Photo of St Bartholomew-the-Great
LocationMiddlesex Passage St Bartholomew Close
Variety Nigra
AccessPublic
OS grid referenceTQ 32004 81703
Site classHeritage

Tree in Bartholomew Close. Near site of the medieval Mulberry Garden that stood here before the dissolution of the monsateries in the mid-16th century. Est age about 100 years. There are also sports of a great old mulberry near Middlesex Passage until the mid-1800's (see below) Fanny Wilkinson was involved in laying out the gardens and is known to have planted mulberries elsewhere. According to British History Online: "...an old house with a vaulted ceiling and a fine carved mantelpiece marks the spot, near Middlesex Passage, where the mulberry-garden stood, the last tree in which was cut down about 1846." ""In the Great Close, where is now a row of dilapidated houses, was once the west cloister of the priory, and here, as we turn, was the south cloister, just beyond which was, until quite lately, the remains of the great refectory. Beneath it was much of the ancient crypt, with its deep groined arches, more than half buried under the débris of ages. Some portion of this is still left us, beneath the modern buildings erected on the spot. ¶"As we go round the Great Close, towards the other end of the church, we pass by some very old houses, that occupy the place where was once the east cloisters. Behind these houses used to be a great mulberry-tree, only removed in our own time. This was formerly the centre of the cloister court. You fancy you see a tall, bareheaded man, in monkish garb of grey, his rosary dangling by his side, as he stands near a pillar of the cloister, deeply immersed in the breviary he holds in his hand. See his sandled feet, and his long grey beard; he is the personal friend of the good Prior Rayer. Now he moves, and silently steps across the grass towards the big mulberry-tree, where he sits down upon a stone seat beneath its umbrageous branches, and laying down his book, he takes from the folds of his habit a scroll. Slowly he unrolls it, and carefully studies the curious lines, curves, and ornaments drawn thereon. That old monk is the good Alfune, the builder of St. Giles's, Cripplegate." Read more here: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol2/pp351-359

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