Warden (Pyrus communis Warden) pear has an ancient heritage and was possibly introduced by the Romans. The tree spread around the country during the Norman period and was first recorded at Warden Abbey, a Cistercian monastery in Bedfordshire, during the 13th century. It is similar to the variety Black Worcesteris which features on the county arms of Worcestershire.
The trees blossom from mid-April onwards. The fruit is large with greenish brown rough skin, usually flushed dark red. They are hard and gritty and ripen slowly for picking in October and culinary use from November to February. The flesh is coarse and firm and excellent for bottling and baking. It was used for making the famous 'warden pies'. In Shakespeare's
The Winter's Tale, the clown says: "I must have saffron the colour of Warden pies".