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

Frome West Woodlands Somerset Beggars Bush 1605

A Perambulation of West Woodlands, 1605-1606 has Beggars Bush as a location on the boundary of West Woodlands. (SRO D.615, copy Frome Museum). The perambulation records going up the Broadway towards Cottles Oak, turning at White Cross “along the Way that leadeth Southwards towards Marston and so along the said Way unto Beggars Bush and then along the Way South cross the way that goeth over to Tytherington”.

Many of these locations are identifiable today; White Cross must be the junction of Broadway with Portland Road, so Beggars Bush must be somewhere along Portland Road, Dommetts Lane, Green Lane and Marston Lane, which form a continuous route across the headland of the West Field. The location was probably at Dommetts Lane.

Later leases granted by John Champneys may refer to the same location. The lease dated 29 Dec 1675 refers to an acre of arable land in the West Field “near Beggars Bushs . . .the east end shooting upon toward” Marston Lane. Although it appears to relate to the same land the lease dated 1 Aug 1707 records “near Baggars Bush . . .the east end shooting down toward” Marston Lane (Orchardleigh Champneys Family Estate papers, SRO, abstracts at Frome Museum, D.418, D.B.674). There are two further records that may relate to the same site. Another Champney’s Lease dated 2 April 1679 refers to “4 acres of arable land in the South field of F[rome] S[elwood] to a bush there called Beggars Bush”. This also refers to “the publiqye way leading for F.S. from Marston Biggott at the east end” and on the south the way from the West end of Frome to Critchill, which must be what is now Nunney Road. (C/D436, D.B.685, Bundles 10/11).

If this is the same site with the fields on either side if it the bush must have been in what is now Dommetts Lane. Fields at the Frome Oldford/Berkley Beggars Bush site were held and owned by a Dommett.

It may be the same location in Town Tything recorded in the Land Tax assessment of 1766 as “ground late Beggars Bush”.  It is not possible to fix a location for this entry. The name is not shown in the Tithe Apportionment of 1839 or the comprehensive Cruse Survey of 1814.

The 1679 Lease is unusual in referring to an actual bush. It is probably unwise to draw any conclusion from the “called” which is a formal term and probably does not imply anything about the origin of the name.


Phil Quinn, Frome Museum


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

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