SWAN’S EGG A very old pear, first mentioned by Batty Langley of Twickenham in 1729 who said it should be gathered on September the 20th and eaten soon after gathering, though the fruit is usually ripe a bit later. It is a rather unusual shape for a pear, rounded and redolent of a swan's egg. The Rev. Bartrum, writing in 1902, said "Swan's Egg was a popular pear 50 years ago for market, as the tree is hardy, bears well and the fruit is good, but rather small". The flesh is crisp, sweet, and with a fresh, piquant flavour. Pollination Group C.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

THOMPSON'S Raised in Belgium around 1820, the un-named fruit came to England and was named after Robert Thompson, the London Horticultural Society Fruit Foreman at Chiswick. A medium large, dessert fruit with golden skin patched in russet. It is all sweetness and juice, with a mild flavour. Bunyard said it was 'too juicy to bite into at any decorous dinner-table'. Trees do quite well in exposed sites and have good autumn colour. Pick September, store to October or November. Pollination Group B.

 

 

TRIOMPHE DE VIENNE Raised in 1864. A medium to large sized, dessert pear, oval in shape. The flesh is white, soft and slightly granular in texture, but juicy and with an excellent flavour The fruit is ready from late September to the end of October and is best collected as soon as ripe. Growth is vigorous and fertility is good. Pollination Group C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UVEDALE’S ST GERMAIN A very large culinary pear, raised or acquired by Dr Uvedale in Kent around 1690 and worth growing for the look of the fruit alone. It is not often seen now, but was popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. A single pear can weigh up to 3 pounds. The yellowish green, smooth skin turns dull red near the sun and has some russet. Hogg believed it to be identical with the Belle Angevine of France, which appeared there a century later. It is also called Pound in the USA. Flesh is white, juicy and slightly gritty. Trees are vigorous and fertile. Excellent for stewing. Pick October and store until January or February. Triploid. Pollination Group B.

 

VICAR OF WINKFIELD A French pear found growing wild in a wood in 1760. It was propagated by Msr Leroy, the local curate, and soon became known in France. It was brought to Britain by the Revd. W.L. Rham, the vicar of Winkfield, in Berkshire. A handsome, late, cooking pear, renowned for storing and baking. The long, large fruit is picked as late as December, when green. It stores until February, by which time it has turned yellow. The trees are vigorous and upright. Triploid. Pollination Group B.

 

 

 

 
             

 

WARDEN Warden or Wardon was a name given to a class of pears that never quite ripen to softness, remain hard and are therefore ideal for storing and cooking. They were said to have been introduced by Cistercian monks at Warden in Bedfordshire in the 14th century, and slightly varying types have been widely grown throughout these isles. They have found particular favour in cottage gardens as they are prolific and store well. Unless you want broken teeth only use them for pies, stewing and baking, for which they are excellent. They take 1-2 hours, simmered under gentle heat, to soften and need no sugar. They develop a quite rich, sweetly scented flavour, with a hint of cloves. If left to settle for a few hours the colour turns increasingly dusky pink and the flavour intensifies. The flesh is yielding but a little granular. Pollination Group B.

 

WARPSGROVE PEAR An interesting old pear of unknown variety, it is now a lone fruit tree in an old hedge line at Warpsgrove Farm, Chalgrove, Oxfordshire. It was introduced to us by Paul Hitchcox and we thank him for his help in keeping it going. It is small to medium sized, but flat, round, apple shaped, rather than pear shaped, with a flattened open eye and short stubby stalk. The skin is covered with patches and flecks of russet, sometimes thick and cracked, over pale green. The flesh is granular, very juicy and sweet when ripe, with a pleasant acidity and good flavour. Ripe in September. Pollination Group C. *

 

 

 

WILLIAMS BON CHRÉTIEN Bon Chrétien pears were known by the Romans, and in the 16th century were considered the best pear of all. Williams Bon Chrétien was raised by Dr John Stair, a schoolmaster at Aldermaston, near Reading in 1770 and introduced by a nurseryman called Williams. In 1797 it was taken to America and planted on the estate of Thomas Brewer. In 1817 Brewer's estate was taken over by Enoch Bartlett, who named the tree after himself, having forgotten the true name. In America it is still known as the Bartlett pear. It is sweet, juicy and very soft when ripe, with a musky flavour. It does not store. It will grow passably well on a north wall and crops regularly. It is said not to be pollinated by Louise Bonne and will not pollinate Louise Bonne or Fondante D'Automne. Ripe in September. Pollination Group C.

 
             

 

WINNAL’S LONGDON Raised by Winnall of Woodfield near Ross on Wye, around 1790. Long, large perry pears with yellow skin, tinted red, soft, juicy and sweet. Ripe in early October. The acid is medium to high, but with low tannin, making a strong perry. Large vigorous trees, and good bearers. Pollination Group C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINTER NELIS A Belgian pear raised by Jean Nelis at Mechelen (called Malines by the French) and introduced to the London Horticultural Society in 1818. A good, late, dessert pear. The fruits will keep until January and are perfect for Christmas, though they ripen in succession. Pears are small and green with reddish russet patches and the flesh is buttery, with one of the richest flavours, according to Hogg. It does best on a warm site. The tree growth is more arching than upright. It is hardy and an excellent bearer. Pollination Group D.