Photo of Lesnes Abbey
LocationLesnes Abbey ruins, Abbey Wood
Variety Nigra
Site classNotable

Open access. Fine old reclining Black mulberry amid the ruins of Lesnes Abbey, which was founded in 1178 by Richard de Luci, Chief Justiciar of England and dedicated to St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr.The monastery buildings were mostly destroyed after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1524 by Henry VIII. (2) The tree stands roughly where the Abbot's lodgings and kitchen gardens would have been. According to the website: "Henry Cooke, who acquired the site in 1541, retained the Abbot's Lodging as a mansion house of the manor of Lesnes. The Abbey site later came in to the possession of Sir John Hippersley, who had it dug over for building materials. He then sold it in 1632 to Thomas Hawes of London who bequeathed it to Christ's Hospital in 1633, in whose possession it remained until 1930, when the London County Council purchased it. In 1931 Lesnes Abbey was opened to the public as a park and since 1986 the site has belonged to London Borough of Bexley." (3) There is a chance, then, that the tree dates from 1623 or 1633.

Public transport: Abbey Wood rail.

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