The orchards of Herefordshire have long been the subject of study by botanists, fruit growers, historians and antiquarians.
In researching the orchards of the three counties, the volunteers have relied on some important antiquarian works, which once were only accessible in specialist research libraries.
These days, many of these books are available to download for free from a range of websites. Here are some of the volumes we used.
The compleat cyderman: or, the present practice of raising plantations of the best Cyder Apple and Perry Pear-Trees, with the Improvement of their Excellent Juices by William Ellis (1754)
I. The Benefit of making Plantations with the right Sort of Cyder Apple and Perry Pear-Trees.
II. Of the various Soils, and proper Situations for Plantations of the Hereford and Southams right Cyder Apple and Perry Pear-Trees.
III. Of raising and planting the right Sort of these Trees.
IV. Various Methods of dressing and pruning these Trees.
V. Of gathering, hoarding, and sweating, Cyder and Perry Fruit.
VI. Of fermenting and racking Cyder and Perry.
VII. Several Ways of preparing Casks to preserve these Liquors sound and pleasant.
VIII. To make a sweet Cyder out of a rough Cyder.
IX. Several Ways to make Cyder stronger than ordinary.
X. Of making a good Cyder from Crab Apples.
XI. Of improving Cyder made from greenish Fruit.
XII. Of making bad Cyder Apple-Trees become good ones.
XIII. Two Cases, shewing how to recover damaged Cyders.
XIV. Various Methods of making Cyders in different Countries.
XV. Of Cyder making, and improving it in Casks, by an eminent Doctor of Physick.
With Many other Improvements relating to these excellent Liquors. By Experienc’d Hands, living in the Cyder Countries of Devonshire, Cornwall, Herefordshire, &c.
Available for download from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Pomona Herefordiensis by Thomas Andrew Knight (1811)
This volume contains coloured engravings of the old Cider and Perry Fruits of Herefordshire, accompanied with a descriptive account of each variety. It was originally published in ten parts by the Agricultural Society of Herefordshire, along with 30 coloured plates. As is the nature of such antiquarian works, issued in parts and then bound by the purchaser, editions of the complete set of plates and sections may vary in layout and content depending on the instructions of the original collector.
British Pomology; Or, The History, Description, Classification, and Synonymes, of the Fruits and Fruit Trees of Great Britain. Vol.1, The Apple by Robert Hogg (1851)
British Pomology is still considered essential reading to naturalists and pomologists today. It was written and researched by Robert Hogg (1818–1897), a Scottish nurseryman and botanist.
Hogg was well-known as a pomologist who wrote extensively on fruit culture and plant identification. He appears to have corresponded regularly with a broad range of growers and scholars, and travelled widely to carry out his research. He published British Pomology in 1851, and co-edited The Florist and Pomologist: A Pictorial Monthly Magazine of Flowers, Fruits and General Horticulture.
You can download a digitised copy of his book from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
The Herefordshire Pomona, volumes 1-2, by Robert Hogg and Henry Graves Bull (1876-1885), with illustrations by Edith E. Bull
Robert Hogg was regularly invited by the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club to judge their annual apple show and to help identify fruit varieties. Henry Graves Bull was a Herefordshire physician and keen amateur naturalist. It is thought that Edith Bull was his daughter.
Hogg and Bull’s Pomona was published in 7 parts in 1885. The publishers also published and bound six hundred copies as a two-volume set.
For further information about the circumstances surrounding the publication of the Pomona, visit the blog page of the Biodiversity Heritage Library