Beggars Bush: A Perambulation through the Disciplines of History, Geography, Archaeology, Literature, Philology, Natural History, Botany, Biography & Beggary

Andover Hampshire Beggars Bush 1621

John Taylor, the Water Poet, in the dedication to his The Praise, Antiquity and Commodity of Beggary, Beggars & begging, etc.  (1621) refers to “Beggars Bush, neere Andever, or to his Hawthorne brother within a mile of Huntingdon”. The second is clearly the Beggars Bush at Godmanchester, which is the most well known, probably through Saxton’s map.  The first “neere Andever” is a mystery.

It must refer to Andover, Hampshire. However, I can trace no Beggars Bush site in or near Andover, nor can Hampshire Record Office. It may have been a name for a minor location only used briefly. There is at Andover a Coldharbour a similar derogatory place name often found near Beggars Bushes. East of that and on the south side of London Road is a Folly Copse and an area now named Round Bush Copse.

Taylor refers to the Huntingdon example as a real hawthorn bush, which implies that the Andover one was not a hawthorn, or possibly not a bush at all. The possibilities are ;

Beggars Clump at Ashe, the only Beggars ~ place name in the county is 10 miles away, but unlikely.

Jack’s Bush a hamlet on the road (now the A343) between Andover and Salisbury which Diana Coldicott suggests is the most likely. There are Bush Farm and Jack’s Bush Farm on either sides of the road, but they are not shown on Isaac Taylor’s Map of Hampshire (1759).

The Bush Inn, Green Lane, Monxton, about 3 miles south-west of Andover, although Diana Coldicott discounts this. It is dated c.1590, and is now a part of a private house. It is on Portway, the old Roman road from Andover to Salisbury. This was the main route in the early modern period, and may also have been popular with those attending Weyhill Fair just north, at the time one of the greatest fairs in the country for sheep.  The location is just off the Portway but it is possible that it was known to Taylor, who was a connoiseur of wayside hostelries, although it is not listed in Taylor’s Carriers Cosmographie (1627). A survey in 1686 records The Bush and the Swan in Monxton, with a total of 10 beds and stabling for 24 horses. There is an earlier record of two innkeepers from Monxton appearing at the Quarter Sessions in 1613. The Bush is a common, if not the original pub sign. Taylor mentions staying at The Bush by the bridge in Staines, which is recorded in 1601. There were at least two Beggars Bush inns in London. The Bush Inn at Oscott changed its name to the Beggars Bush.

Bush Farm, Amport, about a mile north west of Monxton, is the least likely. This location is relatively isolated from the main long distance routes.




Hampshire Record Office

Diana Coldicott

Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

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