© Copyright Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved
Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved
Extracted from the Journal of The Gypsy Lore Society
Affair's Of Egypt 1909:-
April 1909 *Nathan Buckley of the "Eastwood Gypsies"(Bohemian Estate Eastwood Southend) was summoned for neglecting to provide:-
(1) A tent in a reasonable watertight condition;
(2) Sufficient privy accommodation;
(3) A sufficient water-supply;
(4) A sufficient covered ash-pit and dust-bin;
(5) A suitable dry floor to a tent;
The defendant when asked his age,turned to his brother; "How old am I Sam"(Sant) his brother answered that he was seventy . The bench decided that on condition Buckley destroyed his tent the remaining four offences would be adjourned. The two brothers thanked them profusely,and left the court saluting at various intervals.
A fortnight later, however , when Buckley was again summoned for breach of the bye-laws mentioned above , It was stated that the tent had not been destroyed. At te same time Charles Smith was fined for breaking bye-laws 2 and 4,whilst later in the year Thomas Laws was convicted for breaking bye-laws 2 and 5. In addition Walter Harris (twice) and
James Smith had to pay heavy fines for trespassing in search of conies, and Jack Harris fourteen shillings for swearing.
An early morning affray at Maindy , near Cardiff, had its sequel at the Llandaff Police court on the 26th, when Caleb Hearn ( a son of old Edmund, Ike's half-brother and his four sons, John,George,Benjamin and Alfred ,together with Harry Riles ,were charged with assaulting two policemen, who had attempted to impound their straying horses.
The chief wonder was that the policemen were alive to tell the tale of the attack.
Cornelius Lee,who was accused of beating one of the constables with a kettle prop ,and threatening to kill him,had escaped. The defendants were
sent to prison for various periods ranging from one to three months.no sooner were the sentences announced than the Gypsy woman and children at the back of the court began wailing piteously,in this they were joined by two or three of the younger prisoners,the remainder waving farewells as they were escorted to the cells.
in striking contrast with this desperate resistance to authority are the trivial offences of the fifteen Hampshire Gypsies,Richard Sheen and Alice Day(damaging turf in the New Forest and Gods Hill Wood),Ernest Smith(pony astray at Yateley),Margaret Stone and Tom Loveridge(no names on vans at Crookham),John Ayres(obscene language at Crookham),Amos Wells(horses astray at Medstead),Henry and Mary Rogers and Esther Rawlings(bad language at Tadley),and James and Edward Lamb and Nipton Hibberd(killing a pheasant in close season at Hickfield), who were convicted at various dates from the middle of April to the end of May.
Perhaps the triviality of the crimes was due to the influence of the New Forest Gipsy mission, which in addition to to its spiritual ministrations assisted fifty families with parcels of warm clothing,provided two families with ponies,four with hawker licence's,and several with money for the journey to the hop fields.Since the work began it has induced over forty couples to marry,
At St.Austall,on July 15th, a small fine was inflicted on Sophia Broadway
wife of Charles Broadway ,for telling fortunes.
The Philadelphia correspondent of the New York Times on April 21,reported that a Negro of that city had been arrested for stealing $10,000 from Rhoda Lovell an aged gypsy Queen,camping on Lancaster
Pike, Bryn Mawr, she was said to be a Welsh Gypsy.
March 15th 1909,The morning Chronicle of nova scotia announced the arrival of a large troupe of English Gypsies.
A paper in German mentions the burial of of a "Gypsy" Queen, Mary Gorman wife of James Gorman ,at Cincinnati,Ohio,On April 14th.
She had died on November 6th,1908,at Pittsburg,Kansas,Whence the corpse had been brought to Cincinnati. A wake lasting the whole night
preceded the funeral.
The first account is by Miss Kingley and is questioned to its accuracy by the JGLS in their Notes and Querie's series of artices)
The Lee's were once a powerful tribe,with great store of silver plate hidden away in some cachein Forest or moor, as is the fashion to this day with some of the richer tribes. But at the end of the last century the seven brothers who were heads of the tribes were taken up for sheep- stealing. In vain did the Lees sacrifice all their precious plate to get council.
The seven brothers,according to the horribly barbarous ways of the time were all hanged in one day. The tribe was ruined, and it has remained poor and wretched ever since.(See the
Old damon or "Demon" Lee,as the country people called him, was the only surviving brother,a broken feeble old man,who nevertheless was treated with considerable respect by his numerous descendants and relation.
his daughter mercywould have been a superb beauty had she not been slightly marked by smallpox. And her three grand-daughters,Sinfi,Darcus, and Talitha, who were all born on Hartfordbridge flats and brought down to be christened in Eversley church,are as lovely brown creatures as one could wish to see-lithe and graceful as cats,with delicate features and soft almond-shaped eyes.
Notes and Queries`JGLS:-
""The Lees ,Smiths and Gregories according to information I collected years ago, when I first came across Miss kingsley's article,were a connected group: but Miss kingsley account of them is highly inaccurate. the seven brothers were quite unknown to my informants,some of whose memories would have gone back beyond that of the authoress. They certainly were not brothers of the only remembered Demon Lee ; but there was a Dimond lee described as a companion of horse- thieves in 1816 ,
(JGLS.(3)i.71) and the younger Demon may have told the tale about him or some other Lee.
The known Demon who would apparently have been born about 1805 to 1810,was the son of Charles Lee,who's sister nation married Artur Smith, and Artur and his children would be the Smiths who haunted the district . Demon, descrbed as a very plain man who always wore a smock-frock, had a wife Mizi (probably a Lamb although some called her a Smith) and possibly two other wives. He had at least five children ; but none of them was namedMercy.
