King of the Gypsies
:"For the 1978 movie with the same title, see
King of the Gypsies (film)."The title King of the Gypsies has been claimed or given over the centuries to many different people. It is both culturally and geographically specific. It may be inherited, acquired by acclamation or action, or simply claimed. The extent of the power associated with the title varied; it might be limited to a small group in a specific place, or many people over large areas. In some cases the claim was clearly a public relations exercise. As the term Gypsy is also used in many different ways the King of the Gypsies may be someone with no connection with the Roma.
It has also been suggested that in places where they were persecuted by local authorities the "King of the Gypsies" is an individual, usually of low standing, who places himself in the risky position of an ad hoc liaison between the Roma and the gaje (non-Roma). The arrest of such a "King" limited the harm to the Roma. [ [http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/09/3roma.cfm Human Rights Brief - Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law - Washington College of Law ] ]
George Faw spoke as "capitane and forspeikar" for two Gypsies accused on theft at
Count Martin was issued with a safe conduct by King James IV in 1530, which described him as being of Little Egypt.
John (Johnnie) Faa
Johnnie Faa of Dunbar was leader of the 'Egyptians', or Gypsies, in Scotland. Faa was granted a letter under the
Privy Sealfrom King James IV in February 1540, which was renewed in 1553. It was addressed to "oure louit Johnne Faw, lord and erle of Litill Egipt" establishing his authority over all Gypsies in Scotland and calling on all sheriffsin the country to assist him "in executione of justice upoun his company and folkis", who were to "conforme to the lawis of Egipt".Johnnie Faa is associated with the tragic tale of “The Countess and the Gypsy”. The story runs that Faa, styled King of the Gypsies, ran away with a Countess of Cassillis. Her enraged husband caught up with them at a ford over the Doon, still called the Gypsies’ Steps. He hanged Faa and his followers on a Dule Treeon a mound in front of the Castle Gate at Cassillis while his wife was forced to watch from an upstairs room. He then imprisoned her in Maybole Castle for the rest of her life. The Earl is also supposed to have built an oriel windowfacing the place of execution and an outside staircase decorated with carvings of the faces of her lover and his gallant band, and then married again while his wife was imprisoned. An alternative version has it that her lover was an aristocrat who was accompanied by Gypsies who "cuist the glaumourye ower her." All of this seems to be entirely mythical; the oriel window and steps pre-date the time of the tale, the Earl was a devout Churchman unlikely to be given to bigamy. On his wife’s death Cassillis wrote a touching letter referring to her as “my deir bedfellow”. If she did run away with her lover she didn’t get far, as the Gypsy Steps are only a few hundred yards from the castle.The story seems to come from the concatenation of an old ballad"Johnnie Faa" well-known before the date of the tale. There are many regional versions telling a similar story, and one of which mentions Cassillis. It is believed that Johnnie Faa stayed in the district and had a camp near CulroyCassillis. [Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks by James T. Gray, Alloway Publishing, Ayr. 1972.] [ [http://www.maybole.org/history/books/carrickscapital/countessandgypsy.htm The Countess and the Gypsy ] ] He is resurrected in fiction in " His Dark Materials".
