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

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


Albany Cape Province South Africa Beggars Bush 1832

Presently the name of an unoccupied farm and State Forest Nature Reserve in the Albany Division of Cape Province, South Africa. The situation is very similar to the earlier “frontier” sites at Philipstown, County Offally and Charles River, Virginia.

Albany is the area south and east of the Great Fish River. The first Europeans to settle the area were trekboers in the 1770s. It was known as the Zuurveld (sour grassland) from the characteristic of the grass to lose nutritional value after about 4 months grazing.
The area became the scene of conflict in the 1780s between Dutch East India Company and the Xhosa, and then between the British and Xhosa & Khoikoi, in the British Army’s first introduction to “bush warfare”. Between 1779 and 1878 there were Nine Frontier Wars. From 1811 the British adopted a policy of driving the Xhosa across the Fish River, and a series of frontier forts was erected. The name Albany was imposed in 1813, probably after the birthplace in New York of Jacob Cuyler, the landrost (governor).  The motto on the coat of arms of the Division is “Take Root or Die” taken from a phrase in an autobiography of an early settler describing his necessary attitude on arrival. Read the rest of this entry »

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