|Long Mead Farm and Local Wildlife Site||
|Long Mead County Wildlife Site|
The Wastie family lived round Eynsham from the time of the Tudors and some of them had been ferrymen, carrying travellers across the River Thames at Swinford. Later members of the Wastie family also helped build the stone bridge.
But it was much later in the Victorian age when a descendent Frederick William Wastie, kept a famous apple orchard in the south side of Eynsham village. Here he created new varieties of apples by cross-breeding with the Blenheim Orange apple that came from Blenheim Palace in Woodstock and other apples like Pippins. Some apples he called after the village of Eynsham and the nearby city of Oxford. Some apples he named after his family: his wife Peggy, his daughter Jenny, and himself in the ‘Old Fred’ apple. You can’t buy Fred’s apples in shops any more as his orchard is now covered by the busy A40 road. But some of the gardens and places around Eynsham have his apples on the trees in their gardens, including here.
The names of Fred Wastie’s apples are recorded in The Book of Apples with a description of the different appearance and flavour of each variety:
Oxford Beauty: Beautiful clear red flush. Sweet, lightly flavoured white flesh.
Oxford Yeoman: Refreshing, crisp and juicy,cooks to slightly sharp but bland puree.
Oxford Sunrise: Plenty of savoury acidity, yet some delicacy of flavour; crisp, juicy.
Eynsham Dumpling: Large. Cooks to lemon puree, but little flavour.
Jennifer Wastie: Sweet, little acidity; chewy, white tinged green flesh.
Old Fred: Sweet, moderately juicy, crisp, but lacks interest.
Peggy's Pride: Refreshing, crisp, juicy
© Catherine Kneafsey with thanks to Roy Wastie