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The History of Gypsies in the New Forest - Part 2

 

During the middle of the 19th century Gypsy Travellers started to use horse drawn wagons with fitted interiors but often still slept in Benders. With the coming of the motor vehicle in the twentieth century a number of Gypsy Travellers started to use trailers and caravans instead of horse drawn vehicles.

At the start of the twentieth century the Law stated that Gypsy Travellers were not allowed in remain on the same land for longer than two days. The majority of Gypsy Travellers would abide by the law and move on every forty eight hours travelling a regular route which took them around six weeks to complete. Local residents of the forest would look out for the regular return of the Gypsy Travellers in anticipation, so that they could have their knives sharpened, purchase pegs and baskets and have odd jobs carried out for a fair price such as china repairs and beehive making. The Gypsy travellers also carried out seasonal work such as potato digging, hop and strawberry picking, the woman told fortunes and went hawking.

Gypsies were welcomed into all the New Forest pubs and have been remembered for their singing and dancing talents. They were well known and respected by the local police, villagers and tradesmen.

 

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