SILVERCUP The only reference to this apple was at the Apple and Pear Conference of 1934, called Silver Cup, and it seems it is not now to be found in Britain. It was received from England, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1949 and, having noted it there, we have received scions back, grafting the first new trees in 2005. It is a middle season, medium sized apple, flattened round, and usually ribbed, with a short stalk, and a deeply set eye with long sepals. The skin goes yellow and slightly greasy. The flesh is dry and rather woolly, but sweet and with a perfumed flavour. It is not particularly bitter for a bittersweet cider apple. It will keep until December. Originally from Somerset. Very deep pink buds.**

Pollination Group 6

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SINE-QUA-NON An old American apple from Long Island, brought to notice by local nurseryman, William Prince who found the tree either in or near his nursery. It was in the collection of the London Horticultural Society in 1826, though does not appear to have been widely grown. It was believed lost worldwide in the 1980s but rediscovered in America. We received it in 2010. An early to mid season, small yellow apple, juicy and sweet with a full flavour – lemony, fruity, with a hint of banana. Sine Qua Non is latin for something indispensable.

 

SIR ISAAC NEWTON'S TREE Also called The Gravity Tree and assumed to be the same as Flower of Kent (perhaps wrongly). Originating from a tree in the garden at Woolsthorpe Manor, nr Grantham, Lincolnshire, which belonged to Sir Isaac Newton's mother. Newton had gone from Cambridge University, to stay with his mother at Woolsthorpe when the university was closed, as the outbreak of plague spread from London. Folklore relates that he was sitting in the garden under an apple tree when the observation of the fall of an apple led to his theory of gravitation. There is no evidence that he was sitting at Woolsthorpe, or indeed sitting! This supposed tree eventually died in 1814 (and was confirmed as gone in 1820) though some maintain, from reports several decades after the demise, that it survived and re-grew. The evidence is strongly against this. Before its death, scions were taken from the tree to produce another tree in the garden of Lord Brownlow, at nearby Belton Manor. Material from this tree was used for further propagation. In the 1930s, East Malling Research Institute, attached to the National Fruit Trials, took wood from Belton Manor. At some point afterwards, it was assumed to be the same variety as Flower of Kent, which already existed in the National Fruit Trials, but they were kept separate up to 1971, at least, when the National Apple Register was published. They did not appear to be the same, and historical references certainly give cause to doubt that they were ever the same. Flower of Kent was in existence before 1629. The confusion is not helped by the nature of the Woolsthorpe tree, the fruit of which can vary considerably from year to year and month to month. Whether the original Flower of Kent is still to be found is uncertain. The tree called Sir Isaac Newton’s Tree is a medium to large, green apple with variable red flushes and stripes. It is often ribbed but sometimes more rounded. Initially crisp, juicy and sharp when falling in October and early November, it is too acidic for dessert. If cooked at this stage, it does not break down, gives up little juice and has a light lemony flavour. Shortly after, it becomes a very rich dessert apple with a good blend of sweetness and acidity. It is still crisp, juicy and very fruity. This stage does not last beyond mid-December, when it starts to go softer and the flavour fades. Then it will cook to a fairly rich flavoured purée. It has also been used for cider. Trees are generally productive and regular bearers. T*.

Pollination Group 6

 

 

SKYRME’S KERNEL Forsyth(1810) and the National Apple Register(1971) have it as Skerm’s Kernel, but Hogg clearly attributes it to the Skyrme family and this should be the correct name. Hogg, in the Herefordshire Pomona (1885), says The Skyrmes were an old Herefordshire family and trees there were 100-150 years old at the time (1885) so it was probably raised before 1788, when the Skyrmes left their Bockhampton seat. Forsyth says it “is a conical-shaped middle-sized Apple, beautifully streaked with red, deepest towards the eye, and having a good deal of yellow towards the footstalk. It is ripe in January, and keeps till March.” It was deemed an attractive, late, conical culinary apple and also a cider variety, very highly reputed at the time. It had a strong flavour and darkened the cider, ‘even in the glass’. Hogg says the sunny side is bright crimson on a pale red ground, with streaks of crimson over pale yellow on the shady side. He calls it small, and with a slight waist towards apex, the skin being smooth and shiny, the flesh firm, crisp but not very juicy. Trees are large and spreading. It was last officially known to exist in Britain in 1884, though the U.S. collection received it from England in 1948. Having discovered it there and receiving scions back, we grafted the first trees for reintroduction in 2005, though we now note it has been found at another source and that version now exists in the national collection. The version we have accords fully with historical descriptions and is also a fair dessert apple.T*.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SMART’S PRINCE ARTHUR A late nineteenth century cooking apple, raised in 1883 by Mr Smart of Sittingbourne, Kent, and once much grown in the orchards around Maidstone. Very attractive fruit with a distinctive tall, conical shape; orange-yellow in colour, with deep red streaks. Known as Lady’s Finger, in Kent. Yellow, juicy, sweet, flesh which develops a rich flavour with storage and becomes more of an eating apple. The tree has an attractive weeping habit. Good Crops. Pick October and store until April.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
             

 

SOPS IN WINE There have been several different apples known by this name or similar variations. Parkinson in 1629 wrote ‘Sops in wine is so named both of the pleasantnesse of the fruit, and beautie of the apple’. It was recorded from 1826 in the three London Horticultural Society catalogues and described by Lindley, Hogg, Scott and Bunyard, over the decades. The descriptions and uses assigned suggest there was more than one known. Some writers call it a West Country or Devon apple, others suggest Sussex or Surrey. The one we offer here is from the Wisley collection. The name comes from the variable red-staining of the flesh, which might be patches under the skin or all the way to the core, as if bread sops were dipped in wine. The name and examples have also long existed in America. The medium sized apples have red skin in the shade, becoming very dark in the sun, 'and varnished rich deep chestnut', according to Hogg. The flesh is stained carmine. It was considered a good culinary and cider fruit, though it is also a passable eating apple. The flesh is softish and not that sweet. Different writers suggest different seasons, but this one is a middle season apple, not lasting beyond November. Striking appearance and probably best suited to cider.

