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Henry Burgum

1739 - 1789

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

Portrait of Henry Burgum by John Simmons, & 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.

It seems that Chatterton saw Burgum as an easy target, so he developed a plan to present him with a fake pedigree, for which he was paid five shillings. Chatterton must have been flushed with delight and promised Henry he would have much more about the history of his family.  The promised second instalment arrived soon after, complete with poems '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 cruel hoax, he did also write about Burgum in glowing terms in his poem Kew Gardens: 

Thomas Chatterton's poem Kew Gardens Henry Burgum

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

Written 1768/9 : Published 1788 / 1803

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

Book  1 : Section 2

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

Book  2

Account of the Family of the De Berghams (also De Burgham's) :  

Written in two exercise books with central staples and marbled covers.

The two books have been additionally bound with red covers with white labels (probably by Joseph Cottle). The labels, having been fitted and annotated incorrectly, add confusion and are therefore best ignored. The books will now be known as Book 1, & Book 2


Book 1:  Has two sections, 

Section 1 : The Tournament an Interlude, and Gouler's Requiem,

[written from the front cover to the middle of the book]

[not related to the Account of the De Berghams]. 

After writing the above, Chatterton flipped the book over and wrote the following:

Section 2 : The 1st part of the Account of the...De Berghams

[written from the back cover to the middle of the book].

Note: The handwritten line above the label of Book 1, states : Bristol Times Nov. 22nd 1856?, this, I think, refers to the cutting inside Book 1, Section 1, which has a mini-biography of Catcott & Burgum.

Contents of Book 1 (B20927) :

Section 1 :  From front cover to middle. (not related to the Account of the De Burghams)

Chatterton and Burgum, the Bristol Pewterer (a newspaper cutting).

The Tournament an Interlude.

Gouler's Requiem.

Section 2 :  From back cover to middle of the book.

De Burghams Coat of Arms ( a separate, loose item on parchment); see top of page.

Account of the Family of the De Burghams (Ist Part).

Note : If you ever get the chance to inspect the original  you will see that Cottle attached the labels '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!

Contents of Book 2 (B21640) :

Continuation of the Account of the Family of the De Burgham's (2nd Part) : 

Which includes the following :

The Romaunte of the Cnyghte.

The Romance of the Knight.

Also, at the back of the book, one page of 'forged' signatures written by:

William Henry Ireland, the Shakespeare Forger.

One of Chatterton’s sources for his Account of the Family of the De Bergham’s

Baronettage of England, 1720, by Arthur Collins - volume 1

Baronettage of England, 1720, by Arthur Collins - volume 2

Spooky Note: Page 19, of volume 1, contains two mentions of the name Thomas Chatterton; Page 20 mentions Sir Baldwin.

Still working on this page - and many other pages besides

Burgum Correspondence - MORE TO COME

Burgum to the Public regarding the mistreatment of a worker