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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old December 20, 2008   #1
Medbury Gardens
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Default Repatriate Earl of Edgecombe

After reading about a tomato call Earlo of Edgecombe that was apparently a New Zealand heirloom variety,i contacted a few people within the heirloom seed industry here asking if they know of this tomato,for which no one had.I then indicated to them that i would find the seed,bring it in, grow it on with the view to build up seed stock so as to have this NZ heirloom available to the general pubic.

So thanks Zana for the three seeds,only one has made it to date but is looking great,i`ll post progress photos later.

Knowing a bit more about Earl of Edgecombes history is something i hope others in Tomatoville may have some ideas as to finding out ,who was that sheep farmer that took those seeds to the UK?,and in what year?and did he breed it?

Any ideas??

Richard
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Old December 20, 2008   #2
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I'm no good at research. but I'd talk to a librarian they should be able to help you.
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Old December 20, 2008   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medbury Gardens View Post
After reading about a tomato call Earlo of Edgecombe that was apparently a New Zealand heirloom variety,i contacted a few people within the heirloom seed industry here asking if they know of this tomato,for which no one had.I then indicated to them that i would find the seed,bring it in, grow it on with the view to build up seed stock so as to have this NZ heirloom available to the general pubic.

So thanks Zana for the three seeds,only one has made it to date but is looking great,i`ll post progress photos later.

Knowing a bit more about Earl of Edgecombes history is something i hope others in Tomatoville may have some ideas as to finding out ,who was that sheep farmer that took those seeds to the UK?,and in what year?and did he breed it?

Any ideas??

Richard
When the 6th Earl of Edgecombe died in England the nearest living male relative was in NZ and when the man designated the new 7th Earl of Edgecombe moved to England, and he was a sheep farmer, name unknown, he apparently gave the seeds to the then Henry Doubelday Foundation.

There is no information on whether it was a family heirloom or he bred it himself.

At the same time I had a friend, Ulrike Paradine, who lived in England and was a member of the Henry Doubleday organization and she got seeds and sent them to me and I grew it out and listed the variety in the 1997 SSE Yearbook for the first time.

It's a variety a lot of folks like and was one of the varieties I featured in my book, with the above history, and I like it as well.

It doesn't surprise me at all that no one in NZ knows of it. And seeds for it are widely available at a number of sources which I could name for you if you wish or you could find by Googling or even ask for more seeds if you need them in the Want subforum of the Seed Exchange Forum here at Tville.

Hope that helps.
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Old December 20, 2008   #4
dice
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Early history of the Edgecumbes/Edgecombes:
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/ECG_EM...EDGECOMBE.html

That does not go past the 3rd Earl, but it shows why searching
for "Earl of Edgecombe" generally finds nothing but tomato
references: Edgecumbe is the more common spelling in
genealogical records of the peerage.

This page has the Edgecumbes:
http://www.plymouthdata.info/PP-Mount%20Edgcumbe.htm

7th Earl: Edward Piers Edgcumbe (1903-1982)

(It does not say exactly how the names evolved from
Eggecombe to Edgecombe to Edgecumbe. Probably some
combination of bad penmanship and underpaid scribes.)
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Old December 20, 2008   #5
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(It does not say exactly how the names evolved from
Eggecombe to Edgecombe to Edgecumbe. Probably some
combination of bad penmanship and underpaid scribes.)

****


And all I can tell you is that when it was registered with the Henry Doubleday place the spelling was Edgecombe and it isn't known who named it either.
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Old December 20, 2008   #6
Medbury Gardens
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dice Down the bottom on that plymouthdata page they have down a Robert Charles Edgcumbe (1939 - )the current 8th Earl, i wondered if this could be him, so i Googled that name and yes that our man.

carolyn any idea as to what year that seed was donated to the Doubleday foundation?
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Old December 20, 2008   #7
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I made some efforts to get hold of EOE a few years ago, for the same reason, That I was interested in this NZ heirloom. I managed to get 3 seeds, but not one germinated, so for me it ended there as it was already too late in the season to try again. Im glad you have brought it up again Richard, Ill be watching with interest.
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Old December 21, 2008   #8
dice
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On one of the web pages that I skimmed looking for this
information, it said both the 7th and 8th Earls lived outside
the UK until becoming the Earl (although it did not name
them, so I did not include it above). Maybe the 7th Earl left
the oldest kid home to run the sheep farm when he moved to
the UK, and his son became the 8th Earl?

The Henry Doubleday Research Association is now called
Garden Organic, according to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Doubleday_(1810-1902)

(Garden Organic does not list Earl of Edgecombe seeds,
by the way, in their current seed catalog.)

Maybe the family still owns the sheep farm?
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Old December 21, 2008   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medbury Gardens View Post
dice Down the bottom on that plymouthdata page they have down a Robert Charles Edgcumbe (1939 - )the current 8th Earl, i wondered if this could be him, so i Googled that name and yes that our man.

carolyn any idea as to what year that seed was donated to the Doubleday foundation?
I just looked up my original listing for it and it was in the 1997 SSE YEarbook and in that blurb I wrote, as told to me by Ulrike:

.....that it was my (CJM) best in my 1996 trials, that I got the seeds from Ulrike in 1996, who got them from the HDRA and said that the 6th Earl died in the 1960's that the relative to claim the title of Earl was a sheep farmer from NZ who became the 7th Earl and brought the seeds to England.

