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

English Newspapers

1800 16th July Wednesday

ROYAL FETE AT FROGMORE – The Royal Family then proceeded across the Lawn to another part of the Gardens, where they were met by a group of Gypsies. As they approached their hut, Mrs MILLS, fantastically dressed, and who acted as their Queen, led from behind a thicket two children seated on an ass; here she sung a Gypsy song with uncommon vivacity and sprightliness, the rest of the group joining in the chorus; after which she delivered her Poetical Destinies of Good Fortune to the Royal Family.


1802 29 May Saturday Ipswich Journal

CHELMSFORD, May 28 – Tuesday last, JAMES LEE, LYDIA  LEE, and ANGELETTA  LOVELL, all gypsies, and the last-mentioned nearly 80 years of age, belonging to the Nottinghamshire gang, were committed to the House of Correction here,

by J. TYRELL Esq, as rogues and vagabonds.


1811 Saturday, 26 January Ipswich Journal

A few days ago was married, being the fourth time, at Norton, near Gaulby, Leicestershire, LAWRENCE WINSOR, a celebrated fiddler and travelling brazier, and formerly noted as the leader of a gang of gypsies, aged 86 years, to JOHANNA  SKELTON, of Coaton-in-the-Elms, aged 22.


1815 Saturday, 18 February Ipswich Journal.

A gang of twelve vagabonds, consisting of three males and nine females, strolling about the country as gypsies, have been apprehended at Borley near Sudbury, who it seems harbour in St Giles’s, London, some short portion of the year. The heads of this gang are Joseph and Hannah LOVELL; and with them two girls, whom they say are their daughters, called Esther and Susan; and another, a niece, they call Ruth; a woman who calls herself Cinderella BOSWELL, a native of Staffordshire, but travels particularly in Essex; Palfe the wife of BOSWELL’s son, who belongs to a parish in Ipswich, but travels as a grinder. Joseph LOVEL, having about two years ago been adjudged a rogue and vagabond, at Chelmsford, was, at the Sessions on the 13th ultimate, adjudged to be an incorrigible rogue and vagabond, and committed to the House of Correction at Chelmsford for six months; the rest of the party were adjudged rogues and vagabonds, and were committed for a month. Three stout fellows belonging to the gang, effected their escape with their four asses and baggage. Two young chimney-sweeps, who had joined the gang, and who said their names were Henry and John GASKIN, otherwise SMITH, were detained on suspicion of stealing a donkey cart in the neighbourhood of Newport on the Cambridge Road. Some of the relatives of these sweeps have, it seems, been in the “Laurel” Hulk at Portsmouth.


1817 Saturday, 19 July Jackson’s Oxford Journal

UNION HALL – Saturday, four Gypsies, named, John, Joshua, Sharensee, and Matilda SMITH, were brought before Mr Sergeant SELLON, charged by MAY and GOFF, for robbery. The prisoners denied all knowledge of the robbery in question. They were, however, committed for re-examination.


1819 Saturday, 6 February Ipswich Journal .

QUARTER SESSIONS – At Peterborough Quarter Sessions, Newcomb BOSS and George YOUNG, two gypsies, were put on their trial for stealing a gelding, the property of Mr SPEECHLEY of Peterborough. The trial occupied the attention of the Court for several hours, after which, the Jury returned a verdict against both the prisoners of guilty, and sentence of death was passed upon them.


1820 Saturday, 21 October  Morning Chronicle .

Two men and a woman, belonging to a tribe of Gypsies, have been apprehended in Kent on a strong suspicion of being the persons who sent the poisoned pudding to Maidstone Gaol, by eating of which the two prisoners, GREENTREES and HEARN lost their lives. It is conjectured that they were implicated with GREENTREES in horse-stealing, and took that diabolical mode of preventing his impeaching them.


1820 Thursday, 7 December  Caledonian Mercury  –

DARING GANG OF GYPSIES – In the beginning of September last, two men were committed to Maidstone gaol on a charge of horse-stealing, of the names of HUGHES and GREENSTREET. On Thursday, 5th October, a basket was received at Maidstone prison, by the carrier from Tunbridge Wells, directed to W. GREENSTREET or GREENTREES. It came from Rowland Castle, near Portsea, where GREENSTREET’S wife, family and friends reside; he therefore received it as coming from them without suspicion. Its contents proved to be clothes, cheese, bacon, a boiled plum pudding, apples, &c. It so happened that the prisoners had just had dinner; GREENSTREET ate some of the pudding and offered it to his fellow prisoners, but only HEARN accepted some. Both men were seriously taken ill a short time afterwards, and continued in a dreadful state until they expired. It being strongly suspected that the pudding was poisoned, it was analysed and found to contain arsenic. When GREENSTREET was informed he had eaten a poisoned pudding, he had no doubt it had been done by a man named PROUDLY. The pudding was given to the carrier by a tall gypsy woman, who had directed a maid to write the address on it. Bow Street was informed of the case, and they sent LAVENDER and BISHOP to Maidstone to investigate. LAVENDER went to Romsey fair, where he apprehended PROUDLY and accompanied him to Maidstone. The prisoner said his name was PEARCE and not PROUDLY; he was however committed.

LAVENDER next went in search of the woman who made the plum pudding and was so fortunate as to meet with the woman charged with the heinous act, calling herself Mary BAKER, encamped on the road from Chesham with an old man and woman and some Gypsey children. The old people are supposed to be the parents of HUGHES. LAVENDER conveyed her to Maidstone. She was identified by the maid as having been the woman who sent the pudding. Another woman previously in custody purchased the articles in Tunbridge Wells. The women were committed for trial on a charge of having murdered the two men in Maidstone Gaol. PROUDLY alias PEARCE was committed for horse-stealing.


1830 Tuesday, 16 February  Hull Packet 2361 –

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 4085 –

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.


1831 Tuesday, 20 September  Hull Packet 2444 –

DEATHS – Lately, at his residence at Northampton, John HOYLAND, Esq, formerly of York, author of “An Historical Survey of the Gypsies”.


Saturday, 18 August 1832, Preston Chronicle 1042 –

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)


1833Tuesday, 16 July North Wales Chronicle 312 –

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, 12 July  Ipswich Journal 5025 –

BURY QUARTER SESSIONS – Susan BOSS, 30, charged with having obtained from Robert GRIMWOOD of Little Livermere, labourer, 5 sovereigns, 2 half-sovereigns, and divers other coins, and a silver watch, under fraudulent and false pretences of telling “his fortune”, was discharged for want of prosecution. The Court reprimanded the prisoner and assured her she had had a narrow escape.


1834 Saturday, 27 December  Jackson’s Oxford Journal 4261 –

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 5351 –

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 5456 –

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 379 –

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 1620 –

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 20 –

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 229 –

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 1563 –

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 4636 –

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.



English Newspapers