BELLE DES JARDINS A lovely old apple, known in the early 19th century, originating near Paris, and seemingly lost after 1895, though we have now found it in an American collection and produced new trees. John Scott in Somerset described it in 1872 as a top quality apple - ‘A magnificent large apple, with tender melting flesh’. A beautifully coloured, late season dessert apple, ripe in October/November and lasting to January with care, though best used as soon as ripe. Crisp, sweet, rich and juicy in late October, tending to soften and develop the flavour of brandy in November. Pollination Group 5




BELLEDGE PIPPIN First recorded in 1818, it was in the London Horticultural Society catalogues of 1826 to 1842, and described by Ronalds, Lindley and Hogg. It still exists in the National Collection and in private collections. Descriptions are mostly consistent, though Lindley says it is ‘free from angles’ and the National Apple Register calls it ‘slightly ribbed’. Said to be local to Derbyshire, it is a small to medium sized, round fruit, narrowing at the crown and with green skin, ripening to yellow with grey russet flecks. It becomes flushed with brown in the sun. The flesh is ‘greenish-yellow, tender, soft, brisk, sugary, and aromatic', according to Hogg. Normally ripe in October, by mid November it is sweet and with a very powerful flavour, though the flesh is a bit dry in the mouth and perhaps not always as tender as Hogg says. It will store to February. It is dual purpose and when cooked it keeps its shape completely, not giving up any juice. The flesh is sweet, pleasantly acid and in no need of sugar. It makes an excellent open tart. T* Pollination Group 4




BELVOIR SEEDLING Existing before 1935 when it was received by the National Fruit Trials, it was raised by W. H. Divers, probably at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, as a cross between Annie Elizabeth and Dumelow’s Seedling. A medium sized dual purpose apple, in use from October to April. Flattened round, sometimes ribbed at the open and distinctive eye and often with a fleshy protuberance at the stalk. The skin is yellow, flushed brown and red with some russet and dots. The flesh is firm, fine and yellowish-white with a sweet, subacid flavour. It cooks to a lively purée. Scions were sent to us by John and Helen Hempsall, fruit enthusiasts of East Markham, Nottinghamshire. Pollination Group 5


BEN’S RED This apple was raised around 1830 by Benjamin Roberts, of Trannack, Penzance, Cornwall, and became well known, locally. History records that it was a cross between Devonshire Quarrenden and possibly Farleigh Pippin, (though Taylor says Farleigh Beauty). It was also very popular in Devon and Gloucestershire and even grown in Ireland. A medium sized dessert apple with pale yellow skin, often almost wholly covered with red, and with darker red streaks. The fruit can sometimes be small or quite large. The crown is flattened and there is usually russet around the stem cavity. The flesh is sweet, crisp and yellowish, sometimes tinged red. Taylor says it is devoid of any special flavour, though the ‘Irish Seed Savers’ organization report a marked strawberry or raspberry flavour. Ripe in September, it is well known as a good cropper and once a valued market fruit. The trees are dwarfish but sturdy and it is known to root fairly easily from cuttings. It is still grown at Wisley and at Brogdale. Poll 5

