The Colewort, Colifloure, and Cabidge in their season,
The Rouncefall, great Beanes, and early ripening Peason;
‘Rouncival’ (or, for Drayton, ‘Rouncefall’) is a variety of pea that derives its name from the fact it was apparently first grown in England in the garden of the chapel of St. Mary of Rounceval, at Charing Cross, London. The chapel was an offshoot of the Roncesvalles abbey in Navarre and it is believed the rouncival pea was brought to England by the Augustinian monks who established it. It is first described in Thomas Tusser’s Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie (1570), an immensely popular poem detailing information about housekeeping and farming. Here, Tusser sets out advice for what to do in January, suggesting that ‘better time there is not’ for Rouncival peas:
Dig Gardain, stroy malow now may ye at ease,
and set (as as a deintie) thy runcyfall pease.
Whilst Tusser highlights the Rouncival as a particular seasonal delicacy, Drayton mentions it in one of his characteristic lists that includes a wide range of British vegetables.