|Juliana Popjoy and Beau Nash||Return to 'Famous Pobjoys'|
Juliana Popjoy was baptised in Bishopstrow, near Warminster, Wiltshire, in 1714. Her father Walter appears to have been an innkeeper and Juliana a dressmaker. She caught the attention of Beau Nash, Master of Ceremonies in the increasingly fashionable spa of Bath, perhaps as he came by coach from London, and became his mistress. The contemporary caricature left portrays 'Lady Betty Besom', as she was known, leaping over 'The sacred Boundary of Discretion' on her dapple-grey horse.
Juliana helped the Beau receive Princess Mary and Princess Caroline at his magnificent house in St John's Court (now the Garrick's Head) in 1740. But when Nash's finances took a turn for the worse, he had to move to a house in Saw Close, now Popjoy's Restaurant. He and Juliana parted, but she later returned to nurse him in the last years of his life.
Nash died in 1761, and in 1777 a notice appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine announcing Juliana's death. She had supposedly taken up residence "in a large hollow tree" near Warminster "on a lock of straw, resolving never more to lie in a bed; and she was as good as her wordä unless when she made her short peregrinations to Bath, Bristol and the gentleman's houses adjacent; and she then lay in some barn or outhouse."