Select Burden/Borden Miscellany
- Francis and Robergis DeBourdon
- Burdons in Durham
- Benjamin Borden in Virginia
- The Louisiana Burdens and Their Wonderful Gift
- Philip Burdon: A Man of Our Time
Francis and Robergis DeBourdon
It is said that Francis DeBourdon married his cousin Robergis in the village of Borden in Kent on Christmas Day 1200, were buried in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and were pictured there with their two sons kneeling at Mass beside the following inscription of the Borden Moral Code:
Be merciful: for we shall have no greater claim to the mercy we all shall finally need than that we forgive our brother's faults.
Be true: to friendship and to God, for truth is all of this life worth the having, and perfect truth is what the life to come shall reveal to us. It is the prince of darkness that is the prince of lies."
The story goes that a couple, Richard and Lavinia Cook, broke into this church at night in 1869 and removed the stone in the church which bore the Borden coat of arms. They found that the stone was hollow and contained a cylindrical leaden box, also with the Borden coat of arms. Inside this box was a cylinder of yellow cloth of well oiled linen waxed on the inside. This contained a parchment manuscript by Robergis DeBourdon. She wrote that her son Richard:
Richard Cook supplied these details in the limited edition book he wrote in 1901, Robergia: A Story of Old England. How true all of this information is must be a matter of conjecture.
Burdons in Durham
Burdon was listed by the Victorian surname researcher Henry Guppy as a Durham county name. He had collected names of yeomen farmers who had been present in the county over a number of generations. They included Pease, Proud, Bruce, Wearmouth, Eggleston, Heppell, Surtees, and Burdon. It is highly likely that Burdon originated from a place called Great Burdon near Darlington. This ancient place name means "great fort hill."
surname first appeared when Thomas Burdon took "two oxgangs of land" in
Stockton on Tees in 1486. Burdons were mayors of Stockton, from Robert
Burdon in 1495 to Rowland Burdon in 1794.
Benjamin Borden in Virginia
Benjamin's first recorded appearance in Virginia was in 1734 when he was appointed one of the justices of the newly formed Orange County. Subsequently his name appeared frequently in land transactions in various parts of the Shenandoah valley. His most important enterprise was the settlement of "Borden's Great Tract," a grant to him from the King of England of 92,100 acres in what was to become Rockbridge County.
One story has it that Benjamin killed a young buffalo and presented it to the Governor at Williamsburgh. The Governor was so delighted that he granted him 500,000 acres. Another version has it that Benjamin captured a buffalo calf and sent it to England as a present for the Queen. In her appreciation she granted him 100,000 acres in the Virginia valley.
Benjamin's legal requirement as proprietor of the tract was to put up a bond of £1,800 and settle within a stated period of time a mimimum number of families on the tract. He was to receive 1,000 acres of land for each cabin built on the tract. Five years later, after 92 cabins had been constructed, he received his grant. On his death in 1743, it was estimated that he owned 120,000 acres of land.
Most of this land was ordered to be sold by his will and the proceeds divided among his children. However, it was not until 150 years later that all "known" descendants were satisfied with the division and that the court disputes ended.
Burdens and Their Wonderful Gift
William Pike, an early settler in Baton Rouge, had owned a considerable amount of property in East Baton Rouge parish. His niece Emma married John Charles Burden in 1856 and it was John and Emma who built the old Burden House. Family legend was that the plantation was named Windrush after a river in the Cotswolds in England where John had grown up.
Burdens have lived on this beautiful expanse of land over the
generations. Of the 20th century siblings, Ollie Steele Burden
and Ione Burden never married. Pike Burden married the lovely
Jeanette Monroe. All three lived on the property until their
death. Each were extremely concerned for its preservation after
they had gone. Therefore in the 1960's the Borden family created
the Burden Foundation to assist in the management, development, and
preservation of the land and its invaluable resources.
not until the death of Pike that the Burden Foundation was able to
devise a solid plan to maintain this pristine track of land. They
donated the property to Louisiana State University in 1973.
Thanks to strict guidelines for land use, the land at Burden Center
will never see the effects of urban development.
Philip Burdon: A Man of Our Time
"It would be easy to make assumptions
about someone like Philip Burdon. The product of a long line of
landed gentry going back to the 14th century and of well-heeled
pilgrims on Canterbury's first four ships, brought up and educated as
one of South Canterbury's privileged landowners, a distinguished old
boy of Christ's College, and a self-made multimillionaire to boot -
Burdon might appear to be the archetypal New Zealand anglocentric
The truth is very different. The
man is also a passionate republican, a businessman with an acute social
conscience, a liberal politician who fought relentlessly against the
right-wing ideologues of his own National Party, and not only slowed
their extremist free-market reforms but convinced his caucus that this
philosophy must wear a human face."
This is how Philip Burdon appears in Edmund Bohan's book, Burdon: A Man of Our Time.