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origin:United Kingdom   first record:1790  references >>>

includes wheats >>> Chiddam Blanc de Mars >>> Chidham Red >>> White Chidham (winter)

BBA Chidham 2014
self-seeded monster 2016

"Chidham" was a single plant found in a hedge by a Mr Woods in the village of Chidham, Sussex in 1790. This makes it slightly early in the "squarehead" flock of early cultivars and indeed it represents slightly higher milling quality than most of these. Chidham Red has a notably strong straight straw and a moderately square head.

Chidham Red would seem to have been the original type then followed by Chidham (winter) white and Chidham (spring) white. Its unclear whether the white lines are truly selections from within the original Chidham Red or merely seed salesmen jumping on a bandwagon by naming new lines "Chidham".

Chidham White and Chidham Red alongside Browick are the key exports into European early wheat breeding, especially by the Vilmorin company in France. Descendants include Dattel from cross Prince Albert and Chidham Red and Blé hybride à grosse tête from cross Browick and Autumn Chidham White.

"Chidham" often appears mis-spelt as "Chiddam". The Chidham White line is further divided into spring and winter lines.

Reference #1

General View of the Agriculture of the County of Sussex by Arthur Young, 1808 LINK
notes: tale of the discovery of Chidham wheat as a single plant in a hedge by a Mr Edmund Woods of Chidham, Sussex in 1790
"The farming world is certainly indebted to Mr Woods for a valuable acquisition in bringing into cultivation what with justice has been called and is a new sort of wheat the Chidham white or hedge wheat. The origin of it was this as Mr Woods was occasionally walking over his fields he met with a single plant of wheat growing in a hedge. This plant contained thirty fair ears in which were found fourteen hundred corns. These Mr Woods planted the ensuing year with the greatest attention in a wheat field the crop from these fourteen hundred corns produced eight pounds and a half of seed which he planted the same year and the produce amounted to forty eight gallons this he drilled and it yielded fifteen quarters and a half nine gallon measure Having now raised a large quantity of seed he partly drilled and in part sowed the last produce broad cast over rather more than fifty acres of land, and he gained 38.5 loads. Twenty loads of this quantity was sold for seed at £15 15s. per load. The wheat upon trial was discovered to be so fine that Mr Woods had an immediate demand for a far greater quantity than he could spare for sale 1792 turned out a bad yielding year otherwise the last produce would have fully equalled forty five load. With respect to the sample of the Chidham wheat it is white of a very fine berry an 1 remarkably Ion in the straw so as to stand in & wet summer full six feet in height The seed is now dispersed over Hampshire, Surrey and other counties and much cultivated about Guildford."

Reference #2

Les meilleurs blés by Henry de Vilmorin, 1880 LINK
"Il serait difficile de dire à combien de variétés de blés s'est appliqué le nom de Chiddam (ou mieux Chidham) qui est celui d'un village du comté de Sussex, en Angleterre. Il en reste actuellement trois qui sont naturalisées dans la culture française: le Chiddam d'automne à épi blanc qui se fait en Normandie, le Chiddam blanc de mars dont nous parlerons plus tard, et celui qui nous occupe en ce moment. Tous ont le grain blanc. La variété d'automne à épi rouge est particulièrement répandue en Brie où elle donne d'excellents résultats. On lui reproche d'avoir la paille un peu courte mais on lui reconnaît par contre l'avantage de pouvoir produire, sans verser, des récoltes en grain très considérables. Le blé Chiddam d'automne à épi rouge aime les terres fortes, pourvu que l'élément calcaire n'y fasse pas défaut. On peut continuer à le semer jusqu'en décembre si le temps est favorable. La maturité en est demi-hâtive"

Other references

Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York Volume 6 by New York (State). Legislature, 1854 LINK
notes: trials in USA

Journal of the Bath and West of England Society and Southern Counties Association for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, Volumes 3-4 by W. Ridgway, 1871 LINK
notes: wheat judge - position in Bath and West show 1861 = 2nd behind Talavera de Bellevue

The Farmer's Journal by Rogerson and Tuxford (publishers), 1857 LINK
notes: interesting account of Chidham wheat in use in Scotland

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Volume 2 by Charles Darwin, 1868 LINK
notes: passing mention in relation to the origin of new domestic varieties in strange places

The Wheat Plant: Its Origin, Culture, Growth, Development, Composition, Varieties, Diseases, Etc., Etc: by John Hancock Klippart, 1860 LINK
notes: notes on Chiddam (Chidham) wheat by the great American expert Klippart

"Chiddam Wheat is an old and highly esteemed English variety of white wheat and is very generally cultivated in the finest wheat districts of that country It is a free grower, tall strawed, fine square ear, singularly free from awns, grain round fair but starchy and flour a little soft. It is remarkably well adapted for soft easy soils in good condition as it ripens early is not liable to lodge or to become mildewed Weight per bushel seldom under 61 lbs even in wet years and as high as 66 lbs and 67 lbs in dry summers. When cultivated in Scotland the seed requires to be changed every two years from the south of England otherwise deterioration rapidly ensues."

Wheat: Its History, Characteristics, Chemical Composition and Nutritive Properties by Samuel Copland, 1865 LINK

"No 1 Chidham Wheat This is a favourite grain in all parts of the kingdom especially for the best loamy soils for which it is peculiarly adapted It is rather a tender species and although successfully cultivated in most of the English counties does not succeed so well in the more northern climate of Scotland and requires there to have the seed frequently changed and brought from the south The soil most favourable for it should be dry and fertile The weight of the grain is sometimes 67 lbs per bushel and seldom less than 61 lbs."


Chiddam RCA (HUN) #RCAT000515

Chiddam RICP (CZE) #01C0200641

Chiddam CGN (NLD) #CGN04080

Chiddam 8 USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 174615

Chiddam Blanc de Mars USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 174616

Chiddam Blanc de Mars VIR (RUS) #k33304

Chiddam Blanc de Mars VIR (RUS) #k21460

Chiddam Blanc de Mars USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 191777

Chiddam Blanc de MARS IHAR (POL) #20178

Chiddam Blanc de Mars USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 58556

Chiddam Blanc de Mars CGN (NLD) #CGN05404

Chiddam Blanc de Mars ICARDA (SYR) #IG 43414

Chiddam Blanc de Mars USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 185403

Chiddam Blanc de Mars INRA (FRA) #2113

Chiddam Blanc de Mars USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 352300

Chiddam Blanc de Mars IPK (DEU) #TRI 3895

Chiddam Blanc de Mars Selection USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 548992

Chiddam Blance de MARS IHAR (POL) #23796

Chiddam D'Automne a Epi Blanc CGN (NLD) #CGN05403

Chiddam d'Automne a Epi Blanc INRA (FRA) #2114

Chiddam D'Automne a Epi Rouge CGN (NLD) #CGN05405

Chiddam d'Automne a Epi Rouge INRA (FRA) #2117

Chiddam D'Automne a epi Rouge RICP (CZE) #01C0105221

Chiddam D'Automne Aepi Blane VIR (RUS) #k33344

Chiddam de MARS ACW (CHE) #1218

Chidham 1 GRU-JIC (GBR) #W1002

Chidham 188 GRU-JIC (GBR) #W1103

Chidham 188 RICP (CZE) #01C0105197

Chidham 2 GRU-JIC (GBR) #W1004

Chidham Red Chaff GRU-JIC (GBR) #W0984

Chidham White Chaff GRU-JIC (GBR) #W0983