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

Laverton & Lullington, Somerset Beggars Bush 1807

The Lullington/Laverton fields form one site, straddling the parish boundary, close to a crossroads. They are a few hundred yards from the Hemington site, and about 2 miles away from the Frome, Oldford/Berkley sites as the crow flies. Until the 1620’s there was a direct route through Orchardleigh parish, but that was blocked by the Champneys family, who emparked most of the parish, and the new road skirts the park and doubled that distance. Along the edge of the site the road is called Portway, a common name for a road between markets.

Like the Frome/Berkley site it is on land at the edge of the old common field, high and exposed, and again the name is not now used.

At Lullington/Laverton the field names near Beggars Bush on the Tithe Survey and the survey by William Simpson for the Duchy of Cornwall in 1794 are similar, if less extreme to those in Hemington. They include Fox Holes, Folly, Kid’s Feast and World’s End, Hunger Hill from Lullington village (although this may not be derogatory, see Wheatley) and Barren Close Hill north to Hemington. In addition there is nearby a Coldharbour, another derogatory name from the Early Modern Period.

In 1794 the Surveyor William Simpson recorded that the “arable land [in the parish] . . is poor & stiff, requiring great strength to plow it, yielding but poor crops”, with pernicious weeds so that sheep could not be grazed upon it for manure. In 1809 Thomas Davies commenting on developments since Simpson’s survey reported the increased value of “stone brush land since the cultivation of turnips”. The Beggars Bush site would have been “stone brush land”. On a Map dated 1818 the Lullington Beggars Bush is annotated with the word “teazles”. Earlier evidence from local enquiries was that teazles were planted on newly-broken pasture or land where wheat had been grown, and was potentially as profitable as wheat

There is modern evidence of the poor quality of this land. A local farmer recalled planting mangles there to improve the soil when he was a child before the Second World War. The present owner says that it is not good land, still stony.

Although there are records surviving of fields in the area back to 1650, most arising from voluntary enclosure of the common fields, the earliest reference to the name I have found is from 1807, although this implied possible use as far back as 1722. The Beggars Bushes in Hemington and Laverton were owned and occupied by the Dovell family at the time of the Tithe Awards, who appeared to have occupied these and several adjoining fields, since at least the 1770’s.

OS Grid



Tithe Award, Laverton nos. 39,40 & 41, Lullington no.9.


R. Coates, ‘Coldharbour – for the last time?’ Nomina vol 8, 1984, p.73
J.H. Bettey, ‘The Cultivation of Teazles in North Somerset’ SDNQ 52, p.235-6


P Quinn, Frome Musuem, Somerset RO

Posted: March 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

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