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Stories of Burbage & its People

1821 population figures

This information appears in the baptism registers:
Population in 1821: 616 males, 579 females
inhabited houses: 237; 244 families
199 families employed in agriculture
33 families employed in trade

Another ordinary summer Sunday evening in Burbage by Jean Cole
Extracted with permission from the original in Family Tree Magazine, September 1998

It was only the other day that I came across this case whilst busily transcribing bastardy maintenance cases from the Marlborough Petty Session Division casebook (B16/100/1) in Wiltshire Record Office. This particular event occurred in the village of Burbage, a long, straggling village which lies on the main Marlborough to Salisbury road and proved to be such a gem that it made me decide to transcribe the case to illustrate my meaning.

At the Town Hall, Marlborough, before The Hon'ble & Rev'd Sir E H G Williams, Bart, H N Goddard Esq (the H N stood for Horatio Nelson!) & the Rev'd G H Goddard, Justices of the Peace. 28 June 1851.

Wm Scriven v George Smith
Wm Scriven, on oath:
I am a malster living at Burbage. I was on Burbage Green on Sunday evening, the 22nd inst between 6 & 7 in the evening. There was a meeting on the Green. There was a man preaching, there was a push in. After the push in George Smith came across to me and hit me a smack in the face. I had given him no previous provocation.
George Smith, on oath:
I hit this young man because he pushed my wife about. I told him if he would leave my wife alone I would not touch him.
Dismissed. Costs 2s. Paid

Sarah Smith v Wm Scriven
Sarah Smith, on oath:
I am the wife of George Smith of Burbage. I was at this meeting at Burbage on Sunday last. I was on the Green listening to the preaching. Wm Scriven came up to me and pushed me. He pushed me several times and if he had not pushed me against my husband, he would have pushed me down. He threatened me several times besides. I said nothing to him.
James Maynard, on oath:
I live at Collingbourne, I was at Burbage Green listening to the preaching. I saw Wm Scriven push Sarah Smith who would have fell down had it not been for her husband. I am a blacksmith. I am not a preacher. I belong to the Sect called Latter Day Saints.
Examined: There were not many pushing.
Henry Nutley, on oath:
I live at Burbage. I walked for the first time to the meeting on Burbage Green on Sunday last. I was standing by Wm Scriven. I did not see him push Sarah Smith with his hands. There was a great many people behind Scriven who pushed against him and pushed him forwards against the woman but not with great force. I heard Wm Scriven tell the people behind not to push.
Dismissed. Costs ls Paid

Nathan Griffin v David Davis
Nathan Griffin, on oath:
I am a Dissenting Minister. A licensed travelling preacher of the Sect called Latter Day Saints. I am at present staying at Burbage. On Sunday last I was preaching at Burbage Green in the evening between the hours of 6 and 7. I went there with the Bible in my hand to preach the Gospel. I was standing on a stool. Several people came up with a brass band. I gave out a hymn. David Davis endeavoured to throw me off the stool. He subsequently pushed me off the stool into a whole (sic) behind. I had given him no provocation.
George Stone on oath:
I live at Burbage and am a shoemaker. I belong to the Sect called Latter Day Saints. I went on Sunday last between 6 and 7 in the evening to hear Mr Griffin preach on Burbage Green. As I was standing by Mr Green who was preaching the band came up. David Davis was in front of the man carrying the band. I saw David Davis put one hand down to the stool and the other on Mr Griffin's legs and throw him over. Mr Griffn was preaching at the time.
2s Costs. Paid

Then followed a note by the Clerk - 52nd Geo 3rd, which probably referred to the Act of Parliament of 1812, 52 Geo 111c 155 - Places of Religious Worship.
David Davis, on oath:
I am a baker and live at Burbage. On Sunday evening last I was on Burbage Green. I saw the Revolution take place. It was the Latter Day Saints' party commenced it. Our party went up to the Green with music and the Latter Day Saints' party tried to keep us back.
Charles Hatter, on oath:
I am a laborer living at Burbage. I went on Burbage Green last Sunday evening. I saw the Saints begin pushing and push against David Davis. I was stood close to David Davis, he never upset Nathan Griffn the Parson off of it.
Examined: I was looking at you when the push came.
Stephen Cole, on oath:
I am a carpenter living at Burbage. I was in the road by Burbage Green on Sunday last. I saw Saints assemble. Shortly after the band came up. Directly a party from Hungerford of three people came in. The Parson was pushed off the stool but by whom I do not know.
Dismissed 3s Costs. Paid

