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False-Acacia trees in Eynsham

There are a lot of False Acacia trees in Eynsham - they were introduced in the 1800s by William Cobbett of Rural Rides fame (published from 1830). Cobbett made a fortune out of publicising and dealing in them. He claimed the hard wood was very good for the pegs used to hold ships' timbers together. But by the time they were mature enough to be used as pegs, ships were built of steel.

Cobbett had a very good friend in Eynsham - John Swann, who owned the Eynsham papermill and who lived in The Gables, Newland Street until he died in 1807. Probably most of the false-acacia trees in Eynsham are descended from the ones Cobbett gave Swann - and one in The Gables is almost certainly one of the original trees.

The genus is called Robinia after the French gardener Jean Robin, who first got the seeds from America and grew them in France.

Left - a false-acacia tree in The Gables, Newland Street - almost certainly one of the original trees given by Cobbett to Swann.

There is more on this tree in an article by Joan Weedon in Issue - soon available here: No 18 of The Eynsham Record.

A younger false acacia in Queen Street.