The Ogbournes of Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England
This picture is said to be of celebrations in Wootton Bassett on the Abolition of Slavery, though amongst the banners shown is one for 'Murray & Walsh' - so could it have been an issue at a Parliamentary Election ?
Why include information about Wootton Bassett in this website ?
Because there have been more Ogbournes born and living in Wootton Bassett than any other town in the UK, (including 123 baptisms) for at least 400 years.
[Wootton Bassett was granted royal patronage in March 2011 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of its role in the early 21st century military funeral repatriations, which passed through the town. The town is now known as Royal Wootton Bassett.
It is ironical that when the distinguished American Professor William Fielding Ogburn was Visiting Professor at Nuffield College, Oxford (1952-1953), he made great efforts to trace Ogb**rn*s in the UK, and wrote to many parish priest in the Thames Valley area, asking if there were Ogb**rn*s in the church register, but the records of these enquiries kindly copied to us by his son Fielding Ogburn show that his father drew a near complete blank. Had he written to the parish of Wootton Bassett he would have felt he was getting somewhere, though we knew nothing about the history of our name at that time.
The Ogbournes of Wootton Bassett appear regularly in early records of the town, but relatively few daring Ogbourne exploits have been found. In July of 1803 the Mayor, Mr Hollister displayed a poster making an impassioned plea for volunteers to join a militia to resist a feared attack by Napoleon Bonaparte. "If it succeeded all true Britons would be sacrificed to French Ambition, such as plunder, massacre, debauchery and other diabolical mischief" it read. Thomas Ogbourne answered the call and demonstrated his willingness to distinguish himself by volunteering. A plaque is displayed in the Town Hall to attest to this, pictured here View of Wootton Bassett Town Hall & High St. (15k) One William Ogbourne gave unwilling assistance at the end of the 17th century when he fell foul of a special tax to raise money to fight a war against France. Details are set out in the attached text file: Taxed to pay for War with France
One or two Ogbournes from the town seem to have fallen foul of the law in the early 19th century, e.g.
Christopher OGBOURN, 57 years, trial at Salisbury Sessions.
Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials began to be kept in the 16th century on the instructions of Henry VIII, and the registers for of St Bartholomew & All Saints Church, Wootton Bassett date from 1594. Between 1603 and 1900 for instance there were 123 baptisms recorded in the name of Ogbourne/Ogborne,Wootton Bassett baptisms 1603 - 1841 (5k) whereas in neighbouring parishes the total number can be counted on one hand.
An image of the original church record showing the baptism of Timothy on Feb 8 1662/3 at Wootton Bassett, can be viewed here: Baptisms for part of 1662 and 1663 (31k) The 48 marriages of Ogbournes between 1620 and 1927 are detailed here:Wootton Basssett Marriages (4k) (Many of the entries in the attached record do not appear in the International Genealogical Index).
An image of the original record of the marriage of Joanne Ogborne widow [of Peter Ogborne ?] in the marriage register can be viewed here: 1619/20 marriage register (24k)and of the marriage of John Ogbourne & Sarah Ogbourne, distant relatives, both of Wootton Bassett in 1761 (24k) Marriage register 1761 (19k )
The year 681 is usually taken as the starting point for recorded history of Wootton Bassett, then known as Wodeton, it being referred to in that year in a Malmesbury Abbey charter granting land to the Abbot. It is a very ancient town which lies 5 miles west of Swindon and some 8 miles to the north west of the villages of Ogbourne St George and Ogbourne St Andrew.
The right was first gained to send two representatives to Parliament as early as 1446 and prior to the Reform Act of 1832 Wootton Bassett was known as a 'Rotten' or 'Pocket' Borough, due to the way in which elections were conducted there, which were the antithesis of modern democratic elections. Voters were required to state their preferences in public before representatives of each side, and were openly bribed. In 1754 the accounts of a successful candidate show that his supporters were paid £30 each for their vote, and in the run up to the election the candidates secured the allegiance of public houses in the town, where voters were plied with free refreshments. Free beer was also provided by men who carried containers carried about the town. The same accounts show that £1,077 was paid out to 12 'pubs' for the refreshments. (these were truly 'the good old days' !) Records in the County Record Office at Trowbridge record the votes of residents, including a number of Ogbournes. For instance ion the 1820 election votes cast included the following:
Wootton Bassett High Street 1870
My researches into family history began on reading that in 1805 John Ogbourne had been paid from parish funds two shillings & sixpence for mending Thomas Titcombe's shoes. (Wootton Bassett - A History by P.J.Gingell) The attached image shows the parish church, (in which I and my two brothers sang in the choir in the 1950s) as it looks today St Bartholomew & All Saints (27k) References to the church in early records go back as far as 1200, and in 1264 Phillip Bassett asked leave of the Pope to build his own chapel at Vastern "in consequence of his being at a distance from the church in Wodeton"
In the centuries prior to the 17th the name crops up in official records in the Kingsbridge hundred, Old map of Kingsbridge Hundred (24k) a small area of Wiltshire of which Wootton Bassett was the principal town. See Origins of the name.