Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

simple and sequestered beauty of its women loitering at their doors, or la-
scenery. It hangs upon the lower zily busied among their carts and
declivity of a steep rocky hill, call- panniers—and ragged children scram-
ed Stairroch, on the southern bank of bling on the midden-steads (which rise
the Bowmont, or as Leyden, in the before every cottage) in intimate and
elegant poem above quoted, has named equal fellowship with pigs, poultry,
it the Yeta. This is a fine trout- dogs, and cuddies.
ing stream, which issues, a few miles This description, though brief and
above, from the west side of Cheviot; general, may perhaps appear to some
and after winding through a narrow readers more minute than the occasion
pastoral valley, unsheltered with wood, requires ; but some little indulgence,
but bounded everywhere by smooth we trust, will be allowed, if not on
steep hills of the most beautiful ver account of our own early partialities,
dure, flows down between the two vil at least for the sake of the now-
lages of Kirk and Town Yetholm. classical scenery of gypsey heroism-
The Bowmont is here joined by a large the native haunts of Jean Gordon,
brook from the bottom of a picturesque alias Meg Merrilies. how to go
recess among the neighbouring hills, The general aspect of the surround-
which pours into it the superfluousing country, however, cannot be said
waters of the little lake of Loch-Tower to bear any striking analogy to the
or Lochside. A short way below this more dark and savage features of the
it enters England, and afterwards falls gypsey character. Though the moun-
into the Till near Flodden Field. tains of Cheviot can never fail to a-

Between the two villages is stretched waken in the breast of a Scotsman a
a broad and level haugh, which the thousand elevating emotions, there is
Bowmont occasionally overflows. At little in their natural scenery that
Faster's Even this always forms the deserves the epithets of terrible or
theatre for the toughest foot-ball match sublime. It is wild, indeed, but
now played in the south of Scotland. without ruggedness and interesting
Town-Yetholm lies rather low, and rather than picturesque. Its chief
exhibits nothing remarkable either in characteristic is pastoral simplicity
the character of its inhabitants or its with something of that homely and
internal appearance; but a small con- affecting bareness peculiar to Scottish
ical hill, whose rocky summit retains landscape :-like the Border scenery
the vestiges of some ancient entrench- in general, the green banks of Bow
ments, rises between iti and Loch- mont seem more calculated to soothe
Tower, and presents a very pleasing the fancy and soften the heart, than to
view on approaching from the north. exasperate the passions by exciting the
It is cultivated on all sides quite to imagination. To sources very differ-
the top and the small village-ten- ent from the influences of external na-
ants, by whom it is chiefly occupied, ture must be traced the strange pe-
have parcelled out its sloping declivi- culiarities of these wild and wayward
ties into parks, or little enclosures, of tribes. In the same Arcadian vallies,
Salmost Chinese variety, each of which reside at the present moment a pea-
i anmally exhibits, on a small scale, the asantry distinguished for superior in-

diversified operations and variegated telligence, morality, and delicacy of uvegetation of Scottish husbandry.ge feeling-whose moss-trooping anceshoe The aspect of the opposite village, tors, little more than a hundred years - to whieh the gypsey population is en- ago, were nevertheless sufficiently fatotirely confined, is of a different char- milar with stouthe reif and pykarie,' -racter to a mill and a church-yard ris- with feudal rancour and bloody revenge

ing from the brinks of the water the but the moral causes, which have rochurch oitself lowi and covered with happily changed the border reivers Rothatch-t-beyond which appear the into a religious and industrious peo

straggled houses of the village, built ple, have scarcely yet begun to dawn -сin the old Scottish style, many of them upon the despised and degraded Gypbiwith their i gable-ends, backs, or cor- sies. corners, turned to the street or toun-gate Tradition affords no intelligence res 10- and still farther up, the Tinkler. pecting the time when the first gypsey 1o Rowy with its low, unequal, straw- colony fixed their residence at Kirkr.covered roofs, cand chimneys bound Yetholm. The olan of Faas are gene with rushes and hay-ropes--men and rally supposed to have establis

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

themselves there at a very remote these notices by far the most interestperiod; and the pretensions of the ing are, a short report of Mr Walter present chieftain of that name to un- Scott, sheriff of Selkirkshire, and an mixed nobility of blood, as the lineal account of the Yetholm gypsies by descendant of the renowned - Erle Bailie Smith of Kelso-which we shall Johnne,' are probably as well founded, extract in full; for though they relate, at least, if not so splendidly illustrat- in some points, to particulars already ed, as the proud genealogy of the fa- detailed, they are altogether too graphic mous Prince de Paz, which certain cal and curious to be subjected to any northern heralds, it is said, had lately abridgement.--Mr Scott writes as folthe merit of tricing up to the ancient lows:royal blood of Scotland ! !

