Gypsies: An English History

ISBN : 9780198768142

David Cressy
432 Pages
135 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jul 2020
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Gypsies, Egyptians, Romanies, and-more recently-Travellers. Who are these marginal and mysterious people who first arrived in England in early Tudor times? Are claims of their distant origins on the Indian subcontinent true, or just another of the many myths and stories that have accreted around them over time? Can they even be regarded as a single people or ethnicity at all? Gypsies have frequently been vilified, and not much less frequently romanticized, by the settled population over the centuries. Social historian David Cressy now attempts to disentangle the myth from the reality of Gypsy life over more than half a millennium of English history. In this, the first comprehensive historical study of the doings and dealings of Gypsies in England, he draws on original archival research, and a wide range of reading, to trace the many moments when Gypsy lives became entangled with those of villagers and townsfolk, religious and secular authorities, and social and moral reformers. Crucially, it is a story not just of the Gypsy community and its peculiarities, but also of England's treatment of that community, from draconian Elizabethan statutes, through various degrees of toleration and fascination, right up to the tabloid newspaper campaigns against Gypsy and Traveller encampments of more recent years.


1 European Wanderers: Origins, Arrivals, and Proscriptions
2 The Rambling Roguey Gypsies of the Early Modern Page
3 Tudor Gypsies Against the Law
4 Gypsies and Counterfeits in Elizabethan England
5 Gypsies in Stuart England
6 The Trials and Travels of Eighteenth-Century Gypsies
7 Reformers and Enthusiasts in the Early Nineteenth Century
8 Victorian Encounters
9 Travels and Troubles in Modern Britain
10 Lives and Livelihoods
Scholars and Gypsies: A Bibliographical Sketch
Picture Acknowledgements

About the author: 

David Cressy is a British-born historian and Humanities Distinguished Professor of History, formerly at The Ohio State University. Born and educated in England, David Cressy has made his career in the United States, as a college and university teacher and a prolific author of studies in social history. His work is driven by curiosity about the interactions of elite and popular culture, mainstream and marginal society, and official and unofficial religion. A frequent visitor to the United Kingdom, he may also be found exploring the beaches and deserts of the American West.

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