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Newspaper Articles 4

1824 Saturday, 16 October Morning Chronicle 17316 –

THE KING OF THE GYPSIES – On Friday last, an interesting funeral took place at Wittering, a village three miles south of Stamford. The individual whose remains were consigned to the earth, was in life no less a personage than Henry BOSWELL, well known as the Father, or King of the Gypsies, resorting in this part of the country. The old man was encamped on Southorpe Heath, with several of his family and subjects, on Sunday night, when death put an end to his reign and his earthly wanderings. He had been ill for a few days, but his complaint was really a decay of nature, for the patriarch was nearly 100 years of age. A decent coffin had been provided, and the obliquities on Friday were conducted with great decorum. The body was deposited in Wittering church-yard, where the service was read by the Rev William WING. On Wednesday, the gipsy camp broke up from Southorpe, on which occasion those who had composed it went to the churchyard to pay the last tribute of affection at the grave of BOSWELL, and a very impressive scene of silent unaffected grief was witnessed. The old man is said to have died in very affluent circumstances, and to have possessed estates in several parts of England.


1825 Monday, 1 August Bristol Mercury 1822 –

ASSIZE INTELLIGENCE – At Worcester, sentence of death was recorded against Fanny and Eliz. DALLOW (mother and daughter, and gypsies) for stealing, near Tenbury, a pony, which though worth 10/- they sold at Upton-on-Severn for 4/-. They were both in custody before, on a charge of stealing a cow, but were acquitted.


Saturday, 21 January 1826, Newcastle Courant 7789 –

At the Northumberland Sessions, held in the Moot-Hall, Newcastle, on Thursday and Friday, the12th and 13th inst, John STEEL and Thomas ALLEN (Gypsies) for stealing some engine articles from the colliery at Ovingham, were found guilty and sentenced to be transported for 7 years.


1826 Saturday, 1 April Jackson’s Oxford Journal 3805 –

SINGULAR CASE – Tried at the Cambridge Assizes, a prisoner named Elijah POPPY, a sturdy specimen of the wandering race called gypsies, on a charge of having feloniously stolen a certain amount of mutton from the premises of John CRISP, farmer, at Swaffham Prior. A shepherd had hung the meat up in a part of the farm for the dogs, and the prisoner had carried it off for himself and his companions. The Jury deliberated for some time when the Foreman said, “We find the prisoner Not Guilty, because we consider the thing stolen, not as mutton, but as carrion, and of no value”. The prisoner was discharged to no small satisfaction of several of his gipsy brethren, who were anxiously awaiting the issue of the case, but whose skill in “fortune-telling” did not enable them exactly to predict so favorable an event.


1827 Saturday, 12 May Jackson’s Oxford Journal  –

EXECUTION – James CLASE, better known by the name “Blue Jemmy”, for horse-stealing, and William HEWLETT, for sheep-stealing, were executed at Ilchester on Wednesday. CHASE is said to have confessed having stolen not less than a hundred horses, he had been brought to the bar nineteen times, and tried at Dorchester, Exeter and Taunton. In early life he lived as a post-boy at Salisbury; afterwards, he joined some gypsies, and at length commenced those practices which brought him to an ignominious end, at the age of 52. HEWLETT thought his a very hard case as, previous to the commission of the offence, for which he suffered, he had never stolen more than 24 sheep!


1830 Tuesday, 16 February Hull Packet  –

DEATHS - On Thursday week, died in his tent, in the parish of Launton, Oxfordshire, upwards of 100 years of age, Jas. SMITH, a well-known character, and for many years considered as the king of that wandering people called gypsies. He was the father of 16 children by his wife (who survives him, and whose age is more than 100 years), some of whom are upwards of 70 years of age, his grand and great-grand-children are numberless.


1831 Saturday, 13 August Jackson’s Oxford Journal  –

DEATHS – At Winchester, aged 70, Robert LEE, who for many years enjoyed the distinguished title of “King of the Gypsies”. Since his succession from the erratic tribe, and during his residence in Winchester, his Majesty has been domiciled at the House of Industry, from which place his remains were taken for interment.


Saturday, 18 August 1832, Preston Chronicle  –

DEATH OF THE KING OF THE GYPSIES – Died, in a tent on our race ground, on Wednesday, the venerable Charles LEE, the “King of the Gypsies”. The age of this monarch of the murky tribe was not correctly known; they called him seventy-four, but it is conjectured he was much older. He has left about fifty children and grand-children behind him. He was interred in St Ann’s church-yard, followed by ten of his relatives, the rest of the family being absent at the different fairs, races &c., in the presence of at least a thousand spectators, who had from curiosity been attracted to the church-yard, to witness the funeral of so exalted a character. (Lewes Paper)


1833 Tuesday, 16 July North Wales Chronicle  –

HORSE DEALERS – Two gypsies, who gave their names as William RILEY, a razor grinder, and Thomas WILLIAMS, a rag-merchant, were brought before the Court by the Superintendent of Police at Chester, who saw them in the fair offering a horse for sale. A pretended certificate of sale was found in the pocket of one. Committed into custody, while further enquiries are made.


