The Charlton House is one of the best-preserved Jacobean mansions in the London area. In addition to boasting beautiful Jacobean architecture, the estate also contains one of England’s oldest mulberry trees.
The royal family built the massive brick building in the early 17th century for Sir Adam Newton, Prince Henry’s tutor. Sadly, Newton died before its completion. Nevertheless, construction on the mansion continued.
Extravagant rooms, complete with intricate ceilings and grand fireplaces, fill its interior. Little details within the interior architecture, such as James VI and I’s royal cypher and the Stuart coat of arms, are relics leftover from its former royal glory.
Outside, you’ll also find another surviving feature installed at the request of the Stuart family. Sometime around 1608, James VI and I decided he wanted the estate to be a place where people could cultivate silkworms. So, at his command, a mulberry tree was planted within the Charlton House grounds.
However, the king mistakenly ordered a black mulberry tree, not realizing that silkworms only breed in white mulberry trees. Despite the error, the tree was allowed to remain in place. It’s still there, making it one of the oldest mulberry trees in all of England.
People can see the tree while wandering around the estate. If you happen to go on a Friday, be sure to pop inside the mansion for the weekly free classical musical concert that’s held in the Old Library.
Know Before You Go
Take the Jubilee line to North Greenwich or a bus (486). It's a 10 minute walk up the hill. Charlton station is nearby.
Looking at the front of the house from the street, the tree is directly on the left hand side, surrounded by a wrought iron fence.