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English Romanies
Ian Hancock in Bratislava.jpg Tracy Ullman 1990.jpg Charles-chaplin 1920.jpg
Notable English Romanichal:
Ian Hancock • Tracey Ullman • Charlie Chaplin • Michael Caine
Total population
c. 272.400 worldwide
(inc. claimants of multiple ancestries)
Regions with significant populations
 United States 153,000 (estimate) [1]
 United Kingdom 96,000 (estimate) [2]
 South Africa 14,000 (estimate) [3]
 Australia 5,300 (estimate) [4]
 Canada 2,900 (estimate) [3]
 New Zealand 1,200 (estimate) [5]

English, Angloromani, Romani


Roman Catholic, Anglicanism, Evangelicalism, Protestant, Romanipen

Related ethnic groups

Kale (Welsh Romanies), Romani people, South Asians (Desi), English people, other Indo-Aryans, other Germanic peoples

The Romanichals (also Romnichals) are groups of Romani people (also known as Gypsies) found in some parts of the United Kingdom, notably England. The word "Romanichal" is derived from Romani chal, where chal is Angloromani for "fellow".[6][7]

They are thought to have arrived in Britain in the 16th century and were descendants of the Illes clan of Eastern Hungary. They are related to the Welsh Kale and originally spoke the same dialect of Romanies, Scottish Lowland gypsies especially at Yetholm and the borders and also to other Romani groups in continental Europe.

They (and their descendants) are also to be found throughout the United States and also in Australia.[8]



The Romani people in England are thought to have spoken the Romani language until the 19th century, when it was replaced by English and Angloromani, a creole language that combines the syntax and grammar of English with the Romani Lexicon.[9] Most Romanichals also speak English.

Many Angloromani words have been incorporated into English, particularly in the form of British slang.


The migration of the Romanies through the Middle East and Northern Africa to Europe

The Romani people have origins in the Indian subcontinent and began migrating westwards from the 11th century. The first groups of Romani people arrived in Great Britain by the end of the 15th century, escaping conflicts in Southeastern Europe (such as the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans). In 1506 there are recorded Romani persons in Scotland,[10] arrived from Spain and to England in 1512.[10] Soon the leadership passed laws aimed at stopping the Romani immigration and at the assimilation of those already settled.

Under the Reign of Henry VIII, the Egyptians Act (1530) banned Romanies from entering the country and required those living in the country to leave within 16 days. Failure to do so could result in confiscation of property, imprisonment and deportation. During the reign of Mary I the act was amended with the Egyptians Act (1554), which removed the threat of punishment to Romanies if they abandoned their "naughty, idle and ungodly life and company" and adopted a settled lifestyle, but on the other hand increased the penalty for noncompliance to death.

In 1562 a new law offered Romanies born in England and Wales the possibility of becoming citizens, if they assimilated in the local population. Despite this legislation, the Romani population managed to survive but was forced to a marginal lifestyle and subjected to continuous discrimination from the state authorities and many of the local non-Romanies. In 1596, 106 men and women were condemned to death at York just for being Romani, but only nine were executed. The others were able to prove that they were born in England.

From the years 1780s, gradually, the anti-Romani laws were repealed, although not all. The identity of the Romanichals was formed in the years 1660–1800, as a Romani group living in Britain.



Shipments to the Americas, Caribbean, and Australia

From the outset of their arrival in Britain, the Romanies were regarded with fear and suspicion, no doubt because of their dark complexion and foreign appearance that was far different from the local English population in the 16th century. England began to deport Romanichals as early as 1544, principally to Norway,[11][12] a process that was continued and encouraged by Elizabeth I and James I.[13] In 1603 an Order in Council was requested to transport Romanichal to Newfoundland, the West Indies, France, Germany, Spain and the Low Countries. European countries forced the further transportation of the British Romani to the Americas. Many times, those deported in this manner did not survive as an ethnic group, because of the separations after the round up, the sea passage and the subsequent settlement as slaves, all destroying the social fabric. At the same time, voluntary emigration began to the English colonies. Romani groups that survived, continued the expression of the Romani culture there.

