“An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away”

This seems a rhyme whose origins are lost in antiquity but in fact it is quite modern and well know. It appears in its current form in 1922 . It derives from earlier form as it has morphed over the decades. Originally recorded in 1886 in the antiquarian series “Notes and Queries” as “Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” by

The curious case of the Cider Token

Up to around AD735 silver pennies for a basis of English coinage. These pennies were the smallest denomination, and if smaller change was needed the penny was cut in half (half penny), or in fourths (a four-thing, or farthing). As silver became more valuable the pennies were made smaller, so by 1608 the silver penny weighed just 8 grains and a 2-grain farthing was so small it was nearly useless.


Perry is the half forgotten difficult brother of Cider. Perry is made from pears just as Cider is made from apples. However the drink and the word has never become mainstream. Books on Perry are invariably a book on Cider and Perry eg Thomas Knight Treatise on the culture of the Apple and Pear and on the manufacture of Cider and Perry 1801 So much so that modern drinks makers


Cork use to stopper bottles was increasingly used in the 17th C however it was the introduction of the corkscrew, first recorded in 1686 that accelerated its use. Before that it was not possible to tightly fit corks as the were difficult to remove!. An early device was used simply an awl but this often damaged the glass bottle neck and glass bottles initially were expensive. Initially the cork was

Glass Wine and Cider Bottles

Glass manufacturing was a closed occupation in Medieval Europe concentrated in Venice and closely guarded  by the guild and Italian authorities of the time. Glass making requires high temperatures and therefor a fired furnace. Traditionally with wood. Given the risk to adjacent buildings the Venetian authorities centred glass making on the Island of Murano. This provided increased security of the trade secrets but also stifled development of the art further.

The story of Scurvy, and the role of Cider

When cider was being developed in the UK into a fine product akin to wine on the Continent  in the 17C  and it came to the attention of the scientists and aristocracy of the day it was in a very different time than today in term of science and medicine. The Renaissance was underway but science still contained alchemy, astronomy was being developed from astrology and medicine was yet to

The Rise and Fall of Bulmer’s Cider

The start of industrial rather than rural farm based cider production. Rev Charles Henry Bulmer  the rector at Credenhill   few miles north of Hereford city  made cider. He was friends with Dr Hogg and  was asked by Hogg,   a prominent pomologist  to write  the chapter “The Orchard and Its Products. Cider and Perry” for the  Herefordshire Pomona Volume 1 pages 113-160.   Dr. Hogg often stayed with the Bulmers.  The Reverend’s  youngest     son,  twenty years

Cider a Poem in two Books: John Philips

“with notes provincial, historical and classical” by Charles Dunster 1791 An extraordinary book. Cider, A Poem written in 1708 in the form of Virgil’s Georgics ( which is a poem in Latin published in 29 BC). As the name suggests (from the Greek word geōrgika, “agricultural things”), the subject of the poem is agricultural; but far from being an example of peaceful rural poetry, it is a work characterized by

John Worlidge 1640–1700

John Worlidge or John Woolridge was an agriculturalist, who lived in Petersfield, Hampshire, England. He was considered a great expert on rural affairs, and one of the first British agriculturalists to discuss the importance of farming as an industry. No portrait of John is known. He signed his books cryptically J W Gent His first published book Systema Agriculturæ, or the Mystery of Husbandry discovered … by J. W., Gent.,

Talk given to the 3rd NZ Cider Festival 2018

It was great to be invited to talk at the 3rd NZ Cider festival on the history of cider in its “Golden Era” in England. This was a fascinating time when cider rivalled wine as a sumptuous drink and laid the foundations to Champagne. This talk starts in the Medieval times before the Golden age 1600-1700 and explains how secondary fermentation was harnessed to made sparkling cider 80 years before

Thomas Knight & the Pomona Herefordiensis

The first illustrated pomology book in Britain and the world was written in 1811 by Thomas Knight orchardist and fruit breeder. Pomona Herefordiensis  was  published as part of Thomas’ attempt to improve cider orchards. In 1797 he published a book called Treatise on Cider, describing the different stages of production, following his work surveying Herefordshire (for a government that was hoping to raise taxes to fund the Napoleonic Wars). Knight found Herefordshire orchards

Scudamore Cider Flute

This flute also called the ‘Chesterfield’ flute,( family descent through the Scudamore-Stanhope family to the Earls of Chesterfield) is a thin soda ‘cristallo’ glass, made around 1650. The oldest glass associated with cider drinking. It is diamond point engraved with the Royal Arms and the arms of the Scudamore family (three stirrups) within lozenge shaped escutcheon linked by festoons of fruit and flowers, with below, a stag beside a gate

Devon Colic

Devon colic  was an illness that affected people in the English county of Devon during parts of the 17th and 18th centuries most autumns , before it was discovered to be lead poisoning it was first described in 1703 by Dr William Musgrave of Exeter in a paper De arthritide symptomatica. Symptoms began with severe abdominal pains and the condition was occasionally fatal. Cider was the traditional drink of Devonshire people at the time, in fact it was

Cider Tax Riots

Cider was a common drink in the West country from the 14th Century and formed part of wages of labourers until outlawed by the Truck Act of 1887. It had not previously been taxed. However 9 as always Governments lookto new taxes to raise revenue. The Cider Bill of 1763 was a proposed measure by the British government of Lord Bute to put a tax on the production of cider

The Babycham phenomena

BabyCham a perry drink is key to cider drinks on many levels, juice, storage fermentation marketing advertising etc. It is the prototype alcopops. Phenomenally successful in UK and globally. And an example of hype and product placement, and ultimately decline. The story begins:… But first a little history. The term “champagne”  for sparkling wine has been used in UK for many centuries despite more recent protest from the French wine