This section is from the book "The Fruit Manual: Containing The Descriptions And Synonyms Of The Fruits And Fruit Trees Of Great Britain", by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual.
Fruit, below medium size, two and a half inches wide, and the same high; abrupt Pearmain-shaped, even and regular in its outline. Skin, of a rich golden yellow colour, covered with thin brown russet on the shaded side, but covered with dull brownish red on the side next the sun, strewed with large russet dots. Eye, partially closed, with broad flat segments, set in a shallow and plaited basin. Stamens, median; tube, funnel-shaped. Stalk, three-quarters of an inch to an inch long, obliquely inserted in a moderately deep cavity, with generally a fleshy protuberance on one side of it. Flesh, yellow, firm, crisp, juicy, and very sugary, with a brisk and particularly rich flavour. Cells, open, obovate; axile.
This is one of the best and richest flavoured of our dessert apples; it comes into use in October and November, and continues in good condition till March.
A communication of some importance was sent me by Mr. Cameron, of Uckfield, by whom this variety was first propagated. He says the fruit should be allowed to hang late on the tree before it is gathered, so as to secure its peculiar richness of flavour, and long period of duration; for if gathered too soon, it loses much of its fine richness, and is very apt to shrivel.
The tree does not attain a large size, but is perfectly hardy, and an early and excellent bearer; young trees, only two or three years from the graft, producing a considerable crop of handsome, well-grown fruit.
This esteemed variety originated about the year 1770, in a garden lately in possession of Mr. John Mannington, at Uckfield, in Sussex. At the time it was raised the garden belonged to Mr. Turley, a blacksmith, and grandfather of Mr. Mannington. The original tree grew up at the root of a hedge, where the refuse from a cider press had been thrown; it never attained any great size, but continued to preserve a stunted and diminutive habit of growth, till it died about the year 1820. Previous to this, however, grafts had been freely distributed to persons in the neighbourhood; but it does not seem to have been known beyond its own locality till the autumn of 1847, when Mr. Mannington caused specimens of the fruit to be forwarded to the London Horticultural Society, by whom it was pronounced to be a dessert fruit of the highest excellence, and was designated by Mr. Thompson "Mannington's Pearmain."
Mr. Mannington, whose acquaintance I made in 1846, was a man of singular intelligence on many subjects, and was an enthusiastic pomologist. He raised many varieties of fruits, especially pears, some of which are of great excellence. He was an unwearying correspondent, and up to within a few months of his death I was favoured with his views in respect to pomological matters. He died at Uckfield on the 19th September, 1880, aged 93 years, and one of his last letters to me finished thus - "Written without spectacles."
Fruit, medium sized, nearly three inches in diameter, and two inches and a quarter high; round and flattened; in shape and colour bearing much resemblance to Blenheim Pippin. Skin, pale yellow, strewed with russet dots, and with a red blush next the sun side. Eye, open, with reflexed, sharp-pointed segments, set in a round, smooth basin. Stamens, median; tube, funnel-shaped. Stalk, half an inch long, set in a deep wide cavity. Flesh, very tender, sweet, juicy, and pleasantly flavoured. Cells, open, roundish ovate.
An excellent dessert or culinary apple; in use from November till January.