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 inches and a half wide, and two inches and a quarter high; oval, and slightly angular on its sides. Skin, greenish yellow, entirely covered with thin grey russet. Eye, small, with long acuminate segments, set in a narrow and irregular basin. Stalk, an inch long, very slender, inserted in a round, even, and deep cavity. Flesh, yellowish white, crisp, brisk, and aromatic.
A good dessert apple of second-rate quality; in use during November and December.
Fruit, above the middle size, two inches and three-quarters wide, and two inches and a quarter high; pretty round, without angles, but sometimes it is oval. Crown, but little hollow. Eye, small, with short reflexed segments of the calyx. Skin, dull muddy olive green, a good deal reticulated with fine network. Stalk, three-quarters of an inch long, slender, causing the fruit to be pendant. Specific gravity of the juice, 1076.
Many trees of the Pawsan are found in the south-east or Ryland district of Herefordshire, which have apparently stood more than a century. Its pulp is exceedingly rich and yellow, and in some seasons it affords cider of the finest quality. Its name cannot be traced to any probable source.
Fruit, below medium size, two inches and a quarter wide, and two inches and five-eighths high; abrupt conical or cylindrical, bluntly angular, slightly undulating at the crown; sometimes it is only two inches and a quarter high, and consequently the shape is roundish. Skin, entirely covered with dark crimson, except where shaded, and there it is yellow, tinged with red, and marked with broken streaks of pale crimson; the surface is strewed with large fawn-coloured russet dots, like freckles. Eye, closed, with flat convergent segments, set in a wide, plaited basin. Stamens, marginal; tube, funnel-shaped. Stalk, very short, not over a quarter of an inch, imbedded in a rather shallow cavity. Flesh, yellowish, tender, juicy, sweet, and highly flavoured. Cells, roundish or roundish obovate; axile.
A very excellent dessert apple; in use till Christmas.
This is the true Old Pearmain, for which I am indebted to the indefatigable research of my esteemed friend, Dr. Bull, of Hereford. The locality in which this is now grown is about Dymock, where some old trees exist, and the trees from which the fruit was gathered that enabled me to make this description were grafted thirty-five years ago from scions taken from old trees on the Grainge estates, a noted apple district on the borders of Herefordshire.
The Pearmain is the oldest English apple on record. Its cultivation in Norfolk can be traced back to the year 1200, Blomefield, in his history of that county, giving an instance of a tenure by petty serjeantry and the payment of two hundred Pearmains and four hogsheads of cider of Peannains into the Exchequer at the Feast of St. Michael yearly.
The term Pearmain, which is now applied to so many varieties of apples, signifies the Great Pear Apple. In olden times it was variously written Pearemaine or Peare-maine, being the Anglicised equivalent of Pyrus Magnus, just as Charlemagne is of Carolus Magnus, A Pearmain, therefore, ought to be a long or pear-shaped apple.