave one →
  1. October 18, 2016

    Bringing over the children with relatives to the UK is pitifully long overdue. There are still hundreds of children in Calais. The British government has already been taken to court over their refusal to resettle children refugees – the govt lost and they appealed the decision, fighting hard to refuse refuge to these people.

    The behaviour of our politicians and mass media is utterly shameful.
    Good for the Bishop, every little gesture which helps spread a message of welcome and respect is important.

  2. October 18, 2016

    The Bishop had a great idea! That is a gift which will last for generations. Valerie

  3. JEAN GAFFIN permalink
    October 18, 2016

    I used to live near a park with a mulberry tree and loved going to pick and eat them when ripe. Sadly visiting a park when on holiday on Stratford on Avon came across a most wonderful mulberry tree with its crop trampled into the ground. I found a few ripe ones to eat and share with grandchildren, whilst astonished onlookers kept asking me if I was sure they were safe to eat. My mouth waters as I type.

  4. Eddie Johnson permalink
    October 18, 2016

    We had a big Mulberry tree in the playground at Morpeth street school (E.2) in the 40s’, I wonder if it is still there.

  5. Mark Robinson permalink
    October 18, 2016

    There was a very large and old Mulberry tree in the garden of 22 Upper Mall W6 near the Doves pub when I stayed there in 1975. The house had been a convent and was waiting development by a housing association.

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