Pea Champion of England

Latin    Pisum sativum Champion of England

Pea Champion of England


Champion of England is a really good, traditional tall pea to 8 – 10 ft, dating from the 1840’s.

An endangered species of pea grown by Charles Darwin in the mid 1800s

The pea, mentioned in Darwin’s book “The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication”, is known as the so-called ‘Champion of England’.

Despite being judged as ‘best pea’ by The Journal of Horticulture in 1876 and being grown by Darwin himself in his garden, the variety fell out of favour in the 1970s when mechanised harvesting took over.

The Real Seed Collection Ltd provide the following information.
It was unavailable , other than seedbanks, for a long time. A few people sent us small samples of seed from time to time, but we couldn’t get them to grow. All that changed in 2007 though, when Robert Woodbridge got in touch with a new strain of family-saved seed from Lincolnshire in the 1940’s.

So, after a few seasons, we have bulked it up from his original handful.
Robert Woodbridge give the history of the pea in his own words

As to the pea it grows to ten foot high and the peas are 8 to 10 per pod and you start picking from the bottom and work your way up, it prefers to be sown at the end of April to avoid the pea moth maggot and takes about 100 days to reach 10 ft.”
For us this was an amazing find. It’s the genuine tall strain, well maintained over the years, and we even know the location it came from.

We think Robert’s grandmother would have been pleased to know her seeds have saved this variety for gardeners everywhere.