“A set of people possessing the The tribe of Youngs are next to the same erratic habits, and practising the Faas in honour and antiquity. They trade of tinkers, are well known in have preserved the following tradition the borders; and have often fallen unrespecting their first settlement in Yet- der the cognizance of the law. They are holm :- At a siege of the city of Na- often called Gypsies, and pass through mur (date unknown) the laird of the county annually in small bands, Kirk-Yetholm, of the ancient family with their carts and asses. The men of Bennets of Grubet and Marlfield, are tinkers, poachers, and thieves upin attempting to mount a breach at on a small scale. They also sell crockthe head of his company, was struck ery, deal in old rags, in eggs, in salt, to the ground, and all his followers in tobacco, and such trifles; and killed or put to fight, except a gypsey, manufacture horn into spoons. I bethe ancestor of the Youngs, who re- lieve most of those who come through solutely defended his master till he re- Selkirkshire, reside, during winter, in covered his feet, and then springing past the villages of Horncliff and Spittal, him upon the rampart, seized a Aag, in Northumberland, and in that of which he put into his leader's hand. Kirk-Yetholm, Roxburghshire. The besieged were struck with panic- “Mr Smith, the respectable Bailiek the assailants rushed again to the breach of Kelso, can give the most complete -Namur was taken--and Captain information concerning those who reBennet had the glory of the capture. side at Kirk-Yetholm. Formerly, I On returning to Scotland, the laird, out believe, they were much more desof gratitude to his faithful follower, perate in their conduct than at presettled him and his family (who had sent. But some of the most atrocious formerly been wandering tinkers and families have been extirpated; I allude heckle-makers) in Kirk-Yetholin, and particularly to the Winters, a Northconferred upon them and the Faas a umberland clan, who I fancy are all feu of their cottages for the space of buried by this time. nineteen times nineteen years --- which “ Mr Riddell, Justice of Peace for they still hold from the Marquis of Roxburghshire, with my assistance Tweeddale, the present proprietor of and concurrence, cleared this county the estate. The other families now of the last of them, about eight or resident in this village (as we shall af- nine years ago. They were thorough terwards see) are of more recent intro- desperadoes, of the worst class of duction. They seem to have gradually vagabonds. Those who now travel retreated to this as their last strong through this country, give offence hold, on being successively extirpated chiefly by poaching and small thefts. from their other haunts and fastnesses They are divided into clans, the prinupon the borders.

cipal names being Faa, Baillie, Young, We mentioned in our last Number, Ruthven, and Gordon. that Mr Hoyland, in the prosecution “ All of them are perfectly ignorof his meritorious design for ameliorat- ant of religion, and few of their children ing the condition of this unfortunate receive any education. They marry race, had addressed a circular to the and cohabit amongst each other, and chief provincial magistrates, with a are held in a sort of horror by the list of queries respecting their present common people. state, &c. These, being transmitted to the sheriff's of the different Scottish « Bailie is a magisterial designation in counties, produced replies, several of Scotland, agreeing in rank with that of Alwhich Mr Hoyland has published. Of derman in England."

“ I do not conceive them to be the joined to the circular which you sent proper Oriental Egyptian race, at least me, and then subjoin, in notes, some they are much intermingled with our instances of their conduct in particuown national outlaws and vagabonds. lar cases, which may perhaps eluciThey are said to keep up a communis date their general disposition and chacation with each other throughout Scot racter." land, and to have some internal go. “Query 1st. What number of gypa vernment and regulation as to the sies in the county ? districts which each family travels. “A. I know of none except the

"I cannot help again referring to colony of Yetholm, and one family who Mr Smith of Kelso, a gentleman who lately removed from that place to Kel. can give the most accurate information so. Yetholm consists of two towns, respecting the habits of those itiner, or large villages, called Town-Vetholin, ants, as their winter-quarters of Yea and Kirk-Yetholm. The first is on tholm are upon an estate of which he the estate of Mr Wauchope of Nidhas long had the management."

dry; the latter on that of the Mar. In consequence of this reference, quis of Tweeddale. The number of the Dir Hoyland applied to Bailie Smith, gypsey colony at present in Kirk-Yeta and was furnished by that gentleman holm, amounts to at least 109 men, with an interesting report, dated Nov. women, and children ; and perhaps ember 1815, from which he has given two or three may have escaped notice, the following extracts:

They marry early in life, in general "A considerable time having elap- have many children, and their numsed, since I had an opportunity, or ber seems to be increasing. occasion to attend to the situation of “Query 2d. In what do the men the colony of Gypsies in our neigh- and women mostly employ themselves ? bourhood, I was obliged to delay my “B. I have known the colony bea answer to your inquiries, until I could tween forty and fifty years. At my obtain more information respecting first remembrance of them, they were their present numbers.

called the Tinklers (Tinkers) of Yet“The great bar to the benevolent holm, from the males being chiefly intentions of improving their situation then employed in mending pots and will be, the impossibility to convince other culinary utensils, especially in them that there either is, or can be, their peregrinations through the hilly a mode of life preferable, or even and less populous parts of the country. equal, to their own.

