Worcestershire was once renowned for its fruit growing and orchard heritage. The varieties listed on this website are those generally considered to be apples which originated here i.e. were found, bred or introduced by nurserymen working in the county.
However, looking further back into history, and in particular to Robert Hogg’s Fruit Manual of 1884, several other varieties are mentioned as being from Worcestershire. There is seemingly no trace of these apples today, but they could still be out there waiting to be rediscovered, still surviving as ancient trees.
As there are few known illustrations, photos or detailed botanical descriptions of these lost varieties to refer to (Pigeon’s Heart being the only exception) we have only the 1884 record available to us. Anecdotal reports from the older generation may well be the best – and possibly the only – starting point for those who might be interested in searching out these lost varieties.
If you are inspired by the idea of finding a lost apple variety of the county, here are a few to look for:
Barn Apple – the only known record is an exhibition date of 1883 from Worcester. No other information known.
Jones’ Favourite – the only known record of this apple is from 1883 when it was exhibited by a Ritchie of Worcester. Described as a large, conical apple, ribbed with a pale yellow skin and a dry flesh, mid season.
Knott’s Kernel – reported in 1884 to have been much grown in the orchards of Worcestershire. This is a striped, medium sized, early season cooking apple. It is roundish if slightly flattened in shape, with skin said to be citron coloured and considerably covered in dark purplish stripes. It has a crisp juicy flesh with a brisk acidity.
Pigeon’s Heart – recorded in 1861 from Smith of Worcester. Said to be a large to medium-sized cooking apple with yellowish-green skin flushed with brown streaks and red russet dots. The flesh is crisp and tinged green and the flavour subacid. It harvests very late and is said to keep until May.
Red Splash – said to have been widely grown in the Newland area of Malvern and surrounding parishes and sold mainly to the producers of pickles, chutneys and apple jellies. A small apple of about two inches in size, golden-yellow skin with extensive crimson streaks.
Sytchampton Russet – a medium sized eating apple with a skin of grey russet with brownish flush. The flesh is crisp, tender and yellowish and the flavour is aromatic. It keeps well until February. It may also have once been called Sitchampton Pearmain.
Pitmaston Golden Wreath – a tiny yellow crab apple originating from J Williams Esq. of Pitmaston, Worcester. Said to be a cross between Golden Pippin and Siberian Crab.
Pitmaston Golden Pippin – a small, yellow desert apple, seemingly similar to Pitmaston Pineapple if the description is to be believed. Again originating from Williams nursery in Pitmaston.
Lengthier and far more detailed descriptions can be found in Robert Hogg’s The Fruit Manual of 1884, which is still in print: ISBN 1-904078-03-6.