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                                                                                       THE HEARNS

                                                        Transcribed from T.W.THOMPSON’S PAPERS by Sue Day

                          (As appeared in Romany &Traveller Family History Society Journal Volume 7 No 7 - Jun 2006)

 (Pictured top left Elizabeth Hearn NEE Anderson wife of Mullender Hearn (thanks to Gloria)/Centre Thomas Hearn .

Most of the information in this article is taken from the notes of T.W.THOMPSON AND E.O.WINSTEDT for the JGLS.

with the Heron tree drawn up by T .W. Thompson for the JGLS. (1922-1932 T.W. Thompson Honorary Secretary JGLS)


"The Herons once a East Anglia nad now of North England have received a good deal of attention from students of the Gypsy Lore from Borrow's day to the present time,and an elaborate genealogical tree of the family has been published. But they represent only one branch of the family;and the present article is an attempt to put together the little that is known about the family in general,excluding tht branch.It will be found to be regrettably little and uncertain compared to the clear and complete information about the Herons the form of the name we propose to confine to the Northern branch ,and Hearn being used for their Southern kindred.

There is perhaps another reason, why the genealogies of the Southern and Midland Gypsies are seldom so clear as those of the rest of England.The south and the Midlands seem to have been the chief centres of all the clans till near the end of the 18th century:and the families now travelling in other parts of the country can generally claim descent from some or one ancestor who migrated to their district:and they are generally able to give a fairly good account of the family from that ancestor down-wards.But the Southern Gypsies are the relics of the rest of the clans:and as records suggests that most of the clans were as large in the 18th century and some even larger than they are now.Hanging,transportation and pestilence in the old days,migration to to America in more recent times,and intermarriage with house dwellers and subsequent immersion in the general population all along,having kept their numbers from increasing -it is obvious that the connecting link between present day survivors may be far more remote than is the case with their kindred in the more distant parts of England"


Though their are mentions of the Hearn name as early as 1539,there is more to be said for the Peeter Hearne with 11 persons in his company who was travelling with a pass from Yorkshire to Sussex and passed through Helmdon in 1656.And for John Herrin and Katherine Herrin and one child and James Hay and wife and 2 children and Barbra Peay and Elizbeth Nutall "who were openly whipped at Heckington,Lincs May 28,1688,as vagrants. At that date the Hearns were indisputably an important Gypsy cln,as the earlier mentions cited by Groome show.The first is taken from Lysons extracts  from the Camberwell registers:-:June 2,1687,Robert Hearn and Elizabeth Boswell,King and Queen of the Gipsies married:and the second from the register of Stanbridge,Bedford:-Mrs Hearn a Gypsie queene was buried ye 20th of August 1691 by me Ed.Hargrave and no affidavit made.Grooms next instance is the marriage of :Edward Bosvile of Youlgrave Derbyshire,and Lucy Hern of Witchford on September 23,1720 at All Saints Cambridge.With this entry one can compare and few will hesitate to accept both couples as Gypsies,though it is not stated definitely.Groom suggests that Lucy may have been daughter of the couple married in 1687:and it may equally well have been a son of theirs who figures in the entry:-Francis Hern and Lucretia Draper married at Basingstoke July 7,1716.Francis is a name that recurrs frequently among the early Herons,and the Drapers were on the roads at that date as the entry :William son of George Draper , "stroller" among the baptisms at St.Peters Canterbury, Dec,30,1737 proves.That the couples were married in church is no argument against that assumption,in spite of the assertions of modern Gypsies that their ancestors never indulged in church marriages.Another entry Solarine Hern and Marie Ingram were married at (Girson?)Cambridgshire on Sept22,1703,Solarine being  no doubt a mistake for Solavino or Solomon .This is the fourth such marriage within 33 years,and 17 years later two more occurred at Thames oxon:-Manuel Hearn and Rachel Smith,Gypsies,by Lisssient(Licence)on June 23,1737 and "William Buckley and Amey Hearn,Gypsies, by Licence ,March 15th 1737/8.The marriage bond in the second case  was drawn up in the names of  William Buckley and James Buckley,and it is worth noting that in both cases the name has been altered from Buckland,showing, what is clear from from other documentary evidence too that both forms were in use by the sme persons at that date-Buckley being perhaps the commoner older form.Amy may therefore be the Amy Buckland who was buried at Steeple Earton(Sydenham)near Thame,which doubtless means nothing more than they were stopping there t the time;and though William signs with a mark,it would probably surprise his descendants to hear that John was scholar enough to scrawl a bad signature.


