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

Newspaper Clippings


The Wimborne Herald,December 8th/1908

Reported a charge against John, Job and Georgina Cooper, Eli Hughes and David Wells,Gypsies,for camping on the high-way at Lytchet.(Dorset)


The Wimborne Herald,December 10th 1908.Reported a charge at Wimborne,Dorset against Nehemiah Cooper and his'wife',

 Harriet White,Gypsies,for neglecting their horses.  


The Portsmouth Evening News.September 1st 1908 Reported a charge against George Lee and his son Sylvester,Gypsies,of

stealing some plums from a garden at Newport.The police said there were fifty-six  convictions against the father and five against

the son.

The Hampshire Observer,September 26th 1908,Reported several charges against Gypsies which were tried at Alton Petty

Sessions. Amelia Cooper,Gypsy, was aquitted of a charge of larcency from James Stanley, Hawker; Eli Smith was witness.

Amos Wells was fined for leaving a horse and cart unattended,and Charles Lee for furious driving.


The Star,September 2,1908 .Described the wedding at a registry office of  Frank Mitchell, a Brazilian Gypsy,age

seventeen, son of the 'King of the Gypsies'The vans and horses were in Cable street ,St.George's in the East.

The bride was a seaman's daughter named Pengelly,and it was said the 'King' had given her £300 pounds as a dowry. Pork

 stuffed with cabbage formed part of the wedding feast.


The Wimborne Herald October 8th 1908.Reported a charge of poaching against Walter Cooper alias Light.and Henry Keats,Gypsies.at Cranborne Common,West Parley Dorset.


The Sussex Daily News,September 3.1908 .Reported a charge of stealing against Rosina Mitchell, a Gypsy who was found at Beckley,in

a camp consisting of ten tents,three carts,and two vans.Jemima Mitchell gave evidence,and the accused was said to be the

 mother of sixteen children.


The Bournemouth Directory .October 15th.1908, Reported a charge of assault brought by James White against Charles Smith,

both being Gypsies from a camp at Heavenly Bottom.(Dorset)


The East Anglian Daily Times's,November 7,1908.Reported the dismissal of a charge of 'telling the tale' against Sarah Stanley

and Florence Hooper ,Gypsies, for whose appearance on remand two Gypsies had paid one hundred sovereigns into Court . The 'tale' was the usual one of offering a deposit, and buying a few things,and promising future trade by the band,and then the sale of

the rug for more than its real value.


Blackpool Gazette,November 271908. A charge against William John Franklin and Goney Robinson,'two young Gypsies' of


 a travelling- basket from a shooting gallery tent, was dismissed by the Blackpool magistrates, greatly to the annoyance of the chief constable!.

The Derry Standard,November 28th 1908, Reported a charge at Bristol against Patience Lee.' a typical Gypsy', of obtaining half acrown by 'ringing the changes'. She said she was the mother of eight children,and she had a baby at her breast.She was fifty-two!.


The Lancashire Post,November 7,1908. Reported a case in which Noah Young, horse-deaaler,and his wife Caroline were sued

 by Flossie, wife of Charles Curl,all the parties being from the Gypsy camp at South Shore, Blackpool . Flossie's sister, Maud, wife of Herbert Young, and others gave evidence.


The Surrey Times,October 24th 1908.Reported a charge of drunkeness against Jemima Hearn,a Gypsy, who pleaded for leniency,' because she had had nine children and twins twice!.


The Eastern Daily Press, October 13th 1908.Reported the murder of Susan Wilson at Feltwell.She was a Gypsy about

seventy-three years old,daughter of old Gray. She first married a Gypsy named Daniel Wilson,and for her third husband married Charles Wilson, an umbrella mender, who had been married three times .They lived in an old barn in a green lane, but years ago

 lived in a van.


Aldershot News 27/10/1917

Albert Ayres and Billy Ayres (nephew of Albert) Selling pears and chocolate to the troops without a pass,apparently the reports

states that Hawkers selling goods on military land had become a problem and that the issue of passes was to cease.


The Gentleman's Magazine 1844

 Near Beaulieu, Joseph Lee, the acknowledged monarch of the Gypsies. He was a native of Brockenhurst, in the New Forest,and

was, it is said, in his 86th year. he was the progenitor of a long line of descendants,having left behind him a large assemblage of

aged children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He is reported to have died worth a great deal of money. Indeed some

years ago when Charity Lee was married to one of the Stanleys , old Joseph Lee presented her upon the occassion with one

hundred spade guineas,besides trinkets, and several pieces of plate furniture. About sixty years ago he was in the habit of

travelling the Country around Southampton,Romsey, Lymington and Ringwood as a razor-grinder, and was well known in those neigbourhoods under the sobriquet of Gypsy Joe. In his political administration this monarch was remarkable for one act which

took place in his reign-viz .that of excommunication,in person (about three years ago), a Gypsy of the name of Lee from the

sibyline fraternity,for some acts over the years, the latter had commited against the rules and regulations of the order.The

ceremony was performed before a very large assembly of the various tribes.