Son and successor of Johnnie Faa, Johnne Wanne was granted Royal authority over all "Egyptians" in Scotland in May 1540. Records showed that by 1612 the Faa family had extended as far as
Shetland. However, the initial tolerance of Gypsies did not last. In 1623 eight leaders of the Gypsies were hanged on the Burgh Muir, six of whom were of the Faa line. In the 1650’s they were amongst those transported to Virginia. [ [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/roma/gft/index.htm Gypsy Folk Tales Index ] ]
William Faa II
Will Faa, "King of the Gypsies", died in
Kirk Yetholmin 1883, aged 96. Gypsies may have lived at Yetholm since before it became a permanent settlement, as the border location between Scotlandand Englandmade travel and avoidance of persecution easier. Settlement was encouraged when the lairdbuilt houses and a school for the Gypsy community during the 1700s. William Faa was an innkeeper and footballer who lived at “The Gypsy Palace” off the Green, and entertained visitors there. The "Kelso Mail" carried his obituary entitled "Death of a Gypsy King", which said he was “always accounted a more respectable character than any of his tribe, and could boast of never having been in gaol during his life.” His house continued to be a tourist attraction, and there was reportedly an "Old Palace" on the other side of Kirk Yetholm Green. A ceremonial Gypsy Coronation was held in 1898 in an attempt to boost tourism. [citeweb|title=Undiscovered Scotland|url=http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/yetholm/yetholm/index.html] [citeweb|title=Discover the borders|url=http://www.discovertheborders.co.uk/places/212.html] [citeweb|title=Scottish Gypsies|url=http://www.scottishgypsies.co.uk/]
Charles Faa Blythe
Died in 1902 King of the Gypsies of Yetholm, claimed descent from the Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, who eloped with the Countess of Cassilies [‘’Journal Gypsy Lore Soc.’’ 3rd ser.ii 370-1 quoted in ‘’English Genealogy’’ A. R. Wagner]
Billy Marshall (1672-1792) was born in Ayrshire in 1672 of Romany stock and claimed to be King of the Gypsies in south-east Scotland for most of the 1700s. He was a boxer, and served in the services, allegedly deserting from the Army seven times and from the Navy three times. He was supposed to have married 17 times and he had a huge crowd of illegitimate children (four of whom he is said to have fathered after his 100th birthday). He is also said to have been involved in murder and robbery, running a gang of gypsy tinkers in Galloway. He was the so-called 'King of the Randies', and having served as a soldier he was able to organise the country people who lost land when landowners built stone dykes and walls - his men went round knocking them down. Was a smuggler in
Kirkcudbright. He was also reputed to be a gypsy and robber, and Caird (gypsy) of Burullion, the area he controlled. He was alleged to have lived to the age of 120, dying in 1792 and was buried in St Cuthbert's Churchyard, though his gravestone is no longer visible. [ [http://www.smuggling.co.uk/gazetteer_scot_10.html Smuggling on Solway Firth and Galloway coasts, Scotland ] ] [citeweb|title=BBC|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/beyond/factsheets/makhist/makhist10_prog7c.shtml] [ [http://www.seanachaidh.org Portail d'informations Ce site est en vente! ] ] ["Romany Routes" Volume 6 No 6 March 2004]
When the groups claiming to be "wandering Egyptians" arrived in England a “Duke Andrew” led them. This claim and the name are also recorded in Northern Europe slightly earlier. It therefore seems likely to have been a name adopted for the person in each group who dealt with the existing authorities. Nothing reliable is known about the actual organisation of these groups, although the "Egyptians" were noted to travel in groups of 30-40. They were distinctive in physical appearance, clothing and culture, and immediately known as "Egyptians", from which came the common name Gypsies. The groups did seem to have leaders, though not always Kings. At
Canterbury, Kentin 1546 “two leaders of the Gypsies” were committed to gaol.
Wiganin 1601 with 17 others, George Portingale was described as “Captain of Egyptians”.
Robert Hern and Elizabeth Boswell
Married in 1687 in
Camberwelland described then as “king and queen of the Gypsies”. Hern may be the same Hern who was chosen as king of a group in Warwickshirein 1673.
Leaders identified in Martin Markall
The short book "
Martin Markall, Beadleof the Bridewell" was published in Londonin 1610. The author is given as "S.R.", who is usually identified as Samuel Ridthe author of The Art of Juggling, a later book of rogue literaturepromised in Martin Markall. The book is of dubious veracity, and large sections are taken from the works of Thomas Dekker. It includes what purports to be a list of the leaders of the “the regiment of rogues”, which echoed the genealogies of prominent families. It will be seen that in reality few had anything to do with Gypsies, but they are indicative of the context in which some of the Kings of the Gypsies were identified.
Jack Cade, aka John Mortimer, who led a rebellion of men from Kent who camped at Blackheath outside London in 1450. After his rebellion a reward was offered for him, and he was captured and killed in Kent.
Bluebeard and Hugh Roberts
Both soldiers who had served in France. Bluebeard was captured and executed shortly after being made “their captain”. Roberts then gathered about 100 “rakehells and vagabonds” in Kent who were joined by 400 “masterless men”. Together they joined Jack Cade and entered
Southwark. After the end of Cade’s rebellion Roberts took to the woods with a small group living by theft, according to set rules of their own. After a year living like this these “Roberdsmen” dispersed throughout England, vowing to meet every three years, and joining other “commotions and rebellions”. Roberts also went “roving” and “kept his court” until he was killed in 1461.
