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Beggars Bush

Radiorails

master brummie
Yes it seems apparent that 'Beggars Bush' started out as a place name. It was on a crossroads, it seems, which were well used thoroughfares - as they are now. An ideal place to beg I suggest. :D
So many ancient place names, particularly at high points or cross roads, have names connected with their useage rather than location. In rural areas long forgotten place names used by local authorities are often remembered and used by those living there. I found this out many years ago when attending fires in the rural areas of Devon. Binoculars were unofficial kit, but highly useful and were carried by some officers as modern OS maps often did not use ancient or strictly local place names.
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
I seem to remember a bit of folklore about the beggar's bush but perhaps someone can confirm it? When a vagrant died the parish of death was responsible for the burial. In this case neither Sutton Coldfield or Erdington wanted the expense so he was buried under the bush. Now, that doesn't help with the boundary does it as we still don't know where it was? I have a map or that areas from pre-enclosure days so I will look for it when I get home.
When I was growing up in Court Lane the address was always 'Erdington, Warwickshire'.
The address for the Princess Alice Orphanage which was on the opposite corner to the Bush was 'New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield'.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The 1848 tithe map of Aston, which includes Erdington, states that all of Aston juxta Birmingham was in Warwickshire. Ave been trying to work out th position of where the Beggars Bush would alter be from the tithe maps on the genealogist website , which are not easy to access by exact position as they are set up to search by names of people, the roads are very different from later, an tht emapping does not seem very accurate, but it seems to me that the position of the Beggars Bush was outside Erdington at that time.
The larger scale c 1884 map shows the Inn named as the Bush Inn, so maybe the story of the beggar gave rise to the change of name.

ScreenHunter_5140 Apr. 20 12.05.jpg map c 1884 showing position of beggars bush pub.jpg
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
I seem to remember a bit of folklore about the beggar's bush but perhaps someone can confirm it? When a vagrant died the parish of death was responsible for the burial. In this case neither Sutton Coldfield or Erdington wanted the expense so he was buried under the bush. Now, that doesn't help with the boundary does it as we still don't know where it was? I have a map or that areas from pre-enclosure days so I will look for it when I get home.
When I was growing up in Court Lane the address was always 'Erdington, Warwickshire'.
The address for the Princess Alice Orphanage which was on the opposite corner to the Bush was 'New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield'.
I lived in Court Lane, I was born at 369 which was on the left hand side coming down from Chester Road, but in 1939 we moved over into the houses just built to No 396. 369 was in Sutton Coldfield, 396 was in Birmingham. The policeman from Sutton Coldfield would walk down Court lane from Chester Road on the Oscott College side and opposite the Barracks (the row of cottages where the Chipman family lived and kept their donkeys), he would cross over and walk down as far as the shop and the bus stop and then walk back up. This was because of the boundary and the Greyhound pub (the next building after the shop) was in Birmingham but Maddocks shop was in Sutton Coldfield. My father always said that the boundary ran up against the front of the houses on the right hand side, not the middle of the road as the policeman always said. I do know our rubbish was collected in the electric dust carts of Birmingham and over the road in the odd looking Shelveoak Drury lorries of the Royal Borough. At Sutton library they had a list of the house numbers in the roads where the boundary was questionable and because I went to BVGS they allowed me to join and taske out books, but pointed out that I did live in Erdington. At this time there was always discussion as to where the boundary was apropos Oscott College and College Road and on the road to Kingstanding and often it was only the street name signs that gave any clue. I do know that Princess Alice's Orphanage was in Sutton Coldfield

Bob
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
IMG_1720.jpg

Birmingham Journal May 1862...

Also on the 1834 map, just on the other side of the Chester Road from Jordan's Grave is Gibbet Hill, where a London silk merchant was murdered, and his murderer executed, in 1729.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Beggars Bush around 1900-1920. Image from Birmingham Libraries which gives the location as New Oscott. Viv.

image.jpeg
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
New Oscott was only called this after the college moved from a couple of miles away at Old Oscott in 1838. When did it become a 'district' rather than just the college address?
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
I don't know the answer Lady P but we do know New Oscott was appearing on maps in 1880. And Pedro's advert in post #2 suggests the area was 'filling up' in 1884. But I suspect that, as the name was used for the area when the College was built there, it would have become a district not too long after the building was completed. But afraid no evidence. Viv.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
There are several mentions, around 1851, for the new Oscott College.

The first mention as a district that I can find is in 1854 when a Mr Hales from New Oscott was elected to the Sutton Park Protection Society.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Lady P is correct in saying that New Oscott college started in 1838 having moved from Old Oscott, which became known as Maryvale. There is a lot of history about these two places but the thread is about a pub, Beggars Bush, so I will not post any links.
I would imagine the place name, New Oscott, was soon adopted - even if unofficially in the beginning - to avoid confusion between the two colleges.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
The story of the pauper burial under the bush seems very unlikely…

Beggar’s Bush…Brewer’s Phrase and Fable (1870)…

Beggar’s Bush is the name of a tree which once stood on the left hand side of the London Road from Huntingdon to Caxton: so called because it was a noted rendezvous for beggars.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
IMG_1718.jpg IMG_1720.jpg
The Beggars' Bush (the Inn)...what's in a name!

Having delved into the history of the name of the Beggars' Bush, there are a few facts that may be of interest, and no doubt will add to the confusion!

