University of Lincoln to grow cutting of Sir Isaac Newton’s historic apple tree

The legacy of the apple tree which inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity will live on in Lincoln for future generations thanks to a generous donation.

A cutting from the ancient apple tree which still survives in Newton’s birthplace at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham, was gifted to the University of Lincoln at a commemorative event on Tuesday, March 1.

This is the tree from which it is reputed Newton saw an apple fall, causing him to speculate upon the nature of gravitation during the ‘Year of Wonders’ (1665-66), when he achieved his most notable works.

The graft will now be nurtured for up to two years before being planted next to the institution’s new Sir Isaac Newton Building.

The university joins the illustrious company of British astronaut Tim Peake, who is using apple seeds taken from the fruit of the Woolsthorpe Manor tree in a number of experiments to see what impact space travel has on their growth.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “It is a real honour to accept this graft from the tree at Sir Isaac Newton’s Lincolnshire home, which we know has had such a profound impact on the history of science.

“Newton’s discoveries paved the way for the scientific advancements which have brought us to where we are today.

“We now look forward to growing the descendant of his tree on our Brayford Pool Campus, and continuing our work to nurture the scientific minds of the future.”

Jannette Warrener, Custodian of Woolsthorpe Manor, said: “I’m delighted to be able to share some our special history with the University of Lincoln by supplying grafts from the famous Flower of Kent tree said to have inspired Newton’s theory of gravity.

“I hope that the cuttings we have provided, when planted and grown, will flourish and inspire students for generations to come.”