AMIRÉ JOANNET A very old pear, some say Roman, grown in Britain since at least the early 19th century, though not noted in the 20th century. It has become very rare around the world, but we discovered it in the collection of the late Nick Botner in America and brought it back here. A delicious and very early pear, said to be ripe at the same time as rye and barley, according to Scott (1872). In France it might well be ripe around St John’s Day (June 24th) as its name suggests. A small pear-shaped pear, with skin turning yellow when ripe, blushed with red. The flesh is pale, initially crisp but soon going softer, very sweet and very juicy, with a rich flavour of caramel, in August. They will keep for a week or two. Poll B



BELMONT An eating pear, that Hogg (1884) said was also an excellent stewing pear. It was raised by Thomas Andrew Knight, the famous pomologist and founder of the London Horticultural Society, at the end of the 18th century. It has been ‘lost’ in these Isles, for over a century, but preserved in America, and we found it in the private collection of the late Nick Botner, in Oregon. He sent us scions in 2010. Belmont is a small to medium sized, round to oval pear, with russet covering most of the green/yellow skin and with a coppery blush. The flesh is sweet, crisp and tender, and of top quality, according to Scott in 1872. Hogg called it ‘excellent – almost first rate’. We find it almost the richest pear we have tasted. The juicy flesh is a little granular, but tender and slightly transparent. The tree is a strong grower. Pears are ripe from late October and will last a few weeks. Poll D




BERGAMOTTE ESPEREN Also known as Bergamotte D’Esperen. Raised around 1830 by Major Esperen of Malines (in French), or Mechelem (in Flemish) – in Belgium. A medium sized, rather dumpy pear, which stays green, hard and rough skinned throughout the autumn but softens from December onwards, when the flesh becomes smooth, melting and very juicy. It has a rich, sweet flavour. Poll C


BETH A variety bred by Tydeman at East Malling Research Station, Kent, in 1938 from two old varieties, Williams’ Bon Chrêtien and Beurré Superfin. It was not named until 1974. The dessert fruit is ripe in late August and September and the trees usually produce very good crops. The flavour is good and the flesh has a white melting texture. Fruit is small to medium sized and often irregularly shaped. Poll C