I don't know how long Ulrike had the seeds before she sent them to me, although knowing her it couldn't have been more than the time it took her to grow it out and save seeds, and I don't know how long the HDRA had them before they listed them, and again, knowing Ulrike, she would have pounced on anything new and interesting to her ASAP that HDRA was listing.

The HDRA back then was somewhat the same as our SSE and folks were asked to grow out varieties and return some to HDRA as well as sharing them with others.

I've lost touch with Ulrike but we exchanged many varieties. She spoke French fluently so would get seeds from St Marthe as well as whatever the current Kokopelli was named then, which was different from Kokopelli, and then split the seeds and cost with me.

As Dice has pointed out, their focus is quite different these days and I knew that a from a few years ago when I went to the site to see what was happening.
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Old December 27, 2008   #10
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It's interesting the only place that you can't get EOE is NZ. Perhaps its called something else there.

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Old December 27, 2008   #11
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When I was stationed in England, I did a lot a work on tracing the family tree. I kept wondering why I saw male children being born to a family and then the last name would be changed or modified in successive generations. Females, when getting married, might take on both last names with a hyphen (i.e. Smith-Martin).

While "havin' a pint" at a pub near Cambridge University, a gentleman nearby heard us talking and volunteered some info. Seems he was one of the experts and a professor specializing in Heraldry. He said that the changing of names and spellings was a french influence. The letter "I" would be replaced with "Y" and a simply "en" might become "enne" or "ienne". It was just fashionable to do so. The Smith-Martin above might become Smythe-Martyenne.

It made a lot of things that I had been seeing in Birth and Death registers and other church documents and books make sense. I had been seeing evidence of this practice going all the way back to the 12th century. It was "rampant" in the 15th-19th centuries timeframe, and went off the scale during the Victorian Era.

Maybe this might be a clue to help explain some of the spelling problems with Eggecombe to Edgecombe to Edgecumbe......etc.

Ted

BTW - I was continually surprised at what buying "a pint" or making a small (10 quid) donation to the vicar's "steeple rebuilding fund" would get you access to.
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Old December 27, 2008   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoreD View Post
It's interesting the only place that you can't get EOE is NZ. Perhaps its called something else there.

LoreD
LoreD, it doesn't surpise me at all that it isn't available in NZ. If I could share with you all the family heirlooms that I've introduced over the last 18 or so years I can tell you that if no one outside of the family had access to them and it was only when I was sent the seeds or rustled them up myself that they became available b'c I listed them in the SSE YEarbook.

Many owners of companies that sell OP tomato varieties are also SSE members and get their starts there. IN addition, each year I'd send the best of my varieties to a few places for trial. And that's the way they got into commerce.

Just to name a few that were family held until I "liberated" them:

Neves Azorean Red
Opalka
Crnkovic Yugoslavian
Sandul Moldovan
Gogosha
Box Car Wille
Mule Team
Great Divide
Red Barn
Amish Salad
Heidi
Kiev
Olena Ukrainian
Omar's Lebanese
Large Pink Bulgarian
Soldacki

.......and many more.

So if the sheep farmer in NZ had not shared seeds with anyone outside the family, which is true of all the ones I listed above, that variety may not have been available.

However, one can't rule out that seeds might have been shared but known by a different name, as you pointed out, since it wasn't called Earl of Edgecombe until named so in England.

I have several friends in NZ as well as Australia, and I don't remember them speaking of a variety that looked and tasted like EOE and indeed when it was legal to send seeds from the US to Australia, many of those folks loved EOE.
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Old December 27, 2008   #13
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There`s only two heirloom seed companys here in NZ,Koanga and Eco Seeds,(Kings Seeds offer a small range of heirlooms),none offer a tomato that even looks close to EOE.Theres only about twenty or so NZ heirloom tomatoes,most of those came with the early setters in 1840s -1880s.If EOE was breed within NZ, it and Money Maker are really the only true NZ heirlooms, then again is Money Maker old enough to even be a heirloom?

Over the next few seasons i would like to grow some those 20 heirlooms,post photos of them here on T V and see if there original names can be identifed.
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Old December 27, 2008   #14
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BTW - I was continually surprised at what buying "a pint" or making a small (10 quid) donation to the vicker's "steeple rebuilding fund" would get you access to.

*****

The latter would get you a personal tour by the Vicar at any of the crypt(s) in the bowels of any local Cathedral you wanted to explore for whatever reason.

Last night I finished a book where the plot centered around crypts in Cambridge in the 14th century.

I assure you that "crypting" can be worthwhile.
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Old December 27, 2008   #15
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The wife and I used the excuses of "researching the family tree" and a hobby known over there as "brass rubbing" to see the country and meet the real British people. I can't explain the awe and fear of holding a village's register of Births, Marriages, and Deaths in your hands when you know it's more than 400 years old.

10 Quid (a quid is 1 pound 6 pence) or two "fivers" (10 pounds) got us in most of the doors. The real tough ones were those operated under the direct supervision of the Victoria and Albert Museum (an organization with absolutely NO sense of humor about their rules).

Ted
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