Pisum sativum. Also called Carling Pea. This beautiful English heirloom hails from Medieval/Elizabethan England. Records exist of this pea being grown in Middle age monastery gardens. A climbing pea, vines can easily cover a 6-foot trellis and is best as a spring planted pea. Does seem to have no resistance to powdery mildew so space accodingly for good air flow. Dry peas are golden speckled but can be eaten green.


One folk story associated with this pea is during the Civil War in 1644, Newcastle was under siege by the Scots and people on both sides of the Tyne were starving. On Passion Sunday, two weeks before Easter, a boat from France was stranded nearby at South Shields and its cargo of carlin peas was washed ashore and devoured. After that, Passion Sunday was celebrated locally as Carlin Sunday and they were traditionally eaten then. The pea has been known by this name (carlin/carling) at least since Turner’s Herbal of 1562, the word may derive from ‘care’.” “Care” is an alternative name for “Passion”.

The Sunday before Palm Sunday, is Carlin Sunday and on it people in the North & North East traditionally eat Carlin Peas. In the North West where the are consumed mainly around Bonfire Night, where they are traditionally called Brown Peas. Prepare Carlins by soaking overnight and boiling them for up to an hour, it's a matter of taste as to how soft you like your peas, then fry in a little butter for a few minutes, add some salt and a good dose of vinegar to the pan.

Carlin Pea