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“ I do not conceive them to be the joined to the circular which you sent proper Oriental Egyptian race, at least me, and then subjoin, in notes, some they are much intermingled with our instances of their conduct in particu. own national outlaws and vagabonds. lar cases, which may perhaps elucia They are said to keep up a communi- date their general disposition and chacation with each other throughout Scot- racter.” land, and to have some internal go Query 1st. What number of gypvernment and regulation as to the sies are in the county? districts which each family travels. “ A. I know of none except the
“I cannot help again referring to colony of Yetholm, and one family Mr Smith of Kelso, a gentleman who who lately removed from that place to can give the most accurate information Kelso. Yetholm consists of two towns, respecting the habits of those itiner or large villages, called Town-Yetholm ants, as their winter-quarters of Ye- and Kirk-Yetholm. The first is on tholm are upon an estate of which he the estate of Mr Wauchope of Nidhas long had the management." dry; the latter on that of the Mar
In consequence of this reference, quis of Tweeddale. The number of Mr Hoyland applied to Bailie Sinith, the gypsey colony at present in Kirkand was furnished by that gentleman Yetholm amounts to at least 109 men, with an interesting report, dated No- women, and children; and perhaps vember 1815, from which he has given two or three may have escaped notice. the following extracts :
They marry early in life, in general “ A considerable time having elap- have many children, and their numsed since I had an opportunity or ber seems to be increasing." occasion to attend to the situation of Query 2d. In what do the men the colony of gypsies in our neigh- and women mostly employ themselves ? bourhood, I was obliged to delay my “B. I have known the colony beanswer to your inquiries, until I could tween forty and fifty years. At my obtain more information respecting first remembrance of them, they were their present numbers.
called the Tinklers (Tinkers) of Ye“ The great bar to the benevolent tholm, from the males being chiefly intentions of improving their situation then employed in mending pots and will be, the impossibility to convince other culinary utensils, especially in them that there either is, or can be, their peregrinations through the hilly a mode of life preferable, or even and less populous parts of the country. equal, to their own.
“ Sometimes they were called Horn“ Á strong spirit of independence, ers, from their occupation in making or what they would distinguish by and selling horn spoons, called cutties. the name of liberty, runs through the Now their common appellation is whole tribe. It is no doubt a very li- Muggers, or, what pleases them betcentious liberty, but entirely to their ter, Potters. They purchase, at a taste. Some kind of honour, peculiar cheap rate, the cast or faulty articles to themselves, seems to prevail in at the different manufactories of earththeir community. They reckon it a enware, which they carry for sale all disgrace to steal near their homes, or over the country; consisting of groups even at a distance, if detected. I of six, ten, and sometimes twelve or must always except that petty theft fourteen persons, male and female, of feeding their shelties and asses on young and old, provided with a horse the farmer's grass and corn, which and cart to transport the pottery, bethey will do, whether at home or a sides shelties and asses to carry the broad.
youngest of the children, and such “ When avowedly trusted, even in baggage as they find necessary, money transactions, they never de " In the country, they sleep in ceived me, nor forfeited their promise. barns and byres, or other out-houses; I am sorry to say, however, that when and when they cannot find that acchecked in their licentious appropria- commodation, they take the canvas tions, &c. they are much addicted both covering from the pottery cart, and to threaten and to execute revenge. squat below it like a covey of partridges “ Having so far premised with re
in the snow. spect to their general conduct and cha “ A few of the colony also employ racter, I shall proceed to answer, as themselves occasionally in making befar as I am able, the four queries sub soms, foot-basses, &c. from heath,
broom, and bent, and sell them at public, to prevent the evil increasing, Kelso, and the neighbouring towns. and never would consent to any of the After all, their employment can be colony taking up their residence in considered little better than an apology Town-Yetholm. for idleness and vagrancy,
They mostly remain at home “ They are in general great adepts during winter ; but as soon as the in hunting, shooting, and fishing; in weather becomes tolerably mild in which last they use the net and spear, spring, most of them, men, women, as well as the rod; and often supply and children, set out on their perethemselves with a hearty meal by their grinations over the country, and live in dexterity. They have no notion of a state of vagrancy, until again driven being limited in their field sports, into their habitations by the approach either to time, place, or mode of de- of winter. struction.
“ Seeming to pride themselves as a “ I do not see that the women are separate tribe, they very seldom interany otherwise employed, than attend- marry out of the colony; and in rare ing the young children, and assisting to instances where that happens, the sell the pottery, when carried through gypsey, whether male or female, by the country."
influence and example, always induces “ Query 3d. Have they any settled the stranger husband or wife to adopt abode in winter, and where?
the manners of the colony, so that no “C. Their residence, with the ex- improvement is ever obtained in that ception of a single family, who some way. The progeny of such alliances years ago came to Kelso, is at Kirk- have almost universally the tawny Yetholm, and chiefly confined to one complexion and fine black eyes of the row of houses, or street of that town, gypsey parent, whether father or mowhich goes by the name of Tinkler- ther. Row. Most of them have leases of “ So strongly remarkable is the their possessions, granted for a term of gypsey cast of countenance, that even nineteen times nineteen years, for pay- a description of them to a stranger, ment of a small sum yearly; some who has had no opportunity of forthing of the nature of a quit-rent. merly seeing them, will enable him to There is no tradition in the neigh- know them wherever he meets with bourhood concerning the time when them. Some individuals, but very the gypsies first took up their residence rarely, separate from the colony altoat that place, nor whence they came. gether; and when they do so early in
“ Most of their leases, I believe, life, and go to a distance, such as to were granted by the family of the London, or even Edinburgh, their acBennets of Grubet; the last of whom quaintances in the country get favourwas Sir David Bennet, who died about able accounts of them. A few betake sixty years ago. The late Mr Nisbet themselves to regular and constant emof Dirleton then succeeded to the e- ployments at home, but soon tire, and state, comprehending the baronies of return to their old way of life. Kirk-Yetholm and Grubet. He died “ When any of them, especially a about the year 1783; and not long leader or man of influence, dies, they after, the property was acquired by the have full meetings, not only of the late Lord Tweeddale's trustees. colony, but of the gypsies from a dis
During the latter part of the life tance; and those meetings, or lyke of the late Mr Nisbet, he was less wakes, are by no means conducted with frequently at his estate in Roxburgh- sobriety or decency.” shire than formerly. He was a great “ Query 4th. Are any of their favourite of the gypsies, and was in children taught to read, and what prouse to call them his body guards, and portion of them? With any anecdotes often gave them money, &c.
respecting their customs and conduct. “ On the other hand, both the late D. Education being obtained at and present Mr Wauchope were of a cheap rate, the gypsies in general opinion, that the example of these give their male children as good a one people had a bad effect upon the mo as is bestowed on those of the labourrals and industry of the neighbour- ing people and farm servants in the hood; and seeing no prospect of their neighbourhood; such as reading, writremoval, and as little of their reforma, ing, and the first principles of arithtion, considered it as a duty to the metic. They all apply to the clergy
man of the parish for baptism to their found that the landlord was right: children; and a strong superstitious my master said with a smile, that it notion universally prevails with them, was unnecessary to send to them, after that it is unlucky to have an unchris- the previous notice from the baron tened child long in the house. Only officer; it was enough if I had received a very few ever attend divine service, the money, if offered.--Their rent and and those as seldom as they can, just feu duty was brought to the office in to prevent being refused as sponsors a few weeks. I need scarcely add, at their children's baptism.
those persons all belonged to the tribe. “They are, in general active and “ Another instance of their licenlively, particularly when engaged in tious independent spirit occurs to me. field sports, or in such temporary pur. The family of Niddry always gave a suits as are agreeable to their habits decent annual remuneration to a baron and dispositions ; but are destitute of bailie, for the purpose of keeping good the perseverance necessary for a settled 'order within their barony of Townoccupation, or even for finishing what Yetholm. The person whom I rea moderate degree of continued labour member first in possession of that would enable them to accomplish in a office, was an old man called Doctor few weeks.”
Walker, from his being also the vila
lage surgeon; and from him I had the Notes by Mr Smith, intended to elue following anecdote :cidate his Answers to the Queries A
“ Between Yetholm and the border and B, on their licentious liberty.
farms in Northumberland, there were
formerly, as in most border situations, “ I remember that about forty-five some uncultivated lands, called the years ago, being then apprentice to a Plea Lands, or Debateuble Lands, the writer, who was in use to receive the pasturage of which was generally eaten rents as well as the small duties of up by the sorners and vagabonds on Kirk-Yetholm, he sent me there with both sides of the marches. a list of names and a statement of “ Many years ago, Lord Tankerville what was due ; recommending me to and some other of the English borderapply to the landlord of the public- ers made their request to Sir David house, in the village, for any informa- Bennet, and the late Mr Wauchope of tion or assistance which I might need. Niddry, that they would accompany
“ After waiting a long time, and them at a riding of the Plea Lands, receiving payment from most of the who readily complied with their refeuars, or rentallers, I observed to him, quest. They were induced to this, as that none of the persons of the names they understood that the Gypsies had of Faa, Young, Blythe, Bailley, &c. taken offence, on the supposition that who stood at the bottom of the list they might be circumscribed in the for small sums, had come to meet me, pasture for their shelties and asses, according to the notice given by the which they had held a long time, baron officer, and proposed sending to partly by stealth, and partly by vioinform them that they were detaining lence. me, and to request their immediate “ Both threats and entreaties were attendance.
employed to keep them away; and at “ The landlord, with a grave face, last Sir David obtained a promise from inquired whether my master had de some of the heads of the gang, that sired me to ask money from those none of them should show their faces
I said, not particularly; but on the occasion. they stood on the list.
So I see,'
“ They however got upon the hills said the landlord ; ' but had your at a little distance, whence they could master been here himself, he had not see every thing that passed. At first dared to ask money from then, either they were very quiet. But when they as rent or feu duty.--He knows that it saw the English Court Book spread is as good as if it were in his pocket. out on a cushion before the clerk, and They will pay when their own time apparently taken in a line of direction comes ; but do not like to pay at a set interfering with what they considered time with the rest of the barony, and to be their privileged ground, it was still less to be craved
with great difficulty that the most mo“ I accordingly returned without derate of them could restrain the rest their money, and reported progress. I from running down and taking ven
geance, even in sight of their own lord seen Will Faa upon the bridge, (the of the manor.
South Bridge was not then built); that “ They only abstained for a short he was tossing about his old brown time; and no sooner had Sir David hat, and huzzaing with great vociferaand the other gentlemen taken leave tion, that he had seen the laird before of each other in the most polite and he died. Indeed Will himself had no friendly manner, as border chiefs are time to lose ; for, having set his face wont to do since border, feuds ceased, homewards by the way of the sea and had departed to a sufficient dis- coast, to vary his route, as is the gentance, than the clan, armed with eral custom of the gang, he only got bludgeons, pitchforks, and such other the length of Coldingham, when he hostile weapons as they could find, was taken ill, and died. rushed down in a body; and before “ His death being notified to his the chiefs on either side had reached friends at Yetholm, they and their actheir home, there was neither English quaintance at Berwick-Spittal, Horntenant, horse, cow, nor sheep, left Cliff, &c. met to pay the last honours upon the premises.
to their old leader. His obsequies “ Notes on Answers C and D. Pecu- and nights, and afterwards repeated at
were continued three successive days liar cast of gypsey, features, every- Yetholm, whither he was brought for where distinguishable, &c.
interment. I cannot say that the fu. “ When first I knew any thing neral rites were celebrated with deabout the colony, old Will Faa was cency and sobriety, for that was by no king or leader, and had held the sove means the case. This happened in reignty for many years.
the year 1783 or 1784, and the late Meeting at Kelso with Mr Walter Mr Nisbet did not long survive.” Scott, whose discriminating habits and just observation I had occasion to We have occupied so much of our know from his youth, and at the same space with Mr Smith's interesting and time seeing one of my Yetholm friends accurate details, that we can only find in the horse market, I merely said to room at present for a limited portion Mr Scott, “ Try to get before that of our remaining original materials. man with the long drab coat, look at and must restrict ourselves to few him on your return, and tell me additional traits. Of the kingly dewhether you ever saw him, and what meanour and personal achievements of you think of him.” He was so good old Will Faa, many curious particus as to indulge me; and rejoining me, lars are related. He never forgot his said, without hesitation,“ I never high descent from the “Lords of Little saw the man that I know of; but he Egypt.' He also claimed kindred with is one of the gypsies of Yetholm, that the Messrs Falls of Dunbar, with whom you told me of several years ago."
I he affected to maintain some sort of need scarcely say that he was perfectly family intercourse ; and he is said to correct.
have paid them a regular visit once The descendants of Faa now take &-year. On solemn occasions, he asthe name of Fall, from the Messrs sumed, in his way, all the stately deFalls of Dunbar, who, they pride portment of sovereignty. He had themselves in saying are of the same twenty-four children, and at each of stock and lineage. When old Will their christenings he appeared dressed Faa was upwards of eighty years of in his original wedding-robes. These age, he called on me at Kelso, in his christenings were celebrated with no way to Edinburgh, telling me that he small parade. Twelve young hand. was going to see the laird, the late Mr maidens were always present as part Nisbet of Dirleton, as he understood of the family retinue, and for the purthat he was very unwell; and himself pose of waiting on the numerous guests being now old, and not so stout as he who assembled to witness the cerehad been, he wished to see him once mony, or to partake of the subsequent more before he died.
festivities. Besides Will's gypsey as“ The old man set out by the near- sociates, several of the neighbouring est road, which was by no means his farmers and lairds, with whom he was common practice. Next market-day, on terms of friendly intercourse (among some of the farmers informed me that others, the Murrays of Cherrytrees), they had been in Edinburgh, and had used to attend these christenings.In
virtue of his high magisterial office, two corners," and a' that fu' o' gowd Will exercised the functions of country has nae done't.”--Jean's“ apron-fu'o' keeper (as it was called), or restorer of gowd,” may perhaps remind some of stolen property ; which he was able our readers of Meg Merrilies' pock of often to do, when it suited his own jewels--and the whole transaction ininclination or interest, very effectually, deed forcibly recalls the powerful picthrough his extensive influence among ture of that stern and intrepid heroine. the neighbouring tribes, and his absolute dominion over his own.
Two curious documents, relating to Upon the death of old Will, a sort the early history of the gypsies in of civil war broke out among the Ye- Scotland, which we had overlooked in tholm clans :-an usurper thrust him our former researches, have been pointself into the office of the deceased, but ed out to us by a learned friend. -The was dispossessed, after a battle, by the first is a letter from King James the loyal subjects who adhered to the legi- Fourth to the King of Denmark, dated timate heir. This bold rebel was the 1506, in favour of Anthony Gawino, leader of an inferior tribe, and the im- Earl of Little Egypt, and his followmediate successor of another doughty ers ;--which serves to ascertain pretty chief, usually known by the appropri- exactly what we formerly wanted ate title of the Earl of Hell. He is the date of the first arrival of the race alluded to at page 54, being the same in this country. His majesty specifies, individual, who, on the occasion there that this miserable train had visited mentioned, “ had rubbit shouthers wi' Scotland by command of the pope, the gallows."
being upon a pilgrimage ; that they Among the many traditionary gyp- had conducted themselves properly, sey anecdotes which we used formerly and now wished to go to Denmark: to hear related, was the following very He therefore solicits the extension of characteristic one of Jean Gordon. his royal uncle's munificence toward We avoided mentioning it in a more them ; adding, at the same time, that appropriate place last Number, having these wandering Egyptians must be forgot some of the names which serve better known to him, because the to authenticate it, and which we are kingdom of Denmark was nearer to now enabled to supply through the Egypt !-- This epistle is mentioned in kindness of a correspondent. It hap- a short but comprehensive account of pened that Jean's husband, Geordie the gypsies, in the tenth volume of Faa, was murdered at one of their the Edinburgh Encyclopædia. clan-meetings by Rob Johnstone, ano The other Article is an Act of the ther
gypsey, who stabbed him with a Lords of Council, dated at Stirling, graip, a sort of large three-pronged June 6, 1541, and refers to the disfork used about farm offices. John- pute, formerly mentioned, between stone was instantly apprehended and Johnne Faw and his rebellious subcommitted to Jedhurgh jail ; out of jects, who it appears had now mutualwhich, however, he soon contrived to ly agreed “ to passe hume, and to haue break, and got clear off the country. the samyn decydit before the Duke of But it was easier to escape from the Egipt." It is evident, that both the grasp of justice than to elude gypsey chieftain and his followers had greatly vengeance : Jean Gordon traced the declined in credit with the Scottish murderer like a blood-hound—follow- government since the preceding year : ed him to Holland-and from thence --He is no longer complimented with to Ireland, where she got him seized his high title; the letters and priviand brought back to Jedburgh ; and leges formerly granted had been reshe at length obtained a full reward voked ; and the Lords of Council profor her toils, by enjoying the gratifica- ceed forthwith (for certain cogent tion of seeing him hanged on the Gal- reasons) to pass sentence of banishlow-hill. Some time afterward, Jean ment upon the whole race, at thirty being up at Sourhope, a sheep-farm on days warning, and under the pain of Bowmont Water, the goodman there death. said to her, “ Weel, Jean, ye hae got Copies of both these papers will be Rob Johnstone hanged at last, and out found in our Antiquarian Repertory. Aye, gudeman !" re
(To be Continued.) plied Jean, Jifting up her apron by the
X VOL. I.