Glenn Johnson with his wooden bowl and BQ’s Alan Thorp

History of a wooden bowl

by bqmedia on February 1, 2022

By Glenn Johnson

Glenn Johnson from Elliot Heads Bowls Club recently shared some historical information about an inherited wooden bowl with the Queensland Bowler magazine.

“I believe this object is a very early version of a wooden bowl possibly used in ‘crown green bowls’. This bowl was passed on to me from my late English stepfather. It was dug up in Kent, Southern England about 50 years ago during renovations to an old horse stable. Where did it originate? Maybe Sir Francis Drake used this bowl while the Spanish Armada was sailing up the English Channel in 1588 or maybe it was used earlier than that date.

The bowl is wooden with a pronounced crown to one side. It is about 4 ¾ inches (120mm) at the widest point and about 2 ¾ inches (70mm) deep. On one face, the number ‘1’ is stamped in the outer circle with the initials AJ and the word ‘MAKER’ in the inner circle. On the high crown face there are some circles with what looks like markings as a result of being fixed to some sort of lathe. There is evidence that a drill bit was used on that face as well. When delivered on a flat green, this ‘bowl’ crosses over about 5 rinks and ends up travelling in circles. Maybe we will never know of its origin so I am sticking with the Sir Francis Drake version.”