In the years following the American Wars of Independence, Australia was the preferred destination for Romanichal transportation, as its use as a penal colony. The exact number of British Romani deported to Australia is unknown. It has been suggested that three Romanichal were present on the First Fleet,[14][14] one of whom was thought to be James Squire[14] who founded Australia's first commercial brewery in 1798, whose grandson James Farnell who became the first native-born Premier of New South Wales in 1877. The total Romani population seems to be an extremely low number, when we consider that British Romani people made up just (0.01%) of the original 162,000 convict population.[14] However, it had been suggested that Romanichal were one of the main target groups and discriminated due to the draconian transportation laws of England in the mid-18th century.[15] It is often difficult to distinguish British Romani people of Wales and England from the majority of non-Romani convicts at the time. Therefore it is not known the precise number of British Romanies, although there are occurrences of Romani names and possible families within the convict population; however it is unclear if such people were members of the established Romani community.[15] Fragmentary records do exist and it is thought with confidence at least 50 or more British Romanies may have been repatriated to Australia, although the actual figure could be higher.[14] What is clear is that such deportation (as for all convicts) was harsh resulting in;

For Romani convicts transportation meant social and psychological death; exiled they had little hope of returning to England to re-establish family ties, cultural roots, continuous expression and validation that would have revived their Romani identity in the convict era.
Romani Culture and Gypsy Identity, Thomas Alan

One, however, is known to have returned to England. Henry Lavello (Lovell) was repatriated with a full pardon with a son born to an Aboriginal woman in Australia who was also repatriated.[14][16][17]


In the 17th century Oliver Cromwell shipped Romanichals as slaves to the American southern plantations[18] and there is documentation of English Romanies being owned by freed black slaves in Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba and Louisiana.[13][18][19] Gypsies, according to the legal definition, was anyone identifying themselves to be Egyptians or Gypsies.[20][21] The works of George Borrow reflects the influences this had on the Romani Language of England and others contain references to Romanies being bitcheno pawdel or Bitchade pardel, to be "sent across" to America or Australia, a period of Romani history by no means forgotten by Romanies in Britain today. One term reflects this in the contemporary Angloromani for "magistrate" is bitcherin' mush, the "transporter."

Romanichal lifestyle

Traditionally, Romanichals earned a living doing agricultural work and would move to the edges of towns for the winter months. There was casual work available on farms throughout the spring, summer and autumn months, and would start with seed sowing, planting potatoes and fruit trees in the spring, weeding in early summer, and there would be a succession of harvests of crops from summer to late autumn. Of particular significance was the hop industry, which employed thousands of Romanichals both in spring for vine training and for the harvest in early autumn. Winter months were often spent doing casual labour in towns or selling goods or services door to door.

Mass industrialization of agriculture in the 1960s led to the disappearance of many of the casual farm jobs Romanichals had traditionally carried out. This, and legislation aimed at stopping travellers camping on common land and roadsides, has forced large numbers of Romanichals to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and take on a sedentary existence.[22]


Romanichal style Reading Vardo late 19th century.

Originally, Romanichals would travel on foot, or with light, horse-drawn carts, typical of other Romani groups and would build "bender" tents where they settled for a time. A bender is type of tent constructed from a frame of bent hazel branches (hazel is chosen for its straightness and flexibility), covered with canvas or tarpaulin. These tents are still favoured by New Age Traveller groups.

Around the mid to late-nineteenth century, Romanichals started using wagons that incorporated living spaces on the inside. These they called Vardos and were often brightly and colorfully decorated on the inside and outside. In the present day, Romanichals are more likely to live in caravans.

British Acts of Legislation

Due to the Enclosure Act 1857 created the offence of injury or damage to village greens and interruption to its use or enjoyment as a place of exercise and recreation. The Commons Act 1876 makes encroachment or inclosure of a village green, and interference with or occupation of the soil unlawful unless it is with the aim of improving enjoyment of the green.

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 states that no occupier of land shall cause or permit the land to be used as a caravan site unless he is the holder of a site licence. It also enables a district council to make an order prohibiting the stationing of caravans on common land, or a town or village green. These acts had the overall effect of preventing travellers using the vast majority of their traditional stopping places.

