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Varietal Research - Archived material from old website

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Charles Martell's Gloucestershire Pears book 2015

Now available to purchase from the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust

CHARLES MARTELL'S "PEARS OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND PERRY PEARS OF THE THREE COUNTIES" (2013)
Out now as a book! It is the culmination of many years of Charles’ research and is a must for anyone interested in perry pears.

Softback (eg as field guide) £23.50 (including p&p) Hardback £33.50 (including p&p)    

October 2012  Hens' Turd and Coccagee by Charles Martell

The Hens' Turd apple is a Gloucestershire variety found at the riverside at Rodley. Recently, an Irish correspondent has written asserting this is the same variety as Coccagee. Certainly from its description it seems very similar although Hens’ Turd typically has a longer stem. Interestingly, the name Coccagee translates as goose turd. I don't know whether Coccagee is still in existence but it was noted as a 'very old and highly esteemed variety for culinary purposes, and especially for baking when it possesses a peculiarly rich flavour.'

Further; 'This apple triumphs over all others in sauce, tarts and pies, as much as its juice in cider. No cook would ever make use of any other apple if he could get this.' I wonder how these varieties earned their disparaging names. The only crude suggestion I can make is that these apples were used to stuff the bird, be it goose or fowl, before roasting.

January 2012 Charles Martell's Perry Pear Book First Draft

Charles Martell has completed the first draft of the Pears of Gloucestershire (copyright to him and GOG). This is a unique and much welcomed publication, with detailed descriptions and colour photographs of about 100 perry pears. 

2010/11 Update at GOG AGM Feb 2011

Charles Martell gave a brief update on his fruit research: there are still 106 Gloucestershire apple varieties.  A perry pear, Bird Pear, has been re-discovered. Unchanged: Gloucestershire plum/damsons.

Charles also reported the sad news that perry pear pioneer Ray Williams (of Long Ashton Research Station & co author of Luckwill & Pollard Perry Pears 1963 book) has died.

2009 Update presented to GOG AGM Feb 2010

Apples of Gloucestershire

© Charles Martell

KERNEL DUMPLING - added variety per Dave Kaspar

LAKE’S KERNEL – additional information on the siting of Jack Lake’s blacksmith’s shop from John Ennis.

LEMON PIPPIN OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE - synonym ‘Tockington Pippin’ from Steve Welsh

MAIDEN BLUSH – additional record from Walter Grey

PORT WINE PIPPIN - new information as to provenance and keeping quality.

PERSH APPLE - information on Mr Bellamy from Jim Chapman.

RISSINGTON REDSTREAK - added variety per Gillian Broomhall

SHILLING – recorded from Gorsley

TIPPETTS – addition to notes concerning nomenclature and addition of ‘Dymock Red’ as another variety which produces conjoined fruit.

WHITE STYRE – further information from Walter Grey documenting trees growing until 1973.

YELLOW WILLY - added variety with description.

Primitive Apples on May Hill by Charles Martell

On my regular walk up May Hill I have noted a number of seedling apple trees. Many are quite small but may be older than their size would indicate because of the poor growing conditions on parts of May Hill. These apple trees I find interesting because about 50% of them are ‘burr-knot’ or ‘pitcher’ trees. That is they carry blastophores or clusters of adventitious roots on their branches. Historically this type of trees was valued amongst small holders and farmers who hadn’t mastered the skill of grafting which was considered rather a mystical art in times past. The presence of a gene pool of these trees may indicate a remnant manifestation of primitive arboriculture in the area.

Note: The National Trust (who own the land) are aware of these trees and intend to retain them. It is possible that a DNA analysis is carried out in the future.

April 2008

Charles Martell's book, Native Apples of Gloucestershire is now available.

April 2007

The total of Gloucestershire apples in existence is now 102. Eden has a newly 'discovered' sister seedling the Fon's Spring (dessert). Previously believed to be merely a synonym for the Eden. Sheeps Nose of Oldbury (general purpose), Rose of Ciren (dessert) - produced by Jefferies Nurseries of Siddington, Cirencester. Probably arose early 1900s. Wheeler's Russet held in the NCCPG Gloucestershire Apple Collection and in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale has now been agreed to be false. However a much more likely contender for the name Wheelers Russet has been found growing in Gloucestershire and is now on trial at Brogdale to try to verify its true identity. In the meantime it is recorded as Wheelers Russet of Gloucestershire. A culinary variety which seems not to have been heard of since 1884 has come to light in South Gloucestershire - Duke of Bedford.

Charles Martell

2007

Charles Martell's electronic book released (on GOG website) on Native Plums (Prunus) of Gloucestershire. (The Gloucestershire Plum Collection - A reference collection of the prunus varieties documented is kept at Hunts Court, Dymock)

February 2005

A renowned plum expert has contacted GOG suggesting that Smith's Pruin is a synonym for Diamond. This might indeed be the case; they are certainly similar. However, Diamond would seem to be too big to agree exactly with our description of Smith's Pruin. We hope to resolve the issue this summer by showing samples of Diamond to the person who described Smith's Pruin.

Discussions are also continuing over the apparently lost Johnnie Moor plum. Johnnie Moor plum (note spelling) is described in Plums of England by H.V.Taylor p126. as 'somewhat like a Victoria, rather rounder, and more mottled. Said to be a really high class dessert plum much prized in the Cheltenham locality.' The Jimmy Moore (note different name, and spelling of Moore) plum seems to have been documented in later literature as a variety local to Cheltenham (Gloucestershire), where it still grows, though Taylor makes no mention of it. It is possible that the two varieties are one and the same, so any further information would be greatly appreciated.

The specimen of Leathercoat in the Gloucestershire Apple Collection is no longer believed to be true, thus the apple was thought to be extinct. However, we are hopeful of graftwood sent by a Welsh nurseryman. Time will tell whether this is good Leathercoat.

Selina Pippin is now recognised as a synonym for Kentucky Redstreak, and so is deleted from the Gloucestershire list of lost apples.

Chaceley Kernel may not be a Gloucestershire variety after all. It is possibly a miss-spelling of Chatley's Kernel which is a Worcestershire variety. A fruit comparison this summer should settle the issue.

Please contact us if you have any comments on the above, or indeed on any issue relating to this field of research in the county.