Thanks to research carried out by Jeanette Perry, Sally Greenhill, Sheila Johnson and Olga Shotton some interesting information has been uncovered about the three adjacent houses in Lower Langford, namely Nash House, Dring Cottage and Rose Cottage, which in times past were collectively known as “Burgesville”.

 We relied heavily on Sally’s grandfather’s memoir for the Dring Cottage entry in “Every House Tells A Story”. His father’s father was Richard Burges and his recollection of Richard is reproduced here.

 Grandpa Richard Burges, my father’s father, I never saw. He died in 1853 (the will shows 1858). Local people who knew him, told me he was a tall strong man, quiet and industrious. He had made Somerset his county, but had come up from Cornwall or Devon. His profession was the building line. He had an aptitude for slating a roof, and a special aptitude in plaster centres and borders round the ceilings. His work remains to this day in the district. I still have a slating hammer and plaster moulds. He married and the lady dies soon. He then married a widow who was engaged in some capacity with Miss Hannah More, of Barley Wood, Wrington. On the death of this widow, he married her daughter. He and his three wives, two of them mother and daughter, lie at rest in the family grave at Churchill ( the memoir shows Christchurch)  Parish Church (St.John the Baptist).

Thanks to Olga Shotton we have a copy of Richard’s will, which shows that he left his wife and children a considerable estate of houses and properties. A picture of the Burges family grave is in the Gallery.

While researching the Blagdon church records for its recent centenary celebrations, Sheila came across builder’s accounts and vouchers for the tiling and plastering work carried out by Richard Burges for the period 1821-23. Copies of some of these are shown in the Gallery section under Burgesville. It is quite clear that he was a master craftsman operating in the first half of the 19th Century, and that his skills would have been applied to renovating and extending the three Lower Langford houses that he and his third wife, Sarah, owned. Most likely, they lived and occupied Dring Cottage as their main residence, with their children and grandchildren at various times shown by the census data to be in occupancy.

 Jeanette’s family history studies have revealed that Ellen, the eldest daughter of Richard and Sarah, married Matthew Henry Harse Kitley, also a builder, in 1853, and that at least two of their children Frank and Ada are mentioned in the census data. Another sister, Kate, is shown as having died at Burgesville, Langford in 1929, as also is her husband George Augustine Jameson who died in March 1947. Therefore, it is highly likely that the house remained in the possession of the Kitley Burges family at least up until this date.

Family photos including Frank Kitley Burges, Jeanette’s husband’s great grandfather are included in the Gallery section. Can anyone help with the uniform he is wearing? Frank died in 1886 at the age of 33. Also included are pictures of Kate Kitley taken at Dring Cottage in 1927, and a picture which, while unidentified, has a remarkable similarity to the photo of Sarah Sabina Burges, the spinster shop keeper, shown on page 73 of “Every House Tells A Story”.

It is always rewarding to be able to fill in the gaps in our knowledge, and to be able to add to the stories of the houses in our village. So if you have pictures or indeed stories of relatives that might have lived in Langford, please do not hesitate to contact us.