This section is from the book "The Fruit Manual: Containing The Descriptions And Synonyms Of The Fruits And Fruit Trees Of Great Britain", by Robert Hogg. Also available from Amazon: The Fruit Manual.
Fruit, small, two inches long, and an inch and three-quarters wide; obovate. Skin, yellowish green, sometimes tinged and strewed with dull dingy red on the side next the sun, almost entirely covered with thin delicate grey russet, and thickly strewed with russety dots. Eye, large and open, full of stamens, with a dry membranous calyx, which is plaited, but not divided, and covered with a white crust. Stalk, an inch and a quarter long, fleshy at the base, and obliquely inserted, with scarcely any depression. Flesh, yellowish, buttery, juicy, perfumed, and excellent.
A Scotch dessert pear; ripe in August and September. The tree is a free grower, and an immense bearer, so much so that the branches have to be propped up during the fruit season.
This is a very excellent variety of summer pear, adapted to the climate of Scotland. It is doubtful whether it could be grown so well in the south of England, and retain the same flavour which it does in the north; and even if it did it could not rival some of the varieties which are better adapted for the southern counties. Still it is worthy of the notice of orchardists in the north of England and south of Scotland, and I am much surprised that it has not a wider cultivation than I have hitherto observed; the only districts where I have seen it grown to any extent being the Carses of Gowrie and Stirling. I have noticed it also in great perfection in Morayshire, and I have no doubt, if it were better known, it would soon displace such inferior varieties as Crawford, Grey Goodwife, and many others of a similar class.
Fruit, large and handsome, even and regular in its outline, pyriform or abrupt pyramidal in its shape, three inches and a half long, and three inches broad. Skin, of a fine bright golden yellow colour on the shaded side, and on the side next the sun it is of a bright crimson; the surface is strewed with large russet dots, which give it a rough feel when handled, and with a patch of russet round the stalk. Eye, open, with rather long spreading segments, and set in a shallow depression. Stalk, an inch and a half long, inserted without depression on the end of the fruit. Flesh, coarse-grained and rather gritty, firm and crisp, sweet, and slightly perfumed.
An excellent cooking pear, which comes into use in October, and continues all the winter.
In reference to the origin of the name, M. Decaisne says : "In Champagne a prattling young girl is called Béquène or Bequens. In Lorraine the green woodpecker is called beccaine, which makes a great noise with its beak. The old Pear d'Angleterre, very similar to this in the length of its stalk, in some provinces bears the name of Bec-d'oie." From which I assume that the name of Béquesne is in allusion to the great length of the stalk.