The Tale of Three Trees – The Sequel


Trio of Newton Wonders
Trio of Newton Wonders

Last year I wrote about our Apple Trees in –  Season of Misty Mellow Fruitfulness or A Tale of Three Trees and as October has rolled round again with seemingly indecent haste I thought it time for an update on my Unidentified Tree Number Three.

Not long after writing my last post apples from Unidentified Tree Number Three were taken on a day trip to one of our local Applefests, where it was duly identified as Newton Wonder by the knowledgable folk who specialise in all things appley.

According to the RHS it is said to be a cross between Blenheim Orange and Dumelow’s Seedling and described as “A vigorous tree cropping well, with a larger crop every other year”. Although I’m not sure my tree can read as the sum total this year’s crop is a whole three apples*. Still I suppose that’s three more than in any of the other years with the notable exception of 2013.

Now you might think that with a name like Newton Wonder it might share some ancestry with that famous gravitational cultivar growing in Sir Isaac’s garden, if you did you would be wrong. The story is, I think, a much better one.

The tree was discovered by a Mr Samual Taylor of King’s Newton in Darbyshire. Not, as many apples are, discovered growing by the roadside. No, this one, according to folklore was found growing in the roof gutter of Hardinge Arms where Mr Taylor was the Landlord. I like to think he took pity on this little seedling growing against the odds and decided it deserved a second chance, planting it in the garden of the pub. It must have impressed as Messers Pearson & Co cultivated it and in 1887 it was awarded an RHS First Class Certificate. Not bad for an apple who started life in a gutter. 



*Happily for us we have a recipe that requires precisely three apples:

Bapple Cake
Bapple Cake


Bapple Cake

3 eggs

3 Newton Wonder – Apples

3oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

3oz Golden Caster Sugar

6oz Butter

6oz Self-Raising Flour

Mixed Spice


Demerara Sugar for a final sprinkle


Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 180°C,

Grate the apples into a bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually add in the eggs. Fold in the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon Fold in the grated apples. Bake at 180 until done (30-40 mins depending on the size of your tin)

Sprinkle with Demerara Sugar if required and eat while still warm.



Slow, Slow, Quick Quick, Sloe (Gin)

I love books, in particular second hand books. Not only can you find some real gems that are no longer published but also they often contain notes in margins, newspaper clippings and in some cases recipes.


Recently a client gave me an old rather battered copy of ‘The Popular Encyclopedia of Gardening’. There is no publishing date, but, I would guesstimate around the 1930’s (judging by the photographs). Nestled within the pages of this rather weighty tome I found the following recipe* for “Styrrup Cup”.


Styrrup (Stirrup) Cup Recipe


So if you still have Sloes, it would seem, you still have time to make this tipple for Christmas.


Styrrup (or Stirrup) Cup

1lb sloes 8 oz sugar 1 Quart** gin

Remove stalks and leaves wash and place in pie dish

Cover with sugar and cook for an hour or two in the lambing oven***

mash occasionally to encourage the jam

When the jam is quite cool mix together with the gin in a large bowl

Pour the liquor into kilners

Keep for two to three weeks in the pantry**** before sieving and straining through muslin


* Whose recipe this was is not known, the book belonged to my client’s Grandfather but apparently the writing is not his.

** 1 Quart = 2 Pints.

*** think this might be the bottom oven of an AGA type range cooker.

****if no pantry available, I have no doubt any cupboard would suffice.