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Key People

1739 - 1789

Henry Burgum Pewterer, Bristol
Thomas Chatterton's Burgum Pedigree coat of armspedigree burgham 3.jpg

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 a real treat for you all :  Alyson & Mike Marsden's delightful article on 'Burgum & Catcott, Pewterers of Bristol' View

And that's not all, you might also like to visit the Burgum Family website to view their biography of Henry Burgum :  View   

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  :  View 

Burgum in Chatterton's Poem Kew Gardens

'Account of the Family of the De Bergham's'

Chatterton's Original Handwritten Manuscript

(In Two Booklets)

Written 1768/9 : Published 1788 / 1803

De Bergham, also known as De Burgham's, and Burgum.

Two manuscript booklets in the handwriting of Thomas Chatterton. The two booklets are in their original marbeled covers with central staples. Each booklet is additionally bound within red covers with white labels, as shown below.   The red covers and labels were probably added by Joseph Cottle.

The booklets are held by Bristol Reference Library : Booklet One : ref. No. B20927.  Booklet Two : ref. No. B21640.

Booklet One

Account of the Family of the De Berghams (First Part)
Booklet One  (ref. No. B20927) 

Chatterton's account of the Family of the De Burgham's Pedigree Book 1

Front cover : Booklet  One  :  Section 1

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Back cover  :  Booklet  One  :  Section 2

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Original marbeled cover Booklet One

Contents of Booklet One   

(In two sections) 

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)

Section 2, contains:

The two works, The Tournament an Interlude and Gouler's Requiem start from the cover and continue to the middle of the booklet . They are not part of the Account of the De Berghams.  After writing the two works above, Chatterton flipped the book over and wrote the Account of the Family of the De Bergham's (1st Part).

Booklet Two

Account of the Family of the De Berghams (Second Part)
Booklet Two  (ref. No. B21640) 

Chatterton's Continuation of the Account of the Family of the

Front cover : Booklet  Two

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Rear cover : Booklet Two

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Original marbeled cover Booklet Two

Contents of Booklet Two



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 )

Which includes:

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'.

Spooky Note:

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

Henry Burgum
Work & Sundry Items

Burgum to the Public regarding the mistreatment of a worker

Poor Henry, he seems to be the target of a number of people.


thistlethwaite consultation mock heroic titlepage.jpg
thistlethwaite consultation mock heroic Burgum.jpg

When you read Henry Burgum's writings you simply know that he was mortified when James Thistlethwaite wrote the above 'Epistle Dedicatory' to him in his 'The Consultation, A Mock Heroic, in Four Cantos :  View online

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