Now showing signs of great age, this tree is taller than the recorded UK champion Black Walnut. Significant numbers of this North American tree were imported after 1709. A harsh winter in Europe that year damaged many walnut trees and exporting the wood to Britain was banned. Walnut timber is highly valued as it is heavy and strong but easily splits without splintering.
During the American Civil War "to shoulder walnut" meant to enlist in the army, gun stocks being made of walnut. By World War II the phrase had altered its meaning and referred to starting an aeroplane - their propellers being of walnut.
These aren't the only military connections of this tree which grows in the former grounds of Remnantz in Marlow. This grand house was the first home of the Royal Military College which is now at Sandhurst.
An early 19th century print of the college's Junior Department on parade before the Duke of York at Remnantz appears to show this tree on the extreme right. The location and shape match very well.
The Tulip Tree at Remnantz is a graceful giant. At 33m tall it towers over the house. Like the walnut it is another introduction from North America where it was highly prized because it was the only tree suitable for building 20 man canoes. Its large flowers look very much like tulips which is how it got its name.
It is unlikely that this tree was around when the parade picture was painted but it would have been behind the barracks in the middle of the picture anyway!
Mrs Diana Wethered remembers that in the storm of 1987 her mother-in law, then in her 80s, phoned to ask for help. A large branch of the Tulip Tree had just come through her bedroom window at Remnantz. Apparently the old lady was unfazed by this intrusion. The house and the tree seem no worse for it now.
The trees are found in the centre of Marlow however it is private land.
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