A brief introduction to our Pear varieties

Gloucestershire and Herefordshire are the “home” of the perry pear, whose trees can grow to over 40 feet and live for 300 years. Perry orchards and historic varieties are now under threat.

Perry pears make a wonderful, refreshing drink which can rival champagne!

The strong glass bottle invented in 1630s by Sir Kenelm Digby and developed in Newnham on Severn, Gloucestershire, was quickly exploited by cider and perry producers to hold and sell their drinks.

The National Collection of Perry Pears has been planted at Hartpury Orchard Centre near Gloucester to ensure these old varieties saved for future generations Over 100 varieties are to be found there.

Some sample names of local varieties

Arlingham Squash, Beetroot Wick Court Eric, Betty Prosser, Blakeney Red, Brown Bess , Chapman’s Orange, Christmas Pear, Dead Dog, Flakey Bark, Hartpury Green, Hendre Huffcap, Jenkins’ Red, Merrylegs, Red Longdon, Snake Pole, Staunton Squash, Strawberry Pear, Tettenhall Dick, Winnals Longdon.

For a full list of Perry Pears, visit the NPPC website here:  https://www.nationalperrypearcentre.org.uk/pear-varieties/

The National Perry Pear Collection

Jim Chapman setting up a display of Perry Pears from the National Collection
Jim Chapman setting up a display of Perry Pears from the National Collection

Gloucestershire is host to the National Perry Pear Collection at the Orchard Centre, Hartpury.  To find out more visit the collection’s website www.nationalperrypearcentre.org.uk where there is a comprehensive description of the varieties held.

Publications about Gloucestershire Pears

Charles Martell’s book Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties published by GOT and HHT describes all the pear variieties of the area. It complement our other books (also by Charles) on Gloucestershire’s Apples and Plums. Details of all these are available on the bookshop page of our main website.

December 2019 Update (previous November one now deleted): We now have, as a result of the DNA work so far, revised listings of Apple and Pear varieties.  The details are complicated and difficult to summarise but but this document gives an overview for pears:

–  Pears – DNA commentary to to help interpret the book “Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties”

Background information on the DNA research:  There is a summary of the national project available our news pages here or downloaded via this link .  There is also a lot of information available on FruitID’s website.  Click on the Help icon on those pages to get up-to-date material from recent DNA meetings and initiatives.

Join to read more!

We are setting up a Members’ Page soon with additional information on varieties including, for pears, more information on Gloucestershire’s Perry Pears and the National Collection.