The Caravan Sites Act 1968 required local authorities to provide caravan sites for travellers if there was a demonstrated need. This was resisted by many councils who would claim that there were no Romanies living in their areas.[citation needed] The result was that insufficient pitches were provided for travellers, leading to the situation whereby holders of a pitch could no longer travel, for fear of losing it.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 removed the duty of local councils to provide authorised pitches and gave the Council and Police powers to move travellers on, subject to certain welfare issues. The official response of the government was that travellers should buy land and apply for planning permission to occupy it. However, those that did so found it extremely difficult to get planning permission, with more than 90% of applications by travellers refused.[citation needed]

In the first phase of the Second World War, the Nazis drew up lists of Romani individuals (many of them Romanichals) and persons with Romani ancestry from the United Kingdom to be interned and subjected to Porajmos in the event of the country's occupation.[citation needed]

The crisis of the 1960s decade, caused by the Caravan Sites Act 1968 (stopping new private sites being built until 1972), led to the appearance of the "British Gypsy Council" to fight for the rights of the Romanichals.[23]

In the UK, the issue of "travellers" (referring to Irish Travellers and New Age Travellers as well as Romanichal and other groups of Romani people) became a 2005 general election issue, with the leader of the Conservative Party promising to review the Human Rights Act 1998. This law, which absorbs the European Convention on Human Rights into UK primary legislation, is seen by some to permit the granting of retrospective planning permission. Severe population pressures and the paucity of greenfield sites have led to travellers purchasing land and setting up residential settlements very quickly, thus subverting the planning restrictions[citation needed].

Romanichal including other ethnic groups of travellers, Irish Travellers and New Age Travellers, argued in response that thousands of retrospective planning permissions are granted in Britain in cases involving non-Romani applicants each year and that statistics showed that 90% of planning applications by Romanies and travellers were initially refused by local councils, compared with a national average of 20% for other applicants, disproving claims of preferential treatment favoring Romanies.[24]

They also argued that the root of the problem was that many traditional stopping-places had been barricaded off and that legislation passed by the previous Conservative government had effectively criminalised their community, for example by removing local authorities’ responsibility to provide sites, thus leaving the travellers with no option but to purchase unregistered new sites themselves.[25]


  • David Essex - (born 1947) Former president of the Romani Union of Great Britain
  • Raby Howell - British (Liverpool, Sheffield United and Preston North End)
  • Freddy Eastwood - Welsh (Southend United)
  • Ian Hancock - Romani scholar and activist, born in UK, living in USA, Professor at the University of Texas
  • Jake Bowers – journalist Radio Kent
  • Augustine Bearce - a Romanichel deported by the British authorities to the colonies in America in 1638.
  • George Bramwell Evens - journalist, United Kingdom
  • Tracey Ullman - Presenter and actress, born in England of Polish father and Romani mother.
  • Augustine Bearce - Early Plymouth colonist
  • John Bunyan – Author of The Pilgrim's Progress
  • James Squire - on the First Fleet to Australia, the founder of the Australian brewing industry in 1798.
  • James Squire Farnell – Grandson of James Squire and the first Australian born Premier of New South Wales.
  • Darren M. Jackson - British mixed martial arts fighter.
  • Johnny Frankham - British Light Heavyweight Boxer who knocked to the floor Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali) in an exhibition fight.
  • Henry Wharton - English Middleweight Boxing Champion
  • Billy Joe Saunders - A British boxer athlete who won silver and became the first Romani boxer to represent team GB at the 2008 Chinese Olympics.
  • Charles Chaplin – actor
  • Bob Hoskins – actor
  • Elvis Presley - King of rock and roll, family were descended from English Romanichals[6]
  • Henry Joseph Wood - (1869–1944) was an English conductor, forever associated with the Promenade Concerts which he conducted for half a century.
  • Denny Laine - British (born 1944)
  • Adam Ant - (born 1954) British punk/New Wave musician; of Romanichal descent.
  • Michael Caine - actor, father is a Romanichal from London
  • Joe Longthorne - (born 1955) English singer and impressionist
  • Martin Taylor - (born 1956) British Guitarist
  • Caleb Botton - British Writer and Film maker.
  • Elanor Smith (1902–1945) - English writer of popular novels often romanticized historical and Romani setting, (she believed her paternal great-grandmother to have been a Romanichal).
  • Louise Doughty - British writer
  • Francis Hindes Groome - British writer

English Romanies in popular culture and literature

Romanichals have been portrayed on numerous occasions in popular culture, literature, film and television. However most portrayals depict a mismatched amalgam of different groups and traditions.