James Hodges v Sim(e)on Long
James Hodges on oath:
I am foreman to Mr Bartlett at Burbage. On Wednesday evening last I was sent to Mr Brooks at Burbage Wharf with some medicine from my master. As I was returning home through Barn Alley Turnpike Gate, I saw Simon Long there and when I was about five yards through the Gate, Simon Long came up to me and asked me if I was not one of those who was supposed to be Latter Day Saints. I said I was. He was very abusive and wanted to hit me. He hit me in the face and asked me if I would fight then he struck me again. He offered me a Galon (sic) of beer to settle it. I refused. He came behind me and kicked at me but his foot went between my legs.
John Goddard, on oath:
I am a laborer living at Burbage. I saw Simon Long run up to James Hodges at Barn Alley Turnpike Gate. I heard the conversation and saw the blows struck as mentioned by James Hodges.
Fine £1 plus Costs 15s. Paid
Committed to Marlborough

Note concerning Burbage old Font Contributed by David White

(Note, written in 1903, copied from the front of the 1848 Baptism Register)
When with misguided zeal and ever to be lamented energy, the Vicar of Burbage in the year 1853 destroyed every vestige of the old church except the tower, the Font which had served for the regeneration of countless generations of Burbage inhabitants was ruthlessly done away with, and the present modern, machine made Baptism bowl was erected in its place. I have endeavoured to learn what became of the ancient font. After much search I have obtained evidence that it formerly served as a flower pot in a late churchwardens garden (Mr Gale) here. Upon the death of the churchwarden, the widow removed to Havering in the parish of Milton Lilbourne in this county, taking the font with her.
I am informed that now (1903) the said font is still to be seen as an ornamental flower pot at Havering exposed to the rain and frost and therefore (if not already ruined) perishing in dishonour, the victim of a sacriledge which puts utterly in the shade, the doings of the Cromwellian Puritans.
N.B. Another old font lies in dishonour in the garden of the farmhouse at Fifield near Pewsey.
N.B. (later) I have obtained additional evidence from an aged man that Mr Gale, who had quite a hobby for collecting Ancient Fonts, used to use the old Font of Wilcot church as a flower pot in his kitchen garden: and that the font which is now in the garden of the Manor farm where he used to live, is not the Burbage Font but Wilcot Font.

BLACKMANs meet HERSOMs Contributed by Rob Wilson

My great grandfather, John BLACKMAN (1852-87), left Burbage some time between 1861 and 1871. He married Emily Emma HERSOM in West Ham, London, in 1873. John was an "art weaver" in Stratford, East London.
While researching the Hersom family (who were Essex and London based) I found that Emily's brother, Thomas, married a Burbage lady in London - one Sarah Ann PRAGNALL. Did Sarah Pragnall and John Blackman know each other?
It turns out that they are related - their mothers were Mary COX (John's) and Sarah COX (Sarah's) who were first cousins, sharing William COX (1756-1830) as a grandfather.
I wonder how they came to travel to London and meet up with a brother and sister?

The Wooset Contributed by David White

The following extract is taken from an article entitled "Ancient Wiltshire Customs'' by F.A. Cannington, published in the very first copy of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine published in 1853.

The Wooset
In the villages near Marlborough, this is a mock procession got up by the village lads, when conjugal infidelity is imputed to any of their neighbours.
At a little before dusk, a blowing of sheep's horns and a sounding of cracked sheep bells may be heard about the village, and soon afterwards the procession is formed.
I saw two of these Woosets; one in the year 1835 in BURBAGE , the other about five years after at Ogbourn St George. The procession was in each instance headed by what is called "a rough band'' which in the latter instance was numerous. Some beat old frying pans, others shook up old kettles with stones in them; some blew sheep's horns, others rang cracked sheep's bells, and one of the performers was trying to extort music from a superannuated fish kettle, by beating its bottom with a marrow bone. Four more carried turnips on long sticks, each turnip being hollowed out very thin, and the features of a face cut thinner still on it. and a lighted candle put in the inside. These were followed by a person bearing a cross of wood of slight make, and seven feet highboy the arms of which was placed a chemise, and on the head of it a horse's scull, to the sides of which were fixed a pair of deer's horns, as if they grew there; and to the lower part of the horse's scull the under jaw bones were so affixed that by pulling a string, the jaws knocked together as if the scull was champing the bit; and this was done to make a snapping noise during pauses in the music.
This procession repeated on three nights following, when it goes past the houses of the supposed guilty parties; it is then discontinued for three nights; resumed for three nights more, discontinued for another three night and then resumed again for another three nights, and then it concludes.
As those of you familiar with the Wiltshire dialect will know, the 'W' at the start of a word followed by an 'o' was silent, so the thing was commonly called an 'ooset'.

