Gerard figures four varieties of peach. " The white peach with meate about the stone of a white colour; the red peach with meate of a gallant red colour, like wine in taste and therefore marvellous pleasant; the D'auant peach with meate of a golden colour; and the yellow peach, of a yellow colour on the outside, and likewise on the inside . of the greatest pleasure and best taste of all the other of his kinds." He makes no mention of the nectarine, which, however, by Parkinson's time had become well known. Six varieties are described in a chapter to themselves, although he says " they have been with us not many years." He gives twenty varieties of peach, and a woodcut illustrates six of these ; two of them are considerably smaller than the apricot on the same plate. Although Platt tells us that a peach grafted on a nut will have no kernel, he cannot quite believe—although he gives the recipe—that a peach tree watered three days running with goat's milk, when beginning to flower, will produce pomegranates. Most of his other observations on their culture are practical and correct. They like, he says, a clay soil, and to be water-logged at the root destroys them. They will grow from stones, and bring forth a " kindly peach," but they thrive best when grafted on a plum stock. Bacon mentions nectarines as coming in September, along with " peaches and melocotones." Of the latter, Parkinson writes it " is a yellow fair peach . . . and is better rellished than any of them".
* Issue Rolls of the Exchequer, James I. By F. Devon, 1836.
The only " curran," so called by Gerard, is the small grape or currant of Corinth, classed with grapes. The red currant is referred to under Gooseberries or Flaben ies. Parkinson, however, gives them a chapter to themselves, and explains the difference between them and those " sold at the Grocers." He describes the red, white and black kinds, and says the white are " more desired . . . because they are more dainty and lesse common." Raspberries, white and red, were* eaten " in summer-time, as an afternoon dish to please the taste of the sick as well as the sound." The cornel tree or Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) was introduced about this time, and found a place in orchards along with barberries, service berries and almond trees.
Before closing this rapid review of the fruit of this period, I must say a few words about vineyards and grapes. Many of the larger gardens had vineyards attached. Barnaby Googe says they were invariably placed on the western side of the garden, and it is curious to note that such is the position of the one mentioned in Measure for Measure, act iv. scene 1.
" He hath a garden circummured with brick, Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd ; And to that vineyard is a planched gate, That makes his opening with this bigger key. This other doth command a little door, Which from the garden to the vineyard leads".
Gerard gives five pictures of what he calls "tame" or "manured" vines. He advises " shavings of horn disposed about the roots, to cause fertility." Parkinson's list includes twenty-three names. He says that Tradescant grew twenty sorts, but "he never knew how or by what name to call them." " The ordinary grape, both white and red, which excelleth crabs for verjuyce, and is not fit for wine with us," was probably what was usually grown in vineyards, the choicer sorts being only found, as these old writers would say, in the gardens of the curious. He has on his list black and white " Muscadine," and the " Frontignack " ; the other names are such as "the claret wine grape," "the Rhenish wine grape." Platt gives several recipes for keeping grapes—in pots covered with sand, the bunch hung up with the end of the stalk stuck in an apple; or he says they can be preserved on the vine by covering the bunches with oiled paper. He constantly refers to the vineyard, and how to "order" and plant it. The way he classes the orchard and vineyard together shows the latter was by no means uncommon : " Master Pointer keepeth conies in his orchard, onely to keepe downe the grasse low; . . . also in vineyards the use is to turne up the ground with a shallow plough, as often as any grasse offereth to spring, but I think the prevention of grass in orchard and vineyard is much better, if it were not too costly." He maintains that there is no reason why English wine should not be as good as that on the Continent. He attributes the ill-success in England to the bad way the vines were pruned, and he accuses " the extreme negligence and blockish ignorance of our people, who do most unjustly lay their wrongful accusations upon the soil, whereas the greatest, if not the whole, fault justly may be removed upon themselves".
The vineyards attached to the royal gardens at Windsor and Westminster were still flourishing. In 1618 fish-ponds were made in the " vine garden " at Westminster, " for the king's cormorants, ospreys and otters."* At Oatlands, in Surrey, there also appears to have been a vineyard, as payments occur in 1619 for "planting of new and rare fruits, flowers, herbs and trees," in the King's garden there, and " for dressing and keeping the vines." † The first Earl of Salisbury planted a vineyard at Hatfield, on the north bank of the River Lea, on a piece of ground sloping to the south, hedged in with privet and sweet briar. Hatfield had been given to Cecil by James I., in 1607, in exchange for Theobalds, to which the King took a great fancy. This was the second time that Hatfield had changed hands in this way. The manor belonged to the Abbey of Ely before the Conquest, and after Ely became a bishopric, the bishops made their residence at Hatfield, until Henry the Eighth's time. This king also wishing to possess the place, effected an exchange of land with the bishop. Ely was in early times famous for its vines, and doubtless vineyards existed also at Hatfield during the centuries it was Church property, so that when Cecil planted a vineyard it was no new experiment. Mme. de la Boderie, wife of the French ambassador, sent thirty thousand vines to be set in the new vineyard, which are referred to in the following letter to Cecil :*— . . . " understanding your Lordship's speech yesterday, that you were about to send some present of gratification to Mme. de la Boderye in regard of your vines, Lest your Lordship's bounty which knows the true limitts of honor of it self, should be misledd by my disesteeming the things upon a sodayne when I valued them but att £40 I thought good to let your Lordship know before it be too late that I misreckned myselfe for 20,000 at 8 crowns the thousand, cometh to near £50 sterling, besydes the cariage and besydes, the ambassador sent me word yesterday by his maistr-d'Hostel that there are 10,000 more a coming which he hath consigned to be delivered heer to me for your Lordship's use." As these were more plants than the vineyard would hold, some were kept in a nursery to put later in the place of any that were " defectyve or dying." A few muscat, and other vines, not grown before in England, were brought from Paris, by Tradescant, who was then director of Cecil's garden, and he also received five hundred plants from the Queen of France ; Pierre Collin and Jean Vallet, who probably brought over this present, were permanently engaged to plant and dress the vineyard. This vineyard does not appear to have been kept up for many years, as the last reference to it among the family papers is dated 1638, in which year Lady Hatton sent some vine cuttings.
* Issue Rolls of the Exchequer, James 1. By Devon, 1836. † Ibid., July 23, 1619.
In spite of the efforts of the writers of the early seventeenth century, vine-culture was never really revived in England, and vineyards gradually ceased to be planted. A few isolated instances occur later on. Brandy is said to have been made at Beaulieu in the last century, and Fairchild. in 1722, had a flourishing vineyard in Hoxton. These were probably nearly the last serious attempts at vine-culture.
* From family papers belonging to the Marquess of Salisbury.