01 March 2015

An apple a day...

Last weekend we made an impromptu trip to Southwell* a very pretty and somewhat affluent town in Nottinghamshire in the hopes of getting some pictures of the minster. What we had forgotten was that it was Sunday and church services were going on so we opted for a little drive/stroll around instead.  It was at that point I remembered Southwell was the location of one of the 50 Great British Trees, the Original Bramley Apple Tree.  For those outside of the UK the Bramley Apple is a much revered cooking apple and my partner gets positively rapturous when talking about Bramley Apple pies--it's never just an apple pie, it's a BRAMLEY APPLE pie!  It ranks right up there with Battenberg Cake in his opinion.

The Bramley Apple Tree Cottage blue plaque
Plaque outside the cottage, 75 Church Street

I don't want to rehash the entire history of the original Bramley apple tree (you can read about it here)  but what I found interesting other than it is over 200 years old and still bearing fruit is the lady who was the caretaker of it for the last few decades, Miss Nancy Harrison. It would more than likely not still be alive if not for her ministrations.  Sadly she passed away last November but from all accounts she was quite a lovely lady who was always more than happy to show visitors the tree and even send them away with an apple plucked from it.

The Original Bramley Apple Tree
The original Bramley Apple Tree

On our stroll around to the cottages we were lucky enough to meet a nephew of Miss Harrison's that allowed us into the back garden so we could take photos of her beloved tree and gave us a bit of the family history.  He was quite gracious and very patient with our questions--although he might have just been glad to have an excuse to take a break from his work! He did seem quite bemused by the fact we were there to visit the tree because it was one of the 50 though.

The Original Bramley Apple Tree 50 Great British Trees
The plaque commemorating the tree for the Queen's Golden Jubilee

I'm very much looking forward to a return visit to Southwell, hopefully on a day with sunny skies so we can try and get some decent pics of the Minster and have a potter about the inside of it.

*There is some argument about the pronunciation of Southwell as to whether it is "South-Well" or "Suthell" and even the residents of the town seem to be divided on it.  Rest assured though, as an expat or tourist you are not going to get laughed at for either unlike Leicester (Lestah) or Belvoir (Beaver)!