Isack Fag Totum: not Burbage, but a sign in a village in Wiltshire! Contributed by Sue Walther

"Isack Fag Totum baber periwig maker sergeon parish clerke scoolmester blacksmith and man midwife shaves for a penne cuts hare for toopence oyld and powderd into the bargin. Young Ladies genteely edicated lamps lited by the hore or quater. Young gentlemen allso taut their grammor in the neetest manner and great care taken of their morals and spelin. Allso salme singin and horce shewing by the real maker. Likewise makes and mends all sorts of shoes and butes. Teaches the ho boy and jews harps cuts corns and blisters on the lowest terms. Cowtillian and other dances taut at home and abroad. Allso deals holesale and retail perfumery in all its branches. Sells all sorts of stationary ware together with blackin balls red herrins ginger bread and coles scrubing brushes trcycle (treycle) mouse traps and other sweetmeats. Likewise Godfry's Cordil, rutes potatoes sasages and other gardin stuf. PS I teaches jography and them outlandish kind of things. A bawl on Wednesdays and Fridays all performed by me (God willing) by me. Isack Fag Totum."

Interesting information contributed by Tony Woodward
From Wiltshire Society apprentice registers 1817-1922 (Wiltshire Record Society #51) [The Wiltshire Society existed primarily to sponsor apprenticeships for poor boys of Wiltshire birth living in London, but later this was extended to include apprenticeships within Wiltshire.]

709 Head, John Ernest Sydney; to Henry Joseph Bailey, carpenter and joiner, of Burbage. 6½ yrs, £20. 28 July 1894. County apprentice.

From Wiltshire coroners' bills 1752-1796 (Wiltshire Record Society #36) [All but one of these are bills for expenses submitted by the Devizes coroner and distances are from Devizes. The standard rate was £1 for attendance plus 9d. (about 4p in today's money) per mile, which I suppose isn't bad at all for the 18th century. The dates are the dates of the inquests, not the dates of death.]

461 16 Apr. 1766. Burbage. John Nutly: was at plough in a field near Burbage when the horses took fright, ran away, threw him to the ground, ran over him, and killed him. 18 miles. £1 13s. 6d.

768 9 Sept. 1772. Westcourt near Burbage. Robert Webb: found drowned in a tub of water in his house. 18 miles. £1 13s. 6d.

909 16 Apr. 1766. Burbage. Thomas Gale: fell from the top of a house at Tidcombe and was killed. 19 miles. £1 14s. 3d.

1008 28 Aug. 1774. Durley in Burbage. James Chivers, subject to fits: fit. 17 miles. £1 12s. 9d.

1226 13 Nov. 1780. Burbage. John Barnes: riding very furiously from Marlborough market, was thrown from his horse in Marlborough Forest and killed. 20 miles. £1 15s.

1321 7 Nov. 1782. Westcourt in Burbage. John Hooper: returning for Appleshaw Fair full of liquor, laid and slept on the ground, from which and the hard rains that fell that night he died. 19 miles. £1 14s. 3d.

1400 21 Mar. 1784. Savernake Park near Marlborough Forest. Robert Daintry: suddenly died in his road from Burbage to Marlborough. 16 miles. £1 12s.

1642 27 June 1789. Burbage. Thomas Smith: was digging chalk-stone in a quarry at Wolf Hall in Great Bedwyn, the upper part of which fell in and instantly killed him. 18 miles. £1 13s. 6d.

1712 21 May 1790. Burbage. James Savage: having got up on a high tree for dry wood, fell down and was killed. 20 miles. £1 15s.

1918 16 Mar. 1794. Collingbourne Ducis. John Blake: going from his home at Burbage to Andover market and passing in the night a cart through some water at Collingbourne Ducis, was thrown out and killed. 20 miles. £1 15s.

2061 18 Jan. 1796. Burbage. Robert Skitrell: employed in cutting and forming the Kennet-Avon canal, was killed by falling from a narrow plank while driving a wheelbarrow of earth. 20 miles. £l 15s.

2140 22 Nov. 1756. Bulford. Mary Pye: found dead on the road between Bulford and Burbage. 10 miles. £1 7s. 6d. [Wilton coroner - distance from Wilton]

From Wiltshire county coroners' bills 1815 to 1858 (Wiltshire Family History Society 1997)

FISHER Henry Thomas. Burbage. Overdose of poppy. 1 Oct 1840 [This will be the date of the inquest, not the death date.]

