In the 18th century William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania in America. When his 1st wife died he returned to England and married Hannah Callowhill, from a prominent Quaker family. The Callowhill family owned Frenchay Lodge. In 1708 Penn was in dire financial circumstances and asked his parents in law for help. With other Quakers, a loan of £6,800 was raised and the state of Pennsylvania was mortgaged to the Callowhills.
The tulip trees are reputed to have been sent back from idealistic free colonies like Pennsylvania to harassed Dissenters in England as a symbolic gesture. Although there are no records to prove that Frenchay’s tulip trees were sent by William Penn they certainly date from this time so it is likely that they were sent by him to the Quakers of Frenchay.