This is an extract from an article in an old magazine picked up in a secondhand bookshop. I think it was written about thirty years ago and someone tells me it is from "Country Bizarre", but I have no idea of the author. If it's you, please email me....I hope you do not mind my reproducing this passage......
.............The British are lucky in having the finest apples in the world on their doorstep; no others taste so crisp and fresh; even those bright red Italian ones look delicious but taste of cotton-wool; though of course refrigeration has a lot to do with this. The names of some of the varieties sound as good as they look and taste: Cornish Gilliflower, Coe's Golden Drop, Cox's Orange Pippin, Pineapple Russet, Laxton's Superb, Orleans Reinette, Blenheim Orange, Bramley's Seedling, and Worcester Pearmain.
The Pearmain (pronounced Permain, incidentally) is our oldest named variety, first recorded in Norfolk in 1204 and is still one of the most popular apples. Its name derives from its long, pear-like shape, while the Costard Apple, another old favourite in Medieval times, gave its name to the "costermongers" of London. In Tudor times, several forgotten varieties were popular such as Apple-John, Leathercoat, Pomewater, Codlin, Jennetting, Catshead, Redstreak and Nonpareil, while later types were developed by accident such as Bess Pool (discovered growing wild by Bess Pool, an innkeeper's daughter of Gloucestershire) and D'Arcy Spice, originating on a tree in the orchard of the noble family of Tolleshunt D'Arcy of Essex.
After this, controlled breeding was introduced and such apples as the 'Ribston Pippin' from Ribston Hall, Yorkshire (1707) and the 'Blemheim Orange' from Woodstock near Blenheim(c1818) were developed.
Lane's Prince Albert was introduced in 1857 and the original tree still stands in the High Street at Berkhamsted, Herts, while 'Peasgood Nonsuch' was grown from a pip planted by Mrs. Peasgood of Stamford in 1876. 'Sturmer' apples are named from Sturmer, near Haverhill, Suffolk, where they first grew in the 1880s.
Cox's Orange Pippin first appeared in the 1850s, grown by a Mr. Cox of Slough, and his original tree still stood in the 1930s. 'Beauty of Bath' arrived in 1864, from Bath, and 'Annie Elisabeth' was named after the wife of Mr. Greatorex of Leicester, who produced it in 1857. This was followed by 'Bramley's Seedling' (1876) bred by Mr. Bramley of Southwell, Notts, and 'Newton Wonder' raised in Newton near Derby (1887). The famous firm of Laxton produced several well known varieties after 1893, such as Laxton's Superb, but the famous 'Granny Smith' was accidentally (unfortunately?-ND) bred from a pip sown on a rubbish heap by Granny Smith of Australia (date uncertain).
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