History of Apples

Here at Copella we love discovering more
about all things apple and this includes where
they came from! Apples have a rich and varied history and you may be surprised to find out that they date way back to over 4000 years ago. Why not follow our timeline to find out more?!

Cherishing English Apples since 1969

  • 1066

    1066

    Apples originated in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago and fruit and vines have been grown in the UK since Roman occupation. Specially cultivated apple varieties spread across Europe to France, arriving in England at around the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Normans had a strong tradition of apple growing and introduced many apple varieties including the Pearmain and the Costard.

    Did you know?
    Martin Luther King Jr once said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree".

  • 1200

    1200

    After this period there was a demise in apple growing owing to the Black Death in the 13th century and repeated droughts. This was reversed by Henry VIII who instructed his fruiterer, Richard Harris, to establish the first large scale orchards at Tynham in Kent. Harris began to import apple trees from France and planted a model orchard at Tynham which was used to distribute trees to other growers.

    Did you know?
    Apples have played an important role in our history. Isaac Newton discovered gravity with the help of the apple when he saw one fall whilst looking out the window of his home in Woolsthorpe Manor.

  • 1700

    1700

    Old English was the main dessert apple in England until at least the 18th century. The Victorian explorers found new varieties from all over the world and bought them to Brogdale in Kent - thereby developing its orchards
    and gardens.

    Towards the end of the 18th century the quality of fruit crops declined as it became more profitable to farm wheat and cattle.

    Did you know?
    The Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples originated from a Celtic New Year’s tradition whereby unmarried people would attempt to take a bite out of a hanging apple and the first person to do so would be the first to marry.

  • 1800

    1800

    Protection of the fruit market during the Napoleonic Wars and high tariffs imposed on imported fruit led to many new orchards being planted during the 1820's and 30's. However, when these tariffs were lowered in 1837 the apple market collapsed. This situation continued until 1870 when industrialisation of the country led to increased income and fruits once again became profitable. The English Cox has been one of the most highly regarded apple varieties in the world and dates back to 1825 when Richard Cox raised the first tree in his garden, set in two acres of rural Berkshire. The apple then started to receive public acclaim after Queen Victoria's head gardener Thomas Ingram championed the variety in the 1850s.

    Did you know?
    Apples were the favourite fruit of the ancient Romans and Greeks, and were considered a luxury fruit by the Romans.

  • 1900

    1900

    During the early 1900's, the Bramley tree was extensively planted with the Bramley apple providing a useful source of fruit throughout the First World War. In 1900, disaster struck when the original Bramley tree blew down during fierce storms. Nevertheless, the tree survived the elements and is still bearing fruit more than 100 years later in Southwell, Nottinghamshire!

    Did you know?
    The saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" comes from the old English adage, "To eat an apple before going to bed will make the doctor beg his bread".

  • 2000 onwards

    2000 onwards

    It is estimated that somewhere in the region of 2,300 apple varieties exist in the UK today with Bramley, Discovery and Cox among the favourites. In Britain today - two out of three apples harvested are the Cox variety and are homegrown in the countryside of Kent, Sussex, Suffolk, East Anglia and the West Midlands.

    Did you know?
    The phrase "Apple of my eye" comes from the Greek and Romans who believed that the pupils in eyes resembled apples and so the phrase came into being.

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