This apple was introduced in 1868 by a Mr Jackson of Blakedown Nursery, Kidderminster and was first named Jackson’s Seedling as it was said to have been a chance find, presumably by Mr Jackson himself.
In 1883 it was awarded a First Class Certificate of Merit by the RHS and was subsequently renamed Mr Gladstone after the Prime Minister of the day, the Mr being later dropped.
It is one of the earliest apples of summer in a good year being ready as soon as late July. It would historically have been a welcome first fruit of the season, however like many early varieties its keeping quality is almost nonexistent and it is only really any good eaten straight from the tree.
The flesh of the fruit is very white, sweet and has a perfumed fragrance, although it is soft and fluffy by comparison to crisp, modern apples and as such may not be to the immediate taste of the modern apple connoisseur.
As a tree it can be vigorous on a larger rootstock and is tip and spur bearing, sometimes with a biennial tendency. One for the collector but due to the total lack of keeping quality not one you would want vast quantities of. An apple to be enjoyed as the first of the season.