The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

Letter From The Past

A letter has flooded in! However, this is a letter with a difference. It was written before I was born! It was kindly sent to me by Maurice Buffrey, a member of the Royal Forest of Dean Family History Society, who came across it whilst visiting a friend. The letter is from George Burgum (1885-1969), son of Timothy Burgum and uncle to Ray (RR059), Mary (RR074) and Frank (RR090). The family emigrated from Littledean (in the Fores of Dean, Gloucestershire) to Australia in the early 1900's.
(Below is a picture of Littledean from the times when Timothy Burgum and his family lived there).

17 George St,

21st 1953

To Mr & Mrs Eddington,

Dear Friends, as I have never known you I must call you friends, because you are of the "Forest of Dean" and quite near my beloved village of "Littledean" where I was born more than (60) years ago. I saw your photograph in the "Gloucester Journal" that a friend of mine happened to lend me a few days ago. Please accept our best wishes and congratulations it is very good. I have been trying to remember any People by the name of "Baker" at Littledean and there was a Police Officer at Littledean and they lived just down past us at "Bunters Tump". Of the family I can remember Harvey and Frank Baker they went to the village school with me, and I fancied there was a slight resemblance in the Photo, but of course imagination may be wishful thinking on my part. However it is like a tonic to hear of any one in the Forest of Dean and as to the beautiful scenes about there well they will take some beating. I have in mind the Beauty and Glories of the "Severn" from Pleasant Stile and the "Blaise Bailey", also the Cotswold, Bir(d)lip and Cheviot Hills. "What memories?"

I remember one or two families on the "Blaise Bailey". The Williams, and the Bowler families and farther down over the "Hill" the Poyner family. I wonder are any of them still about there now. Also the Baghursts of "Cockshoot Farm" and the Smiths of Steers Farm on the way to Newnham. I don't think I was ever in "Blakeney", but Soudley on many occasions. I remember a place called the "Two Bridges" and I went once to "Purton". I think it could now be called "Gatcomb" of course the "Soudley Ponds" called Soudley and often in the summer months. I should be very grateful to hear of these wonderful old places. Would you know of a "Mr Oliver Wood" that lived at Soudley. He was a great "Rabbit Fancier" and showed his Rabbits at Gloucester and many other places. He used to send me a Journal sometimes called "Fur and Feather" and the "Fur and Feather Annual", and they were beautifully illustrated with many Fancy, Prize Rabbits. I would love to see one of them again. I was a great lover of these little animals.

Well now about myself, from school days I went into the mines "Foxes Bridge" in particular and at nineteen I came to Australia yes "Sunny Queensland". But I understand that some of the "Pits" have closed such as "Foxes Bridge" and "Lightmoor" and they were quite large concerns in my time. There was also "Crump Meadow" and "Trafalgar" and a few smaller dumps. Well I must say that I never liked the "Pits". Do you happen to be a Miner for I remember quite a lot of "Soudleyites" worked at the Pits both at Lightmoor and Foxes Bridge.

Well now we are having floods out here at the present but we are glad to get a change from the droughts we have at times. Would you remeber if the old "Grange" or rather the ruins still exist, they were about a mile down the Lane from the Village and on the way to Soudley. What wonderful historic places there are, I am constantly thinking of these scenes. I don't think there is any place in the wide World to beat "England" especially its Glorious Coutry Side, the singing birds, and don't forget the Nightinggale in Soudley Bottom, on a moonlight night.

One of our two sons, both of them were in the last War attatched to the "Air Force", one was a Flight Seargent but lost his life over there in 1943. Well he used to send us Post Cards and photos of the old village (and he was charmed with "England"), but of course it was Winter Time and he did not see the Glories of the Spring and Summer but looked forward to getting around the Forest of Dean later. But of course he never did, and it was quite a set back and a heart break for his dear mother and myself. The other boy he was injured at "Port Morsby" out here but he recovered and is still with us, married and living in Maryborough here.

I have often wondered if ever Cinderford grew much more, we used to pass through it daily on our way our way to the Coal Mines. I can remeber the Iron Mines working at "Buck Shaft" and the Furnaces down below Bilson Green, this was in my school days. I expect Dean Hall, The Culver House, and Blithe Court are still on the map. "The Hay and Oaklands". The Crawshaws at "Oaklands" had vast interest in many Mining Ventures and many rather sordid stories were told in their day. No one seemed to regret when they took their departure. The Miners in particular losing no sleep over it. An old friend of mine who recently passed away here in Maryborough was born in one of the two Cottages just below the White Horse in Soudley and I very much regretted his passing, for we had so much in common to talk about. His name was "Harry Nelmes". Another man that worked at Foxes Bridge Coleriry sic in my time Rejoiced in the name of Henry Griffiths and lived at "Soudley" of course this is hiking back over the years, but some of your people may remember them.

There was also a "School Mate" named "Bert Selwyn" they lived at Muttlas or Muttloes Farm down over from the Temple, near Lumbers Lane. You could see the house from "Pleasant Stile", well he came out to Australia some years ago, But I never came across him whether he came to "Queensland" or not I never knew, but the familys names were Nora, Lizzie, Bert and Sid. Do you remember any of them. Well now I do hope I'm not boring you two good people. I am just going to listen to a church service now and will finish this letter again.

Please excuse all mistakes.

Well now I will wander on a little more. I notice you were married at St Johns Church Cinderford. I have been trying to work out just where the church really was. I knew where the "Baptist Church" was and have gone to services there. Then there was a church near St Annals and I remember there was a "Blind Organist" by the name of "Walding" his father's name was Obadiah Walding. (I have an idea it was "The Methodist Church"). However I never forgot the impression this Bright lightless man made on me. His smile is still with me and I thought of the Scripture "Let your Light so Shine before men that they may see your good works and Glory your Father which is in Heaven". Well now was St Johns Church down through the Meend. Of course I was brought up in the English Church at Littledean. I have also gone to "Flaxley Church" and the Forest Church over at Drybrook with my father Timothy Burgum. Well now I must close for now. May God Richly bless you both. Remember him in all things and he will direct your Pack.

Yours sincerely

George and Ethel Burgum