1834 Saturday, 27 December Jackson’s Oxford Journal  –

A few days ago, John LOVELL, an old man residing at Brighton, who has lived there for several years past on the bounty of their Majesties and other branches of the Royal Family, attained the 102d year of his age. This venerable old man, in his youthful days, followed the trade of a travelling tinker about the country, and he belongs to the tribe of gypsies. At an early age he married his first wife, by whom he had issue 22 children, 16 being sons. After her decease he again entered the bands of matrimony, and the second wife gave birth to 20 children, making in all 42, 28 of whom were sons. He is now in the enjoyment of good health.


1835 Wednesday, 4 February Derby Mercury  –

DEATHS – Died, last week, at the Royal encampment, Bestwood Lane, in the parish of Basford, near this town, after a lingering illness, Louis BOSWELL, King of the Gypsies, aged 42. Many thousands visited the encampment for the funeral, however, it did not proceed as a deputation from the gypsies in Leicestershire determined to inter the Royal remains in the usual burying place, “No-man’s Heath”, in Northamptonshire. A procession was formed which set out with the Royal corpse for “No-man’s Heath”, attended by the Royal Princess and a considerable train, but circumstances afterwards occurred that induced the procession to stay at Eastwood, when the funeral took place on Monday in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators. The deceased succeeded to the Royal dignity, on the death of his father, which took place a few years ago in Lincolnshire, and he has left his only daughter, a fine looking personage, a quarter measure filled with gold for her fortune. (Nottingham Journal, January 30)


Wednesday, 8 February 1837, Derby Mercury  –

DEATHS – A. BOSWELL, the celebrated King of the Gypsies, died on Tuesday afternoon, the 24th of January, in a lane in the parish of Laneham, at the great age of 99, as he himself stated a few minutes before his death. He was possessed of an ass, nearly as old as himself, a camp, an old fiddle, and three half-pence. His family consists of his grandson (Elijah), two concubines (his wife having died some time previously), and twelve children, sons and daughters. His remains were interred by the gang with due honours, in Laneham churchyard.


1838 Thursday, 31 May Trewman’s  –

DEATHS – On Wednesday, Sarah BOSWELL, the Queen Dowager of the Gypsies, died in the Infirmary of the Basford Union Workhouse, at nearly 94 years of age. The old woman was married to the celebrated BOSWELL, King of the Gypsies, 72 years since, and although living out in the open air for her whole life, during the whole vicissitudes of this uncertain climate, had preserved an uninterrupted state of health until shortly before her death. (Derby Reporter)


1839 Sunday, 17 February The Examiner  –

DEATHS – On Monday last, Dinah BOSWELL, one of the numerous tribe of gypsies of that name, was buried at Bury, who had attained the good old age of 101. She was attended to the ground by many of her relatives and friends, who seemed affected at witnessing the conclusion of her earthly wanderings. Some of the spectators who were present indulged in acts which were, to say the least of them, extremely indecorous on so solemn and occasion. (Cambridge Chronicle)


1839 Sunday, 9 June The Charter  –

CONVICTS PARDONED – The three gypsies, (brothers), named LOVELL, who were convicted in June last of waylaying and robbing Mr GREEN, a farmer, whom they were said to have left for dead, have received a pardon from the Crown, at the suggestion of Lord John RUSSELL, the real perpetrators of the robbery having been discovered, and the innocence of the young men fully proved. (Worcester Journal)


1839 Tuesday, 19 July Brighton Patriot  

MIDSUMMER QUARTER SESSIONS, TOWN HALL, HORSHAM – Richard BARBER, hawker, 19, and Charles BEARCEY, sweep, 22, charged with stealing at the parish of Bursettow in the county of Southampton on the 28th April last, two ponies, the property of Joseph SELWOOD. The Jury returned a verdict of guilty upon both prisoners. It appeared BARBER had been led astray by the other prisoner, who was of a company of gypsies. BARBER – 10 years transportation. BEARCEY – transportation for life.