From A miscellany of bastardy records for Wiltshire: volume 1 - 1728 to 1893 (Wiltshire Family History Society 1997) The figures at the end are the reference from the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office catalogue]

EARLY Hanah, Burbage, male, born in a carthouse - to be conveyed to Ardington Wilts, 1801, A1/125/46U

George Davis of Burbage by Michael J. Newark of Kitchener, ON, Canada (his great grandson)

The 1881 census shows dwelling at East Sands:-

George DAVIS Head M Male 51 Burbage, Wiltshire, England Bricklayers Lab
Mary A. DAVIS Wife M Female 44 Burbage, Wiltshire, England
John DAVIS Son Male 10 Burbage, Wiltshire, England Scholar
Eliza DAVIS Daur Female 5 Burbage, Wiltshire, England Scholar

George Davis was born c 1830 at Burbage. His wife Mary Ann née Chandler lived on Burbage Street as a small child. Their eldest daughter Emily left Burbage sometime before 1881 to work as a domestic in London before returning to Wiltshire to marry Henry Francis Skittrall, a shepherd, in 1903. Their other daughter Eliza Davis also left Burbage (she was not there during the 1891 census) and in 1900 married Alfred John Newark in London.

 Mary Ann Davis nee Chandler  Emily Davis  Eliza Davis

Davis,Skittrall and Chandler families of Burbage, Wiltshire

By Michael J. Newark (grand-nephew of Emily Davis), January 2008

Henry Francis Skittrall and his wife Emily (nee Davis). The young girl is unknown and is not their child. Both Henry and Emily were born in Burbage, Wiltshire although this photo was taken circa 1915 (plus or minus 5 years) by which time they lived in Chiseldon (in the cottage at the left end of the row).

The ancestral chart for Henry Skittrall and Emily shows they were 1st cousins by virtue of having the same grandmother, Harriet Davis. All individuals shown in the chart were born in Burbage. The Skittrall family lived at Eastcourt while the Davis family lived at East Sands.

In 1829 Harriet Davis, at 20 years of age, had an illegitimate son whom she named George Davis. Four years later Harriet married William Skittrall and among the many children she bore him was David Skittrall born in 1838 (thus making George Davis and David Skittrall half-brothers who grew up together). George and David each married a Chandler sister. George Davis and Mary Ann Chandler had Emily Davis, while David Skittrall and Emma Chandler had Henry Francis Skitrall. Henry Francis Skittrall married Emily Davis in 1903 in the parish church at Ogbourne St George at which time Henry was a thatcher. The Skittrall, Davis and Chandler families all have a long historical association with Burbage.

Willam Maurice Adams

William was not a Burbage lad but hailed from East Grafton however he is remembered as being the first to publish historical articles of the area, including Wolfhall and Burbage. A descendant, Peter Howard, writes:

I have had some success in tracing William (Maurice) Adams.

He was the son of James and Ellen Adams who married at Pewsey in 1838 and was born William Adams in 1847. On the 1881 census James and Ellen Adams lived at Dark Lane Cottage, [Grafton], Great Bedwyn.

His sister was Eliza Jane Adams (my wife's great grandmother) who was born in Bedwyn parish (1881 census) and baptised at Everley on 29-Sep-1850. She married a Richard Haviland in 1870 and they are on the 1881 census living in Rodney Street, London. Richard was to be an editor for the Times newspaper.

Richard HavilandEliza Jane Adams

As for William, we have a copy of his book 'Savernake, Wolfhall etc' which he had signed and acted as a sort of family bible as it had the family listed.

By 1861 he was at Mansion High School in St David's, Exeter. In 1881 William Maurice was living in Lupus Street, London. He Married a Georgianna from Madras and was an author and School master in London in later years. He must have adopted the name Maurice in his writing days to stand out from others of the same name!

The Bakers of Great Bedwyn

Anthony Brown writes -

My Great Great Grandmother Sarah Baker was born in Great Bedwyn. Her birth certificate is a little indistinct but I think says 30?/5/1841, in Pells? at Brail Wood Great Bedwyn, father George Baker Game keeper, Mother Jane Baker (nee also Baker) residence Brail Wood, Great Bedwyn.

By the 1871 census George Baker was aged 66, Game Keeper living at Doulting Somerset, so presumably his year of birth would be c1805, his birthplace on census form was given as Wilton, presume the village adjacent to Great Bedwyn. Jane Baker in 1871 was also living in Doulting aged 60, year of birth probably c 1810, her birthplace was given as Shalbourne.

