What’s in a Name

Im often asked where the name “Vergette” came from and so I thought I would start this blog with an explanation.

Meet William Vergette

This is William, for as long as I can remember his picture hung in my Grandmother’s house. I remember asking her about him and being told that he was my ancestor. Being only very young, I had no idea what an ancestor was, but it sounded a bit like Aunt so I guessed it meant a relative.

My grandmother told me of a French man coming to England who’s name was William Vergette. He was a Huguenot and had escaped from France where he was in danger of being executed. He settled near Peterborough where he began farming. *Successive generations ran and expanded the farm until my Great Grandfather, having no male heirs to pass it to, sold it and retired.

My grandmother always felt it was grossly unfair that she had not been able to keep the name of Vergette when she married. So when it came to thinking of a name for the business it seemed appropriate, in honour of William and my Grandmother, to name our company Vergette and so carry on the family name.

*The farm part is definitely true, but a bit of research has shown we could also be descended from French prisoners of war who were made to dig ditches. So as to whether this enigmatic man truly is a relative I doubt I shall ever find out. But as he smiles down from my wall, whether he was a fenland ditch digger or middle class artisan,  I hope he likes what we are doing and I shall always strive to make him proud. 

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Tags: Design, Garden, Hereford, Vergette, Worcester

Comment by Mick Gammage on February 4, 2012 at 20:16

nice one Tanya :)

Comment by Sally Bishton on February 4, 2012 at 20:20

A lovely story Tanya, how great to name your business after someone in your family, I'm sure he would be proud!

Comment by Rose Lennard on February 5, 2012 at 10:09

Lovely! I'm sure if you took the picture along to a museum they would be able to tell you more about him from the clothes he is wearing and how his hair (or wig?) is styled. He looks quite well-to-do, and I doubt a ditch digger would have been able to afford to had his portrait made. There is also a Huguenot society (I'm also related to french refugees, and my gran did a lot of research at one time). I wonder if the name Vergette comes from the french for orchard?

Comment by Tanya Batkin on February 5, 2012 at 10:27

Thank you Mick and Sally for your kind words. I will have to find the time to delve a little deeper Rose, thank you.

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Comment by Phil Voice on February 5, 2012 at 11:52

Interesting story Tanya:)

Comment by Tanya Batkin on February 5, 2012 at 16:24

Cheers Phil and thanks for the tweet too.

Comment by Brigitt Stevenson on February 5, 2012 at 19:52

Names are so important for any History !!! :))

Comment by Mark & Yasmin Roworth on February 6, 2012 at 9:03

I often wanted to ask you Tanya but never got round to it. Great story

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