9th April 1763. ‘Scrumpy’.
Rattler, Yallington Mill, Kingston Black Apple and the eponymous Dabinett are all varieties of cider apple.
Today in in 1763 a doggerel concerning the unpopular ‘Cyder Tax’ was recorded in Felix Farley’s, Bristol Journal: ‘The Peace is good-who dare dispute the fact?/See the fruits thereof-The Cyder Tax’.
Peace and The Treaty of Paris of February 1763, concluded the Seven Year War and the Tax raised would help to fund the war which had pushed up the National Debt to £146m. The Treasury also faced an annual debt interest of £4.7m.
Lord Bute’s solution was to impose a tax on Cyder and Perry at 4/- a hogshead on the producers who happened to be mainly in Devon and Somerset in the West Country.
Not surprisingly it resulted in anger and riots against the imposition and Bute’s resignation who was burned in effigy. The tax was repealed in July 1766 with resulting wild celebrations in the West Country.
Then came concern over the long-standing Devon Colic which many blamed to the extreme acidity of the Devon apples. However Dr George Baker said in a paper of 1767 that lead poisoning from vessels used in cider making was to blame.
Once this became more apparent incidents of the Colic declined.
Cider apples as other apples contain Malic Acid, and it is the organic Esters which give them their aroma.
(1) On 10th February 1763.
Ref: Adrian Randall et al Published University of Liverpool. Markets, Market Culture and Popular Protests
Ref : Great scrumpy crisis 1763. The Independent 16.2.1992.
Ref: Morgan Rich Dowle. New Book of Apples Ebury 2002 P.282.
Ref: Pollan. Michael 2001. Botany of Desire. Random House. P22.
Ref: Science Behind Human Genome. US Dept of Energy.21.3.2008.
Apples have 57,000 Genes in their Genome, the highest of any plant: humans have 30,000.
L-Malic Acid is produced naturally and Salts and Esters of Malic Acid are called Malates.