BEURRÉ BEDFORD Beurré means 'buttered' and is the name of many varieties which have a smooth buttery texture. Beurré Bedford was introduced by Laxtons of Bedford in 1922. The medium-large fruits are ripe in October; they have greenish-yellow skin, flushed pink, with some russeting. The flesh is juicy, sweet and aromatic. It has been said that this pear is a poor producer of viable pollen, so it should not be relied upon as the only pollinator in a garden or orchard. Poll D.
BEURRÉ D’AMANLIS According to Leroy, in his ‘Dictionnaire de Pomologie’ of 1873, this pear existed before 1826. A very good dessert fruit, large, smooth and green, with russet patches. It is ripe in late September or early October, turning from green to greenish gold. The trees are hardy and crops are reliably good, even in the North and Scotland. They have a full, if mild, pear flavour with little acidity. The flesh is granular but melting. It is said to be incompatible with ‘Conference’, for pollination. Triploid. Poll B.
BEURRÉ D’ANGLETERRE In France the first reference to this pear was with Le Lectier in 1628 as ‘Angleterre’. It was not known in England under these names. Some early French writiers denied it was English because they had grown it a long time in France without there being records of it being grown in England before then. It would obviously not have been called Beurré D’Angleterre in England, so there would not have been any records! Hogg suggested it had never been grown in England, but its history might have been very early and he could not justifiably be so emphatic. Evelyn (1729) mentioned a Butter Pear. The French must have considered it to be English, in the 17th century. It has also been called English Beurré and Poire D’Angleterre. Though well known in the 19th century in Britain it has disappeared. We found it in the Botner collection in Oregon and he kindly sent scions in 2009. It was very highly regarded around Paris when it was considered ‘par excellence’ and was the market pear of Paris according to Scott. A medium sized, pear shaped fruit with russeted green/yellow skin, tinged red/brown in the sun, and with white melting, very juicy flesh, sweet and rich. Ripe in mid September.
BEURRÉ DIEL Discovered, growing un-named on a farm at Perck in Belgium, around 1800, by Monsieur Meuris, Head Gardener to the Pomologist Van Mons. Van Mons then dedicated it to another famous Pomologist Dr Diel. A medium to large pear, ripening in October and storing for several weeks. The flesh is melting and buttery, very juicy and with a fine flavour. The fruit was said to attain its greatest size and finest flavour when trained as an espalier against a wall. We found this variety, growing on the old kitchen garden wall, at the nearby Wotton Estate, with a name tag. It was planted early in the 20th century. Vigorous. Triploid. Poll C
BEURRÉ HARDY A dessert pear of Belgian origin, raised by Msr. Bonnet in 1820, a friend of the pomologist Van Mons, and subsequently named by another, after a Msr Hardy, Director of the Luxembourg Gardens, and introduced around 1840. The medium/large fruit has a very good flavour, with very juicy flesh, sometimes tinged pink, rich and scented of rose-water. The skin is russet and coppery red. It is a good cropper, ready to eat in September/October. Trees are strong, tall, and upright, with good autumn colour. Poll C
BEURRÉ SUPERFIN This dessert fruit is sometimes deemed to be the best after Comice. Raised by Msr Goubalt at Mille Pieds (‘thousand feet’), near Angers, France, it first fruited in 1844. It is greenish yellow, with some russeting, and has a fine flavour with white melting flesh, when fully ripe. Ready to eat in early October, though sometimes earlier, and even when crisp and under-ripe it has a good flavour. Poll B
BISHOP’S THUMB Once called Bishop’s Tongue, and grown under this name in 1690, at Brompton Park Nursery, though John Evelyn (1669) had a Bishop’s Pear. It was renamed at the end of the 18th century. A long and large, pear shaped, excellent dessert fruit. Green/yellow skin, blushed coppery red, with melting, very juicy, sweet and rich flesh. A good cropper. Ripe in October. Poll C
BLACK WORCESTER A historic, possibly Roman, pear that appears on the County coat of arms. It is of the type known as Wardens but not considered the same by John Parkinson (1629) in his ‘Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris’. He says “The Worster peare is blackish, a farre better peare to bake (when as it will be like a Warden, and as good) then to eate rawe; yet so it is not to be misliked.” Forsyth, in the early 19th century listed it as ‘best for baking and stewing’ and he also called it Parkinson’s Warden (wrongly) with a synonym of Pound Pear. He seems to follow Miller, in the 18th century, who made Warden a synonym of Pound Pear. Parkinson made clear that the Worster Peare was like a Warden, not a Warden. In 1707, John Mortimer commented upon a Great Black Pear of Worcester and a Little Black Pear of Worcester. He said the Great Black Pear of Worcester was also known as Perkinson’s Warden. Mortimer was a thoroughly literate man and would know how to spell Parkinson. Perhaps there was a Mr Perkinson too. The pear we still know is not of great size so it must be assumed it is the Little Black Pear of Worcester. Perhaps the Great Black Pear of Worcester, or Perkinson’s Warden, is Pound Pear, which we still have. Like Wardens, Black Worcester does not ripen, for eating raw, but matures when cooked. A medium sized cooking pear, with green skin, almost entirely covered with rough brown russet, and sometimes tinted red on the side near the sun. The skin can be rather dark, hence the title 'black'. The flesh is hard and coarse-grained, but is excellent if stewed slowly for 1-2 hours. Ready in November, it can be stored until February. Poll C
BLAZE An old, unnamed pear which was brought to us in 2005 by Gordon Smith of Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire. The name was suggested by Mr Smith, in memory of Blaze, a horse who shared the field with the ancient tree. Tony and Lydia Lambourne were the owners of both horse and tree. Blaze died at the remarkable age of 44 years in 2004. A middle to late fruiting pear, small and dumpy, smooth and rounded with russeted skin, covered with pale dots. The cream flesh is soft and juicy, with a rich flavour. It is also well flavoured when still under-ripe and crisp. Fruit ripens over an extended period, from September to November. Poll C
BRANDY A ‘medium sharp’ perry pear which is thought to have arisen at the start of the 19th century, in Gloucestershire. It was popular in the Forest of Dean over the 19th century. Small fruit with pale yellow skin, red flushed. It is said to make a modest sized tree for a pear. Ripe in October. Poll D
CALDECOTT PEAR Standing alone in a field which was formerly the deserted mediaeval village of Caldecott (now called Caldecotte), near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, is a very ancient and much decayed pear tree, hundreds of years old. It is now short and bushy, overgrown and neglected, hollow and open on one side, though in the process of re-generation. Fruit from the old tree is medium sized, dumpy, often quite flat, with an atypically long stalk. The skin is pale green to golden, with spotted russet over much of the surface. Clearly, it is a very old and unknown variety. Ripe in September to October, the flesh is sweet, juicy and crumbly, with a rich musky flavour. We were taken to this important tree by Melvyn Jones, a keen naturalist and then employed by the local council. We are grateful for his help and pleased to provide trees of this dogged survivor. The tree had produced a sport at some point in its life, such that part of the autumn foliage was green and part bronzed. We usually supply Caldecott Pear Bronze. Poll B