Pat Hase writes about the Burge family and how two of them are featured in the 'Weston Worthies' collection of paintings in the North Somerset Museum. This article appeared in Issue 70 of Buckets & Spades.
A pdf copy of this article is available for download using the link below.
An Ag Lab, Simon BURGE married Ann LOTT in Stogursey Parish Church on the 10th Feb 1767. I have found 4 baptisms of children for them in Stogursey and surprisingly portraits of two of their sons, Joseph, born in 1778 and James, born in 1780, both appear as part of the WESTON WORTHIES collection in the North Somerset Museum. This is a collection of 40 paintings of individuals who lived in Weston-super-Mare in the 1840s and 50s.
Joseph BURGE, seen here with his clay pipe and tankard of perhaps Somerset cider or of another local brew, did not marry until he was about 50 years old when he married a widow, Mary GAD. They were married in St John’s Church in Weston-super-Mare on the 17th May 1827. On the 1841 census of Weston they are living in Wellington Cottage, Regent Street and he was a coal merchant. They were still there in 1851. In his obituary he was described as a coal merchant and bathing machine proprietor.
Joseph died in November 1856 and was one of the first burials in Weston Cemetery. He was joined just a year later by his brother James BURGE who was buried in an adjacent grave.
James BURGE, whose portrait does show a likeness with his brother, was married in Weston on the 7th March 1809 to Ann GOULD who had been born in Weston in about 1786. She was known as ‘Nancy’ and they had at least 8 children, all christened at St John’s Church. James was a fisherman and they lived in St James Street. Nancy BURGE, his wife, was one of the few women included in the ‘Weston Worthies’. In 1861, as a widow, she is described as ‘formerly a bathing machine proprietor’ so presumably the brothers were in business together (or as rivals!).
Nancy BURGE née GOULD on the right appears to be very serene in her portrait in her close fitted bonnet. She died in June 1861. Her parents were William & Hannah GOULD and I believe her mother is yet another of the ‘Weston Worthies’. A William GOULD married Hannah BEACHAM in Feb 1786 and Nancy was christened in October 1786.
Her husband, William GOULD was quite a character in Weston. According to Ernest Baker’s interviews with old inhabitants of Weston in the 1880s they remembered him as a man with a wooden leg who kept geese!
With thanks to the North Somerset Museum for permission to use copies of these portraits.