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Many years ago the birth of a Gypsy baby had special customs. An individual tent was prepared for the new arrival and the men were not allowed near it. The woman was not able to prepare food for her family for a few weeks after the birth as she was believed to be mochadi (unclean).

After the birth the tent was burnt with all its contents. Gypsy babies have been known to be born in the New Forest by a special holly tree at Godshill near Fordingbridge or on a bed of straw. After the baby was born it was not to be touched by its father until it had been christened.

Since the 1950’s most Gypsy babies have been born in hospital with the father often waiting in the corridor whilst the mother gives birth with one or more female companions.



Caraline Hughes, Nellie Lamb,Eliza Hughes and Jean Hughes at Thorney Hill Compound

Photo courtesy of Edward Cooper (84)

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