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Seguli Buckland

Eric Trudgill    -    30 June 2013

Seguli is a very rare Romany forename known to the gypsiologists, and found by me in the records, only in the Bucklands and only in respect to two women. There was Seguli Buckland, the alleged daughter by Frederick Sandford of Lementina Buckland, in turn the alleged daughter of Manuel Buckland (son of John) by Honor Buckland (like his wife, Sinfi, a daughter of Ravishing Billy); this Seguliwas said to have married Mark Davis. And there was Seguli Buckland, the mother of a Cinnamenta Buckland, father unnamed, who had three children christened in the 1840s (father or fathers unnamed). Both cases are puzzles, and I’m not at all sure I’ve solved either.

The first Seguli Buckland, it’s clear from her baptism (eight years old) in Ham, Surrey in 1853, was indeed the daughter of Frederick and Lementina Sandford, and as Sagalla Buckland (one of numerous variant spellings of her forename) she did indeed marry Mark Davis, in 1866. By Mark, initially in the records a hawker and then a cab proprietor, she had the following children, each given as a Davis: Lementina, christened in S Stoneham, Hants in 1867, who married William Hartwell in 1887; Job, born about 1869; John, born in Oxfordshire about 1872; Caroline, christened (as Catherine) in Hounslow, Mdx in1874, who married Edward Thoms in 1894; Laura, christened (as Selina) in Kensington St James Norlands, Mdx in 1877; Edith Patience, born in Kensington about 1879, who died in 1898; Ellen Louisa, christened in Kensington St James Norlands in 1882; Mark, born in London about 1884; and Sagle (named after her mother), christened in Notting Hill St Clement, Mdx in 1889, who married a Cooper. Mark senior died in 1903, and his widow, Seguli, in 1924.

The gypsiologists were right, then, about Seguli’s parents and spouse. And the 1861 census return for Isleworth, Middlesex suggests they may have been right about her grandparents. We find there Edward (Edmond) Smith and his wife Selina, known to the gypsiologists as a daughter of Manuel and Sinfi Buckland (christened in Leafield, Oxf in 1823 as the daughter of Sinfrida Buckland); and, travelling with Edmond, Selina and their children, we find Gory Buckland (aged 40, born in the Isle of Wight), his wife, Mingie (40, born in Worcestershire), and their daughter, Saglia (16, born in Wychwood Forest). Saglia is surely Seguli (Wychwood Forest is partly in Oxfordshire, where in the 1891 census she claimed to have been born). Min-gie is surely Le-min-tina, travelling with her sister or half-sister (Selina’s cousin, incidentally, Timothy, son of Honor Buckland by William Hazard, had a daughter called Mingie). And Gory is either Fred Sandford or a later husband.

The gypsiologists were also right, then about Seguli’s maternal grandfather: she was a daughter of Manuel Buckland. And if Mingie, born allegedly in Worcestershire about 1821, was the Lementina Buckland christened in Worcs in 1821 daughter of Moses and Hannah, six months after Manuel and Sinfi christened a John in Warwickshire, the gypsiologists were perhaps right to claim she was Manuel’s child not by Sinfi , but her sister: Manuel may have presented himself for some reason as Moses (the name given to one of his grandsons), and an aspirated Honor may have been recorded as a Hannah. Nothing, however, is certain with this family. Sinfi could still be Lementina’s mother: six months between baptisms isn’t the same as six months between births; and remember, when Manuel married Sinfi in 1814, the bride was recorded as Hannah Houthiet!

The second Seguli Buckland I know of gave herself as the sole parent of a three year old Annamenta Buckland, christened in Fingest, Bucks in 1828: when Cinnamenta Buckland was buried in Stokenchurch, Oxfordshire, close to Fingest, in 1848, she was said to be 25. By this time Cinnamenta had christened two sons in Stokenchurch in 1845, Onesiphorus (born about 1843 according to the census) and Henry; and Lementina was christened there in 1849, a Buckland child of Cinnamenta like her brothers. I strongly suspect this second Seguli was buried in Stokenchurch in 1856 “aged 52”, as Figo, a gypsy residing in Lt Marlow, and that two other daughters of hers were buried in Stokenchurch, Providence Buckland in1848 “aged ten”, and Myrenny Buckland in 1858 “aged 22” of Marlow.

We can only speculate about this Seguli’s parents. The gypsiologists thought she was the daughter of Barrington Buckland (Cinnamenta allegedly called his daughter, Prudence, her aunt), but I doubt this, since I can find no room for her among Barrington’s children. We should focus instead, I think, on the two witnesses at Cinnamenta’s christening, Thomas Beldam and Penella Buckland.

The Thomas Beldam in question was either the husband of Rice, both born about 1777, or their son, Thomas, christened in Kingsey, Bucks in 1802, the husband of Maria Smith : the first had a daughter, and the second a sister, called Providence, the name apparently of one of Seguli’s daughters; the first and his wife were buried in Stokenchurch (in 1839 and 1869 respectively) like Seguli, Cinnamenta, Myrenny and Providence; the second had a daughter who married Cinnamenta’s son, Onesiphorus. It may be that the first Thomas was Seguli’s father by an extra-marital relationship with his co-witness at Cinnamenta’s christening, Penella Buckland, or that he took Seguli as a much younger co-wife to Rice, when the latter was past child-bearing. Or it may be that the second Thomas kept Seguli as an occasional co-wife, when in 1826 he had the first of at least ten children by Maria, and that his parents took care of Seguli and her children.

The Penella Buckland who co-witnessed Cinnamenta’s christening may have been the mother of Seguli as the first Thomas Beldam’s extra-marital partner, or she may have been Seguli’s sister or cousin. If the first, she was possibly the Penelope Buckland who was tried in 1812 with Ted and Ravishing Billy Buckland and in 1825 with Ted’s widow, Paradise: Ted could have had a Seguli either side of 1804, and Ravishing Billy, as we have seen, may well have had a Seguli as a great granddaughter. If the Penella Buckland at Cinnamenta’s christening was Seguli’s sister or cousin, she was possibly the Peneley Buckland, christened in Gt Missenden, Bucks in 1803 daughter of Doctor and Mary, who had, by Joe Fenner, the Matilda who married Thomas Beldam, son of the second Thomas, and who had a cousin, Anna Maria Buckland, christened in 1807 daughter of Edward and Diana, who married Lewis Beldam, son of the first Thomas. Both Doctor and Edward Buckland were based fairly narrowly in the parts of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire visited by Thomas Beldam senior from the beginning of the nineteenth century, if not before, and very much his base in his later years. Unfortunately neither Doctor, nor Edward could have fathered Seguli, mother of Cinnamenta, unless her age at death was an under-estimate. The jury, for me, is still out and will stay out until we get new data.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill