The Bon Creeton’s presently being grafted in Newburgh are from a very old Bon Creeton, grafted 80 years before this article below was written. I is situated in the middle of the south orchard off the High Street in Newburgh.2012
“The names of many of these kinds of pears bear witness to their foreign origin. In a treatise on Fruit Trees, printed in Paris, a.d. 1548, the following notice of the Bon-Chreton (Good Christian) pear occurs : — ‘ They are,’ the author says, ‘ of surpassing sweetness, and so tender and juicy that they dissolve in the mouth ; they sometimes grow to the weight of a pound, and bear every year;’ a description which is still applicable. The author says, that ‘ the Bon-Chreton was first brought from Campania, near Naples, in the time of Charles VIII. (a.d. 1494). The Bergamot pears,’ he says, ‘are much to be commended ; they began to be cultivated in our recollection (i.e. before 1548), and are juicy and excellent in flavour.’ For the use of this rare volume, which is of beautiful type, the writer is indebted to Mr Milne of Hill Park. It is interesting to learn the origin of trees, which are flourishing in our orchards, and which, after an interval of nearly four hundred years from their first production from the seed, are still propagated by grafting. There are several very old Bon-Chreton and Bergamot trees in the orchards of Newburgh, still bearing large crops. From the frequent mention made of vineyards in old records, there is reason to believe that the monks were also successful in growing grapes. In Lord Dundas’ Vassalage of Abernethy (A.D. 1846) there is a feu in the neighbourhood of that ancient ecclesiastical seat designated ‘The Vineyard.’
“Lindores Abbey and its burgh of Newburgh : their history and annals”
ALEXANDER LAING,. F.S.A.Scot. 1876
WILLIAMS BON CHRÉTIEN Bon Chrétien pears were known by the Romans, and in the 16th century were considered the best pear of all. Williams Bon Chrétien was raised by Dr John Stair, a schoolmaster at Aldermaston, near Reading in 1770 and introduced by a nurseryman called Williams. In 1797 it was taken to America and planted on the estate of Thomas Brewer. In 1817 Brewer’s estate was taken over by Enoch Bartlett, who named the tree after himself, having forgotten the true name. In America it is still known as the Bartlett pear. It is sweet, juicy and very soft when ripe, with a musky flavour. It does not store. It will grow passably well on a north wall and crops regularly. It is said not to be pollinated by Louise Bonne and will not pollinate Louise Bonne or Fondante D’Automne. Ripe in September. Pollination Group C.
This pear has given rise to much discussion, some pomologists holding that it is a distinct variety, and others that it is synonymous with Winter Bon Chretien. The advocates of the latter opinion are the most numerous. No person has had a better opportunity of solving the question than my much esteemed friend, Abbe D. Dupuy, Professor of Natural History at Auch; and in his excellent work L’Abeille Pomohgique, 1862, p. 57, he there enters very fully into the question. He says : -“The fruit which at Auch is called Bonchrêtien d’Auch, is nothing else than the common Winter Bonchrêtien, without seeds in some gardens, and some favoured localities in the south-west; but as soon as the tree is removed to a place less suited to it the seeds reappear and it becomes the common Winter Bonchrêtien, and the same thing frequently occurs even at Auch.”
In the Horticultural Society’s Catalogue the same conclusion is arrived at, and no doubt the authority of Abbé Dupuy is conclusive on the point regardless of any other evidence. But I embrace this opportunity of introducing another variety under the name of Bon-Chretien d’Auch, which seems to have escaped the notice of all modern pomologists, the Bon Chrêtien d’Auch of Calvel. He says: – “This pear, like all the Bon Chretiens, has the form of a calibasse, or of a pilgrim’s gourd, and is sometimes more swollen on one side than the other. Green at first, it insensibly becomes yellow by degrees as it approaches maturity. The part exposed to the sun is covered with bright vermilion, which increases its beauty. By smelling it, its perfume announces the period when it is good to be eaten. Its flesh is breaking, but of rich, sweet, and sugary juice.
“This is perhaps the largest, most beautiful, and most perfect of pears in a soil which suits it. It is only at Auch that one can form a just idea of it, and even all the environs of Auch are not equally suited to its culture. This fruit loses much of its size and quality when grafted elsewhere. Well cultivated and in good soil it is very large. I have seen it four inches diameter and more.”
“The shoots are long, crooked, and pendent, of a fawn colour, dotted with grey and brownish next the sun. The buds are large, obtuse, and borne on large and prominent supports. Flowers, large; the number of the petals vary, they are well open, rather long, lightly edged with very pale red; the anthers are of a beautiful vermilion. The leaves are large, smooth, slightly pointed, of a beautiful brilliant green, slightly and regularly dentate. They become yellow almost immediately after the fruit is ripe. This pear ripens in the southern departments of France in the end of July, and nearly three weeks or a month later elsewhere, according to the climate.” What can this be ? It reads very much like a description of Williams’s Bon Chretien. The Winter Bon Chretien ripens in January. Fruit Trees Of GB, R Hogg 1885