Sunday, December 30, 2007

LEEDS COUNTY - Travelers (Gypsies, Roma) in England


Leicestershire and Cumbria
Each country has its own narrative about its Roma, or Gypsies as they used to be known elsewhere, the groups being different.  See Gypsies, Roma, Romani.  See the "History of Travelling" at, for the Roma or Romani or Travellers in Leeds, England. There is a Roma-oriented site for Leicestershire as well, and it presents a brief chronology of historical events to prove its points of persecution of Roma, see

See the mechanics of emigration at Did more emigrants go through Liverpool?  Where would passenger lists be, to find backgrounds of converts? 

Leeds:  Leeds appears to be central to Roma in England.  It also has an industrial underbelly, see history of its feltworks and other industry and the people who worked there, in "Foreigners," by Caryl Phillips -; see Hello, Fodder - Racial Fodder post.  Immigrants, or cast-off ethnic groups, similar issues.  That story of immigration centers on three individuals, including one David Oluwale, a Nigerian immigrant who died under such suspicious circumstances while in custody, and related issues of racial targeting in England. 
  • Update:  a current candidate for president in the US -- Mitt Romney -- a Roma, Romani name? 
  • Contemporary politics: Someone ask how Mitt Romney would address access to opportunity issues as to American Roma? Ask even if his name cannot be traced to Romani origins. Ask anyone seeking elected office, as to any ethnic group.
 The Travellers in Leeds site is a central site for Travellers, with links to various needs and interest groups. It shows by maps and pictures and chronological events where Gypsies came from, and their earliest connections to England.
  • In England, there is increasing unrest by the community people against the Travellers, as there is in many nations not only against Roma, but any ethnic immigrant group on the move in. See It looks like similar immigration issues are arising worldwide, as peoples cross old boundaries. Distrust, resentment, efforts to dislodge without a place for them to go, etc. And the healthcare provided is abominable, like here. See
Governments maximize use of words about them and the government's great plans for enhancing opportunity, sustenance. See http://www.  Would a better solution to forced settlement and the poverty there, and loss of occupation, to provide for access to healthcare and sustenance and let them travel? Leave a culture alone if they want it?
Roma are in the news and media now, especially with the imaginative, and not much historical, film, "The Golden Compass," This topic is too much for one post, with the film so please visit Gypsies, Roma, Romani. The post on the film is at Golden Compass.
  • Scotland and a cultural history angle, see the post on Johnny Fa, the Scottish gypsy in ballads, at 11/12/2007, Johnny Faa.
    • As to Johnny Faa's surname, we find no connection to the solfege do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti system - see Will keep looking. Perhaps Mother Faa sang?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

WARWICKSHIRE - Warwick Castle - A teaching castle

Warwick Castle
Mighty Warwick, not far from Stratford-on-Avon. Castle of the curtain wall fortification, a nearly impregnable perimeter, see

Early on, the site was a Roman fort, in 79 AD (see timeline at, a burh, a fortified town built by Queen Aethelflaed, widow of King Ethelred in 914-916, as a defense against Vikings.  See,  The Saxon sheriff before the Norman conquest may have been related to Lady Godiva and the king of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the day.  See timeline.  He also (traitor?) switched allegiance from Anglo-Saxon King Harold to William when William won, for which he was greatly rewarded in lands and honor but not by his own people.

Then more serious fortifications ensued with a timber motte and bailey by the forces of William the Conqueror after the successful Norman invasion.   He needed many were built fast, in order to subdue the population after his invasion in 1066 from Normandy.
Motte and bailey Warwick began in 1068.  Method:  Choose the highest ground, even build a mound, rather steep, as the motte; add a second mound on the first, surround that smaller one with a wooden fence at top and build tower inside for a lookout, and accommodation for the noble and others - the bailey.  Earth for constructing the mounds came from below, with a handy ditch resulting all around, also good for defense.

In 1260, the wooden structures were replaced with heavy stone walls and structures.
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England. Interior display, a war room. Which rebellion?
In medieval times, the Castle could be inherited either by males of females, through either line.
It served as a fortification, a prison, a seat of Royals.  Romans, Saxons, Celts, Vikings, all in the area making their mark.
Warwick today is an educational site as well as a furnished castle and 60 acres of grounds.  See the scenes set inside with wax figure mock-ups of historical events. Put yourself there. Dan did. Go to this tours and photos site for a full view: Do a search for Warwick Castle panorama and you will find an interactive site for a 360 all-around tour.
This place is becoming very commercialized. Arrive early or late to beat the buses. Click on the history of Warwick at that site (you have searched for Warwick Castle panorama).  It has been inhabited continuously until recently; home to Earls of Warwick until recently;  town destroyed by 17th century disastrous fire, rebuilt, used as setting for many TV and film ventures.

KENT: Leeds Castle. Gardens, Ducks, and Industry

Leeds Castle in Kent - modestly described as "the loveliest castle in the world," see  There is the required moat, water, gardens, great ducks.

This Leeds Castle is in Kent, not in the County of Leeds, so it appears that  "Travellers in Leeds," a site about Roma, is not focused here.  See 

  • Leeds Castle was named for a minister of old King Ethelbert IV, king who lived 856-860 AD.  It is not even near Leeds the City. See the Leeds Castle Timeline at  
  • It was first a Saxon fortress, then a stone castle Norman "donjon" built by Robert Crevecoeur (donjon now gone), then King Edward I , 1272-1307, took over and made many structures and improvements, King Edward II successfully attacked in 1321, time passes, Henry VIII makes it a royal palace in the 1500's, etc.  Take a look. The castle ghost?  a large black dog, says the Timeline.
Leeds Castle grounds offer a place for wandering. Spot the ducks. This particular duck is a Muscovy. See

Muscovy Duck, Leeds Castle, Kent, England

Meanwhile, go to the gardens at the castle. 

 Gardens, Leeds Castle, Kent, England

Is this so:  that the uglier the persecutions, and the more rigid the thought, the more regimented are the gardens as well?

Nature likes some looseness instead, I think. Something there is doesn't love a straight line.