  • Lark Rise to Candleford, Series 2 Episode 1 — A BBC costume drama television series starring Dawn French, set in the fictional village of Lark Rising. The village is haunted by the spirit of a young Romani girl who drowned in the local lake. She is freed when the villagers hear of her plight and release her to wander in the next world.
  • Ashes to Ashes Series 2 2009 Episode 2 — A British television police drama series set in the 1980’s. A police officer tries to clear her name when she is involved in the accidental death of an English Romanichal. She uncovers a pre-meditated plot to murder him with a depressant overdose. The episode does include some stereotypical elements as the plot unfolds; namely the plot device of an old Romani clairvoyant and friction between the police and the Romani camp. However these stereotypes are turned on their head as there are elements of police corruption and the local doctor who was obsessed with the victims wife is found guilty of poisoning.
  • Romany Trail, The World About Us (1981) TV documentary – Discusses the Indian origin of the British Romani people and other groups throughout Europe. The programme shows various aspects of Romanichal culture, including Appleby fair in Cumbria.
  • Romany Summer by Barry Cockcroft (1971) TV documentary – A documentary of Romani life in Britain in the 1970s, featuring a family of Romany Gypsies who travelled and lived around York.
  • The Canterville Ghost (1974) Television dramatisation - Based on the (1887) short story by Oscar Wilde. A Romani group are suspected of kidnapping a girl but are innocent and join in the search for her.


  • Caravan – Based on the book by Elanor Smith (herself of Romani descent). Richard Durrell loses his memory as a result of the assault and marries a Romani girl.
  • Sky West and Crooked (1966) - Inspired by the novel The Gypsy and the Gentleman by D. H. Lawrence. A young girl played by Haley Mills finds happiness and friendship with a young English Romani played by Ian McShane in an English village.
  • The Raggedy Rawnie - Starring Bob Hoskins (himself of Romani descent) playing a soldier who goes AWOL during WWI who is taken in by a community of English Romanies.
  • Haunted (1995) – Starring Aidan Quinn and Kate Beckinsale, an old Romanichal fortune teller reads the palms of two characters.
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith - Disney adaptation Cruella De Vil hires two English Romanies to steal the puppies.
  • The Gypsy and the Gentleman (1958) – A movie based on Belle, a young English Romani, who seeks to infiltrate the gentry of high society.
  • Stone of Destiny (2008) – Based on a true story, Scottish nationalists reclaim the ancient symbol of their nation the Stone of Scone and bury the treasure is in a field. They return to find a Romanichal camp and one of the nationalists barters with the leader for the stone. In reality they waited until the Romani family left before recovering the stone.
  • Stardust (2007) – A fantasy film, where Madame Semele/Ditchwater Sal: A witch, and a member of the Sisterhood travels around in a yellow Romani wagon.


Many of the descriptions in the 19th century are also the product of a romanticized view of Romanichal and other Romani groups, both idealized and reviled by Victorian and early-twentieth-century writers[26] which manifests itself in the works of fiction by many other authors throughout the Victorian Era to the present.

Poem and verse

  • Bartholomew Fair by Ben Jonson (1631) – A comedy in five acts, set in London's Bartholomew Fair. A band of German Romani arrive in England and perform to the assembled crowed as entertainers and rope-dancers.
  • The Scholar Gypsy by Matthew Arnold – A poem based on a legend recounted by Joseph Glanvill in The Vanity of Dogmatizing (1661), based on the thoughts and reflections of a Romani's relationship, belief in, and relationship with, God.
  • Vagrant Muse by William Wordsworth – A young homeless woman is welcomed by a band of Romanies who take her in and offer her charity and companionship.
  • Not all Wagons and Lanes by Charlie Smith – A collection of English gypsy poems.
  • The Invisible Kings by David Morley – A selection of Romani poems inspired by the authors own British Romani heritage.
  • Vagabond in a Native Place by John Clare - A selection of poems romanticizing the lives, culture, and wanderings of the English Romani people.
  • The Scholar Gipsy by Matthew Arnold – A 19th century poem regarding the religious moral of the English Romani based in his belief in, and relationship with god. Arnold laments that non-gypsies have lost their faith.
  • Not all Wagons and Lanes by Charles – Collection of poems by Charles Smith.
  • Gavvered All Around by Dennis Binns – Anthology of thirty poems written by 10 Gypsy poets.