1841 Friday, 23 April Liverpool Mercury  –

DEATHS – ROYAL DEMISE – On Wednesday the funeral of old ____ ISAACS, the king of the gypsies, took place at Yatton, a village about nine miles west of Bristol. There was a very large assembly of the black-eyed brunettes. The ceremony was followed by sundry and various libations of heavy wet, short, and cold without, until sorrow was flouted up to the mirth, and mirth stimulated to anger, and the “funeral baked meats” were knocked about in one general row. (Devonshire Chronicle)


1842 Saturday, 5 March Jackson’s Oxford Journal  –

BERKSHIRE ASSIZES – John BROWN, Linda JEFFS, Caroline BOWERS and Elizabeth SCOTT, were placed at the bar. The prisoner BROWN stood charged with burgulariously entering the dwelling-house of Mr Robert WEST of Warfield, on the night of 10th October last, and stealing 3 cheeses, a quantity of bacon, wearing apparel, and other articles, and the three women with receiving the same knowing it was stolen. The prisoners, being gypsies, a great number of the tribe have flocked to this town, anxiously watching the trial. A verdict of guilty was returned against all four prisoners, who were sentenced – John BROWN, to ten years’ transportation – the three women, twelve months’ imprisonment each.


1842 Saturday, 8 October Freeman’s Journal

THE GYPSIES – A short time since, a very remarkable circumstance took place in the New Forest, Hampshire, in the instance of a Gypsy named LEE having been rejected from the fraternity. The spot where the scene took place was at Bolton’s Bench, near Lyndhurst. Between three hundred and four hundred Gypsies, belonging to the different tribes, including the LEES, STANLEYS, and COOPERS, were assembled on this unusual occasion. The concourse consisted of a great many females, and so secretly had the meeting been got up, that scarcely a person residing in the neighbourhood was aware that a circumstance of the sort was about to take place. The offender, a handsome-looking man between 30 and 40 years of age, was placed in the middle of the ring, composed of the King of the Gypsies, and the patriarchs of the different tribes. This ring was followed by a second, made up of the male portion of the assembly, and the external circle was formed by the women. The king, who was one of the LEES, a venerable old man, and one who looked as if he had been upwards of ninety summers, then addressed the culprit for nearly an hour, but in a tongue that was perfectly strange to the bystanders. The address was delivered in a most impressive manner, as might be conceived by the vehemence of the gesticulations which accompanied it. None but the Gypsies themselves had the slightest knowledge of the crime which had been committed by the offender, but it must have been one evidently obnoxious to the tribe, as the act of expulsion among them is an extremely rare occurrence. As soon as the king had finished his speech to the condemned man, he turned round and harangued the whole of the Gypsies assembled and, expressing himself in English, informed them that Jacob LEE had been expelled from among them, and that he was no longer one of their fraternity, and that he do leave the camp of the Gypsies forever. The king then advanced towards him, spat upon him, and the circles which enclosed him simultaneously opened to admit of his retreating from among them, whilst they smote him with the branches of trees as he left the ground. The meeting then broke up, and the parties assembled went their different ways, some of them having come to witness the tribunal from a considerable distance. The whole ceremony, which took place under an aged oak in the forest, was a very imposing one, and being a very unusual, almost unprecedented, occurrence in these parts, created an intense degree of interest among the bye standers.


1842 Tuesday, 18 October Morning Chronicle  –

SINGULAR GYPSY FUNERAL AT LITTLE COGGESHALL – For some time a numerous tribe of gypsies have pitched their tents in Cut Hedge-road, Little Coggeshall. One of the party died last week. As soon as life was extinct, much ceremony was observed. The body was dressed in a Scotch plaid gown, silk stockings, and satin shoes; wax tapers were burnt, and the remains lay in state. Instructions for the funeral were given to Mr CLEMENTS, the undertaker, and no expense was spared to render it most respectable in all its appointments. The coffin was of fine oak, studded with gilt nails, and bore a brass plate, upon which was engraved, “Cecilia CHILCOTT – died Sept. 20, 1842, aged 28 years”. On Sunday last, the funeral took place, and her remains were interred in the parish churchyard, by the Rev W. WIGSON, curate, in the presence of a concourse of between 4,000 and 5,000 persons. The pall was supported by four respectably dressed females deeply veiled, and about 30 of the tribe followed, all dressed in black, the men wearing black cloth cloaks. The greatest decorum was observed by the whole of the party, and a more respectable funeral, we understand, has not been seen in the town for many years. We are credibly informed that in the coffin were placed by the side of the body, the deceased watch and a purse of money, for the protection of which a person is appointed to watch the grave for some weeks. The father of the deceased, attributing the death of his daughter to the removal by the police, threatens to take legal proceedings against the parties. (Chelmsford Chronicle)


Newspaper Articles 4