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.
This is a name applied to pears which from the firm texture of their flesh never melt, and are used only when they are cooked. The name is derived from the Cistercian Abbey of Warden, in Bedfordshire, where a particular pear was cultivated and used in pies, which were known as Warden pies, and it is within living memory that these pies were hawked in the streets of Bedford as " Wardens all hot." In The Winter's Tale the clown says -
"I must have saffron to colour the Warden pies."
"Myself by denial I mortify - With a dainty bit of a Warden pye."
The name came to signify any long-keeping cooking pear, but I am inclined to think that the variety which gave rise to the name is that which is now called the Black Worcester, or Parkinson's Warden. Nevertheless, there were various kinds of Wardens. Parkinson mentions "The Warden, or Luke Ward's pear, of two sorts, both white and red. The Spanish Warden is greater than either of both the former, and better also. The Red Warden and Spanish Warden are reckoned among the most excellent of peares either to bake or to roast for the sicke or for the sound. And indeed the Quince and the Warden are the two onely fruits are permitted to the sicke to eate at any time." The Spanish Warden still exists as a choice baking pear. The arms of Warden Abbey were "ar three Warden pears, or two and one"; but the counter seal appended to the deed of surrender preserved among the "Augmentation Records " bears the abbatial arms, namely, a demi-crosier between three Warden pears.
Warwick Bergamot. See White Doyenne.
Fruit, medium sized; turbinate, broad at the apex. Skin, pale green in the shade, brownish red, with a few streaks of brighter red next the sun, thickly covered with grey russety dots. Eye, open, with short erect segments, and set in a deep, wide, and even basin. Stalk, three-quarters of an inch long, inserted in a small round cavity. Flesh, yellowish, crisp, juicy, sugary, and perfumed.
A dessert pear of second-rate quality; ripe in September, bears well as a standard.
Fruit, above medium size; roundish, uneven in its outline, and bossed about the stalk. Skin, smooth and shining, of a lemon-yellow colour, thickly sprinkled with large russet specks, and with a blush of light crimson on the side next the sun. Eye, small and open, set in a shallow depression. Stalk, three-quarters of an inch long, inserted in an uneven cavity. Flesh, white, rather coarse-grained, half-melting, very juicy, and sugary, but without any flavour.
An inferior pear; ripe in the end of October and November.
White Autumn Beurré. See White Doyenne. White Beurré. See White Doyenne.
Fruit, above medium size; obovate, handsome, and regularly formed. Skin, smooth and shining; pale bright green at first, and changing as it attains maturity to pale yellow, and when well exposed it has sometimes a fine red on the side next the sun. Eye, very small and closed, set in a shallow and slightly plaited basin. Stalk, three-quarters of an inch long, stout, fleshy, and set in a small round cavity. Flesh, white, buttery, and melting, and of a rich, sugary, and delicately perfumed and somewhat vinous flavour.
An excellent autumn dessert pear; ripe in September and October. The tree is healthy, vigorous, and an abundant bearer, succeeds well as a standard either on the pear or quince stock. The fruit is best flavoured from a standard, and if grown on a quince stock against a wall or an espalier it assumes a beautiful red colour next the sun, and comes considerably larger than from a standard. It must be eaten in good time, for if kept too long it shrivels and becomes woolly and mealy.