I believe that just prior to the proposed Inclosure of the commons and waste lands in 1827 all that existed was a bush that was locally known as the Beggars' Bush. It stood at the junction of the Old Chester Road and the road from Kingstanding, at the county boundaries of Warwicks and Staffs. The area was known as Coldfield Common. It was proposed to have the 40ft Road No.4 to run from the Beggars' Bush eastwards over the common to reach the Horse and Jockey public house. (Jockey Road.)

Looking at the 1834 map a few years later Jockey Road can be seen, but no buildings appear around the junction. I would guess that at this point there was not an Inn built.

The consensus is that a chap called William Goodwin was the first landlord of a Pub that stood at the junction in 1841. In the census of 1841 there is a William Goodwin listed as being 35 years old and Publican in Coldfield, and this backs up the idea that there was an establishment of some sort there. Also in Pigot's Dir of 1841 he is down as in Sutton Coldfield as a retailer of beer, but in the list of pubs the Horse and Jockey is mentioned but nothing of a Beggars or Hawthorn Bush, or even Bush.

The 1851 census lists him as being 46, and living at 33 Old Chester Road and a beer seller. This may suggest that the establishment was still not a fully-fledged public House.

In 1861 it is said that he took out a new lease and built a new pub adjacent in Jockey Lane, along with five cottages, and converted the old pub building into three cottages. This may be substantiated by the 1861 census that tells that he is 55 years old and a Licenced Victuller living at the HAWTHORN BUSH, Old Chester Road.

The name Hawthorn Bush is backed up by entries in Morris Com Directory of 1866, and PO Directory for 1868.

In the 1871 census William is 66 and down as Publican at 246, Jockey Road, New Oscott. But also in September 1871 there is a notice of a clearance sale at the Beggars' Bush Inn by the executors of the late William Goodwin. As we have seen the Beggars' Bush was again sold by a Mr King in 1874.

Coming up to the time of the picture at the start of the Thread there is a George Harding in charge, and in the 1901 census George Harding is 63 and at the BUSH INN, New Oscott. In the 1903 Kelly's Dir he is down as of the BUSH INN, Chester Road. More confusion in the 1904 Kelly's where he is down as Beggars' Bush, New Oscott, but in the Commercial section as the Bush Inn! George may have moved on to the Four Oaks PH by 1912.

It is strange that the first mention of the Beggars' Bush, or any mention of a PH in the location is in 1858 when there is a suicide described as being near the new college on the road to the Beggars' Bush PH. As far as I can see every other mention is of the name Beggars' Bush through until at least 1939. Maybe William Goodwin successfully built up his business from 1841, and at the time of his rebuild in 1860 he decided not to have a Beggar connected to it and called it the Hawthorn Bush. George Harding may have been of the same mind and called it the Bush, but all the locals and the Press always thought of it as the Beggars!
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
This extract from Sutton Coldfield.net site supports your research that there was a bush pre-1841, as a boundary marker. But nothing else, and no inn. And that some sort of building/house/pub appeared 1841. Goodwin was living there with his family but he built a new pub and converted the old one into cottages. This is confusing. But I too suspect the 1841 pub was probably just a house offering refreshment (beer etc). Goodwin probably realised it was a good place to build his own purpose-built pub. After all it would have been a good location with coaches passing along those roads. Or am I in the land of the fairies here?!

Now wondering if we know enough about the two pubs and the bush to pinpoint where each was exactly in relation to the roads. Viv.

image.jpeg
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Pedrocut and Vivienne
Many thanks for some very interesting history. I lived there 21 years, drank there a few times and never knew any of this, however the only time I tried to find out why it was called the Beggars Bush, I was told that there had been a bush there and a beggar who slept under the bush and one morning was found dead. For someone who at that time was more interested in ale and the opposite sex it seemed reasonable enough and I asked no more.
Bob
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
Pedrocut, your post 21 mentions 'a' Beggar's Bush but it's not the one at New Oscott. I remember seeing this name on an early hand-drawn map and it appeared to the right of what is now Birmingham Road, Wylde Green. This was the Holly Fast Common, now Holifast Road and
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
sorry, posted before I'd finished!
The Bell and Cuckoo is mentioned on the Erdington thread and although I do remember the name 'Cotterell' I can't remember which house this refers to. Just on the opposite side of the Chester Road to the one in Pt 1 of this post. Hope this makes sense.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Here is a map (not very clear from The story of Sutton Coldfield by Roger Lea), showing (presumably with no additions) Beggars Bush ( as a place) marked on the map of the Corn survey of 1824-25

beggars bush corn maps0001.jpg
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
interesting map mike...now what on earth was jordons grave:D for another time maybe..
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
IMG_1725.jpg IMG_1726.jpg

The Beggar's Bush and the Hawthorn Tree...

Going back to the Midlands Pub site it shows a map from 1821 where the Beggars' Bush (place) is position somewhere near the present Yenton Pub.

https://www.midlandspubs.co.uk/birmingham/erdington/beggars-bush.htm

It would then suggest that the Beggars' Bush (place) was not as shown on the 1834 and 1880ish maps. The present Beggars' Bush Pub is at the site of the Hawthorn Tree!

In his book "History of the Forest and Chase of Sutton Coldfield" L Braken, writing in 1860, and describing the Sutton Parish Boundary says...

"The Coldfield formed an extensive waste, united to heaths of other parishes. Upon it lay a lake or mere. It has some spots as Welshman's Hill, Jordan's Grave, where tradition fails: but King's Standing is a small artificial mound, reputed to be the position occupied by Charles...."

"......In the early part of this century (1800s) a Hawthorn tree in the middle of the turnpike road marked the division between this parish and Erdington, and the Beggar's Bush, on the Coldfield, was a similar landmark."
 
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