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

Dukkerin Page 2





Urania and Levi Boswell Continued:-                                           Old Post Card 1906


A nephew of theirs, Len Dighton, was interviewed for an article, which appeared in the Orpington local press on 2nd September 1976. An extract states:-

"Levi Boswell owned acres of land at Tugmutton Common, Farnborough, and his 300 thoroughbred horses ranged over what is now Farnborough Hospital.

Lords and ladies from all over the world used to visit his stables, stocked from the best horses from Ireland and Wales. After buying their horses they would visit Gipsy Rose Lee who would tell the ladies what sort of man they would marry and the men what horse was going to win the Derby.

 "Rose Lee and Levi did not really get on that well – she lived in a bungalow and he lived in a thatched cottage just down the road," Len recalled.

"But they were both the best in their field – if Rose Lee told your fortune you knew that was how it was going to be.

 She always wanted to tell mine but I was too scared of what she might see and always refused."

At the age of 12, Len witnessed an event which has stayed in his memory ever since – the death of his uncle, the 'King of the Gipsies.'

In 1924, at the age of 77, the old man died – and all the gypsies in Britain went into mourning.

The splendid black funeral carriage pulled by a team of six black horses, drove from Locks Bottom to St Giles the Abbot Church at Farnborough, followed by hundreds of gypsies and members of the gentry.

Len said, "He was a hard man, but respected by everyone and his funeral was a sight I shall never forget.

I remember walking back to his cottage and seeing rows of his horses, with their heads bowed, facing towards his cottage, as if they knew."

There have over the centuries been other notable "Gypsy Rose Lees" wether they were called Rose or not !! as well as the Lee's Old Eliza Cooper and Gentilla Cooper amongst others are mentioned in numerous books and articles from the JGLS  and although to the Gorgio who held them in esteem and awe the gypsies themselves took it all with a pinch of salt and often had a laugh at their expense ! as shown here by a poem from George Borrows Lavo LiL:-   O dear me! O dear me! What dinnelies these gorgies be.



Britannia is my nav;

I am a Kaulo Camlo;

The gorgios pen I be

A bori chovahaunie;

And tatchipen they pens,

The dinneleskie gorgies,

For mande chovahans

The luvvu from their putsies.


Britannia is my name;

I am a swarthy Lovel;

The Gorgios say I be

A witch of wondrous power;

And faith they speak the truth,

The silly, foolish fellows,

For often I bewitch

The money from their pockets.

Also at Blackpool was the well documented "Gypsy Sarah"  below is a extract from a newspaper reporting on the death of her daughter

Ada Boswell Obituary - Gazette, 14.5.1901:

A GIPSY QUEEN DIES AT SOUTH SHORE - Pathetic Interview With her Daughters.

The Gipsies at South Shore have lost their Queen, and the encampment has been deprived of its most picturesque figure by the death of Ada Boswell, who was styled the "Royal Queen of the Gipsies." This gifted Romany, a daughter of the famous old "Gipsy Sarah " succumbed to an attack of heart disease early on Saturday morning, and there was much lamentation in the tents of her bright-eyed, dark-skinned people. The funeral took place at the Blackpool Cemetery on Monday, and hundreds of people collected at the encampment, and afterwards at the grave side, as the Gipsy Queen went the way of all queens, whether they occupy a throne, or a humble though picturesque tent".

 Sarah was of course the wife of Edward"Ned"Boswell , Sarah was reputedly over a 100 when she died but from the Census her age seems to vary !!!not uncommon !! Edward ranges from b 1805 to 1815 ! and Sarah from 1833 /1815/1805 !!!!


