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  • By John Pateman
    Nov 8, 2009
    "Tugmutton Common" This is the story of the Tugmutton Gypsies of Farnborough, Kent. They included William Pateman and his brother James, and Urania and Levi Boswell, the self-styled “King and Queen” of the Kent Romany Gypsies. For many years they lived at Tugmutton, or Leg of Mutton Common, a large field on the edge of Farnborough shaped like a leg of lamb. During the summer they travelled around Kent picking hops, fruit and vegetables, and in the winter they would return to their cottages at Tugmutton and earn their living as “pedlars” and “hawkers”. William was born at Rochester, Kent in 1857. His family travelled around the Hoo Peninsula, where Charles Dickens lived at Gads Hill. Dickens based his masterpiece, Great Expectations (1861) on the Hoo marshes and the prison hulks anchored in the Medway. In 1871 William was living with his family on a brick field at Beckenham. He 'jumped over the broomstick' with Mercy Reynolds and their first two children, Mary and Henry,... More > were born at Crockenhill, which was famous for its peppermint farms. In 1881 William moved to Tugmutton Common, where he lived in a 'house cart' or Gypsy caravan. The rest of William's children were born at Farnborough and eventually he moved into a small workmen's cottage at Church Lane in Farnborough Village. At some point his fortunes were transformed (possibly due to horse dealing) and he moved into a large modern villa in Cobden Road. William later moved to Chislehurst Road, Orpington, where he died in 1921. This is also the story of James Pateman who married Jane Reynold's (Mercy's sister)and they had 18 children, most of whom survived. James lived at 5 Willow Walk, next door to Levi and Urania Boswell. Levi led his donkeys to Greenwich park and back every day and when he died his funeral was reported in the national Times newspaper. Urania Boswell was equally famous and thousands of people also attended her funeral. The lives of fellow travellers James Dighton, Daniel Coates, Edmund Arnold, John Brazil, George Eastwood, James Pettigrove and George Reynolds are also covered. There is a comprehensive chronology(1846-1990), family trees and a list of sources. This book will be an inspiration to local and family historians as well as those who are interested in Kent and Gypsy history and culture.< Less
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Product Details

Pateran Press
November 10, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.27 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.26 wide x 11.69 tall
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