“ Sometimes they were called Horn“A strong spirit of independence, ers, from their occupation in making or what they would distinguish by and selling horn spoons, called cutties. the name of liberty, runs through the Now their common appellation is whole tribe. It is no doubt a very li- Muggers, or, what pleases them centious liberty, but entirely to their better, Potters. They purchase, at a taste. Some kind of honour, peculiar cheap rate, the cast or faulty articles, to themselves, seems to prevail in at the different manufactories of earththeir community. They reckon it a enware, which they carry for sale all disgrace to steal near their homes, or over the country; consisting of groups even at a distance, if detected. I of six, ten, and sometimes twelve or must always except that petty theft fourteen persons, male and female, of feeding their shelties and asses on young and old, provided with a horse the farmer's grass and corn, which and cart to transport the pottery, bea they will do, whether at home or a- sides shelties and asses to carry the broad.

youngest of the children, and such " When avowedly trusted, even in baggage as they find necessary. , money transactions, they never de- “ In the country, they sleep in ceived me, nor forfeited their promise. barns and byres, or other out-houses; I am sorry to say, however, that when and when they cannot find that acchecked in their licentious appropria commodation, they take the canvas tions, &c. they are much addicted both covering from the pottery cart, and to threaten and to execute revenge. , squat below it like a covey of partridges

Having so far premised with res- in the snow. pect to their general conduct and cha- “ A few of the colony also employ racter, I shall proceed to answer, as themselves occasionally in making befar as I am able, the four queries sub- soms, foot-basses, &c. from heath,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

broom, and bent, and sell them at public, to prevent the evil increasing, Kelso, and the neighbouring towns. and never would consent to any of the After all, their employment can be colony taking up their residence in considered little better than an apology Town-Yetholm. for idleness and vagrancy. W

“ They mostly reinain at home bare They are in general great adepts during winter ; but as soon as the in hunting, shooting, and fishing; in weather becomes tolerably mild in which last they use the net and spear, spring, most of them, men, women, as well as the rod ; and often supply and children, set out on their perethemselves with a hearty meal by their grinations over the country, and live in dexterity. They have no notion of a state of vagrancy, until again driven being limited in their field sports, into their habitations by the approach either to time, place, or mode of de- of winter. struction. 1993 10 520 900 101

“ Seeming to pride themselves as a - I do not see that the women are separate tribe, they very seldom inter any otherwise employed, than attend- marry out of the colony; and in rare ing the young children, and assisting instances where that happens, the to sell the pottery, when carried through gypsey, whether male or female, by the country.”

influence and example, always induces 9 Query 3d. Have they any settled the stranger husband or wife to adopt abode in winter, and where? Woo the manners of the colony, so that no

256 C. Their residence, with the ex- improvement is ever obtained in that eeption of a single family, who some way. The progeny of such alliances years ago came to Kelso, is at Kirk- have almost universally the tawny Yetholm, and chiefly confined to one complexion and fine black eyes of the row of houses, or street of that town, gypsey parent, whether father or mowhich goes by the name of Tinkler ther. Row. Most of them have leases of " So strongly remarkable is the their possessions, granted for a term of gypsey cast of countenance, that even nineteen times nineteen years, for pay- a description of them to a stranger, ment of a small sum yearly; some who has had no opportunity of forthing of the nature of a quit-rent, merly seeing them, will enable him to There is no tradition in the neigh- know them wherever he meets with bourhood concerning the time when them. Some individuals, but very the gypsies first took up their residence rarely, separate from the colony alto, at that place, nor whence they came. gether; and when they do so early in

