1739 - 1789
1. Portrait of Henry Burgum by John Simmons. 2. Burgum's coat of arms, created & painted by Chatterton.
Henry Burgum is shown posing with a prized possession, a folio of Handel's music. In 1752, at the age of 13, Henry became a Pewterer's apprentice. In 1765 he went into business with George Catcott, making all kinds of pewter, from plates & bowls to lidded tankards & inkstands. Now, here's areal treat for you all; Alyson & Mike Marsden's delightful article about : Burgum & Catcott, Pewterers of Bristol. And that's not all, you might also like to visit the Burgum Family website to view their biography of Henry, but do bear in mind that some of the 'facts' will conflict with our own current knowledge of the Chatterton story.
It seems that Chatterton saw Burgum as an easy target, and came up with a plan to present him with a fake pedigree, for which Burgum paid him five shillings. Chatterton must have been flushed with delight and promised burgum that he would have much more about the history of his family in due course. The promised second instalment arrived soon after, complete with poems supposedly written by Henry's ancestor John Burgum, and a second payment of five shillings (according to Joseph Cottle) was duly paid.
Even though Chatterton perpetrated this somewhat cruel hoax, he also wrote about Burgum in glowing terms in his poem Kew Gardens:
'Account of the Family of the De Bergham's'
Chatterton's Original Handwritten Manuscript
Written 1768/9 : Published 1788 / 1803
Book (1) : Section 1
Book (1) : Section 2
Book (2) Front cover
Book (2) : Rear cover
Account of the Family of the De Berghams (Aka: De Burgham's; Burgum) : Written in two exercise books with central staples and marbled covers. Each of the two books have been additionally bound within red covers with white labels. The labels have been attached and annotated incorrectly, which adds confusion and are therefore best ignored.
The two books are held by Bristol Reference Library: Book (1) ref. No. B20927; and Book (2) ref. No. B21640.
Contents of Book (1) (In two sections) :
Book (1), Section 2, contains:
Chatterton and Burgum, the Bristol Pewterer (a newspaper cutting) : View
The two works above start from the cover and continue to the middle of the book . They are not part of the Account of the De Berghams. After writing the works above, Chatterton flipped the book over and wrote the first part of the Account of the...De Burgham's, see below.
Book (1), Section 1, contains:
This work is written from the cover to the middle of the book.
( A separate, loose item, on parchment) ; see top of page.
Note also : It seem seems that Cottle, or whoever attached the labels to the covers of the books, placed them 'arse about face. ' I make no excuses for my colourful language, for when raving in the Lunacy of ink, I catch the Pen and publish what I think!
Now, putting myself into a state of Aluna, I can see through Joseph Cottle's eyes: I lay the new cover for Book (1) on my desk. I attach the blank labels to the centre of the front and rear covers. I then lay Book (1) alongside the new cover and proceed to flip through the pages as I mark the contents on the front label. I then flip the covers and Book (1) and do the same for the back of the book. I then give the book to an assistant to attach the cover - I leave the rest to your own state of Aluna.
Contents of Book (2)
Account of the Family of the De Burgham's (2nd Part) : View
(Continuation of the Account of the Family of the
De Burgham's from the Norman Conquest to this time )
Also, one page of 'forged' signatures written by:
William Henry Ireland, the Shakespeare Forger : View
That's the end of the two books of Chatterton's 'Account of the Family of the De Bergham's'
One of Chatterton’s sources for his Account of the Family of the De Bergham’s is the 'Baronettage of England.' See page 19, of volume 1, which contains two mentions of the name Thomas Chatterton; and then take a look at page 20, which mentions Sir Baldwin:
Baronettage of England, 1720, by Arthur Collins - volume 1 : View
Baronettage of England, 1720, by Arthur Collins - volume 2 : View
(More to come, when time allows.)