Novels and short stories

  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1722) - Moll's earliest memory is of wandering "among a group of people they call Gypsies or Egyptians" in England.
  • Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (1841) – Describes the first literary mention of an English Romanichal vardo or wagon.
  • Lavengro by George Borrow (1851) – Considered to be Borrow’s autobiographical masterpiece and a part philosophical adventure. A young man is befriended by a group of English Romanies and reflects on his wanderings with them.
  • Romany Rye by George Borrow (1857) – In which a young man continues his journey with English Romani and is a sequel to Borrow’s previous work Lavengro.
  • Romano Lavo-lil by George Borrow (1874) - A dictionary of the language of the English Romanichals.
  • Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott (1815) describes a community of Romanies living in the Scottish borders as being Scottish Romani and exotic. This refers to a Romanichal community living in the border area between Scotland and England, especially in the Kirk of Yetholm.
  • The Wind on the Heath: A Gypsy Anthology by John Sampson (1930) - A compilation of more than three hundred selections from novels, plays, etc, from British authors, to convey the ubiquity of the idea of the Romanichal in British literature.
  • The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892) – one of 56 Sherlock Holmes stories; in which a group of English Romanies are suspected and later acquitted from the investigation and are allowed to leave.
  • The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot - The protagonist Maggie runs away to Romanies, but decides she has gone out of her depth. They do not harm her, but the episode darkly prefigures the steps that she will take in adulthood.
  • Emma by Jane Austen - Romanies make a brief appearance in Emma as children who bait Harriet in a lonely lane. Mr Knightley is warned about them as a neighborhood nuisance. Austin’s description of the Romani is romanticized.
  • The Gipsies Advocate by James Crabb – A Reverend motivates his community to improve the living standards of Romanies. The book was inspired after the author J. Gibb saw the injustices of society on British Romanies when a gypsy was convicted to death and his accomplice a non-Romani was spared.[27]
  • Haresfoot Legacy by Frances Brown – Left destitute by her preacher father a young when he discovers she's pregnant, Liddy Nolan is taken in by a gypsy prize-fighter who offers to be a father to her unborn child. In time, Liddy shows herself a true Romany at heart and find happiness and love for each other.
  • The Other Sister by Frances Brown – A young Romani girls life in a 19th century circus troop that travels in England.
  • Dancing on the Rainbow by Frances Brown – A young woman finds love and romance when she joins a 19th century circus troop.
  • Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas – Features a half-Romanichal male protagonist.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - A supposed English Romani visits Thornfield Manor to tell fortunes, and the reactions of the guests there illustrate their characters as well as social attitudes.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Heathcliff perhaps might have been descended from Romani people and is often described as "dark" as or a "gypsy".
  • The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge (1958) - Features a very detailed storyline and description of the lifestyle of the Romnichals of the UK during the civil war.
  • Gypsy Lover by Edith Layton - The third book in a trilogy of romantic fiction where Daffyd the illegitimate son of a noblewoman and a Romani, returns to England from a penal colony in Botany Bay to pardon and clear the name of his adopted father the Earl of Egremont who was wrongly accused of a crime.
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Toad, owner of Toad Hall, an impulsive and conceited character, buys a horse-drawn English Romani vardo. A few days later a passing motor car scares their horse causing the wagon to crash. This marks the end of Toad's craze, to be replaced by an obsession for motor cars.
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit – The children run into a band of English Romanies on the road.
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith - Cruella De Vil hires two English Romanies to steal the puppies.
  • Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (1975) - A children's book in which a young boy lives with his father in a traditional English vardo, although it is unclear if the protagonist Danny and his father are themselves Romanichal and admire the culture or prefer the lifestyle.
  • The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden – Winner of the Whibread Children's Book Award, Diddikoi is the tale of a orphan Romani girl whose life is put in turmoil when her only living relative dies, her wagon burns, and she is left alone in a village community that hates her.
  • Dark Blood by William Lee – Written by a Romani author [28] Dark Blood tells the true story of Ethan Bray, a restless Romany orphan. Into his settled farming life in post-war Kent comes May, the beautiful daughter of the Traveller Tucker Beaney; but Ethan must face immense danger and personal conflict if he is to win her hand in marriage.
  • Once by James Herbert – A Wiccan called Nell Quick is described to be alluring and dressed in the manner of a Romani woman. She is noted for her extremely beautiful looks and raven-colored hair. The novel never fully explains her origins or if she is connected to the Romanies.
  • The Romany Heiress by Nikki Poppen - The heir to the Earl of Spelthorne is captivated by the arrival of a beautiful Romani who shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his deceased parents’ long-lost daughter.
  • The Virgin and the Gypsy by D H Lawrence (1926) – A young Romani hero is a useful antidote to a rigid social class system.
  • Whistledown Woman by Josephine Cox – In a rage a man who thinks his wife has been unfaithful to him, he gives his new-born daughter to a gypsy family and has his wife locked away in an asylum. Starlena the daughter grows up ignorant of her parentage and vast inheritance, though her gypsy mother is ever watchful that someone might track her down and wish her harm.
  • Aylwin by Theodore Watts-Dunton – A bestselling novel about a boy who befriends a clan of British gypsies and its positive portrayal of gypsy life.
  • The Romany Girl by Valerie Wood – Orphan Polly Anna finds love and acceptance with a colorful travelling fair, becoming a horse rider and acrobat. Set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Wolds, this saga spans three generations.
  • Far From Home by Valerie Wood – A young woman and her maid travel to the gold rush in California to find her Romani lover.

