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Origin and History

Nelson's Codlin

Nelson's Codlin is one of our rarest apples in the Gardens and we have been pleased to contribute graft-wood from it for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale.


In 1859 The pomologist Dr Robert Hogg wrote:


'This variety was discovered many years ago, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where it is now cultivated to a large extent. It was first brought into notice by John Nelson, a noted Wesleyan preacher in that part of the country, who, during his professional visits, distributed grafts of it among his friends. From this circumstance it became generally known as the Nelson Apple. It was called Backhouse's Lord Nelson by Mr Ronalds in the Pyrus Malus Brentfordiensis, from having been received by the York nursery, but Mr Backhouse, to whom it refers, disclaims having any merit either in the origin or introduction of it and prefers simply retaining the name of "Nelson", as a tribute to the excellent man after whom it was named.


It is a very excellent apple, of first-rate quality as a culinary fruit, and also valuable for the dessert.' (1) 


The fruit is large and almost cuboid. The skin is pale greenish-yellow, turning deep yellow where exposed to the sun and with russet specks on the shaded side. The yellowish-white flesh is juicy, delicate, tender and sugary. 

Messrs W & J Brown of Stamford advertised an apple called Nelson's Glory at the beginning the 20th century and it is possible this was actually Nelson's Codlin. However, no other specimens have been found locally.   

Nelson's Codlin blossom
Nelson's Codlin blossom © Karen Meadows

Picking, Storing and Using

Like all codlins, the fruit needs to be picked early for eating, but it stores for cooking into October and November.

Growth, Flowering and Pollination

The tree is strong and vigorous and crops heavily and reliably. The blossom is early and showy and can be susceptible to frosts. Manx Codlin or Lord Suffield are good pollinators.

Nelson's codlin apple
Nelson's Codlin © Karen Meadows


(1) Dr Robert Hogg, The Apple and its Varieties, 1859


Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018 

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