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Lord Derby

Origin and History

According to the Herefordshire Pomona, Lord Derby is one of the finest culinary apples. Raised by Mr Witham, a nurseryman from Stockport in Cheshire and first recorded in 1862, it was named after the politician Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, who later became Prime Minister.


One of the apple's parents is Catshead (from which it gets its shape), the other is unknown. The Victorian pomologist Hogg rated Lord Derby as an ‘excellent culinary apple’ and it fills a useful gap between the early codlins and later cookers like Bramley.



The fruit is quite easy to identify, on account of

its large size, bright green colour and angular, ribbed 'cathead' shape. 

Lord Derby apple

Picking, Storing and Using

Lord Derby ripens in early October and can be stored for use through to the end of November. The flavour is nicely tart if picked young, becoming blander as it matures (at which point the skin develops a yellowish hue). It cooks down quickly to a mild, sweet purée and requires little, if any, sugar.

Lord Derby blossom

Growth, Flowering and Pollination

Like many Victorian cooking apples, Lord Derby has naturally good disease resistance to scab, canker and powdery mildew and is a reliable cropper. It is frost tolerant and very hardy, growing well in the north and on damp soils. Ideal pollinators include Gascoyne's Scarlet, Newton Wonder and Monarch.

Lord Derby's blossom is unusually beautiful - magenta buds open to pale pink petals with deep pink backs.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018 

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