THE FAMOUS BRAMLEY APPLE
(and the SWARBROOKE connection)
From “The Bramley”, A World Famous Cooking Apple by Roger Merryweather; reproduced by his kind permission.
The story is that in about 1809, Mary Ann Brailsford, together with her sister, planted some Apple pips in a plant pot, one of which germinated, and when too big for the pot was planted in the garden of their cottage in Church Street. On the death of their father in 1812 and mother in 1837, the cottage became the property of the two Brailsford sisters who sold it in 1838 and eventually on 28th November 1846 it was bought by a Matthew Bramley.
In the Autumn of 1856, Henry Merryweather, then aged 18 and working in the nursery with his father, encountered GEORGE MUSSON, gardener to the Rev Tatham, Vicar Choral of Southwell Minster, who was walking down the street carrying a basket of very fine apples. Henry was impressed by their size and quality and said “What have you got there?” George Musson replied “They are old Mr Bramleys and very fine apples too, grown at his house in Easthorpe”. George was in fact carrying a basket of apples from Rev Tathams Orchard which almost adjoined and is now part of Messrs Merryweathers original nursery. (The tree must have been top grafted several years before 1856 and would have been one of the first fruiting trees taken from the original pip set by Mary Brailsford)
Henry Merryweather went to see Matthew Bramley and the original tree and was allowed to take as many cuttings as he wanted as long as they were called Bramleys, later to be called Bramley’s Seedling. The rest is now history as the apple has a world wide reputation for being one of the best cooking apples there is.
NB. The above GEORGE MUSSON (gardener) was married to ELIZABETH SWARBROOKE (Silk Winder) at Southwell Minster on 26th Feb 1860 in what must have been a grand double wedding with George’s sister Rebecca and George Walker (this would make George Musson my Grt Grt Uncle) …. Little did Elizabeth realize that her new husband would soon become part of Agricultural History.