Was chosen by the remaining “Roberdsmen” at “their wonted place of meeting” “by general assent”. He was “a wandering rogue”, “much given to swearing, drunkenness and lechery . . . stout of stomach, audacious and fierce”. He claimed a right of
droit de seigneur, and ordained that all beggars spent their weekly earnings in full every Saturday night. Rid says that he fought with “300 tattered knaves” in the rebellion in the South West of England against Edward IVand was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury(1471). Unlike Roberts, who may have been a real character, this Cowdiddle seems to have a complete fiction.
Not deterred, the remaining “Roberdsmen” “hie them to their rendezvous . . . and there, with the full consent of the whole company, they chose one Spising to be his successor”. Spising is given no first name. He is credited with ordering that all begging wanderers be “stalled as a rogue” by “the Chief Commander then being”, paying a fee in beer, though this was excused if his father and grandfather had been rogues. Spising joined the larger rebellion by Thomas Neville, the
Bastard of Fauconberg. He led a band attacking Aldgate, and was nearly successful, until parts of his group were trapped by the fall of the portcullis. Spising is reputed to have ruled 11 years before being hanged for a murder in Wombourn, Staffordshire, having escaped the same fate earlier by seeking sanctuaryin Westminster Cathedral. There is a historical record of a Spising as leader of an Essexcontingent of Neville’s uprising, but he was executed after it, and his head exhibited on Aldgate.
was the next elected, an expert at cheating with
loaded dice, and excelled in “all manner of vice”. He repeated Cowdiddle’s requirement for thieves and beggars to spend their ill-gotten gains and not save them. Rid says he ruled for 8 years before dying of “the poxand Neapolitan scurf”. Like Cowdiddle Dick seems to have been wholly fictional.
Laurence Crossbiter(aka Long Laurence)
Was the next elected leader, a serving man aged 50-60. His art was “crossbiting”; theft from the customers of whores. He is also reported to have died “his bowels . . . eaten out with the pox while he was yet alive”. Rid described him as cowardly and slavish for failing to come to the aid of the rebel
Was one of Warbeck’s counsellors, “a noted knave”. He was next “led to the wonted place of meeting, and there solemnly stalled a rogue and made their general”. He is described as formerly having been a
tailorin Taunton, Somerset“of proud and haughty disposition”, and have “lived in this new government” until 1501. A Skelton was recorded by Sir Francis Baconas a counsellor to Warbeck, but he says nothing of his activities after the rebellion.
Was elected his successor “by the General Council”.
Cock Lorelwas “the most notorious knave that ever lived” who ruled until 1533. He professed the trade of a tinker to cover his thefts. Rid says that his knaveries are recorded in an old manuscript kept as “Maunders’ Hall”, giving the rogue community a similar structure of that of the trade guilds. Cock Lorel was the great mythical leader of Tudor rogues. His name means just that, “cock” being leader, and “lorel” or losel” meaning rascal. He first appears about 1500 in “Cock Lorel’s Boat”, and is mentioned in Robert Copland’s The Highway to the Spitalhouse(1535). He is credited with approving John Awdesley’s The Fraternity of Vagabonds, (1561), in which he is given as the creator of the Twenty Five Orders of Knaves, reproduced in Thomas Harman’s Warning for Common Cursitorsand many other works of rogue literature. There is no record of any real individual on whom he was based.Cock Lorel is credited with having held a meeting with the leader of the Egyptians, at their base at The Devils Arse Apeak in Derbyshire. Rid claims that at this meeting they devised a new and secret language Thieves' Cant, “to the end that their cozenings, knaveries and villainies might not so easily be perceived and known”.
Became head of the regiment or fellowship of Egyptians in the north about 1528. These, Rid says, travelled in groups of more than a hundred men and women, with horses, their faces blacked, and practised
legerdemainand fortune tellingby palmistry, delighting the common people with their clothes.
“the Queen of the Egypties” accompanied Giles Hather, according to Rid. These names were traditional; Hather is mentioned by
Thomas Awdesley(1561)). "Kit" and "Callot" as names can be traced back to Piers Plowman. Although Tudor government, both local and national, took a close interest in the Egyptians there is no record of the names in their records.
