'Pilgrim Apple' trees to be planted to mark Mayflower anniversary

Sep 05, 2019

A brand new apple variety has been grown in Nottinghamshire to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the historic Mayflower voyage from the UK to America in 1620.

Horticulturalist and BBC Radio gardening correspondent John Stirland wanted to mark the upcoming anniversary with a project associated with Nottinghamshire, the home county of the religious separatist movement that planned the journey and where a number of the Pilgrims originally lived.

He broadcast a request on his BBC Radio gardening show seeking apples grown in Nottinghamshire from a pip that could be cultivated, before the programme ended, a listener called the station to let them know about a possible tree in her garden. 


Pilgrim Apple

John with one of the Pilgrim Apples

John spent five years growing saplings the singular unique tree and the Horticultural Research Institute in Kent has subsequently authenticated it through testing its DNA.

There are now twenty saplings and the first has been planted in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, which is the village where William Brewster, who was one of the most well-known Mayflower Pilgrims, was born. 

Plans are underway for a Pilgrim 400 apple tree to be planted at multiple destinations connected to the Mayflower story, including in the grounds of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts - the place where the Mayflower passengers first set foot on US soil in 1620.

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