That is a mistake for his sister Mesi,who married a traveller with Gypsy blood in him named Kai Scott,`and had a family one of whom (their daughter Mary) started another posrat family by marrying a Gajo, Bill Synes. this man's children featured in the newspapers in 1928,when one of them (Belcher) was killed and there was a trial ending in a verdict of manslaughter against the gajo who killed him. Sinfi,Darkis, and Tilaitha were not Mesi's grandchildren, but part of family of her much younger sister Emma (who died in 1918 aged 90) and Tom Boswell (Tommy Lewis).
Demon had only two brothers, Charlie and Harry , Charlie , who was always known as Charlie Baugus (or Backus) from his predilection for Baughurst as a stopping place,married a woman called Becky Skerry (Carey) and left descendants who presumablyy are the travellers mr.huth tells me he hears of occasionally as the Bauguses.
harry married his cousin Vansi Smith ,daughter of Artur and Nation, and died childless on the Fair Mile by Henley. Vansi, who outlived him is described as a tall gaunt woman,who always wore a man's hat and generally a man's coat too.
Another of demons sisters, Martha(Pat) ,married Vansi's brother Jack Smith ; and two of the posrat familiesof Frankham's derive from the marriages of their daughters Nation and Britannia with two gajo brothers Leonard and Fred Frankham ; while the third comes from Charlotte Birch, Joe Beckett's mother , one od whose husbands was Sam Frankham , supposed generally to be a brother of the other two, though some say he was no relation to them.
The Gregories mentioned were Alfred and Jack and their wifes Elderai and Tieni, of whom Elderai certainly was a sister of Demon Lee, and Tieni probably, though I have heard her called a Smith. Both had families and Jack and Tieni must have had a large one, as their daughter kezi married George(Cokey) Smith early in the 1860s, while her brother Deliverance was not born till 1870 (G.Smith. Gypsy Life.p.122).
Wether Jack and Alfred had any Gypsy blood in them I do not know;but it must have been very little,if any judging by the appearance of many of their male descendants.
6. — Burning the Possessions of the Dead
Our Gypsies are apparently unable, or unwilling, to give a reason for the custom of burning the possessions of the dead, but the following chance allusion leads one to .suppose that the motive may be fear. It would be interesting to know if any of our members have observed anything which throws light on the custom.
I was admiring the particularly handsome wagon which belongs to my old friend Lurena Ryles (daughter of Edmund Heme). ' Yes,' said she, 'it's a good home, but when I die, my gals 'all burn it. An' would you believe it, Rai, when my dear husband died, we burnt all we had, an' I was so igerant as to 'ave 'is 'orse killed.'
1 In Gipsy Tents, p. 26.
80 NOTES AND QUERIES
'' Awa^ said MIzelli, one of Lui's daughters — speaking hurriedly and with a furtive glance over her shoulder — ' mulo kovas sd jdh pogadu drc the drum, 'an there 's v;afadi hok wi lendi.' ' Tatcho si,' said the old lady with a note of
finality, and abruptly changing the channel of conversation. (John Myers).
While this number of the J. G. L. S. was passing through the press, the Hereford Journal of September 23, 1911, published a striking confirmation of the reason which Mizelli gave, and of the truth of Mr. Bartlett's theory. Cornelius
and Lucina Price were hop-picking on the land of Mr. Davies of Claston, Dormington ; and, during their absence on September 15, their youngest child Crimea, aged four years, set fire to his clothes. Unfortunately he wore a flannelette shirt, and his burns were, in consequence, so severe that he died in hospital on the following day. ' A touching rite was performed after the parents had heard of the death of the child, for in accordance with an old tradition or superstition prevalent among the gipsies and van-dwellers, the members of the
family took their living van, which cost £80 to build, into the centre of a field, and there amid much grief they broke it to pieces with axes, and making a
funeral pyre with the parts of the vehicle, set it alight and burnt it to ashes. On our representative, who was the only pressman at the inquest, asked the father of the child as to why he took such action, he replied that if the family had not done so the spirit of the boy would return in a short time and haunt the van.'
7. — Two Welsh Gypsy Families
It was from Josh Bald and his wife that I obtained some information about two little known families of Welsh Gypsies — the Williams (Lenda's people) and the mysterious Ingrams.
The William's family had its origin in one James Williams,' a Welsh minister, who took to the roads and married Hannah Smith ! The children of
this strange alliance possessed most of the characteristics of the black race in a
marked degree, judging at any rate by the fact that one of them was nicknamed Yoki Diddly. Probably Jim discarded his religious principles when he went on the roads, and certainly they have not survived in his granddaughter Lenda.
True, she would not allow one of her sons to kel the Jios because it was kurki dives, but when I inquired why the poor boy (he was over forty) should not be
allowed to amuse himself she naively replied : ' Well, you sees, my man there an' me we's getting owld, an' we likes to pretend to be 'ligious even if we're aint.'
The Ingrams were well known to Josh, 'Real owld originals they was, raia, an' black as your hat, an' could rokcer won'erful deep, but they was very low
class people, an' not like to us in their goings on. No, we never to say stopped with 'em, though we ran acrost 'em pretty ofen. They was mainly quack-doctors — made one bottle o' stuff cure a hunderd different people an' a hunderd different deseases like.
The' was one on 'em, I demember, when they'd been drinking^ showed my poor father a short, little stick what brought him in sackfuls o' golden
sovereigns. He was a real guzvero vius. (You 've maybe heard talk o' the black rod.) The's one on 'em what bikens fosheno drabs in a burika in Blackburn now, or was a few years since anyways.' Josh thought that they came from the South of England, but Oscar Boswell, who described them as tinkers and umbrella-menders as well as quack-doctors, was of the opinion that they came
from Ireland. T. W, Thompson,
^ See Smart and Crofton's The Dialect of the English Gypsies, p, 253, The
Jasper Gray mentioned there is none other than my friend Joshua.