Non fiction

  • Appleby Horse Fair by Barrie Law – The historical, social and cultural history of the Romany Applby horse fair.
  • The Appleby Rai by G. Thorburn & J. Baxter – A book that discusses the history and culture of the Romanichal.
  • Gypsies - Wanderers of the World by Bart McDowell (National Geographic) – A pictorial guide to the gypsies of Europe, the author stayed with a group of English gypsies and noted the cultural similarities and common roots between English and continental Romanies.
  • Gypsies of the Heath by Betty Gillingham – An insight into the lives of the Romanichal in the early 20th century.
  • A Mysterious People by Charles Duff – A guide to Romani culture including the Romani groups of Britain.
  • West with the Tinkers by Cledwyn Hughes – A journey through Wales with British Romani gypsies.
  • Gypsy Folk Tales by Francis Hinds Groom – A story based on the lovell Romani family who travel to Wales.
  • Gypsy Travellers in 19th Century Society by David Mayall – A guide to the life and culture of the Romani gypsies of Britain in the 19th century.
  • The English Gypsy Caravan by Denis Harvey – A guide to the British Romani wagon time.
  • The Gypsies, Wagon Time & After by Denis Harvey – The Romanichal wagon its history use and construction.
  • We are the Romani People by Ian Hancock – A look into the different types of Romani people
  • The Wind on the Heath by John Sampson – A gypsy anthology first published in London 1930 containing items of prose and verse gleaned from classical literature, folklore, history and true Gypsy life.
  • Romany Nevi Wesh by Len Smith – A history of early English Gypsy settlement in England
  • Gypsy Horses by Lisa McNamara – The history of the Gypsy Cobb horse.
  • Dreams of the Road- Gypsy Life in the West Country by Martin Levinson & Avril Silk – Contains an insight into gypsy life, childhood, community, education and work in the West Country of England.
  • Our Village by Mary Russell Mitford – A history of the gypsy people in Berkshire England.
  • A Romany Tapestry by Michael Hoadley – The author’s personal memoirs and lifetime association and friendship with gypsies, their origins, practices, beliefs and customs.
  • Jack by the Hedge by Nancy Price – The memoirs of English country life, including the gypsies.
  • Gypsies, Didikois & Other Travellers by Norman Dodds – An account of the authors personal experiences of the gypsies of the British Isles.
  • A Calendar of Fairs and Markets by Pat Loveridge – A collection of fairs and markets held in the nineteenth century and the Romani travllling people.
  • The Gorse and the Briar by Patrick A. McEvoy – A tale of the gypsy life on the roads among horse-drawn Travellers in the last days of 'Wagon-Time'.
  • Gypsies & Travellers in their own Words by Peter Saunders – A book that provides an insight into Gypsy and traveller lifestyle from the early 20th century to the present day. They tell how Gypsies and Travellers have lived and coped in extremely difficult circumstances. Whilst providing an insight into everyday life, the stories tell of both personal and cultural survival. They relate individuals' hopes and fears for the future, for themselves personally and for the Gypsy and Traveller way of life in general.
  • Gypsy Wayside Burials by Robert Dawson – An insight into the burial customs of the British Romanies.
  • British Gypsy Slavery by Robert Dawson – The history of British Romani slavery in the Caribbean and Americas.
  • Crime & Prejudice, Traditional Travellers by Robert Dawson – The role of prejudice by non-Romani populations towards the Romani people.
  • Northern Traveller Tales by Robert Dawson – Old Romani fireside stories from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the West of Scotland.
  • The Hanging of Tobias Smith by Robert Dawson – The touching account of a 18th century Romani called Tobias Smith, an illiterate prisoner found god and repented for his past wrong doings before being hanged in 1792.
  • Empty Lands by Robert Dawson – The history of the British Romanie, which includes a chapter on child removals by the authorities in the 20th century.
  • Times Gone by Robert Dawson – British Romani history, including a section on the slavery of the 18-19th centuries.
  • On the move in a Gypsy Wagon by Tom McReady – The story of a British Romani family who still live in a traditional vardo. The book contains over 200 color pictures.
  • A Season in Time by Robert Dawson – The recollections of twelve gypsy authors at different times of the year.
  • Spotting Old Vardos by Robert Dawson – History and information on the gypsy wagon.
  • Henry Dry-Bread by Robert Dawson – A collection of gypsy letters.
  • The Christening by Lisa Young and Val Mannering – The traditions and customs involved in a gypsy christening.
  • Northern Traveller tales by Robert dawson – Traditional tales collected from Travellers in the East Midlands, North of England and Scotland.
  • Times Gone by Robert Dawson – The British governments involvement in Romani slavery.
