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

Evenjobb, Presteigne, Powys Beggars Bush 1675

This site is recorded in many sources, and is now connected to a house near a crossroads, and there is another Beggars Bush nearby. There is also a naming story involving Charles I, which would provide an earlier date for the name. However, the story is doubtful, and doesn’t actually use the phrase Beggars Bush, though the context is consistent with the literary usage. It is better evidence of the distribution of the literary phrase than of the place name.

Location

The site is now a hamlet and Beggars Bush Road high on the ridge between the river Lugg and the Radnor Valley about 6 miles north west of Knighton near the village of Evancoyd/Evenjobb.

The information about this site is not certain. That is characteristic of sites where the place name has migrated from any original location and has been applied to other locations, and these can become confused with each other.

Richard Green says the site is open ground at the top of a hill, exposed and windy, against Castle Rings, an Iron Age hillfort, and the house is C16 with C14 origins. It is on the boundary of Evancoyd  & Cascob parishes, 90 yards from the nearest crossroads.

There is a largely ploughed down round barrow near this location, known as Beggar’s Bush Barrow (OS Grid ref. – SO 261 641).

British Listed Buildings include a  Barn attached to Bush Cottage, Beggars Bush and has links to maps and aerial views.

There may be a Beggars Bush Lane, Granner Wood about 1¼  miles away, though this is doubted.

History

The name is recorded on Ogilby’s 1675 ribbon map showing the route from Presteigne to Carmarthen, in which it is the first location after Presteign.

It is also recorded as Beggers-bush Ogilby (1698); (Brimbilla and) Beggars Bush (1769) NLW Harpton Court Papers 5/146-8; Beggarsbush (1815) OS 2in.; Beggar’s bush (1833) OS 1 in; Paterson’s Roads (1828); Kitchin’s Map of 1764, and Kentchurch Court Archive (Herefordshire Record Office Boultibrooke (Harford Jones) Deeds, 23 Sept. 1769, AL40/7939 – AL40/11415).

The name also occurs as a toll gate on the turnpike erected in 1768, a Deed of 1798 and also as ‘Beggars Bush Inn’ in the parish of Old Radnor in an announcement in the Hereford Times dated 7th August 1847, although these may be other locations.

Naming Story

There are local traditions that Charles I was granted North Wood  and hunted there as Prince of Wales and that in August 1645 after the Battle of Naseby he came through the area and stayed at the then Bush Farm, which he called Beggars’ Bush from the poverty of the fare. This story is told in various forms, but the origin of all of them appears to be The Diary of Sir Henry Slingsby (p.167-8):

“In our Quarters we had little accommodation:: but of the places we came to, the best at old Radnor, where the King lay  in a poor low Chamber, & my Lord Linsey & others by the kitchen fire on hay: no better were we accommodated for victuals; which makes me remember this passage; when the King was at supper eating a pullet and a piece of cheese the room outside was full, but the men’s stomachs empty for want of meat; the good wife troubled with continual calling upon her for victuals, and having it seems but the one cheese, comes into the room where the King was and very soberly asks if the King had done with the cheese, for the Gentlemen without desired it. But the best of it was, we never tarried long in one place, & therefore might the more willingly endure one nights hardship, in hopes the next night might be better” [spelling modernised].

Slingsby does identify where the King stayed, nor does he mention Beggars Bush at all. The situation he describes is certainly consistent with the literary usage. His diary was not published in full until 1818. I think it is likely that the situation described in the diary has been retrospectively connected with the place name, which shows that the literary usage was being recognised after 1818. However, it is of value as evidence for a date before 1675 or the source of the name.

Toynbee, M.R., A Royal Journey through Breconshire and Radnorshire in 1645, Transactions of the Radnorshire Society, vol.xx, 1950, p.3-12 quotes from Slingsby. He also includes information from W. H. Howse, who wrote in the 1940’s and is generally regarded as a reliable local historian, who attributed the name to the play by “Beaumont & Fletcher”. This naming story is also mentioned in Gregory, D 1994 Radnorshire: A Historical Guide. (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Iard yr Orsaf, p.100).

Samuel Lewis’s A Topographical Dictionary (1848) also quotes Slingsby. According to Lewis it was ‘well known’ that the farmhouse in which he lodged is The Stones west of the church (i.e., it was not the building now known as Beggars Bush).  Under Presteigne, Lewis says that during the parliamentary war, when Charles was retreating from Cromwell, he stayed at the house of Nicholas Taylor, esq. who lived at the Lower Heath near King’s Turning which Lewis says is probably called “from the circumstance of the king having turned thence over the hill to Newtown, in Montgomeryshire  . . . “

OS Grid

SO262642

Sources

Saunders, P., Beggar’s Bush to King’s Bush, Records of Hunts, 1993, p.13

Parsons, D. (ed) The Diary of Sir Henry Slingsby (1818)

Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary (1848)

Thanks

Richard Green, Keith Parker, Richard Morgan, and Powys RO

Posted: April 4th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “Evenjobb, Presteigne, Powys Beggars Bush 1675”

  1. 1: Ivan Monckton said at 8:19 pm on May 29th, 2015:

    Some fanciful stuff there!
    1. The local village is spelt Evenjobb, not Evanjobb
    2. Richard Green ‘s quoted description of the location, which I can not find the source for, is incorrect. It is not on the top of a hill, exposed, windy or against Castle Ring.
    3. The idea that the house has C14th origins, yet is not listed, is quite ludicrous.
    4. Where on earth have you got the idea of a Beggars Bush Lane in Granner Wood from? I live 60yards from Granner, it is a long narrow ex FC wood with a single Forestry Commission track running its’ length, made within living memory…
    5. Beggars Buh Inn was indeed at this site, as confirmed by Census Returns?
    6. BB is on the Evancoyd boundary, but the parish was a Victorian invention. More importantly, it is on the ancient boundary of Newcastle township, and therefore the manor.

  2. 2: beggarsbush said at 6:31 pm on June 3rd, 2015:

    Thanks for your Comments. I’ll have to go back to my notes to answer some of them which may take a few days. I’m happy to be corrected – one of the purposes of putting all this on a website was so people with local or specialist knowledge could contribute.

  3. 3: beggarsbush said at 7:38 pm on June 7th, 2015:

    1. Corrected
    2. I’ve posted what I think I’m told. If I had time to visit every site and every record office I would be able to check everything. Until then I am grateful for people with local knowledge.
    3. There may be confusion with the listed barn.
    4. See 2. I have amended that too.
    5. Thanks.
    6. The relevance of this is Phil Quinn’s hypothesis which you will find at http://www.beggarsbush.org.uk/phil-quinn-beggars-bush-a-study-of-liminality-and-social-exclusion/

  4. 4: Penybont and District Local History Group Notes 3rd April 2017 at the Thomas Shop Main Topic: History of New Radnor Marion Evans – penybontlhgnotes said at 10:18 am on May 27th, 2017:

    […] 1645, when Prince Charles visited Bush Farm after the Battle. The poverty of food he found at the farm led him to rename it Beggar’s Bush. The story has its origins as related in: http://www.beggarsbush.org.uk/evanjobb-presteigne-powys-beggars-bush-1675/ […]


Leave a Reply