Pollination Group 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPEEN CHAPEL APPLE Named after Speen Baptist Chapel where this old apple tree stands; a stately 47 feet tall and probably the tallest we have ever seen. It was probably once even taller. The Chapel was one of the earliest Baptist meeting houses (though the first Baptist church was built at Spitalfields in 1612) and was constructed in 1802 by the villagers, the ladies of the village bringing flints from the surrounding fields in their aprons. The history of the immediate area is one of orchards and some trees remain. The Speen Chapel Apple, however, has a separate history. Though now owned by the Chapel, having been purchased in 2007, and within the ‘churchyard grounds’, it was formerly one of those interesting village remnants, marginalized when unenclosed village greensward succumbed to metalled roadways. This small ground was once owned by the ‘House at Pye Corner’ but separated by a road in modern times, hardly cultivated for decades and recently wild, being wedged within two roads and the Chapel ground. It was evidently used as garden or domestic orchard in the distant past and we are grateful to Sandy Mitcheson, Joint Deacon of the Chapel and to the Baptist Union for their help and access to their deeds, in pursuit of the history of the land. The history gave no firm evidence as to the age of this tree, but a core sample taken by us of a large bough (the trunk had gone pulpy and could give no ring count) showed the age of the bough to be about 100 years. Several years ago, Geoff Goodchild took some cuttings and apples, which he passed to George Lewis and these came to us, both gentlemen being dedicated to our joint purpose of seeking out old trees and old varieties. The apples are medium sized or a bit larger, pale green turning yellow when ripe and delicately streaked with broken scarlet. The apple is juicy, tender and melting, sweet and well flavoured. It can be also be cooked and keeps its shape. It is ripe in early October and will store for a while. Large pink blossom. *

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

SPICE RUSSET It is hard to know whether this exceptional apple is British or American. It was noted in the supplemental list of Scott’s ‘The Orchardist’ in 1872, and in 1883 an apple of this name was exhibited at the National Apple Congress, at Chiswick, from Kidlington, near Oxford. In America, it was described by Downing in 1876, drawing upon the earlier description of Elliott, but no origin could be given. The description given by Barron, from the National Apple Congress was of a culinary, medium sized, round and angular apple with grey russet. He judged it ‘worthless’ but, then, he was inclined to use the word frequently in condemnation of many a fine apple that he had seen only briefly, from fruit probably picked early to exhibit in mid-October, when it only ripens fully in late November. Since it is a dessert apple, he might well have thought it useless as an under-ripe culinary apple. We discovered this apple in America and grafted new trees in 2010. It fruited in 2013. Medium sized, round and slightly ribbed, covered with thin grey russet and with a thin, long stalk. Ripe from early to late November, the flesh is firm rather than crisp, but juicy, very sweet and modestly acid, with a rich flavour. The real surprise comes with the spicy aftertaste on the tongue and back of throat. It is hard to name a specific spice, akin to the warming sensation.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
             

 

SPOTTED PIPPIN In 1629, John Parkinson wrote in his Herbal, ‘The spotted pippin is the most durable pippin of all the other sorts.’ The apple was not mentioned again until it appeared, without description, in the catalogue of the London Horticultural Society of 1842. That was the last sighting until, in 2009, we noticed it listed in the collection of Nick Botner of Oregon, USA, and grafted new trees here. It does not appear to have any recorded history in America and though it could never be assumed to be the apple of Parkinson, with any certainty, there remains a faint hope. It is certainly a late and lasting apple and is delicately spotted, the spots becoming darker and more prominent as the apples are kept. It is fully ripe only in November and keeps in fine condition into the New Year. A rounded green apple, developing a warm blush in the sun, with small but prominent spots. The flesh is crisp, juicy and with a very rich floral flavour. Medium sweetness and low in acid. A very good apple of mysterious provenance.

Pollination Group 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOUT APPLE Found at Tibberton Gloucestershire, and of uncertain age. A good, medium sized dessert apple, flat and round, yellow skinned, with russet patches at the stalk and prominent dots. Late to ripen, in November, it will store to January. A sweet, crisp, juicy apple with a refreshing flavour.

Pollination Group 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING GROVE CODLIN An important re-discovery of a truly excellent apple. It was ‘brought into notice by Sir Joseph Banks, in a communication to the Horticultural Society of London, read april 3, 1810’. Hogg says it was bred by Thomas Andrew Knight and named after Spring Grove, the seat of Sir Joseph Banks at Hounslow, Middlesex. It was in the National Fruit Trials at the time of the National Apple Register in 1971 and marked ‘if true’. The accession in the National Collection was discarded some time between 1995 and 2004 when it was discovered that a propagation and replanting error had replaced it with American Mother. It appeared to be extinct, but we found it listed in the collection of veteran Nick Botner in Oregon. He sent us scions in 2009. Fearing he might have acquired the rogue American Mother we have awaited the first fruits, which came in 2015. It appears that Spring Grove Codlin has survived with him and it is now back in Britain. It matches all the historical descriptions. A first class cooking apple that is also a very enjoyable eating apple. In the slightly abnormal year of 2015 when some early apples were late and some late apples were early, it was ripe at the start of October, when it could be eaten fresh. The flesh is fine, sweet, crisp and juicy, the flavour rich and with a hint of strawberries. The acidity was gentle. Cooked, it keeps its shape though softens completely, and is packed with flavour and in no need of added sugar. It is still in good service at the end of November. Pollination Group 4.