The Oxford English Dictionary gives under Beggars:
8. Special combinations. . . “beggar’s-bush, a bush under which a beggar finds shelter (name of ‘a tree near Huntingdon, formerly a noted rendezvous for beggars’ – Brewer), fig. beggary, ruin;”.
This is taken from E. Cobham Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1868 and all editions until recently when the entry was dropped) which gave;
“Beggars Bush. To go by beggar’s bush, or Go home by beggar’s bush – i.e. to go to ruin. Beggar’s Bush is the name of a tree which once stood on the left hand of the London road from Huntingdon to Caxton; so called because it was a noted rendezvous for beggars. These punning phrases and proverbs are very common.”
This is partly true and partly false – perhaps more correctly this was false when it was first published, but through the influence of these two reference works has become common usage. It has been applied as a post facto explanation for the existence of the place name — see for example Donnybrook, Dublin and the histories of Dublin). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 18th, 2011 | Filed under: Speculations, Writers | Tags: anthologies, Beddington, Godmanchester, Guy Miege, Henry Porter, Huntingdon, Isabel Plumpton, John Cleveland, Literary, naming story, Robert Greene, Thomas Fuller, Twelve Ingenious Characters | No Comments »
There seem to have been at least two Beggars Bush pubs in London; one in St Giles north of the Thames and one in Southwark south of the river. Beyond that little can be reliably said about the Southwark example. It was probably in Gravel Lane near Paris Garden. It was there in the reign of William III (1688-1702). It may have been in existence earlier during the period that Southwark was the centre of theatrical activity in London, and the home of writers such as John Fletcher. It is likely to be the inn referred to in the ballad London’s Ordinarie c.1685.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: John Fletcher, London, Londons Ordinary, Mockbeggars, pubs, Southwark, St Giles | No Comments »
W.C. Hazlitt, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases (London, 1869, p.82) gives:
Beggar’s bush, Briton’s row:
Fox Fold, Garton Ho.
G. L. Apperson, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases: A Historical Dictionary (London, 1929, p.89) gives a variant Fox Row.
This seems to record a colloquial derogatory reference to a Briton’s Row in Gorton, Manchester, which would fit the derogatory use. However, it appears to be an error. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 8th, 2012 | Filed under: Places | Tags: anthologies, errors, Manchester | No Comments »
“Beggar’s Bush is no place for a woman, much less a lady.”
“Old Badmin is a decently dressed rogue, and does the devil’s work in our village so cleverly, it takes two honest men to lay hold of him in the act and deed of villainy. Card sharper, poacher, retailer of rum and gin without a licence, and many a sober man’s sober son has he ruined and sent across seas, having picked his bones and used him for a cat’s paw. All last winter his small farm, Beggar’s Bush, was a rendezvous for the scum of the parish, to-night is this, year’s inauguration ; a first and last carousel.”
“Amongst those turf bogs no man of your father’s weight could find a footing. They skirt Beggar’s Bush ; there, yonder, is the farm, more than one path leads from it to St. Cuthbert’s. None but fools or madmen would try the moors to-night, even with an experienced guide. A slip into these treacherous dykes, and the strongest traveller fares the worst; his frantic, efforts do but engulf him the more surely.”
“Beggar’s Bush deserted, got a tenant after some time, a quiet, sober man, seemingly intent upon digging and drying, and re-claiming the land by a system of drainage. The farm was his own, he said, and had been let to a very bad tenant by his agents, determining him to see after the property himself.”
I hesitate to include this tedious execrable novel in the list of literary references – I do so for completeness, not as an encouragement to read it.
The usage of Beggars Bush is characteristic of the imagination expended by the author. As well as a bad man called Badmin, the book includes Constable Duffer and a villain called Marmaduke Chatterson. He, inexplicably, is also the husband of the heroine’s nursemaid Prudence, before his supposed death on the Lusitania, reappearance, further disappearance mysteriously connected with the heroine’s father drowning in a bog and deathbed repentance in a workhouse. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: Literary | No Comments »
A Begger haunts, where he good Dole receives
The Nigard stoppes, for he, his prayers, deceaves,
Your Liberall Charrity from open Palmes
Makes us this confident to Aske your Almes
The Beggers have their Motives: Soe have wee
They crye their loss of Limbes, Age, Insanitiee
Theise our Infant days w’yee, yet: our Playes
(Though wee act none but such as got the Bayes)
Are Old: our habites too are meane: the same
Our action maimed, decrepit, feeble, Lame,
All movers of compassion: Let that fall
(as usuill) & your Charity mends all
For as A generall Rule wee ever make it
Not what? Or how we Act? But how you take it.
This prologue to Fletcher & Massinger’s play The Beggars Bush (1622) survives in one manuscript copy in the notebook of John Clavell, with notes, copy letters, epigrams and remedies. They were probably written by Clavell in 1637 when he was in Ireland. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 24th, 2012 | Filed under: Speculations, The Play, Writers | Tags: Ben Jonson, Dublin, Literary, Philip Massinger, The Play | No Comments »
In her memoir and history A Narrative of a Residence in Ireland 1814 to 1815 (Henry Colburn, London, 1817, p.68) the writer Anne Plumptre recorded the following incident in Dublin, which seems to have taken place in 1734.
In response to an extravagant production of Henry VIII at the new Aungier Street theatre the rival Rainsford Street theatre put on a play she describes as The Royal Merchant or Beggars Bush “in which a mock pageant of the coronation of King Clause threw such complete ridicule on the serious one in Henry the Eighth that the latter ceased to attract. Thus the keen edge of the satire being blunted, King Clause also speedily sank into oblivion.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 21st, 2012 | Filed under: The Play | Tags: Clause, Dublin, The Play | No Comments »
The first record of the name I have traced is in the 1885 OS Survey which shows it at the junction of what are now the B4238 Water Street and A48 roads, east of the M4 to the south of Margam Country Park. It is shown directly above the word Smithy, by some buildings the western side of the B4238 road. It is not shown on the 1877 1:2,500 map. The name is still in use and shown on modern maps. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Filed under: Places | Tags: Glamorgan, Margam | No Comments »
The location is a plantation of trees along the north side of the Clitheroe Road just west of Bashall Bridge, east of Cow Ark. It forms part of the Browsholme Hall Estate. Google maps shows a fairly sparse screen of trees, none of great maturity. The name plantation suggests that this was not originally woodland. The area is shown wooded on the OS Survey 1:63360 First Series (1847) and the Land Utilisation Survey of Britain 1:63360 (1925 to 1948). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 18th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: Lancashire | No Comments »
A local website says “Driving west to Cowbridge, you pass through Beggars Pound before leaving the village. Its name on the 1885 village map is Beggars Bound. The name as also been recorded in the past as Beggars Pond, Beggars Bond, Beggars Well, Beggars Bush and Beggars Field. Within Beggars Pound are St John’s Well, and nearby Howell’s well. These Wells are believed to be of mediaeval origin, possibly earlier. The Wells are where travellers watered their horses and villagers got their daily drinking and washing water.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 9th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: Glamorgan, The Oath | No Comments »