King of the Beggars, appears as a character in the play "
Beggars' Bush" by John Fletcher, Francis Beaumontand Philip Massinger, first performed in 1622. An extract from the play, featuring Clauses’s election and coronation, called ’’The Lame Commonwealth’’ was published as a drollby Francis Kirkmanin "The Wits, or Sport for Sport"(1662). The frontispiece shows Clause at the front of the stage, with Falstaff. "King Clause" took on a life of his own, appearing in later works as a real character. In Isaac Walton’s “ The Compleat Angler” (1653) a group of beggars, being unable to resolve an argument amongst themselves, decide to refer the dispute for resolution by “old father Clause, whom Ben Jonson [sic] in his Beggars Bush created King of their Corporation”. Guy Miege refers to Clause as King of the Beggars, in his “Miscellanea: Or, a Choice Collection of Wise and Ingenious Sayings . . .,” (1694).
Queen of the encampment at
Lambethin the area now known as Gypsy Hill. It can be traced back to at least 11th August 1668 when Samuel Pepys' wifewent there to have her fortune told. So famous were they that a pantomime called 'The Norwood Gypsies' was staged in Covent Garden in 1777. She lived in a conical hut built of branches, at the base of an ancient tree, and it was there that great numbers of people visited her. She died in 1740 allegedly 109 years old. A report published a few years later said “the oddness of her figure and ye fame of her fortune-telling drew a vast concourse of spectators from ye highest rank of quality, even to those of ye lower class of life”. The pub ‘’The Gypsy Queen’’ is supposed to have been named after her.
Bampfylde Moore Carew
Claimed to have been elected after the death of Clause. He was a real person but there are doubts as to the veracity of the picaresque stories in "The Life and Adventures of
Bampfylde Moore Carew"(1745).
The Boswells were for centuries one of England’s largest and most important Gypsy families. The Boswell clan were a large extended family of Travellers, and in old Nottinghamshire dialect the word bos'll was used as a term for Travellers and Roma in general.
Is buried in
Rossington, near Doncasterin Yorkshire. Langdale's “Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire” (1822), says:- “In the church yard, was a stone, the two ends of which are now remaining, where was interred the body of James Bosvill the King of the Gypsies, who died January 30, 1708. For a number of years, it was a custom of Gypsies from the south, to visit his tomb annually, and there perform some of their accustomed rites; one of which was to pour a flagon of ale upon the grave.” This is similar to the ritual of “stalling the rogue” mentioned by Thomas Harmanand in " The Beggars Bush" and by Bampfylde Moore Carew. A legend says that Boswell lived in Sherwood Foresthelping travellers and Gypsies. Also that his grave was opened some months after his burial so that his black catcould be buried with him, and that a ghostly cat still appears on the churchyard wall.A tradition was reported of annual visits to the grave of Charles Boswell near Doncaster for more than 100 years into the 1820’s, including a rite of pouring a flagon of hot ale into the tomb. This may be same person. [ [http://www.donny.co.uk/Doncaster/news/index.php3?ID=376 Latest News and Features: Bizarre Doncaster: Ghosts and Hauntings, on Donny Online ] ] [Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald Gypsies of Britain, The Country Book Club, 1951, quoting Edward Miller History and Antiquities of Doncaster ] [John Wainwright, History and Antiquities of Doncaster and Consborough, Sheffield, Basil Blackwell., 1829]
"King of the Gypsies" died in 1760 at the age of 90 and was buried at
Icklefordnear Hitchin, Hertfordshireat the church of St. Catherine, as were his wife and grand-daughter. Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839
Was the son of Francis Boswell. He baptised in London in 1583 and titled "King of the Gypsies". His descendants are reputed to include such colourful characters as “Black Jack Boswell”, “The Flaming Tinman” and “Hairy Tom”.
Is buried at
St. Helen's Church, SelstonDan Boswell lived from 1737 to 1827, dying aged 76. It is reported that the present gravestone was erected in the twentieth century to replace an earlier one that was decayed. Travellers frequently used nearby Selston Common.
Was buried in Eastwood church in 1835. In the Burial Register he is described as a “Traveller” aged 42 with a marginal note "This man known as the King of the Gypsies was interred in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators". It is said that Travellers used to travel from far and wide to lay new-born babies on his grave for luck.
