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

Henry Chettle – probably not “H.C.”

The Dialogue of Silvynne and Peregrynne contains the earliest literary reference to an identified contemporaneous location, at Philipstown, (now Daingean), County Offally, Ireland;

“Then they passed aloofe for feare of the greate ordynaunce of the forte, which dismayed them mightely, but yet they burned the moste parte of the subberbs withowt the north gate called beggars bush to the hinderance, and undoinge of many an honest subiect.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 25th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Ballybrittas, County Laois, Ireland Beggars Bush 1920s

This site is recorded, so far as I can ascertain, only in a modern song referring to a local landmark. Although this site is close to the very early Beggars Bush at Philipstown, County Offally, it does not appear to have any connection with it. It may demonstrate the survival of the phrase is the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 24th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »


St Thomas in the Vale (St Catherine), Jamaica Beggars Bush c.1830

The Jamaica Almanac 1840 records Edward Wright as owning 95 acres at Beggars Bush in the parish. There a number of ironic names recorded in the Almanac. The name does not appear in Higman B.W. & Hudson, B.J. Jamaican Place Names.

Because an earlier date cannot be proved I cannot say that this was another “frontier” site, such as County Offaly, Ireland, Charles River, Virginia or Albany, Cape Province. However, it has all the characteristics of such sites, being on the edge of the expansion of what would become the British Empire, marginal, dangerous and subject to attempts to plant settlers on unproductive land. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Sticky: Dublin, Donnybrook Beggars boush 1573

Current location and earliest record

The name is now used for the area around the redundant Beggars Bush barracks, in use from 1827 for training and as the final station before embarkation for troops going to the Crimea, Flanders and the Empire. In 1929 the barracks area was taken over for housing and the headquarters of the Geological Survey of Ireland, the National Print Museum and Labour Court. There is also modern pub called Ryan’s Beggars Bush.

The earliest record of the name in Dublin is 1573 “at the wood called Beggars boush by Bagotrath” in Fiant 2341 in the Calendar of Fiants of reign of Henry VIII 1510-47 through to Queen Elizabeth 1558-1603. The Irish form Tor an Bhacaigh would have followed the English/Anglicised form Beggars Bush.
Read the rest of this entry »

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


James River, Virginia, USA Beggars Bush 1620

This is one of three frontier sites where English settlers arrived in a non English speaking country. Before Virginia English settlers arrived in Philipstown, County Offally, Ireland, and after it, Albany, Cape Province, South Africa. They have many features in common; they were on the very edge of the British Empire, they were remote. the settlers were poorly prepared, may not have been told the whole truth before they emigrated and the natives were not friendly.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »


Philipstown, County Offaly, Ireland Beggars Bush 1597

This is a “frontier” site in an English plantation or colonial setting. It is not the earliest site in Ireland, which is Dublin, Donnybrook. The setting and background is very similar to the later frontier Beggars Bush sites at Charles River, Virginia and Albany, Cape Province. It must be a name given by the English where settlers faced danger from the original inhabitants and may have felt that the situation they found themselves in what far from what they had been lead to expect. As such the use of the name is entirely consistent with the contemporary literary usage, of being brought to ruin, perhaps by one’s own folly.
Read the rest of this entry »

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