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, small, two inches and an eighth wide, and one inch and five-eighths high; roundish oblate, and regularly formed. Skin, golden yellow, with a few streaks of crimson on the shaded side, and completely covered with crimson on the exposed side, where it is also splashed with broken streaks of dark mahogany colour. Eye, closed, with broad, flat, convergent segments, reflexed at the tips, set in a wide, saucer-like basin. Stamens, median; tube, short, funnel-shaped. Stalk, a quarter to half an inch long, slender, set in a pretty wide cavity. Flesh, yellowish, juicy, sweet, and agreeably flavoured. Cells, roundish, inclining to obovate; axile.
This is grown very largely at Newland, near Malvern, and all the surrounding parishes, and is sold to the pickle-makers to make chutney and apple jelly.
Fruit, medium sized, two inches and three-quarters wide, and two inches and a quarter high; roundish, or inclining to oblate, narrowing towards the apex, even and regular in outline. Skin, deep clear yellow, streaked with red, on the shaded side, but deep red, streaked with still deeper red, approaching dark mahogany colour, on the side next the sun; the surface is strewed with specks and small patches of cinnamon-coloured russet, and especially round the stalk there is a patch tinged with green. Eye, small and closed, with short convergent segments, set in a rather shallow basin. Stamens, marginal; tube, funnel-shaped. Stalk, short and slender, sometimes a mere knob. Flesh, yellow, firm, crisp, and rather dry, briskly acid, and with a rough flavour. Cells, slightly obovate, small; axile.
Specific gravity of the juice, 1079.
A cider apple, which at one period was unsurpassed, but now comparatively but little cultivated.
Perhaps there was no apple which at any period was in such great favour, and of which so much was said and written during the 17th century, as of the Red-streak. Prose and verse were both enlisted in its praises. It was chiefly by the writings of Evelyn it attained its greatest celebrity. Philips, in his poem, Cyder, says -
"Let every tree in every garden own The lied Streak as supreme, whose pulpous fruit, With gold irradiate, and vermilion, shines Tempting, not fatal, as the birth of that Primæval, interdicted plant, that won Fond Eve, in hapless hour to taste, and die.
This, of more bounteous influence, inspires Poetic raptures, and the lowly muse Kindles to loftier strains ; even I, perceive Her sacred virtue. See! the numbers flow y, whilst, cheer'd with her nectareous juice, Hers, and my country's praises, I exalt."
But its reputation began to decline about the beginning of the last century, for we find Nourse saving, As for for liquor which it yields, it is highly esteemed for its noble colour and smell; 'tis likewise fat and oily in the taste, but withal very windy, luscious, and fulsome, and will sooner clog the stomach than any other cider whatsoever, leaving a waterish, raw humour upon it; so that with meals it is no way helpful, and they who drink it, if I may judge of them by my own palate, will rind their stomachs pall'd sooner by it, than warm'd and enliven'd."
The Bed-streak seems to have originated about the beginning of the 17th century, for Evelyn says "it was within the memory of some now living surnamed the Scudamore's Crab, and then not much known save in the neighbourhood." It was called Scudamore's Crab from being extensively planted by the first Lord Scuda-more, who was son of Sir James Scudamore, from whom Spenser is said to have taken the character of Sir Scudamore in his "Faerie Queen." He was born in 1600, and created by Charles I. Baron Dromore and Viscount Scudamore. He was attending the Duke of Buckingham when he was stabbed at Portsmouth, and was so affected at the event that he retired into private life, and devoted his attention to planting orchards, of which the Red-streak formed the principal variety. In 1634 he was sent as ambassador to France, in which capacity he continued for four years. He was a zealous Royalist during the civil wars, and was taken prisoner by the Parliament party, while his property was destroyed, and his estate sequestered. He died in 1671.