The Case of the Misjudged Gypsies

All Things Georgian

In our earlier post about  the gypsies of Georgian England we said that we would revisit the topic and today we have decided to look at one example of the prejudice this group of people suffered.


travelling gypsy

When Elizabeth Mary Kellen presented herself at the door of a gentleman’s house at Southend near Lewisham in the June of 1802, dressed in little more than rags and quite obviously starving, her tale of being stolen by the gypsies was readily believed.

She looked to be around ten or twelve years old, and it was clear that she had previously been educated and well brought up. The gentleman took her in and an investigation was put into place.

Elizabeth Mary Kellen told the benevolent gentleman that she was the daughter of Captain Kellen of the Plymouth Marines. About seven months before her father had sent her on an errand to a…

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4 thoughts on “The Case of the Misjudged Gypsies

  1. This is a great story that resounds with me. I am from the parish of St Mary, Rotherhithe originally. So, I can testify that this is a significant journey from Plymouth, and potentially impossible in those far off days. It seems that this young woman used the poor reputation of the itinerants to good advantage, until her ruse was discovered.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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