Crown Bob

Graham John graham at
Sat Dec 11 23:22:35 GMT 2010



Many thanks for the additional information. In particular, the reference to
Crown Bob in 1793 and as far back as 1702 . During the 18th and 19th
centuries growing and showing gooseberries was a popular pastime in the
north of England and hundreds of new varieties were developed, many with
interesting names. It is not known when or where the Crown Bob gooseberry
originated  but it was already well-established in 1812, when a specimen of
it won the best red category in the 1812 Mansfield Gooseberry Show. By 1850
it was called Old Crown Bob, and was the most popular and widely planted of
all gooseberries. Before that it was called Melling's Crown Bob, and since
gooseberries were normally named after their originator, it is likely that
this variety was bred by a Mr Melling. It seems, therefore, quite possible
that Melling was also a bell ringer. It would interesting to know whether
there is any evidence for a prominent ringer called Melling in the late
1700s, possibly from the Lancashire/Cheshire area.




From: David Adams [mailto:jdieabutterbache at] 
Sent: 11 December 2010 10:19
To: graham at
Subject: Re: Crown Bob


Hello Graham.


Your query was passed on to me by Peter Wilkinson, who picked it up on the
Bell Historians Group.


I was very interested to learn that there was a gooseberry called Crown Bob.
I had never heard of it before.


The word 'bob', of course, indicates it must have some connection with bell
ringing.  Why that name was chosen for a variety of gooseberry I cannot say.
It would be interesting to know where it originates from.


I cannot be precise about the name Crown Bob in bell ringing, but I
definitely know that the term was used in the mid-nineteenth century by the
ringers of Saddleworth, up in the Pennines.  It has been suggested that the
Crown element came from the union of the English and Scottish crowns after
the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James VI of Scotland at the
beginning of the 17th century.  The Crown Bob I know is something we have in
the Chester Guild Archives.  It was a copy of it and was written out in the
19th century.  That would have been a long time after 1812, but it is
certain the name Crown Bob - to describe some kind of splicing of methods -
had been around well before 'our', extent in nine methods had been composed.
Harold Chant, who produced an Alphabetical Index of Minor Methods in the
1960s, mentions that Crown Bob was in Campanologia in 1702; and he gives an
example of the name appearing on a peal board in Newport I.O.W. in 1793.
Thus the name of the gooseberry occurring before 1812 makes sense.


If you want to read a little more about the Crown Bob in the CDG Archives
you could perhaps try this link:-


You would need to go to General in the menu on the left.  Then find Guild
Archive and click on Occasional Reports.


I hope that helps.


Incidentally, I looked at Crown Court Bob Minor.  It is not in Chant's list,
nor is it in my 1984 Collection of Minor Methods.  I suspect it was first
rung in spliced; although that's just a guess.  The work below treble looks
pretty dreadful; so perhaps it was something rung just to ring something
new.  But why the name?  I can't find it in Peals Rung From 1985; but if it
was in a spliced extent it wouldn't appear there.  It was probably first
rung in a Quarter.  The name suggests it was an old method - but the work
below treble looks as if was put together more recently.  Sorry I can't help
there.  You've got me puzzled!  I wonder if anybody else has picked up your




David Adams

(CDG Archivist)

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