At last the Mulberry is losing its leaves.
One part of it still retains some yellow leaves though.
Once more we have a clear view of the decaying, lichen-covered trunk from which new branches have sprung up.
If you saw earlier posts about this tree you will know it was supposed to have been planted in 1550 by Adam Winthrop, the grandfather of John Winthrop who became the first governor of Massachusetts. So it is a very old tree.
Adam Winthrop was a clothier from Lavenham,who made his fortune with the boom in the cloth trade in Suffolk. Groton Manor was not an ancestral home, he bought it in 1544. In 1548 he was granted the right to bear arms and call himself a ‘gentleman’. By the late 1620’s the cloth trade was in decline and for this, and for religious regions John Winthrop set sail for Massachusetts Bay in 1630 on the Arabella. In 1631 Groton Manor was sold.
John Winthrop sailed with a company of men of learning and refinement. He was very keen not to take any poor people along. His first job was to draw up a church covenant which ensured that only church members had any civil rights. It seems that these early Puritans who had fled to the New World to escape religious persecution were soon indulging in persecution far more stringent than anything left behind. However John Winthrop was considered to be a just and honourable man, if rather austere. He founded the city of Boston and has been described as ‘The Father of New England’ .
Descendants of the Winthrop’s have long had an interest in Groton and have made regular visits. Even today, about once a year, you see a coach draw up and a string of Americans make their way round our little village. First,they visit our old church which dates back to the 15th century, although the tower is 200 years older than that.
Inside they can admire the many memorials to the Winthrop family. There is a stained glass window erected in 1875 by his descendants to the memory of John Winthrop..
Adam Winthrop, his grandfather, and Adam, his father are buried in the chancel. There is a bronze plaque telling you all about this.
John’s first two wives and a baby daughter are buried in the chancel too.
Over the years, Winthrops paid for major repairs to the tower and they also contributed to the repair of the bell.
There is an old Church Chest, reputed to be one of only two of its kind. It dates from the 1560s. Its contents were examined in 1956 and there were many documents relating to the Winthrops.
Just in case you missed all these signs of the Winthrops. A large sign catches your eye as you enter or leave the church.
After looking at the church the visitors walk up the road to see the Groton Manor. This house is now named after the family who lived in it before the Winthrops. It is divided into three homes. John Winthrop would no longer recognise it because it now has an 18th century façade. Nevertheless, the American visitors knock on the door of one of the houses so that they can look at the medieval wall painting.
Finally the visitors make their way to The Croft to pay homage to the Mulberry Tree. Why this piece of land is called The Croft I can’t discover. It is not a Suffolk word. In Suffolk a parcel of land is called a ‘pyghtle’ which is an Anglo- Saxon word. The Croft was purchased in 1993 as a local amenity. This means that everybody can enjoy looking at this venerable old tree.
Thanks to Lucy at Loose and Leafy blog for hosting this meme. On the 7th of every month tree followers tell us about their chosen tree.