The Jubilee Orchard and our Bees

The Jubilee Orchard

With the help of children from Cressing Primary School, nine varieties of apple tree traditional to East Anglia were planted in a new orchard near the Visitor Centre in 1993 to celebrate the Queen’s fortieth jubilee. This is one of the most significant collections of traditional apples in the region. The trees are now mature, an attractive sight in the spring, and producing an abundant crop in the autumn. They are grown on M25, M26 and MM106 rootstocks. Of the nine traditional varieties to be found here, six originate from Essex.

  • Queen: Also known as Essex Queen. Raised by Mr Bull of Billericay in 1858 from pips from an apple brought at the local market. Widely planted in Essex.
  • Monarch: Raised by Seabrook and Sons of Boreham in 1888. A result of a cross between Peasgood Nonsuch and Dumelow’s Seedling.
  • Chelmsford Wonder: Raised at Chelmsford in 1870 by William Saltmarsh, a mechanic. A large, long keeping, yellow apple.
  • Edith Hopwood: Raised by Mr Thorrington of Hornchurch in 1925. It is a Cox’s Orange Pippin seedling. It is a golden yellow and medium-sized apple.
  • D’Arcy Spice: Found at Tollshunt D’Arcy Hall in about 1785 and originally sold as Baddow Pippin. Cultivated by nurseryman John Harris in 1848. Well known in Essex and East Anglia, it does best in sandy soil and dry areas.
  • St Edmunds Pippin: Raised by Mr R. Harvey at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, 1875. Popularised by Bunyard Nursery early in the 1900’s. Grown commercially in East Anglia and remains a valued garden variety.
  • Lady Henniker: Raised 1840-50 on Lord Henniker’s estate, Thornham Hall, Eye, in Suffolk. Introduced 1873 by his Head Gardener, John Perkins.
  • Sturmer Pippin: Arose in the garden of nurseryman Ezekiel Dillstone in Sturmer, on the border with Suffolk near Haverill, in about 1800. It was not sold publically until 1831. His grandson took some grafting wood with him when he emigrated to Australia. It was widely grown in Tasmania and imported to the UK – 800,000 bushels arrived in 1934!
  • Dr Harvey: Originated in East Anglia. Popular in Cambridgeshire and named after local benefactor, Dr Gabriel Harvey, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Bees at Cressing Temple Barns

The craft of beekeeping in one of the fastest growing hobbies in the UK and ‘backyard beekeeping’ is becoming a new craze – and where better to learn than in the beautiful surroundings of Cessing Temple Barns.

The apiary at Cressing Temple Barn is situated in the apple orchard and in the spring is surrounded by beautiful marguerites and over-hanging apple blossom. The hives used to be in the walled garden, but they were moved for safety reasons as each hive can contain up to 70,000 bees in the summer months. However, if you go into the walled garden you will see two old-fashioned skeps, or alvearies, made of willow where bees would have been kept in the old days.

Our beekeeper Jan looks after the apiary and she’s always keen to pass on her knowledge to Cressing’s volunteers. The Friends of Cressing Temple Gardens is a member of Braintree Beekeepers’ Association so that volunteers can attend meetings, talks and practical events to learn more about the bees.

With all the beautiful countryside in this part of Essex, the Cressing bees produce some flavoursome honey which can be purchased in the Wellhouse. In the spring the bees will collect nectar from oil seed rape and this produces a thick white set honey. In late spring the apple blossom is out and in early summer the bees will forage on borage, field beans and garden flowers. All these flowers will produce different flavoured honeys.

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