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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS Twelve: Daniel and Mary Lovell

Eric Trudgill    -    4 May 2014

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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS

Twelve: Daniel and Mary Lovell

by Eric Trudgill

Tracing the children of Major Lovell, husband of Susanna, born allegedly about 1755, and Daniel Lovell, husband of Violetta, born probably about 1760, is not that difficult. As I indicated last month, we seem to have baptisms for all of them except Major’s probable son William and Daniel’s Temperance and probable daughter Rose. Tracing back the two fathers, however, is rather more difficult.

Major and Daniel were surely close relatives of the Major Lovell christened in Tattenhall, Cheshire in 1748, parents unnamed: Tattenhall isn’t far from Wigan, Lancs where Major and Susanna christened a child in 1773 and where Daniel claimed to have come from, when christening a child in 1783. It’s possible Major, husband of Susanna, was the Major christened in 1748 (though this would involve his mourners in 1832 taking 7 or 8 years off his age rather than adding some as was customary), but even if he was, we still need to find his parents.

Major and Daniel were surely close relatives of Henry Lovell, husband of Angelita, who christened a Henry junior in Farnworth, Lancs in 1768 (stranger of Cuerdley). Farnworth is a few miles from Wigan, appreciably closer than Tattenhall, and Henry junior may have been the Gypsy, married to a Margaret, who christened four children in the 1790s on Major and Daniel’s territory, one in Lincolnshire, another in Rutland, and two in Oxfordshire.

Major and Daniel were surely close relatives tooof an earlier Daniel Lovell, father by Mary, of Drusilla, christened in Warrington, Lancs in 1767, stranger, of William, christened in Dodleston, Cheshire in 1771, traveller (possibly the travelling gypsy who married Mary Johnson and christened a William junior in Lincs in 1804), of Servina, christened in Lt Houghton, Northants in 1773, gypsies, and of Lazarus, christened in Leominster, Herefordshire in 1776 (no further information). Warrington is a few miles from Wigan; Dodleston is a few miles from Tattenhall; and William, admittedly a common name, seems to have been used by Major and Susanna for their first son and by Daniel and Violetta for their second.

But the strongest evidence for Daniel, husband of Mary, being father of the Major born allegedly about 1755 and of the Daniel, born probably about 1760 (named after his father) lies with Servina. She was christened in 1773 in Northants, where Major and Susanna christened children in 1777, 1779 and 1784, and more importantly she looks rather like the Sabina (v and b being then interchangeable) recorded as the younger Daniel’s sister in the deposition he made in Himley, Staffs in 1831.

This of course, the strongest evidence we have for Major and Daniel’s father, is far from conclusive. But it does give us something to work with and test as new evidence emerges. The brothers’ father may have been the Daniel Lovell, a dealer in earthenware of Darlaston, Staffs (close to Dudley, in the area they progressively favoured), who made a deposition in 1768 in Newbold on Stour, Worcs (close to Clifford Chambers, where Major buried his wife in 1812, and to Pebworth, where Major’s Thomas married Daniel and Violetta’s Spanish in 1816). Again this is far from conclusive evidence of the brothers’ origins. And neither is the baptism in Deerhurst, Glos in 1723 of Daniel Lovell son of Henry and Grace (no further information, but this was the only appearance of Henry and Grace in the Deerhurst register, suggesting they may have been vagrants).

But this 1723 baptism does give us the possibility of a longer narrative. Nineteenth century antiquarians were much intrigued by the burial “aged 85” in 1744 in Lt Budworth, Cheshire of Henry Lovell, “King of the Gypsies”. Lt Budworth is a few miles from Tattenhall, where Major Lovell was christened four years later, parents unnamed, probably a son or nephew of Daniel, husband of Mary. This Henry Lovell was plausibly the “old gypsy” mentioned in press reports when “Henry the younger” and Thomas Lovell, presumably his sons, were accused in 1737 of having stolen horses about six years earlier near Tamworth, Staffs (accused by the famous Abraham Wood, who had just been sentenced to death for committing highway robbery in Gloucestershire on the testimony of the older Henry Lovell).

It’s possible in other words (I put it no more strongly than this), that the Henry Lovell, buried in Cheshire in 1744, fathered a Thomas and a Henry junior, that Henry junior married a Grace and fathered the Daniel christened in Gloucestershire in 1723 and the Henry who married Angelita. It’s possible too that the Daniel christened in 1723 married a Mary and fathered Major, Daniel, Drusilla, William, Servina and Lazarus. Even if I’m wrong, anyone testing my guesses stands a good chance of coming across data that will help to put me right.

Copyright © 2014 Eric Trudgill