In 1869, Sarah Baker married William Browne Sparks, who was born in Doulting, who became a City of London Police constable based at Snow Hill from 1860 to 1892.

I note in the articles about the Swing Riots, a James and Robert Baker were identified as part of the mob that visited the farm of Mr George Phillips at Shalbourne. I wonder if there is a family connection?

Any info or advice where to look further would be much appreciated. (See the Surnames page for Tony's email address)

Philip Jackman - provided by Sue Bellefeuille

From the Wiltshire Quarter Sessions of 1841:
Henry Hall aged 44 committed September 1841. Charged on the oaths of Philip JACKMAN and others with stealing 1 drawing knife, 1 hammer, 1 pair of compasses, the property of the said Philip JACKMAN of Great Bedwyn. Hall's punishment was to be confined in the new prison at Devizes for 12 months hard labour.

Rawlings: Mormon Pioneers - contributed by Simon Cox

Additional information available at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868: John Gillespie Company (1868)”, http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompany/0,15797,4017-1-126,00.html.

This narrative from the site summarises the journey:

“John Gillespie captained a company of emigrants comprised of about 500 people in 54 wagons. Gillespie, who was from Tooele, left Salt Lake on June 18 with a contingent of out-and-back teamsters to assist the emigrants. They reached the end-of-track terminus at Benton, Wyoming, before late July. Most of the emigrants who joined his company had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship Constitution. That ship reached New York on August 6, and the emigrants left the next day on the Hudson River Railroad for the West. They travelled on trains (including cattle cars on some stretches of track) through Albany, New York, crossing into Canada and past Niagara Falls, Detroit, Chicago, and arriving in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 13. They reached Benton on August 16 and found Gillespie's teamsters and wagons waiting for them. The company's departure was delayed waiting for luggage, so they left Benton on August 24. Some of the wagons travelling with the company carried merchandise and freight destined for stores in Salt Lake City. They travelled in a north-westerly direction from Benton through Whiskey Gap and northward from there until they reached the Sweetwater River and joined the old emigrant road 10 miles west of Devil's Gate. Upon reaching Echo Canyon, many of the men left the company to work on the railroad. A portion of the company travelled ahead and arrived in Salt Lake on September 3. The majority of the company entered the valley via Parley's Canyon and arrived in Salt Lake on September 15. There were 6 deaths.”











































































1 Christening information is not given (in this context) on the LDS website, but is shown to corroborate the given birth dates.

2 Familial relationships are not given on the LDS website, but determined by the author.

Richard RAWLINGS, born 8 Jan 1826; christened 12 Feb 1826 in All Saints, Burbage; died 2 Jan 1912.

Prudence Mary RAWLINGS, born 16 Mar 1826; died 31 Dec 1868.  Richard’s wife; Rawlings was both her maiden and married surname.

John Thomas RAWLINGS, born 23 Nov 1835; died 16 Jul 1904.  Richard’s brother‑in‑law.

William RAWLINGS, born 2 Jan 1845; died 1 Oct 1918.  Richard’s brother‑in‑law.

Matilda RAWLINGS, born 24 Aug 1849; christened 16 Dec 1849 in All Saints, Burbage; died 16 Jun 1869.  Daughter of Richard and Prudence Mary.

Honor RAWLINGS, born 3 Jul 1854; christened 8 Oct 1854 in All Saints, Burbage; died 2 Jul 1939.  Daughter of Richard and Prudence Mary.

Sarah Ann RAWLINGS, born 3 Mar 1857; christened 30 Jun 1861 in All Saints, Burbage; died 19 Nov 1937.  Daughter of Richard and Prudence Mary.

Ephraim James RAWLINGS, born 7 May 1861; christened 30 Jun 1861 in All Saints, Burbage; died 25 Oct 1924.  Son of Richard and Prudence Mary.

Solomon Ether RAWLINGS, born 9 Nov 1863; christened 28 Feb 1864 in All Saints, Burbage; died 18 Jan 1950.  Son of Richard and Prudence Mary.

Walter RAWLINGS, born 10 May 1867; died 22 Mar 1952.  Son of Richard and Prudence Mary.

A Soldier Boy - submitted by Eric Jones

From The Wardrobe web site - Home of the Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum.

Stone, Ernest Charles

Born at: Burbage, Marlborough. Enlisted on : 5 Sept 1904, aged : 17 years 4 months

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