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Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved

The Cooper's  Of Norwood



For years I had been intrigued by Margaret

Finch and the supposed descendent of hers,

Miss Nancy Cooper, the celebrated gypsy who

married a William Sharp at St Lukes Norwood

as told in the newspapers of the day.


I searched but could not find them.

I decided one last try (for now at least).

I decided to take what newspapers say with a pinch of salt (nothing changes) And then I found them. She was Miss Ann Cooper, he John Sharp, not William, and they married 27th August, 1827 at St Lukes Norwood,not by license but by banns. I found John and Ann on the 1841 census at Westow Street Alley, Norwood and their childrens names gave me a clue to who Ann was. Son Daniel was bapt 21st November 1830 at St Lukes Norwood, Georgiana 3rd February 1833 St Lukes, Penelope about 1835, Algerina about 1838  and Elmagina whose birth was registered in 1840 Croydon registration district.  I thought perhaps she was the daughter of Daniel Cooper, brother of Elisha Cooper, (father of fighting Jack the pugilist.) The name of her daughter Algerina rang a bell, and when I told my cousin Linda Roberts she said didnt Daniel Cooper have an Elgina? yes he did, Elgina, bapt 1816 Nettlestead, Kent, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Cooper.

Their daughter Ann was baptised in 1811 Clapham and now  I believe I have found who Ann Sharp belonged to.

Ann's sister Elgina/Algerina calls herself Jane on census, and her daughter Algerina also calls herself Jane. Ann had her wedding reception at the Gipsy House Norwood, the same place where her father Daniel said he worked when picked up with his brother Elisha and the Lees (including his future wife Elizabeth) on a settlement order.


Extract:-1790 Environs of London.Rev Lysons.

"The Gipsy House is situated on a small green in a valley surrounded with woods. On this green a few families of gipsies have pitched their tents for a great number of years during the summer season. In the winter they either procure lodgings in London or take up their abode in some of the more distant counties. Since the inclosure of Norwood however, they have been obliged to move farther away and only make their daily excursions to the Gipsy House for the purpose of obtaining money from the credulous visitors to that place"


I havent been able to find John and Ann on 1851 census but their children are scattered as servants or lodgers. I believe Ann is the Ann Sharp who died in 1842 Croydon registration district. Son Daniel partners Elizabeth Williams and has three sons, John, Henry, and Robert. Daughter Georgiana marries Samuel Barnet Buckland and has 7 children, Penelope marries James Shaw and has 5 children. Algerina aka Jane marries Stephen Little and has 7. I have not found anything as yet on Elmagina other than a birth registration, and also there is a baptism for an Elizabeth Ann for John and Ann in 1828 at St Lukes Norwood but havent found further information on her as yet.

Anns sister Algerina/Elgina/Jane marries a Joseph Hollidge and on the 1851 census they are at Gipsy Hill Norwood where Jane as her name appears says she is born at Peckham, Kent. This would be East Peckham and not the Peckham in south London, and a stones throw from where Elgina Cooper was baptised in 1816 in Nettlestead. The very next family on the 1851 census are Samuel Cooper aka Norwood Sam, and wife Flora with their children. If I am right in my assumption that Norwood Sam is the son of Elisha, and Ann Sharpe nee Cooper and Jane (Elgina/Algerina) Hollidge nee Cooper daughters of Daniel Cooper, then Sam and the two sisters are first cousins.


In his book  Wonderful Characters comrpising memoirs and anecdotes of remarkable persons of every Age & Nation of 1822, Henry Wilson writes:-


"Margaret Finch, buried Oct. 24, 1740.This remarkable person lived to the age of 109 years. She was one of the people called Gipsies, and had the title of their Queen. After travelling over various parts of the kingdom, during the greater part of a century, she settled at Norwood; whither her great age, and the same of her fortune-telling, attracted numerous visitors. From a habit of sitting on the ground, with her chin resting on her knees, the sinews at length became so contracted, that she could not rise from that posture; after her death they were obliged to inclose her body in a deep square box. Her funeral was attended by two mourning coaches; a sermon was preached upon the occasion, and a great concourse of people attended the ceremony. There is an engraved portrait of Margaret Finch, from a drawing made in 1739. Her picture adorns the sign-post of a house of public entertainment in Norwood, called the Gipsy-house . In an adjoining cottage lives an old woman, grandaughter of Queen Margaret, who inherits her title. She is niece of Queen Bridget, who was buried at Dulwich in 1768 (fn. 47). Her rank seems to be merely titular; I do not find that the Gipsies pay her any particular respect; or that she differs in any other respect, than that of being a householder, from the rest of her tribe".


Now this old woman, a granddaughter of Margaret cannot be Ann (the celebrated Miss Nancy Cooper) as she was only 11 in 1822, Ann may have lived in the cottage adjoining Gipsy House before her marriage in 1827 as a house passed down through the family. In another book I found this , 'Old woman, mother of Gipsy Cooper of pugilistic reknown, allowed to reveal fortune of all who crossed her palm with a piece of silver in the Beulah Spa Gardens, Norwood' and then another which says 'another of Finchs descendants was telling fortunes at Beulah Spa in 19th C.'  Tryphena Cooper, wife of Elisha Cooper was the said fortune teller, and if the two excerpts are to believed, Tryphena could be the grand daughter of Margaret Finch and niece of Bridget, who herself was niece of Margaret Finch. I believe there may be a few generations more than grand daughter between Tryphena and Margaret Finch, as Margaret, if her age on death is to believed at 109 would have been born around 1631. Tryphena would have been born around the early 1770s, so at least 5 generations seperate them.  Now to find out who Tryphena was, a Lovell as JGLS states, or maybe a Lee as her and her husband are constantly with the Lees?

Elizabeth Golding 1/8/2017 (C)Elizabeth Golding.   (Thanks to  Sue Day and Linda Roberts or all their help and support)




Added note (Sue Day) On http://www.artnet.com Its states 1851 for this painting so more than a 100 years  after Margeret  Finch died .


(From Beckenham History) http://www.beckenhamhistory.co.uk

The painting is by a Victorian artist called John Mcullum depicting the Lynch gate through the ages. It is believed that the lady sitting down is Margaret Finch. To this day crystals, mainly amethysts are left close too the Lynch gate. They are nowhere else in the graveyard.

        On the right extract from “Norwood & Dulwich Past and Present” by Allen M. Galer, published in London in 1890.




Lynch gate John Mcullum 1841 art studio says gipsy house norwood

The Cooper's  Of Norwood

norwood extract

Lynch Gate