The "King of the Gypsies" died in 1824 Stamford,
Lincolnshire. ["Rutland & Stamford Mercury" 15 October 1824p3 column 1] [ [http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/section.asp?docId=45657 Collections - Lincolnshire County Council ] ]
"Alias king of the Gypsies", from the St Margaret’s
Westminster, was tried at the Old Baileyon 28 August 1700for theft with violence and highway robbery. It was alleged he had robbed “one Rebecca Sellers, near the High way, . . . taking from her 3 Gold-rings, and 9 s. in Money” in January of that year. The Jury found him Guilty of theft, but not Robbery, as “It appeared that he juggled trickedher out of it.” He was sentenced to transportation.
John Nicholl Thom
Considered himself to be Lord Courtenay and "The King of the Gypsies". The House of Commons appointed a Select Committee in 1838 “To inquire into all the circumstances connected with the discharge of John Nicholl Thom, alias Courtenay, from the Kent Lunatic Asylum”. The Committee heard evidence over 3 days covering the process of his, his state of mind and character, and the possible political influence on a local election.
aka “Old Honey”, died in
Bolton, Lancashirein 1811 aged 90. He was reported to have been “justly entitled the King of Beggars”, having been on the road for 70 years. He was reported to have been the son of a schoolmaster, and well educated, but to have taken to the road by choice, and maintained a wandering life until he became bedridden.
* "The Gentleman’s Magazine",
1 March 1811.
Buried at Calne
In the churchyard of Mary's Parish Church
Calne, Wiltshireis a tomb commemorating an unknown King of the Gypsies is set in the wall.
Described as "King of the Gypsies", died in the
Workhousein Wincanton, Somersetaged 94 in 1847.
Taught the Romany language in the 1870s to
Charles Godfrey Leland(1824-1903), the American folklorist and founder of the Gypsy Lore Society. Leland claimed he was the King of the Gypsies in England
Born London died 1880's Relations Seymour & Ridewood, 'King Of Gypsies'
Was the acknowledged king of
Black Patch Park, Birminghamand after his death in 1901 his widow Henty was elected queen. The king and queen's caravan was ritually burned after her death in 1907.
Was described as the King of the Gypsies, in an account of a Romany wedding at
Baildonin Yorkshirein 1937 between his nephew Leon Petulengro and Illeana Smith. According to the caption of a photograph Xavier Petulengro cut the hands of the couple to mingle their blood during the ceremony. Baildon was a famous fair and meeting place for Gypsies. Petulengro was well known as a broadcaster on Gypsy subjects.
Orpington, Kentearly 21st century. Lived in Folkestone, Kent.
* "Gilderoy Scamp - King of the Gypsies", Linda Hayward, "Romany Routes" Volume 4 No 7 June 2000
K T B “Tommy” (Tom) Doherty
Campaigned for justice and equal treatment for Travellers in site provision and education
Irelandin the 1950’s and Englandin the 1960s. He was born in Dublin, was a founder member of the Gypsy Counciland travelled, with five others, to Strasbourgto the European Court of Human Rightsin 1968, as part of campaign which led to the Caravan Sites Act 1968. He said that he was called King of the Gypsies after he became well known for his campaigning work. He wrote, “Gypsies and Travellers in their own words” (2000). The " LeedsEvening Post" (24th September 2003) said that mourners came from across Europe to pay their respects to at his funeral, and that his “tireless efforts for Travelling folk earned him the title of King of the Gypsies”
Bartley Gormanwas a well known bare-knuckle fighterin Staffordshireknown as King of the Gypsies. He was proud of his heritage: his great-grandfather was Boxing Bartley, King of the Tinkers in Ireland the 19th century, and his grandfather Bulldog Bartley, also a bareknuckle fighter. Gorman did not claim to have inherited the title but to have earned it “in blood, snot, sweat and gore'. He claimed he won the title at a fight in a quarry at Hollington, Staffordshire, in a fight with a Jack Fletcher in 1972. He won the title of Bareknuckle Champion of Great Britain and Ireland, aged 28, and between 1972-1992 dominated the world of illegal gypsy boxing, fighting at hidden places, such as down a mineshaft, in a quarry, at horse fairs, on campsites, in bars and clubs. He became so well-known in Uttoxeterthat his name was put on their MillenniumMemorial. He once sparred with Muhammed Ali. His funeral in 2002 was attended by hundreds of Gypsies. He also claimed that for Gypsies bareknuckle fighting was a legitimate and acceptable activity. Bartley Gorman wrote an autobiography "King of the Gypsies", which was also made into a film. [http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1gL2WOKmfr4&feature=related]