                                                                                                                                                     Pictured below is "Gypsy Sarah aged 99 and her g/dau                

1881*Revidge Field Tent Blackburn, Lancs

  Edward Boswell 65 Gypsy Hawker Cottingham Yks

 Sarah Boswell 48 Gypsy Hawker Wales

 Alma Boswell 20 Gypsy Hawker Lytham Lancs

  Heram Boswell 11 grand son Gypsy Hawker Blackpool Lancs  


Tobias Boswell 24 Gypsy Hawker Wales

 Ada Boswell 28 Gypsy Hawker London, Mx

 Harry Boswell 10mo Gypsy Blackpool Lancs


 Edgar Chillcott 26 Gypsy Hawker London  (This is Edgar Lee married Neds dau Emma)

Emma Chillcott 20 Gypsy Hawker Skelsmerdel

 Brittania Chillcott 1 Gypsy Hawker Chorley Lancs

 Walter Chillcott 29 Gypsy Hawker/Brother Suffolk


1891*Southshore Town: Bispham Hawes County: Lancashire

(Tent in Sand Hills)

Edward Boswell 86 hd b Yorkshire living on own means (Gypsies)

Sarah Boswell  76 wife b London

Alma Boswell  31 son b Blackpool


1901*Census*Fylde Sub-registration district: Blackpool

South Shore Holy Trinity Town: Blackpool  

Gypsy Encampment in tents)

 Sarah Boswell  96 hd b Essex living on own means

Alma Boswell 44son b Blackpool, Lancashire

 Iraham Boswell  32 g/son b Blackpool, Lancashire

Florry Lee  17 g/dau b Blackpool, Lancashire

Horace Lee  19 g/son b Blackpool, Lancashire


Polis Heron  39 hd b york Leeds horse dealer

Leah Heron  60 wife? Leeds, Yorkshire hawker

Elijah Heron  61father b Leeds, Yorkshire

 Gavleanna Heron 16 dau b Leeds, Yorkshire

 Dora Yates who in her book "My Gypsy Days" published 1953 descibes several meetings with her friends the Boswell's and amongst the various stories one that I like is when Dora was visiting them and on the occasion of some "Foreigners"  In fact it was 1906 and the Foreigners were some german Gypsies who had camped on the sands at South shore to the disaproval of the English Gypsies ! Below is a brief chapter from the book to give you an idea of what they thought of Intruders in their camp!!


""The Blackpool south shore was already well known to us as the headquarters of our Gypsy friends the Boswells,Youngs

Herons and Lees. Here indeed the Romanies of the Northern Counties looked upon themselves as "we' stablished Gypsies'

or 'we oldstandards', with the privileged monopoly of telling the fortunes of the visitors who flocked to this seaside resort in

their hundreds and thousands. Here the famous Morjiana Lee,wife of Bendigo and sister of Oliver and Ithal Lee, who had

befriended so many Romani Rais,was recognized as the so - called 'Queen' of the Gypsies, and here in this year of grace

1952 her daughter Cinderella (or 'relly) is still reputed to be a miraculous seer into the future.


 In 1906 this enterprising English Gypsy colony did a roaring trade among the Lancashire holiday-makers with their shooting-galleries , mery-go-rounds,switchback raqilways,waterchutes, and other side shows,and the travelling Locks sold their horses to Gawjos less knowledgeable than themselves about horse-flesh. So the Anglo-Romanies regarded 'dose nasty poverty furriners' who had been granted a temporary resting-place on the Blackpool sands with anything but favour---any rival attractions might interfere

with their own thriving buisness. 'And oh! my Rawnie, 'said one of the younger Smith girls,dragging at my arm to hinder us,'you should see the way they treats them poor shopkeepers.They goes into the shops and takes anything they has a fancy for-- half a leg of mutton,a sack of potatoes,or a cheese---and all they gives those dear blessed people is only one penny! And they calls theirselves honest, not like we nice respectable Gypsies!' Having experienced before the sharp jealousy one Gypsy clan feels for another who bids for the notice of their special Rai or Rawnie, and knowing therefor that we should get no reliable information from our old acquaintances,we made straight for the camp of the 'German' Gypsies .""

























                                 Some Photos are courtesy of Wendy Bond and Sharon Float all rights reserved)





Dukkerin Page 2

sarha 1906 postcard