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Mike's Blog - Day 220

If you glance across the Oriental lawn towards the Vice Chancellor's House, Hollingside House, you can see a huge old apple tree, most likely planted by the Roberts family who lived there many years ago. Perhaps it was even planted at the same time as the monkey puzzle. You might remember there is a Roberts family gravestone behind monkey puzzle, Day 52.

Here is a close-up.

It’s a very reliable cropper, it’s a cooking apple and has the typical angular irregularly shaped apples.

It was identified quite a while ago now as a variety commonly grown in the 19th Century, but there are references to it as far back as 1629. It’s also thought its origins date back to Norman times, 11th century.

It’s called “Cats Head”, or “Catshead”, apparently because of the resemblance of the apples to cats heads, but I can’t see it. Perhaps when they fall off with closer inspection it will be more obvious.

I read this by a lady on an American website:

Because I am a history nut, I got interested in early American foodstuffs and found out a little bit of interesting information: Catshead is the first known variety the early settlers of Virginia planted, probably as early as 1620. It would probably have been brought across the sea carefully planted in a barrel as a sapling, brought as a little tiny "comfort food" from home”.