Was a reputed King of the Gypsies born before the close of the seventeenth century. His descendants include musicians who helped to keep alive many musical traditions that were forced underground during the
Methodist Revival. One was chief harpistto Queen Victoriaand another taught the famous traditional Welsh harpist, Nansi Richards. He is credited with keeping the Romani languageintact "in the fastnesses of Cambria." The Wood family was reputed to be fluent in three mutually unintelligible languages: Romani, English and Welsh. Children in North Wales were warned to beware "teulu Abram Wood," the family of Abram Wood (who would like all Gypsies, steal naughty little children). An untidy house was referred to as being like the "house of Abram Wood," (though Gypsy caravans have a reputation for being immaculately tidy and spotlessly clean). [ [http://britannia.com/celtic/wales/facts/facts7.html Wales on Britannia: Facts About Wales & the Welsh ] ]
Dukes Andrew and Michael of Little Egypt
Is recorded as the leader of a Gypsy group in
Mâcon, France, in 1419. The same name, (Andrea or Andreas] and possibly person, is recorded again the following year in Brusselsand Deventerand in 1421 at Mons. Mons was also visited by a Duke Michael of Latingham in Egypt, claiming to his brother, who had already been to Tournai, where they were recorded as having "a king and lords who they obeyed and had privileges, so that none could punish them save themselves". In some of the places they exhibited a letter of authority from Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1422 Andrew and Michael appear in
Basleand Bolognaclaiming to be on their way to Rometo see the Pope. Gypsy leaders appeared later in Paris& Amiens(1427), Douai, Rotterdam& Utrecht, (1429, Fermo& Middleburg, (1430), and many other places armed with a Papal letter of safe-conduct. These were almost certainly a forgery, of which one example suvives.
Was recorded at
Amienswith a Papal safe-conduct in 1427, and probably at Tournaiin 1429. He may be the "noble prince messire Thomas, comte de Gipte la Minor" who saught almsat Neversin 1436, and Troyesin 1442. A Count Thomas also appeared at Millauin 1457 titled "Count of Little Egypt in Bohemia", with a safe conduct from the King, and variants of this title were used by leaders of around Avignonin 1465.
Arrived at Nevers in 1451, and the name is also recorded at
John & George
Both obtained alms in
Arles, as did an unnamed leader before them.
Count Jean-Baptiste Rolland of Little Egypt
Was given protective letters in 1528.
A Captain of Little Egypt was taken under the protection of Francis I in 1554.
Was given similar protection by Henry II in 1553.
de la Grave
"Captains" David, Pierre and Jean de la Grave were recorded at various places in France in the early part of the seventeenth century.
The Low Countries
Count Martin Gnougy and Count Wilhelm and Anthonius
Both claimed to come from Little Egypt and were favoured with safe conducts by the superstitious Charles, Duke of
Gueldersin 1496, 1506 and 1516. Count Martin claimed to have been ordered to undertake pilgrimages by the Pope.
Lower Saxonyin 1445.
Were both given safe conducts at
Seefeldin 1442 and Bensbergin 1443.
Was given safe conducts in 1448 and 1454.
Had a coat of arms for his tomb at
Was buried at
Count Bartholomeus of Little Egypt
Was given a safe conduct by the
Count Palatinein 1472.
Duke Ernst & Count Ambrosius
Were imprisoned in
Count Nicolaus Caspar of Little Egypt
Was granted letters of protection in
"Don Johan de Egipte Menor"and Count Tomas of Little Egypt
Were both granted passes by
Alfonso V "The Magnanamous"of Spainin 1425. Count Tomas could still produce his in 1535 crossing the border at Somport Pass.
Counts Thomas & Martin
Were entertained at Castile in 1462 by the Chancellor. He also entertained "Count Jacobo" and his wife "Loysa", and then "Duke Paolo". They are all also recorded in
Was granted a safe conduct by
Ferdinand and Isabellain Castile.
Was restored to his positions as "drungarius" (commander) of a group of soldiers at
Nauplion, Greecein 1444. It was then a colonyof Venice.
