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Bramley Apple tree sapling seals Nottinghamshire’s permanent friendship with US

Saplings grafted from two of Nottinghamshire’s most iconic trees have been gifted and planted in the garden of the US Ambassador’s London residence, Winfield House.

Bramley apple tree US ambassador
Guests at the planting ceremony, pictured from left: Cynthia Guven, Sandi Henson, the High Sheriff, Matt Palmer, Dr Patrick Candler, Stephen Crisp, and Councillor Roger Jackson.

Grafts from the original Bramley Apple tree, based in Southwell, and the historic Major Oak – a focal point of Sherwood Forest – were presented to the US Ambassador by outgoing High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Paul Southby, to further strengthen the “special friendship” between the US and Nottinghamshire, established six years ago.

The donation of the Bramley sapling was provided by the tree’s official custodian, Nottingham Trent University, who agreed to buy the tree in 2018. The famous apple tree has been situated next to another fruit tree, planted by former First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama.

Sherwood Forest Trust gifted the second sapling, grown from an acorn of the Major Oak; one of the county’s most recognisable residents, and formerly ‘England's Most Loved Tree'. The Oak plays a huge part in Nottinghamshire folklore and it is said that Robin Hood and his Merry Men used the tree for shelter. Replacing a large Ash tree which has fallen, the Oak’s new home is in a clearing in Winfield House’s gardens.

A ceremony to honour the donation and subsequent planting of the trees was held at Winfield House last month, and was attended by the High Sheriff and his wife, Sandi Henson; Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman, Councillor Roger Jackson; Chief Executive Officer of Sherwood Forest Trust, Dr Patrick Candler; Cynthia Guven, US agricultural attaché to the UK; US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Matt Palmer; and Stephen Crisp, who manages the grounds and gardens at Winfield House.

Bramley apple tree
The original Bramley Apple tree, as planted by Mary Ann Brailsford between 1809-1815 in her garden on Church Street, Southwell.

Mr Southby said: “There was some discussion in 2017 of the county making a donation of something appropriate as a sign of permanent friendship with the US Embassy and the US Ambassador to the UK.

“I was absolutely delighted with the success of Friday’s event and how warmly we were welcomed by our friends at the Embassy and the Ambassador’s residence, who were very appreciative of our donation and the presence of the Sheriff; inevitably our very own legendary outlaw, Robin Hood, was mentioned many times!

“The fact that the Bramley sapling is now next to a fruit tree planted by Michelle Obama highlights the significance of what I hope will be a lasting friendship between Nottinghamshire and the US.”

Councillor Roger Jackson said: “It was a great honour to represent the County Council at Friday’s event to help to tell the story of Nottinghamshire and why it’s such a wonderful county rich in history.

“The Major Oak and the original Bramley Apple tree are historic landmarks which are known globally for their significance, so it’s fitting that a sapling from each has been planted at the Ambassador’s official residence.

The US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Matt Palmer, said: “It was an honour to welcome the Nottinghamshire delegation for the tree planting ceremony at our Ambassador's official residence, Winfield House. We're looking forward to seeing the trees grow as strong as our Special Relationship."

Major Oak Sherwood Forest
The Major Oak, a focal point of Sherwood Forest, where it is said Robin Hood and his Merry Men used the tree for shelter.

Dr Candler said: “The Sherwood Forest Trust is delighted to have been asked by the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire to provide a Sherwood Forest oak to be planted at the United States Ambassador’s official residence in London.

“The young oak has been grown from an acorn of the Major Oak – a mighty forest veteran said to be over 1,000 years old and still flourishing.

“We hope that in the years to come, the sapling will grow into a sturdy tree that will bring much pleasure and benefit to the US Ambassador and visitors to Winfield House.”

Professor Edward Peck, President and Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “NTU has been custodian of the original Bramley Apple tree, situated near to our Brackenhurst Campus in Southwell for many years. The Bramley is a much-loved and cherished part of local history and heritage and we are delighted to be able to play a role in helping celebrate that.

“Last year, the tree was chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 ancient trees to be dedicated to the late Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee. We are happy to mark further the Bramley’s local, national, and international significance by donating a graft from the original tree for the US Ambassador’s garden in London.”

Published on 3 April 2023
  • Category: Press office; School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences