In the Bible Aquilla was a maker of tents and it was a Biblical name which, perhaps somewhat ironically, found favour amongst Romanies and Travellers for both sons and daughters. In the parish of St. Paul’s Walden, Hertfordshire, on 13th October 1816, James and Sarah Smith baptised their daughter Aquilla. … Continue reading

Jeffs, Davis and Bland Unions

The village of Noke, in Oxfordshire, was a favoured location for the Jeffs family of William and Mary, and three of their daughters were married there in the early nineteenth century.  In 1803 Mary Jeffs married Joseph Bland and in 1819, a younger sister, Rose/Rosanna Jeffs, wed Joseph’s brother, John, … Continue reading

Moses Davis

On Christmas Day 1838 a little boy, Moses, was born to William and Hannah Davis.  By 15th January 1839 Hannah had registered the child, confirming her maiden name as Whitfield, and that the child had been born at home, at George Street, New Windsor, by making her mark.   Although subsequent … Continue reading

A Lying Tale: Fact and Fiction in the Stories of Borrow’s Gypsies 

‘We know very little about ourselves; and you know nothing, save what we have told you; and we have now and then told you things about us which are not exactly true, simply to make a fool of you, brother.  You will say that was wrong; perhaps it was.  Well, … Continue reading

The Parker Sisters

In the 1861 census a family of Travellers camping out at Stoke Hammond in Buckinghamshire, was to cause some confusion for researchers with regard to two of the tribe listed. The family are mainly Smiths, with two Drapers present, and the young man, Israel Draper, is described as a stepson … Continue reading