The Orchards of Eastern England
History, ecology and place
Author: Tom Williamson, Gerry Barnes
About the book
Although the history of orchards and fruit varieties is of great popular interest, there have been few academic treatments of the subject. This book presents results from a three-year project, ‘Orchards East’, investigating the history and ecology of orchards in the east of England.
Together, the eastern counties of Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk have a tradition of fruit cultivation comparable in scale to that of the better-known west of England.
Drawing on far-reaching archival research, an extensive survey of surviving orchards and biodiversity surveys, the authors tell the fascinating story of orchards in the east since the late Middle Ages.
Orchards were ubiquitous features of the medieval and early modern landscape. Planted for the most part for practical reasons, they were also appreciated for their aesthetic qualities.
By the seventeenth century some districts had begun to specialise in fruit production - most notably west Hertfordshire and the Fens around Wisbech. But it was only in the ‘orchard century’, beginning in the 1850s, that commercial production really took off, fuelled by the growth of large urban markets and new transport systems that could take the fruit to them with relative ease.
ISBN: 978-1-912260-42-3 Format: Paperback, Published: Jul 2021
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