LAXTON’S FOREMOST Like Beth, Laxton's Foremost is a cross between Williams Bon Chrétien and Beurré Superfin. The impressive golden brown fruit is juicy and sweet like its parents, but with slightly more acid to improve the balance of the flavour. It is less susceptible to scab. It fruits slightly later, in mid-September. An excellent dessert pear. Pollination Group D.



LOUISE BONNE OF JERSEY An old dessert pear, raised around 1780, with a very good flavour and good yields. The long, small to medium fruit is greenish yellow, red flushed. The white flesh is sweet and melting, very juicy, with an intense, flowery taste. Attractive blossom. Self-sterile, and is said not to pollinate Fondante d'Automne or Williams. Pick September, eat October-November. Pollination Group B.



MARÉCHAL DE LA COUR Raised 1841. A dessert pear, very popular in the 19th century, renowned for its full flavour and large fruit. Pale yellow fruit almost covered with cinnamon russet, and sweet, juicy and melting, yellow flesh, finely perfumed. A late season pear, ready for eating in late October, and keeping for a month. Hogg deemed it one of the finest pears in cultivation. Abundant bearer. Triploid. Pollination Group A.







MARGUÉRITE MARILLAT Raised by Msr Marillat near Lyons in 1872, this is one of the largest dessert pears. The golden skin is flushed with rusty red, and the soft sweet flesh has a musky flavour. The fruit is ready fairly early, from mid-August, and will store for a few weeks. Trees are neat, upright and hardy, with good autumn colour. Said by some to be self fertile but it is also said to be sterile as a pollinator. Pollination Group A.








MAXSTOKE NIBBLER A wonderful old pear tree, possibly ancient, brought to our attention by Mark Lewis of Bentleys Farm, Maxstoke, Warwickshire. The very old tree has been struck by lightning several times and is now split to the ground and corkscrews around itself in an intimate dance. The pears are very unusual, both for their size and their season. The ripe pears always drop, almost as one, to the ground at the very start of August. They are a mere 1½ inches long and 1 inch wide, with skin of pale yellow and an occasional red flush, with variable thin russet patches. The eye is so ‘open’ it appears to have exploded. The stalk is long and prominent in relation to such a small rounded fruit. The flesh is soft, sweet and very juicy. Mr Lewis’ rural farm goes back to Domesday and the site of this and other trees suggests that this tree might be very old indeed. It is certainly a very individual pear. Pollination Group B.*



MEADFOOT PEAR An old variety, the original name of which is obscure and unlikely to be discovered. We were shown it by Mr and Mrs Peter Clarke of Benson, Oxfordshire, when they invited us to see their garden, which also contained the Golden Russet and Meadfoot Wonder apples, supra. Their house was built within a mature orchard in 1928. This is a very interesting small to medium sized pear, with a covering of thin, warmly coloured russet, rounded but often asymmetric in shape and with a markedly oblique stalk. The flesh is white, crisp, very sweet, juicy and good to eat in October, when crisp, but in November it melts down to a fine buttery texture, having developed a rich flavour. Mr Clarke imparts that the pears are also excellent when stewed, when still crisp. *Pollination Group C




MESSIRE JEAN A very old pear with a mysterious history. The famous French Pomologist, Leroy, said it appeared around 1540 and Scott was in agreement. It was known to John Evelyn in Britain before 1669. Early in its history, there were observations that several different versions existed, though La Quintinie said they were all same in 1690. Thomas Hitt in 1755 thought the differences were due to growing conditions, as did Philip Miller, from 1727 to 1759, though other writers have kept them separate, and there were four sorts delineated, the- Brown, Gilded, Grey and White. Also, many early writers called the pear Monsieur Jean or John. The pear currently known is a medium sized dessert pear, ripe in October. The skin is thick, covered with golden russet, shaded brown in the sun and dotted with lighter russet. The flesh is white, fine, very juicy, sweet and slightly acid. The flavour is perfumed. Scott considered it a top quality fruit for drying. Pollination Group C.


MICHAELMAS NELIS So called because it was raised from Winter Nelis, but is ripe in September. Raised near Gravesend and introduced by Bunyard in 1900. Roundish fruit, with pale yellow skin covered in a variable amount of russet. The flesh is sweet, juicy, melting and richly aromatic. Pollination Group D.










NOUVEAU POITEAU Raised in 1827, it first fruited in 1843. Named after Msr. Poiteau, who was Director of the Royal Gardens in Paris. Very large fruit, of a pyramid shape and with greenish-yellow or pale yellow skin, and brown russeting. Fine-grained, melting, very juicy flesh, perfumed, and with a rich, sweet flavour. It is ripe in November. Pollination Group D.







PARSONAGE Well established in the 19th century, but with no known history. Often found in Gloucestershire. An early to middle season perry pear, usually ripe in September. It doesn’t store for long. Small and round/oval fruit, sweet with medium acid and low tannin. Large trees and good bearers. Pollination Group B








PASSE CRASSANE A French dessert pear bred in 1845, roundish and dumpy in shape, with green yellow skin often entirely covered with russet. Hogg describes it as half melting, somewhat gritty, brisk, vinous and aromatic. It often needs a good summer to ripen fully. Bunyard called it 'a gambler's fruit' because it depended so much upon the weather. Pick in October, store to February before eating. Pollination Group B.