Long before the vineyards were planted and far from the modern winemaking facilities and contemporary design of The Nest, the original Gusbourne Estate was rather more medieval. Tracing its history back to 1410, the estate was then the domain of landowner John de Goosebourne.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and our elegant line-drawn goosemark logo represents the Gusbourne ethos on our bottles, accessories, stationery, packaging and all our branded materials. It references the original de Goosebourne family crest, displayed in the church here in Appledore, with its three geese and an ochre-coloured horizontal band.
We’re proud of it. It’s part of our identity. But have we really dug deeply into its origins?
When Duncan Brown, Gusbourne’s Head of Export and Travel Retail, was describing the de Goosebourne family crest to a friend one day, he was struck by the seed of a hypothesis about the symbolism behind it and a probable connection to the Gusbourne name.
Are there any streams on the estate that flow in winter but dry up in the summer, he wondered?
Why? Because a bourne, a Southern English variant of the more commonly used Scottish word burn, is an intermittent stream flowing from a spring.
And on the de Goosebourne family crest, there’s an ochre-coloured horizontal band that separates one of the geese from the other two.
Could this band represent a dried-up summer stream, given the colour of our clay soil?
Gusbourne’s Chief Vineyard Manager, Jon Pollard, likes this hypothesis. “All our drainage ditches run with water in the winter and, apart from unseasonably wet summer weather, are dry in the summer.”
So far, so plausible.
“Field boundaries have changed somewhat since the estate was established – we wouldn’t be able to trace any individual stream back the de Goosebourne era – but the current conditions and soil type seem to suggest that this could be the origin of the name,” says Jon.
He also points out that a bourn (without the ‘e’) is a limit or boundary. “Streams often served – and still do serve – this purpose, demarcating lands of differing ownership. And the proximity of Romney Marsh and of the geese that use it as a feeding and breeding ground also makes me think that this could well be the origin of the Gusbourne name: the estate is the first high ground you come to off the marsh and thus makes a natural division.”
While the clouds of history make our hypothesis difficult to prove, we do like to think that John de Goosebourne, friend of fowl, would approve.
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