“People were using apples as food even before the Romans invaded these green and pleasant lands. As an incentive to stay here, veteran Roman soldiers were given plots of land upon which apple trees were planted, creating the first orchards. Later, when Christianity was re-established, orchards were planted in the grounds of the new monasteries. Eventually, perhaps inevitably, it was discovered that apple juice could be fermented – and cider was born.
Records show cider being available from Battle Abbey in Somerset in the 1200s. Soon businesses were set up selling trees and fruits. Henry VIII introduced more varieties and created orchards in Kent. Orchards became more and more popular in the 17th century, and cider grew in popularity as an English drink for the gentry and royalty. In the 18th century it became a drink for everyone to enjoy, and was used as payment for labourers working the land. By the 19th century, enthusiasts were experimenting to find the best varieties for local climatic conditions. Since then, valuable work with propagation and grafting has given us the wonderfully delicious drink we have all come to enjoy. “