                                           GYPSY QUEEN BURIED *Published February 4th 1900 THE NEW YORK TIMES  



Elizabeth N J Feb 3 - The funeral of Sadie Evans the gypsy woman took place this afternoon from the camp of her tribe on the Boulevard, between Waverly and Elizabeth. She was reported to be 106 years old.

The body of the Queen dressed in a rich robe of black, lay in a handsome black cloth casket. Candles had been burning during the night in a large candelabra at the head of the casket the interior of the tent was draped in black cloth over which smilax was festooned. The lid of the casket bore the inscription " Sadie Evans died Jan 31 1900 aged 106 "

On the coffin were smilax and roses and different floral designs sent bt members of the Evans tribe and other bands of gypsies in different parts of the country. Not withstanding the cold, there were a large number of people in attendance many of whom had been attracted by motives of curiosity. The Rev Dr F B Cobb conducted the services after which the Gypsy Queen's body was buried in Evergreens Cemetery by the side of her husband Robert Evans who died in 1897.


This is an Extract from the Portsmouth Evening News dated June 19 1936.

Last of the Wight Romany Tells of His Race .(Isle of Wight)(Is this a Willett? any one Know?)


The Romany, proud wanderers of Europe, are dying out. Everyone is familiar with the gypsies, but the Romany must not be

classified with them. There are only two clans of real Romany in England now – the Stanleys and the Lees. Of the former clan

comes Jimmy, familiar figure in the streets of Newport, Isle of Wight, and believed to be the last Romany left in the Island.


OF THE CONTINENT In the streets of the town, amid the busy traffic, Jimmy strangely seems to be of the dusty lanes of the

Continent, and is associated in the mind with ramshackle caravans and the pots, pans, and horses of tradition. His family, however, has been fairly settled for the last 200 years in the Island.


Legend, passed on from father to son, has it that the first Romany who arrived in the Island was Jimmy’s grand­father, who came

from the New Forest with a fine batch of ponies and spent his first night sleeping in a churchyard, with 500 gold guineas adorning

 his velveteen coat and breeches, in the Romany style of the day. I was told that Romany women in those days were bartered over

a gallon of beer, although this conflicts with the claim that the Romany marriage ceremony, performed informally in a caravan, by

troth, was practically irrevocable.


A CENTENARIAN  This forefather of the last Wight Romany went to his forefathers at the age of 104 years, having settled inthe

Island as the keeper of a toll-gate-—a contrast to his previous wanderings.


Jimmy’s father seems to have become famous by winning a hurdle race at 70, but in negotiating a hurdle be hurt his knee and never recovered from the shock. The Romany blood was passed on to his children, and one daughter followed that time-honoured profession of fortune-telling at Rottingdean, near Brighton where it is said that she once told the fortunes of the then Prince of

Wales and the German Emperor. She predicted the fall of the Kaiser because be mounted his horse the wrong way. She was known as “the Queen of fortune-tellers.”


The mother language, Romany, is a sibilant, delightfully, soft and drawling collection of sounds reminiscent of a hot climate, and

 meant for cloudless climes and lazy days. It is still in use, although it varies slightly from country to country, as each part of the clan adapts certain phrases of the native tongue to Its own use, but it is universally understandable.


CONTEMPT FOR THE GIPSY The true Romany has nothing but contempt for the gipsy, who gives the clan a bad name with his

shifty ways, and apes the honourable language with his own jargon.


Where did the Romany come from? I asked Jimmy this question, which puzzled so great an authority on the Romany as George Borrow. “We come from the forests,” he answered vaguely. When I persisted, he told me of the belief that the Romany wee, descended from the tribe of Levites, of the Old Testament, but this belief is to be strongly doubted.


Transactions among the clan are carried out by word of mouth, and bargains are clinched by a smack of the hands. Theft is

scorned by the Romany, and a member of the clan who thus falls to temptation is said to be ostracized by his fellows. A Romany

 oath is binding for life, and it is a form of this oath that is used in the matrimonial ceremony.

I had heard a story of how the children of the clan were immersed in cold water within 24 hours of birth in the belief of the survival of the fittest, but this Jimmy indig­nantly denied. The Romany “babbies” received as much care as was possible, he declared, but he added that such a test may have existed In far-off days.

Nowadays the Romany allow their children to be taught the language of the country, and it tends to get the upper hand of the

ancient and picturesque tongue of the wanderers.


SPOTLESS CARAVANS   A Romany caravan is always kept scrupulously clean, and the women, handsome creatures of the East,

with flashing smiles and shining, pure white teeth, show as much “house-pride” as any other women.

Jimmy has ‘spent a great deal of his life travelling with, circuses in England and looking after horses. Horses are a passion with him, and is a very shrewd judge of their value. In these days of easy transport, however, some gipsies (as distinct from the Romany) get about the country In motor-cars, thus abandoning their sometime best worker and friend. Horses are “gries” in Romany, by the way.

Can the Romany ever become extinct? I do not think so. This landless race possesses enough vitality and sufficient race-pride not

to become merged with its less colourful neighbours.  

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