This section is from the "The Fruit Manual; Containing The Descriptions and synonymes of the fruits and fruit trees commonly met with in the gardens & orchards of Great Britain, with selected lists of those most worthy of cultivation" book, by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual
We can hardly call the chestnut a British fruit. It is true, that in some situations in the southern counties it ripens fruit, but that is generally so very inferior to what is imported from Spain and the South of France, that no one would think of planting the chestnut for its fruit alone. It is as a timber tree that it is so highly valued in this country.
The following are the varieties that succeed best; but it is only in hot summers that they attain much excellence: —
Devonshire Prolific (New Prolific).—This is by far the most abundant bearer, and ripens more thoroughly a general crop than any other.
Downton (Knight's Prolific).—This is distinguished by the very short spines on the husks, and is not so prolific as the preceding.