Michael de Hugot
Was given a feifdom of the Gypsies on Curfu in 1470 by the Venetian Counsel. This included the right to feudal dues from Gyspies living on and visiting both Curfu and the mainland at
Count Michele of Egypt
Was killed by another Gyspsy, Philippo, at
Count Michael of Little Egypt and Count Johannes
Were granted safe-conduct at
Carpiin the 1470s and 1485 respectively.
Count Martino of Little Egypt
Was given a similar favour by the Duke of
This “King of the Gypsies" is suggested as a possible model for “A Grotesque Head” of the sketches of human physiognomy by
Leonardo da Vinci, dated to (c.1503-07). Giorgio Vasarireported that Leonardo had done a drawing of “the Gypsy Captain Scaramuccia” which Vasari possessed, but it is not known what happened to it. [ [http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=21&Itemid=234 Christ Church Website - Drawings ] ]
Was crowned "emperor" of the Gypsies in 1993 which put him in conlfict with Ioan Cioabă who claimed to be "king" of the Gypsies. They were reported to be related and came from the same town,
Sibiu. Their claims to titles seem to have been prompted by the breakdown of the Democratic Union of the Roma, after which other Roma leaders set up separate organisations, with less grandiose titles.Radulescu went on hunger strike in 1995 in prorest at the government labelling all Roma as “Ţigan” to avoid confusion between Romani and Romania. In 1997 he declared a symbolic Roma state “ Cem Romengo” in the district of Tirgu-Jiu. Cioabă was from the Kalderashclan, well known for metalwork.
Acquired the title “King of Roma Everywhere” in 1997 from his father Ioan Cioabă who had claimed the title in 1992. Reports in 2003 that Cioabă, a
PentecostalMinister, had married off his own daughter at the age of 12 (or 14) caused uproar in the western media. The UNEconomic and Social Council visited him in 1999 when preparing a report on Racism and Intolerance and described him as devoting himself to economic activity to support community projects, and exerting “moral authority” and having “some influence” as a councillor. [http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/inscr/mar/chronology.asp?groupId=36003] [ [http://www.developmentinaction.org/newspages/index/64.php Development in Action (Formerly Student Action India) - Development education NGO run by young people for young people ] ] [ [http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/roma/articles_publications/articles/underground_20060727/sibiu_20060711.pdf Twenty-first-Century Underground World ] ]
Bulibaşa Ioan Munteanu
Was another self-styled "King of the Gypsies" in Romania to have been unfavourably reported in the press was from the town of
Huedinin western Romania. He was said to have described Ireland as a heaven on earth, where money was easy to make, applications for asylum were taking a number of years to be processed and the social welfare system was very generous. This was reported at a time when there was controversy in Ireland about Roma requests for political asylum, supposedly attracted by reports of the generosity of the welfare system. [ [http://www.geocities.com/~Patrin/ireland2.htm The Patrin Web Journal - Roma (Gypsy) Immigration to Ireland ] ]
Is a Macedonian Roma singer whose CDs include "Queen of the Gypsies" (2002)(Time Square Records CDU # 3630900). She appears in the film "Gypsy Caravan: When The Road Bends" (2007) (Director; Jasmine Dellal) which also includes a brief appearance by
Was named as
voivodeof the Gypsies in a letter from Sigismund from 1423 giving him and his group safe conduct. It is possible that this person was a local who had adopted some protective role over the Gypsies, rather than being a leader from them.
Was named as voivode of "Pharoah's People" in 1496. He seems to have lead a group of metalworkers, as he was supplying the Bishop of
Pécswith cannon balls. He was almost certainly the same person granted privileges by the King of Polandand Lithuaniain 1501, who also recognised the privileges of Wasili as leader of the "Cyhany"
Lord Emaus of Egypt
Was recorded as the leader of the 120 Roma who arrived at
Although Roma were persecuted and banished in the sixteenth century the government changed policy in 1607. Between 1624 and 1652 the Polish government recognised Kings of the Gypsies to help collect taxes.
Was conferred the title "King of the Gypsies" by the Polish Royal Chancery in 1652, after the death of Janczy who had previously served as the head of the Roma. Later Kings of the Gypsies seem to have been appointed from the aristocracy. [ [http://www.romanothan.ro/romana/istorie/resurse_patrin.htm Resurse Patrin ] ]
Michael Kwiek II
Succeeded his father Gregory Kwiek as "King of the Gypsies" in Poland 1930, and was also recognised as such by the Polish government. In 1934 as
Nazis began to implement policies to sterilise Romanies he announced his aim to create a Romani homeland on the banks of the Gangesin India.
