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

Sticky: Records of Huntingdonshire

My thanks are due to Philip Saunders for many things in my researches into Beggars Bush.

His article Beggar’s Bush to King’s Bush, Records of Huntingdonshire, Vol.3 No.2, (1993) p.13-15, first alerted me to the role of Saxton’s Five Counties Map. He then helped as Principal Archivist at Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies Service. I am now grateful to him for resurrecting Records of Huntingdonshire, Journal of the Huntingdonshire Local History Society, and for publishing my article Beggar’s Bush Revisited in Vol.4 No.3 p.32-37. This updates his original article with some of the material from this website on maps, anthologies and John Taylor.

Philip Saunders has also found another map of Beggars Bush for the cover – William Kip’s 1607 version of Saxton’s map, which transforms Saxton’s single tree to a whole forest around Beggesbush. This is likely to be artistic licence rather than any resurvey.

Neil Howlett, Beggar’s Bush Revisited in Vol.4 No.3 (2014) p.32-37

Copies are available from Philip Saunders, 21 Crowlands, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8TE


Posted: February 23rd, 2014 | Filed under: Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Dublin, Donnybrook – False Trails Beggars

The usual explanation of the place name Beggars Bush is that it was a haunt of highwaymen or beggars. However, the record of Beggars boush in 1573 undermines these later explanations at Dublin, Donnybrook. Many historical works on Dublin give this. I believe they are examples of the tendency to adopt restrospective romantic explanations. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Filed under: Places, Speculations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Minster in Thanet, Kent Begars Bushe 1566

A deed dated 1566 records, 1a. At Fyldes Court Wood, ½a. At Dunstreet Way, 1 rood “called Begars Busshe lying to the King’s highway towards the South, to the lands of Robert Alcok towards the East and West and to the lands of Robert Spracklyng twoards the North”.  The seller is Henry Pettit of Birchington, probably the Henry Pettit, son of John, born before 1523 at Birchington who died in 1568, though possibly the Henry Pettit, son of Valentine, born about 1520 at Dent-de-Lion, Margate. The purchaser is “Galfride Sandwell” of “Mynster”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Christopher Saxton’s Five Counties Map 1576

Saxton’s county maps were the first national cartographic survey of England. They, and later maps based on them, were very important for the preservation and distribution of the place name & literary phrase Beggars Bush. They may have contributed to the mistaken connection of beggars with the site at Godmanchester near Huntingdon.

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Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: Writers | 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 »

Warminster, Wiltshire Beggars Bush 1581

EPNS Wiltshire gives this name from papers of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. It also says these included Coldharbour, as Coleharborow, aka Gooseland 1609, which is recorded as La Goslonde as early as 1292,. The name does not appear on any later maps or records. The editors of EPNS describe it as a term of contempt.

The archivist at Corpus Christi College has been unable to trace any relevant papers. The phrase Beggars Bush was certainly known at Corpus Christi by 1609 as it is used in a letter dated 22nd October 1609 from Brian Twyne, a student there.
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Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Totternhoe, Bedfordshire Beggers Busshe 1548

The Will of Cristopher Hensman of Toternehoo made 30 Nov. 1548 and proved 13 June 1549 left to his wife his house and copyholding for the term of her life, with reversion to a William Hensman son of John Hensman. He then gives “To George George and to William George 2 ewes and 2 puxes and three acres of tilth above Beggers Busshe, also a head acre beneath Ychling [Icknield?] Way to be sown at her cost, and to remain in the executors’ hands and not to be delivered nor divided until they come to lawful age or are married”. The remaining bequests are a cow and small amounts of grain to be delivered by his wife, “at Michaelmas next coming, if it can be spared, otherwise at Michaelmas twelvemonth”.
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Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Rye, East Sussex Beggars Bush 1578

Holinshed’s Chronicles were first published in 1578, with a second edition in 1587. It remains a substantial sourcebook for the history and geography of Britain in the late sixteenth century. In Book 6, section 15, the contributor William Harrison lists the principle fairs and markets by date. He says, “On Bartholomew day, at London, at Beggers bush beside Rie, at Teukesburie, at Sudburie, at Rie, at Nantwich, at Pagets, at Bromleie, at Norwich, at Northalerton, at Douer.”

“Rie” must be Rye in East Sussex, but the reference is not without difficulties. It seems unlikely that there would have been a fair “beside” Rye and “at” Rye on the same day.
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Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No 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.
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Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Mollington, Oxfordshire Beggars Bush 1617

Warwickshire Record Office Papers from the Holbech family of Farnborough has a Mortgage of property in Mollington (CR0457/59/4) dated 10 October 1617 including “a messuage and property known as Beggars Bush in Mollington”.

The same property is also referred to in other documents the last of which is 1 May 1743 (CR0457/55/7).
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Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , | No Comments »