US ambassador sets oak in ancestral home of Groton
PUBLISHED: 10:14 26 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:14 26 June 2015
A tiny Suffolk village celebrated its historic links with America by welcoming a special guest this week.
United States ambassador in London, Matthew Winthrop Barzun, visited Groton on Wednesday and planted an oak tree on the village croft.
Ambassador Barzun is a descendant of Governor John Winthrop, former Lord of the Manor of Groton, who in 1630 led a group of puritan pioneers to New England.
Before his visit, Mr Barzun said he was very much looking forward to returning to his “ancestral home”.
In the morning, he called into St Bartholomew’s Church, where the colourful east window installed in 1875 is dedicated to the memory of John Winthrop. He also heard readings from love letters exchanged between John Winthrop and his third wife, Margaret.
The oak tree was planted on Groton Croft, an eight-and-a-half acre green in the village centre purchased in 1993 and maintained by the Groton Winthrop Mulberry Trust as an area of public open space. The croft is also home to an ancient mulberry tree, which still bears fruit each year and is believed to have been there since 1630 when John Winthrop sailed to America.
David Lamming, secretary of Groton Parochial Church Council, said the visit had been a great success. He added: “It is very important for Groton to maintain its historic connections and we were delighted when Ambassador Barzun agreed to pay us a visit. It took a considerable amount of planning but it was a great team effort and the weather was kind to us – it was a very enjoyable day.”
In June 1999, another US Ambassador, Philip Lader, attended events on the Croft to mark the 350th anniversary of the death of John Winthrop in 1649 and also planted an oak, which is now a well-established tree.