The annual round of farm work began in late spring with hop training and
throughout the summer and autumn Gypsy Travellers moved from farm to
farm as each crop needed harvesting.
Cherries, strawberries, blackcurrants during high summer as well as peas, beans and other vegetables were needed to be quickly gathered in as they ripened. As well as Kent ,Hampshire was also a large Hopping area and Swanwick was where many of the
Forest Gypsies went for the Strawberry season .
The hops were ready in September followed by apples and pears in the autumn and potato picking up in early winter.
They might stay on for a while after picking finished on one farm before moving on to the next, perhaps breaking their journey with overnight stops on commons. Places like Yalding Lees or Hothfield Common near Ashford were traditional stopping places where Gypsy families might stop for a day or two before moving on.
During the winter months most local Travellers would find a place to stop on the edge of the larger towns .Some of the Forest
Gypsies went as far as London in the Winter months as I have found some local families in the large Gypserys which then existed
at NottingHill and Battersea the base for many Lee/Hearn/Boswell/Smith and Lavender and Palmer families to name a few. No
doubt they were visiting their inlaws as I have found family connections between the two Counties. Some of the other stopping
places were Ash Tree Lane in Chatham , as were the marshes along the Thames at Erith, the disused chalk pit at Ruxley near
Sidcup and Corke's Meadow in St Mary Cray.
Winter money could be earned by making and selling wooden clothes pegs, primrose baskets or decorative wooden flowers from
door to door. Men could find casual labouring work or offer services such as knife grinding, woven cane chair repairing and Razor Grinding and collecting old iron or rags.As well as hawking their wares as they passed through towns and villages, there were the annual fair days when large numbers of travellers would turn up for the day to hawk as well as enjoy the festivities and a occasion
to dress up in their finery and show off their horses. Most villages and towns had at least one or two fair days a year.
Some of the the most popular Fairs and Horse Fairs today are:-
Appleby (West Morland)
Barnet Fair (Hertfordshire)
Mitcham Fair (Surrey)
Stow-on -the-wold (Glos)
Stourpain(Dorset Steam Fair)
Matchams Horse Fair (Dorset) New
The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2007.