The christian names in these entries  leave little room for doubt that these Hearns were connected and intimately connected with the Herons.Francis ,Manuel and Rachel all recur in the early branches of the printed genelogical tree.The Francis,who was married in 1716 is too old tohave been identical with Francis the father of "ould Dick"( b1in tree") whose birth so far as one cn guess from the few tangible dates that can be supplied in the early part of the tree,may be dated circa 1750.But he may well have been both the Francis Heron ,King of the Faws",who is said to have been buried at Jarrow in 1756,and equally well he may have been father both to Manuel and Amey and to Francis "ould Dicks"parent.That Manuel and Amey were brother and sister seems highly probable from their marriage at the same place within a few months and it is supported by the occurrence of the rather rare name Manuel in the Buckland family in the next generation."John son of Emanuel and Aquila Buckley strolling Gypsies "was baptised at Tackley Oxon march 3d ,1776, rather early perhaps for him to be the grandson of William and Amy:still there are living Gypsies who were grandparents before they were forty,and early marriages were more in vogue 200 years ago.Thisentry probably records the birth of John ,father of Manuel(al.Mantis)Buckland who married "ould Dicks" daughter Sarah,and if so that may have been one of the cousin marriages so frequent among the Herons and all Gypsies.


There may indeed have been a double connection between the two parties;for in 1732 Solomon Draper-no doubt a relative to Lucretia married Arthuly Stanley at Canterbury,and when his wife was buried on Jan 21,1744/5 in Burford Oxfordshire she was recorded as "Arculah wife of Solomon Draper".And Arculah is not very different in pronounciation from Aquila and that the two spellings might represent  the same name is shown by the use of Arculus and Aquilas,besides Arkles for a man,who doubtless was christened Hercules .As the name or names are rare it is quite possible that Manuel Bucklands wife Aquila was akin to Arthula who married Solomon Draper and through him to Lucretia.For the other form of her name the only parrelell forth coming at present is the wife of another Hearn.In January 1760 Thomas Horne  a Gypsy and Arthula his wife were tried at the quarter sessions at Oxford "for stealing a Black Mare seized in their custody a few weeks ago as they were passing through this place when the man was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged and the woman aquitted",here too one cannot help suspecting a cousin marriage,Thomas being the son of Francis and Lucretia Hearn and Arthulah a daughter of Solomon and Arthulah Draper;and again the suggestion receives some feeble support from the appearance a generation later  of Solomon as a name among these Hearns and among that branch of them which seems to have pronounced their name so that it could be confused with Horn.For this  one can compare  Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Horam Traveller,"baptised at Chinnor near Thame Oxford 1766,where the m is probably a mistake by the parson for n.This entry is claimed by the well known super centernarian as a record of her birth  Elizabeth Leatherlund ,a sister of Borrows Thomas Hearn ,and as Borrows friend stated that his mother was a gorgio from Oxford,it seems probable that their father was a connection ,possibly a son of the Thomas Horn arrested at Oxford in 1760.::To be continued:2nd Part as appeared in Romany Routes Romany Routes - Volume 8 No 1 - Dec 2006 By Sue Day


                                                                       THOMAS ROSSAR-MESCRO


“On the twenty-second day of June, in the year one-thousand-eight-hundred and sixty-three, I went to see Thomas Herne, an old Gypsy, of whom I had heard a great deal. He was living at a place called Mr. Groby’s Court, not far from the Potteries and Shepherd’s Bush.” This is how George Borrow in his book Lavo Lil, starts his account of the patriarch who may or may not, be the start of  the London-side Hearns’.

From other sources, including notes from T.W.Thompson and Otto Winsted in the Journals of the Gypsies Lore Society, I have gleaned enough information to establish that this Thomas was a brother to Elizabeth who married Joseph Leatherland (who according to one tree I have seen was the brother of Elizabeth Leatherland who married Mullender Hearn). This was a common event amongst Gypsies, who often married the brothers’ or sisters’ of their partner. However, I think there must be a mistake here, as Mullender was born c.1776, which would put him more in the line to be Thomas and Elizabeth’s brother - unless of course he married his own niece?  If Mullender was not a brother but a cousin, this would make him a second cousin  - maybe one day information will come to light which will confirm this one way or another!

From these two siblings at least (although I also suspect Mullender, Royal, Norris and Mark) sprung the Hearn families who resided at Kensington (The Potteries) and Wandsworth Gypsyries from 1850 onwards and later Ruislip Common, although I have found some earlier baptisms which suggest they were probably travelling back and forth between Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Oxford in earlier times. I have been trying to find the link between Thomas and Mullender Hearn born c1766 /76, but as yet I have not found Mullender in any Census although he should be in the 1841 and 51 as he died in 1855 in the Ruislip Union Workhouse.

I found out later that another Mullender used the alias John, and from other sources that Benjamin or Mathew were also used as alias's, but I have still been unable to find any Hearn with any of those names or any of the various spellings of the surname, of the right age or place to be Mullender! So going on the evidence I could find, and using all the sources available, I can only hypothesize on what may or may not be Mullender’s correct lineage. According to a statement given by Elizabeth, she and her brother Thomas were the children of a Thomas Hearn and she also stated that her mother died in childbirth and was buried, she knew not where, as their father would never tell them! Thomas told people that he was the son of a Gypsy Hearn but that his mother was a Gorgio from Oxford, which would back up Elizabeth’s statement that she was born in 1763 in Chinnor Oxford.  An article by T.W. Thompson already covers this story, as does many newspaper reports, including one in the Times Newspaper, which stated that she was 113 when she died in 1876.