“ Most of their leases, I believe, life, and go to a distance, such as to were granted by the family of the London, or even Edinburgh, their acBennets of Grubet; the last of whom quaintances in the country get favour-ywas Sir David Bennet, who died about able accounts of them. A few betake sixty years ago. The late Mr Nisbet themselves to regular and constant em. of Dirleton then succeeded to the ployments at home, but soon tire, and estate, comprehending the baronies of return to their old way of life. I grioto: Kirk-Yetholm and Grubet. He died When any of them, especially 2-11 about the year 1783; and not long leader or man of influence, dies, they after, the property was acquired by have full meetings, not only of the the late Lord Tweeddale's trustees. colony, but of the gypsies from a dis-,

ff. During the latter part of the life tance; and those meetings, or lyke of the late Mr Nisbet, he was less wakes, are by no means conducted with frequently at his estate in Roxburgh- 'sobriety or decency." opt to boota vodi shire than formerly. He was a great “Query 4th. . Are, any of their favourite of the gypsies,' and was in children taught to read, and what prouse to call them his body guards, and portion of them? With any anecdotes often gave them money, &c. in respecting their customs and conduct. ivo

4 On the other hand, both the late D. Education being obtained at and present Mr Wauchope 'were of a cheap rate, tbe gypsies in general opinion, that the example of tliese give their male children as good a one people had a bad effect upon the mo- as is bestowed on those of the laboursi rals and industry of the neighbour ing people and farm servants in the it. hood şi and seeing no prospect of their neighbourhood; such as reading, writremoval, Imdi as little of their reforma-' "ing, and the first principles of ariths tion, considered it as a duty to the metic. They all apply to the clergy

man of the parish for baptism to their found that the landlord was right: chililren ; and a strong superstitious my master said with a smile, that it notion universally prevails with them, was unnecessary to send to them, after that it is unlucky to have an unchris- the previous notice from the baron tened child long in the house. Only officer; it was enough if I had received a very few ever attend divine service, the money, if offered. Their rent and and those as seldom as they can, just feu duty was brought to the office in to prevent being refused as sponsors at a few weeks, I need scarcely addo their children's baptism.

those persons all belonged to the tribe. & They are in general active and “Another instance of their licenlively, particularly when engaged in tious independent spirit occurs to me.) field sports, or in such temporary pur. The family of Niddry always gave a suits as are agreeable to their habits decent annual remuneration to a baron and dispositions ; but are destitute of baillie, for the purpose of keeping good the perseverance necessary for a settled order within their barony of Townoccupation, or even for finishing what Yetholm. The person whom I re-, a moderate degree of continued labour member first in possession of that would enable them to accomplish in a office, was an old man called Doctor few weeks."

Walker, from his being also the vil

lage surgeon; and from him I had the Notes by Mr Smith, intended to elu- following anecdote : cidate his Answers to the Queries A

“ Between Yetholm and the border * and B, on their licentious liberty. farms in Northumberland, there were

formerly, as in most border situations, ** I remember that about forty-five some uncultivated lands, called the years ago, being then apprentice to a Plea Lands, or Debateable Lands, ther writer, who was in use to receive the pasturage of which was generally eaten rents as well as the small duties of up by the sorners and vagabonds oni Kirk-Yetholm, he sent me there with both sides of the marches. toista a list of names, and a statement of “Many years ago, Lord Tankerville what was due; recommending me to and some other of the English borderapply to the landlord of the public- ers made their request to Sir David house, in the village, for any informa- Bennet, and the late Mr Wauchope of tion or assistance which I might need, Niddry, that they would accompany

"After waiting a long time, and them at a riding of the Plea Lands,'s receiving payment from most of the who readily complied with their re-s feuers, or rentallers, I observed to him quest. They were induced to this, as that none of the persons of the names they understood that the gypsies had of Faa, Young, Blythe, Bailley, &c. taken offence, on the supposition that i who stood at the bottom of the list for they might be circumscribed in the v small suras, had come to meet me, ac- pasture for their shelties and asses, r; cording to the rotice given by the which they had held a long time, tr baron officer, and proposed sending to partly by stealth, and partly by vios 1 inform them that they were detaining lence. me, and to request their immediate « Both threats and entreaties were' attendance.'

employed to keep them away ; and at 3 “The landlord, with a grave face, last Sir David obtained a promise from : inquired whether my master had de- some of the heads of the gang, that sired me to ask money from those none of them should show their faces i men. I said, not particularly; but on the occasion... ... 17395 they stood on the list. “So I see," « They however got upon the hills i said the landlord,' “ but had your at a little distance, whence they could 3 master been here himself, he had not see every thing that passed. w At first 1 dared to ask money from them, either as they were very quiet. But when they to tent of feu duty.He knows that it is saw the English Court Book. spread as good as if it were in his pocket. out on a cushion before the clerk, andro They will pay when their own time , apparently taken in a line of direction to comes, but do not like to pay at a set interfering with what they cobsidereço 27 time with the rest of the burony i and to be their privileged ground, it was 11 still less to be craved."

with great difficulty that the most moorin « L'accordingly returned without derate of them could restrain the arestar se eir money, and reported progress. I from running down and taking wERE"

« ПретходнаНастави »