  • On The Move in a Gypsy wagon by Ryalla Duffy – The account of a Romani family that still travels in the old vardo.
  • A Romani in the family by Robert Dawson – How to trace your Romani heritage.
  • Rokkering, Crecking and Cracking by Robert Dawson – The Romani language and cant dialects as found in Britain today.
  • My Ancestors Were Gypsies by Sharon Floate – The autobiographical account of the authors own Romani heritage.
  • The Story of Notting Dale by Sharron Whetlor – The history of Notting Dale North Kensington London including the Romani population.
  • Stopping Places by Simon Evans – A gypsy history and the traditional life of the Gypsies when they lived in "bender" tents and wooden horse drawn wagons in South London and Kent.
  • The Book of Boswell by Sylvester Gordon Boswell – The autobiography of the English gypsy activist Sylvester Boswell who led the deputation to save the historical Applby Horse Fair when it was threatened with closure by the local councils in 1965.
  • Gypsy Camera by Tony Boxall – The author travelled with a Gypsy travelling in southern England in 1964, leading to a four year photographic project which, recorded the most significant transition in Gypsy culture in several hundred years. His photographs depict one Gypsy family's experience of the decline of the horse-drawn way of life and culture.
  • A Gypsy Upbringing by Tony Price – A look into the gypsy upbringing in Britain.
  • Raggle Taggle by Walter Starkie – A book written by a president of the Gypsy Lore Society detailing his wanderings with Romanies during a vacation from university. Written in the which are picaresque accounts in the tradition of George Borrows.
  • Seven Steps to Glory by John Pateman – The story of a Gypsy, Walter Pateman following the introduction of conscription in 1916 he fought in WWI and took part in an attack which proved to be one of the final actions of the Battle of the Somme. Who later was killed in action during night patrols and raids sent out into No Man's Land to gauge the strength of the enemy. The book accounts his birth in Kent to his death on the battlefields of France.
  • Charles Dickens And Travellers by John Pateman – A book describing the influences and poinions Charles dickens had about the Romanies of Britain. His views were positive and he had a great respect for the Romani people as was evident in his books; Old Curiosity Shop, Nicholas Nickleby as well as characters in his novels and essays.[29]
  • Romanichal Gypsies, by Thomas Acton and David Gallant – Describes the wealth of Romanichal culture and tradition and explains why this way of life is under constant threat, as fewer and fewer allow caravans to stop.
  • Looking Back on my Gypsy Childhood by Louise Orchard – This book takes through the history and culture of the Romanies through the 1930s and Second World War.
  • The Travelling People Anthea Wormington – Informative and colourful book for children covering a range of Traveller subjects.
  • A Horse for Joe Margaret by Hird & Ann Whitwell – The story of a boy Joe who dreams of owning a horse. Can he get his dream and buy one at Appleby Fair.
  • Time to go Travelling by Charlotte Webster – Photographic account of a family preparing to leave their site to go travelling for the summer.
  • Moving with the Times by Goodiy Reilly – A historical account of traveller life.
  • A Victorian Childhood by Beryl Williams – Portrait of a Gypsy Traveller family and of a Funfair family.
  • Focus: Background history of Travelling people in the Victorian period from a child’s viewpoint.
  • The Romano Drom Song Book by Denise Stanley & Roswy Burke – Traditional songs and ballads.
  • Dirty Gyppo by Tom Odley – Collection of poems describing true side and hardships of the Gypsy way of life.
  • Gypsy Caravans by E Alan Jones – looking at the history and restoration of traditional wagons.
  • Gypsy Vans by Juliet Jeffery – Descriptions of different wagons.
  • Travellers: An Introduction by Jon Cannon & the Travellers of Thistlebrook – Insight into the history, culture and lives of Travellers in Britain today.
  • The Gypsies, Wagon-time and After by Denis Harvey – Dated book. An insight into the different aspects of Traveller life; including fashion, wagons and livelihood.
  • The English Gypsy Caravan by C H Ward-Jackson & Denis Harvey – Origins, builders, technology and conservation of the Gypsy Caravan.
  • Smoke in The Lanes by Dominic Reeve – classic account of the reality of life as a Gypsy in the 1950s.
  • Whichever Way We Turn by Dominic Reeve – Personal insights by the author who lived with Romanichal gypsies, how the culture has adapted in the modern world.
  • No Place Like Home by Dominic Reeve – A book reflecting on British gypsy politics and social change of the 60s.
  • Beneath the Blue Sky by Dominic Reeve – A book depicting the modern changes Romanichal lifestyle in the modern age.
  • Gypsy Dorelia by Dorothy U. Ratcliffe – The tale of a woman called Dorelia and her children.
  • Yorkshire Gypsy Fairs by E. Allan Jones – A guide to the traditional Yorkshire gypsy fairs.