BERKELEY PIPPIN Presumed originating at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, and known at the start of the 20th century, when considered a cider variety. Though it tends to have a little tannin, in the flesh, it is actually a good dessert apple, medium sized, flattened round, often conical and irregular. It is often quite late to ripen fully, late in October, and carries a heavy bloom over a prettily striped apple,. The flesh is sweet, crisp and juicy. The apples are better in November and can be stored to the year end, though becoming drier. Scions were sent to us by the Gloucestershire Orchard Group. Pollination Group 5
BERNWODE CRAB Malus Sylvestris. Wild Crab. The Wild Crab is either a British native or colonised Britain shortly after the Ice Age. The sour fruit has long been used for a variety of purposes, including the making of Verjuice, a fermented liquor, used in cooking and preserves and to cure ailments. It was also planted as a foodstuff for livestock. The Bernwode Crab is a very old tree in our ancient hedge, lining a mediaeval, perhaps Roman, drove road. Trees are grafted on to MM111 and MM106 only and will, by their nature, become small trees with a shapely and spreading habit. Small yellow fruits, sometimes with red streaks, are ripe in late October and hang on the tree for several weeks. They can be stored over the winter. Pollination Group 3
BESS POOL Named Bess Pool after the daughter of an innkeeper. She found this wild seedling, laden with fruit, growing in a wood in Nottinghamshire around 1700. It became popular locally after she brought the fruit back to her father’s inn. Later it was nationally known and much valued in the nineteenth century, following its first formal recording in 1824 and marketing by Pearson's Nurseries of Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. Ronalds (1831) ascribed it to Warwickshire, while Loudon in 1820 called it ‘A Welch Apple’. A crisp dessert apple, with medium-sized fruit, heavily marked with crimson and with a rich flavour. It may also be used for cooking and for cider. Apples keep until March. The trees have a good shape. Partially tip bearing. Pollination Group 7
BEVERLEY APPLE An impressive cooking apple of great beauty, and one of those rare discoveries that appears to have no written history. Liz Carter of Burton Neston, in the Wirral of Cheshire, approached Pete Steepe, of Burton Manor, to identify her unusual old apple. He was very impressed with it and passed the details to us for our opinion. It was quite obviously different to any we have seen. Liz has provided us with a full provenance. The earliest known tree was growing in the garden where Liz was a child over 70 years ago, in Beverley, East Yorkshire. The house had been sited in the gardens of Lairgate Hall, which was built around 1700, probably by the Walker family. The garden/estate was sold off for housing in 1938 and a major road now passes through it, the site being fully developed. On returning, a few years ago, Liz found that the old tree had gone. When her family moved to Cheshire, her father had brought and planted this apple, currently in her garden, and Liz observed that it was such a good cooking apple that it was surely passed from garden to garden and other examples might still exist in Beverley. “The apple has such a delicious flavour – much tastier than my Bramley”. It is a medium sized apple, beautifully dark red, with a glossy, waxy skin, long and tapering and ripe in late September, when it cooks to an excellent sweet and rich purée, though it will keep some shape if cooked lightly. It does not last much past the end of November, without decaying from the inside and becoming bland and cidery in taste. It is also one of those types of apple (called Burr Knot or Pitcher) that will readily root from cuttings. In these cases, cuttings were usually passed around and trees appeared in numbers, locally. It is a great surprise that this excellent apple has not been noted before. Our thanks to Liz Carter and Pete Steepe for keeping it going and telling us all about it. Pollination Group 5
BLACK CROFTON Included here, only for the name, as it has no known history of cultivation in Britain or Ireland, though there is reason to believe it is of the same family as Crofton Pippin and Scarlet, White and Brown Crofton, whose origins appear to be English or Irish. Black Crofton has only been known in America in modern times, but we now have it back with us. In America it was assumed to be a cider variety but with us it is a good eating apple. Whether the old English Crofton family brought apple varieties to Ireland or whether they bred or adopted them in Ireland will probably never be known. The apples might even have been French in origin. They have been assumed Irish. The name comes from the Croftons, an English family, though it is uncertain which generation of the family first owned the trees. The Crofton Estate in Ballymurray was first granted to John Crofton by Elizabeth the 1st. He was appointed Auditor General in 1584 and owned several estates. He arrived in Ireland with the Earl of Essex in 1576 and stayed until 1597. In 1661 Edward Crofton became a baronet for services to the future Charles II, during the Cromwell revolution. The first suggestion of the origin of Crofton apples comes from the name ‘Longford’. Longford House was owned by the Croftons - first mentioned in the 1600s - and Longford Pearmain is a known synonym of Scarlet Crofton in Lamb’s book ‘The Apple in Ireland’. In 1951 Sir Henry Crofton confirmed to Lamb that the apple ‘Scarlet’ was brought to Ireland during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, by the first known generation of the Crofton family, ie John Crofton. A late season apple of medium size, quite regular and round and ripe in October. The flesh is white and fairly dense, but very crisp and extremely juicy. The apples are sweet and with a pleasing flavour that is hard to describe. We find no tannic that would mark it out for a cider fruit. An excellent eating apple and a very attractive fruit. Poll 5
BLACK GILLIFLOWER This old apple is English, though most of its known history is from America where they, wrongly it turns out, have considered it to be American. It has been described well in many old American reference works. A piece of good fortune unlocked the mystery. It has been known since the early 1700s in America and old trees are still found in the South. However, several old trees have been found around Bledington, Oxfordshire and towards the Cotswolds. We retrieved Black Gilliflower from the US Department of Agriculture collection in 2005. We had also received scions of an apple, identified by Sarah Juniper as Lady’s Finger of Hereford, and grew that here too. When both fruited at the same time we discovered them to be identical. (The Lady’s Finger of Hereford we now supply is the correct one) The scions we received of this so called Lady’s Finger of Hereford were from Bledington in Oxfordshire. Philip Rainford, (who for many years has researched many old fruits of Lancashire and Cumbria) has recorded that a gentleman called Albert Harris, living in the Cotswolds in the 1940s, was very aware of old trees locally around Bledington which were called Lady’s Fingers. He thought they were planted around the middle of the 19th century, though they could have been much older. He grafted and distributed trees. In modern times the variety has been given the name of Lady’s Finger of Bledington. However, since we now know it is the same as Black Gilliflower, which has no known history of having been grown in Britain under that name (though Gilliflower is such an English word) we must now assume that Black Gilliflower finally has some evidence of being an English, not an American, apple. It presumably lost its name here in centuries past and became known as Lady’s Finger locally. Since Black Gilliflower is the first name, this is the one we retain, as being correct. A sweet, crisp, moderately juicy dessert apple, with dense flesh, richly flavoured. The shape is distinctive and showy, quite elongated and narrowing at the eye. The skin is green, becoming entirely covered with a dark plum colour in the sun. Ripe in October, it is best picked as late as possible. It stores until February but is best in November. A very good rich apple, though the flesh can be a little short of juice. It has deep rose pink, stripy blossom. Pollination Group 3