Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser


Wednesday, 8th December 1841

In consequence of certain losses in the neighborhood of Woodbridge, suspicions alighted on a gang of Gypsies encamped on Martlesham Heath, near the mill and on Tuesday, the 16th of November inst., between two and three in the morning, a visit was paid to the encampment by a party of police. They found 13 or 14 tents occupied by about 60 men, women, and children, of all ages, from 60 to less than a year. It was a dark night, freezing, and, what is unusual, lightning also sharply. The gang was composed of the families of Chilcott, Lee, Cooper, Smith, Boswell, and Brown.

Looking over the tents, the parties were found sleeping on the ground, all ages together. Good clothes were not wanted; and amongst a curious variety of articles, a silver tankard, some silver spoons, and several new copper kettles were found, perhaps a dozen. What was sought was not found, but a man answering the description of a horse stealer, advertised in the Police Gazette, was apprehended, and is now (the 24th November) under examination. The horse, of which the police were more especially in search, was not found; the night was so dark that the straggling cavalry could not be inspected. Going next morning the police found the whole camp struck and gone, leaving nothing but the ashes, straw, etc. of the bivouac.

The horse referred to was stolen on the 8th of October, at Spalding, in Lincolnshire, and the owner has travelled 800 miles in search of it.

A question arises out of these and similar circumstances, and is perhaps, easily answered - how such gangs of Gypsies, or persons assuming that character, can be sustained? and another - is it not advisable that the visits of the police to these encampments should be more frequent?

With Thanks To:
The British Newspaper Archives

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Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser - Wednesday, 8th December 1841
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  • Chilcott
  • Lee
  • Cooper
  • Smith
  • Boswell
  • Brown