Other media

  • Cadbury Flake television advert (1985) – A chocolate advert in the UK in which a young Romani woman eats a flake, paints a watercolor in a sunflower field, and travels in a Romanichal wagon. [7]
  • Meggan by Marvel Universe – Meggan of the Marvel comics superhero team Excalibur was born to a band of Romanies in England. She was expelled when they saw that she was a shapeshifter.

See also


  1. ^ (Ethnic origin) The [1] shows 153,000 people claiming English Romanichal ancestry.
  2. ^ The [2] shows 170,000 people claiming English Romanichal ancestry.
  3. ^ a b [3] shows 14,000 people claiming English Romanichal ancestry.
  4. ^ (Ancestry) The [4] reports 5,300 people of English Romanichal ancestry.
  5. ^ [5] shows 1,200 people claiming English Romanichal ancestry.
  6. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition 1989, "Romany3, n. and a."
  7. ^ Manfri Frederick Wood. "Romanichal Word List". 
  8. ^ Areas of Angloromani's use
  9. ^ University of Manchester Romani Project. "The Anglo-Romani project". 
  10. ^ a b The dialect of the English Gypsies (1875) B. C. Smart et al. Published by Asher
  11. ^ Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions and Culture (2001) Walter Otto Weyrauch, University of California Press, 200
  12. ^ Bergman, Gösta, 1964. Slang och hemliga språk. Stockholm
  13. ^ a b MacRitchie, David, 1894. Scottish Gypsies under the Stuarts. Edinburgh: Constable
  14. ^ a b c d e f Romani Culture and Gypsy Identity (1997) Thomas Alan et al. University of Hertfordshire Press.
  15. ^ a b Donohoe. J.H. (1988) The Forgotten Australians Non-Anglo or Celtic Convicts and exiles.
  16. ^ Romani Culture and Gypsy Identity (1997)
  17. ^ Donohoe. J.H. (1985) The Forgotten Australians Non-Anglo or Celtic Convicts and exiles.
  18. ^ a b The Pariah Syndrome: An Account of Gypsy Slavery and Persecution Ian F. Hancock, (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Karoma, 1987)
  19. ^ Chambers, Robert, 1865. Domestic annals of Scotland from the reformation to the revolution. Edinburgh: Chambers. Vol.II.
  20. ^ Smith, Abbot E., 1971. Colonists in bondage. New York: Norton Co.
  21. ^ Beier, A. L., 1985. Masterless men: the vagrancy problem in England, 1560–1640. London and New York: Methuen.
  22. ^ BBC Kent Romany Roots. "Romany History". 
  23. ^ The Patrin Web Journal - Timeline of Romani (Gypsy) History
  24. ^ "Gypsies and Irish Travellers: The facts". Commission on Racial Equality (UK). 
  25. ^ "Gypsies". Inside Out - South East. BBC. 2005-09-19. 
  26. ^ Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807–1930 (2006). Deborah Epstein Nord. Columbia University Press
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Charles Dickens And Travellers by John Pateman



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:




Romanichal (plural Romanichals)

  1. Any of several groups of British Romani (Roma or gypsy) people


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