Further comments made by her nephew Mesheck Hearn, who stated that Elizabeth was two years younger than his father, suggests a birth date of about 1776/8, which would make her 100 when she died. If we also look at her eldest son Samue,l who Elizabeth said was born when she was 29,  (sadly he was a victim of the Hartlake disaster in 1853 which killed so many of the Hearns’ and Leatherlands’ and other related members of Thomas and Elizabeth’s family), Samuel’s age was given as 59. This would make her 14 or 18 according to which birth date is correct, but interestingly, if her age of 113 in 1876 correct, then 29 could be right!

Thomas Hearn in the 1851 census at Kensington, where he gives his age as 75 and born High Wycombe, Buck’s, a widower living with his son Meshack age 56 who was born at Hertfordshire.  Also with them was a John Hearn age 12, a nephew to Meshack and grandson of Thomas. This John, I think, is the son of Thomas’s son Christopher who had a son John Mathew Hearn baptised  in 1843  at St Nicholas’s Church, Chiswick, where there are quite a few Hearn records to be found in the registers.*


1851 Census., HO107-1468-616-58 Kensington, Middlesex.( Potteries)

Meshack Hearn 56 Hardings, Hertfordshire Head Basket Maker

Alice Hearn 47 Watford, Hertfordshire Wife ?

Bedingo Hearn 26 Chiswick, Middlesex Son Hawker

Mary Hearn 23 Wimbledon, Surrey   Daughter   Hawker

Susan Hearn 13 High Wycombe, Buck's Daughter

Vergin Hearn 5 Chiswick, Middlesex Daughter

Henry Hearn 9 Mnths Chiswick, Middlesex Son

John Hearn 12 High Wycombe, Buck's Nephew

Thomas Hear 75 High Wycombe, Buck's Grandfather - Chair bottomer

According to one JGLS tree I have seen, Thomas Hearn’s wife may have been called Fanny, but as I have found no evidence to support that, I have not included her in this article. The reason for my thinking that Mullender and Norris were, if not brothers, then first cousins’, are the birth dates and locations, the same Christian names appearing and also the fact that Mark Hearn, son of Mullender, turns up in the same area about 1850. Mullender (and also his wife Elizabeth), died in the Union workhouse in Ruislip and, going by the usual occurrences of cousin and related marriages so prevalent with Romany families, interestingly Fanny Leatherland, daughter of Samuel and Charlotte Leatherland, (another cousin marriage, Charlotte being the daughter of Thomas Hearn and Samuel the son of his sister Elizabeth by Joseph Leatherland), said after the Hadlow disaster that John Hearn, her relative who drowned, was also known to her as Mullender! That is just one of those little tit-bits that can help so much when one is trying to connect family lines up.

With a name such as Mullender, and also in this Hearn family comes the name Methuselah/Methusalem, you  think they would be easy to find, but as is the norm with Gypsy forbears, they must have used a more “gorgio” name for the census and another for formal matters. Fanny is recorded as saying that  “John “was always known as Mullender, while other notes I found said Methusalah and Mullender could be replaced by Mathew or Benjamin!

This leads us nicely on to another theory expressed by some that baptisms found for a Montague and Rose Hearn could be the missing link to the parents of the early Hearns’ in this article. My only problem with this idea is that no further Montague’s can be found, although without further evidence, apart from baptisms to a Royal and Sarah Hearn at the right time and place, these two are the most likely candidate’s. Royal Hearn has proved an elusive character in that he is mentioned in several accounts in the JGLS, but even then the Ryes’ were debating the same problem that I am today, in that he may or may not have been connected to the “London” Hearns’. However, as Norris and Solomon both called a son Royal, there seems little doubt that he was related. Mullender , the children I have for him are from 1796 to 1828. I am also not sure of the John (Mullender) Hearn, who according to notes was born 1828 and married his cousin Lavinia Leatherland, daughter of the aforementioned Charlotte and Samuel Leatherland. Again this seems quite late, unless Mullender was married twice or Elizabeth was much younger, which would be correct if indeed she was his niece and with a birth date of 1766? However Terence Lee found a baptism baptism for "Mullender Hearn son of Benjamin & Ann Hearn 1st Dec 1776 Princes Risborough so Mullenders age given as 89 in 1855 is 10 years out!


One would expect Mullender to be having children born from 1796 onwards, so maybe he also had a Royal, which evades us! Other indications in my view for close kinship with Royal, are the naming of the children. Without naming all the families and to keep it brief, the families from Notting Hill or the Potteries all had family names repeated in every generation such as Meshech, Abendigo, Emannuel, Shadrack, Providence, Cinnamenti, Methusalah, Richender and Solomon - to name a few! So bearing all this in mind, it is quite evident that they were all kinfolk - but assigning the right siblings to parents is as ever with Gypsy research, a nightmare!. I still hope maybe one day someone will come across an odd note or tree from the JGLS that will hold the key to some of the missing links!