Ruperra: A document of 1559 refers to 'Rhiw'r perrai' the 'hill or slope of pear trees' but their exact location was not known.
In 1654 Constantin Huygens the Dutch Ambassador had come for a meeting with Lord Protector Cromwell in London. The Dutch born widow of Sir Lewis Morgan of Ruperra arranged a visit to the new Castle for the son of the Ambassador, Lodewijck Huygens, who refers to fruit trees in the garden:
“…Around noon we reached the very beautiful Rhiwperra House. The mansion is square with a round tower on each corner which adds a closet to almost every room. There is a large and lovely hall to the right of the entrance and a number of other fine rooms. There is a very fine garden on the right with very attractive parterres and walks …and another garden with a large number of fruit trees …laid out on the slope of a hill, which one climbs gradually by six or eight steps at a time, upon reaching the highest step, one would never guessed how charming the view is towards the Severn across this very beautiful and fertile valley.”
An old pub sign from the Ruperra Arms in Bassaleg depicted children scrumping for pears (pictured).
Some people tell us that it is very difficult to grow pears in the area. We are going to try by planting some pears on a South facing slope on the hill in the Coed Craig Ruperra woodland next door to the Castle.
Do you know anything about Ruperra pears? Do you successfully grow pears in the area? We’d love to hear from you, email: firstname.lastname@example.org