Was crowned as Janos I, King of the Gypsies, before thousands of people in 1937. He announced his intention to petition
Mussolinifor land for a Roma settlement between in East Africa. [ [http://www.romahistory.com/en/2-5-11.htm layout ] ]
The Gypsy King is associated with mythical powers of being able to part water with his sword, a spade, and his head, after it had been cut off, according to tales collected in 1981. The Gypsy King is slapped by his father if he refuses to obey his orders. The Gypsy King lost the captain elections even though he pretended to be a soccer star. The gypsy King lives in the "ciganska mahala" alongside his relatives. He is married to a wrestler and has a very long beard. Fact|date=December 2007.
United States of America
March 15, 1882, in Newark, New Jersey, as George Tene (pronounced Teeny), he was known as Tene Bimbo. He was king of the Serbian AmericanTene-Bimbo band of gypsies, and was for many years based in Chicago, then New York City. He and his wife and queen, Mary (c. 1889- May 17, 1951), had 14 children, including Ephram "Carranza" Tene (1917-1980). King Tene Bimbo died October 22, 1969, in New York. He and Queen Mary are both buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Union, New Jersey.
Upon the death of King Tene Bimbo, his grandson,
Steve Tene(born April 29, 1949), inherited the title, which caused more trouble between Steve and his father, Carranza. The story is told of in the 1975 book "King of the Gypsies" by Peter Maas. The 1978 movie, "King of the Gypsies", is loosely based on the book.
Brian Basil Crivella
Born in 1985 to an Anglo/Hungarian/Gypsy mother and Italian/Slavic/Gypsy father in
Pittsburgh. Brian claims kinship to William Faa II, being a direct descendant from a rumored relationship with a secret lover. At the tail end of 2007, just before the New Year, he was crowned "King of the Gypsies in Southwestern Pennsylvania" and was granted sovereignty over all Gypsy peoples in all counties reaching as far east as Harrisburg.
Was reportedly born about 1857 in
Rio de Janeiro, Braziland died in a tent at Albertville, Alabamain 1942. He was reported to have become an American Citizen and King of the Gypsies in 1884, “at a great color-drenched ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio”. He had been based in Washington, D. C.but to have been acknowledged by families in Chicago, Cleveland. St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati and other large cities. Their origins included Hungarians, Syrians, Brazilian and natives of nearly every country in Southern Europe, some of who had arrived from South America.Emil's descendants at the time of his death included nine sons, five daughters and more than 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was reported that the burial ceremony included the sprinkling of fruit juice “so that the dead would have something to drink on the other side".(see Boswells)
Emil’s first wife and Queen born about 1868, died in 1915 following premature childbirth, having borne 15 children. Her body was brought from
Coatopa, Alabama, to Meridian, Mississippi, for burial. It was estimated that more than 20,000 people viewed her body and 5,000 attended the funeral, with members of the Mitchell family coming here from all parts of the United States and camping at Bonita. Reports also say that she was buried with personal belongings and placed in a steel vault, with a roof cement two to three feet thick with steel reinforcing bars, as was her husband.
Sister of Emil, became Queen following her death. She died in
Yazoo Cityin 1930, at the age of 70, and her body was also returned to Meridian for burial.
M. H. Frank
Who had lived in Meridian, was chosen as King after Emil's death. ["Meridian Dispatch" 7th February1915 ] ["Meridian Star" 5th August 1960 ] [ [http://www.sciway3.net/clark/freemoors/emilmitchell.html Emil Mitchel Family ] ] [ [http://foclark.tripod.com/gypsy/rosehill.html Free Moors and "Turks" in South Carolina ] ]
A Russian American Gypsy. Is described by Joseph Mitchell as King of the Gypsies, in an essay in his collection "Up in the Old Hotel" (Vintage: Random. 1993. ISBN 0-679-74631-5). This describes his activities as a judge at Gypsy trials ("kris") in the community of more than 200 Gypsies living on
Manhattan's Lower East Side.
* Angus Fraser (1995) "The Gypsies", 2nd ed., Oxford, ISBN 978-0-631-19605-6
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