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Bramley Apples

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Bramley Apples

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Bramley Apples

One day, at the very beginning of the 19th century, a young girl called Mary-Ann Brailsford planted an apple pip in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. It is not recorded where she came across this pip, but it began to grow, and by 1837 the tree produced its first fruit. These apples were very tart (owing to their high levels of malic acid), but that meant that when they were cooked into delicious pies and crumbles they retained their “appley” flavour. Nearly twenty years later, a local nurseryman called Henry Merryweather recognised the commercial potential of these apples and asked the owner of the tree for permission to take cuttings. Mary-Ann was long gone by this point and the owner of the garden was now one Mr Matthew Bramley, a local butcher. He agreed to the cuttings on condition that the apples were named after him. Poor Mary-Ann didn’t get a look-in, but amazingly her original tree is still growing and producing fruit. The descendants of that one small pip now account for 95% of all cooking apples sold.

Photo: Courtesy The Bramley Apple Campaign


Your comments

A symbol of all that is good about traditional British cooking and beautiful about our countryside, Bramley Apples are a truly British icon. Where would we be without mouth-watering apple crumble or delicious apple pie, or without the stunning orchards that adorn our landscape? Bramley Apples are uniquely grown in the UK and we should celebrate that!

Susie Wilkinson

I was born in England and my grandfather was from Nottinghamshire. I grew up and reside in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. When I learned of the ancestry of the Bramley Apple, a very nice client and now good friend, gave me a small Bramley Seedling which I have now have planted in my yard a short breeze form my neighbour's apple trees. I hereby announce and let it be known to all throughout the land that my Canadian Bramley Apple tree is now bearing what I call a 'Brailsford Apple'.
Tom S. Brailsfod

I grew up in England and my mother made 'Apple Tart' every Sunday. She made it on a simple dinner plate and we always ate it cold. She used Bramley apples as she said they were the best 'cookers' as she called them. 50 something years later our extended family all love apple pie and make a lot of it. It is my goal this year to plant two Bramley Trees in the garden here in the United States. I finally found an orchard in Oregon that sells them and I can't wait for April until my trees are delivered.
Rosaleen Bolger

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry