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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS. THREE: Edward and Doctor Buckland

Eric Trudgill    -    4 August 2013

I wrote on Edward Buckland (husband of Diana/Teana and father of the well-known Thomas, baptised in Thame, Oxf in 1805, who married Damaris Fletcher) in Romany Routes March 2012, and on Doctor Buckland (husband of Mary and father of the well-known Timothy Turnit, baptised in Gt Missenden, Bucks in 1806, who married Penelope Roberts and Emma Bowers) on this web-site in July 2012. But I’ve never written about their relationship, about whether they were brothers as was acknowledged, according to the great gypsiologist, E O Winstedt, by two of Timothy Turnit’s sons. I don’t myself find the testimony of Doctor’s grandsons totally convincing, since the rest of their information was so sketchy (only one of their siblings named, and only three of their father’s): it may be they didn’t want to give family details that weren’t already known, and agreed to a mistaken suggestion about Doctor and Edward just to close the subject down.

You can easily see why Winstedt believed them, as Edward’s territory and Doctor’s were adjacent. Edward (probably baptised in Ambrosden, Oxf in 1759 parents unnamed), churched all his children close to Thame, where he christened Thomas: in Long Crendon, Chearsley and Nether Winchendon slightly to the north, in Monks Risborough, Ellesboroughand Princes Risborough slightly to the east, in Towersey, Emmington, Tetsworth and Aston Rowant slightly to the south, and in Garsington, Noke and Merton slightly to the west. Doctor (sometimes Joseph, Timothy or Henry), an even “shorter” traveller, churched all his children in Gt Missenden, where he christened Timothy Turnit, or very close.

However, if we discount the alleged testimony of Doctor’s grandsons, does the evidence clinch the idea he and Edward were brothers, as opposed, say, to cousins? They look like brothers early on, when Edward christens a son in Princes Risborough in 1795 and Doctor gets married there the following year. But this is the only time we find them using the same church. And we don’t find them complimenting each other, as we might expect, in the forenames of their children (Doctor has no Edward or Diana/Teana, Edward no Doctor or Mary); we don’t find them promoting cousin marriages, as we might expect, between their children; and we don’t find much in the way of marriages in common with other families (Edward’s sons, Roger and Isaac, married respectively Macey Hearn and Macey’s niece by her Hearn second marriage, and Timothy Turnit’s daughter, Mary, married Macey’s nephew by her Hearn second marriage, but this perhaps means no more than that the Hearns’ territory took in both Edward’s and Doctor’s). This much we can say, until better evidence emerges: Edward and Doctor were possibly brothers, and perhaps probably brothers if we theorize they fell out after 1796 and from then on kept away from each other in their travelling and their childrens’ forenames and marriages.

One forename they did both use (along with William) was Thomas, which is interesting since Doctor’s grandsons allegedly claimed he and Edward had a brother called Thomas. If they did, he was possibly the Thomas Buckland (baptised in 1762 in Dinton, Bucks son of Delilah) who christened a child in 1794 in Long Crendon, and buried Lucy, his wife, in 1795 in Saunderton (all three places, close to Thame, being on what became Edward’s territory and very close to Doctor’s); or more probably he was the Thomas Buckland, husband of Susanna, who christened a child in Chinnor,Oxf in 1779, Susanna and the child being buried there 1815-16 aged 62 and 36 (Chinnor was also near Thame and where Edward himself was buried in 1845).

Equally we could give Edward and Doctor two more possible brothers: the Henry Buckland, husband of Elizabeth, who christened a child in Aston Rowant, Oxf three months after Edward christened his first there; and the Timothy Buckland, husband of Sarah, who christened a Phazenta in 1798 in Kingsey, Bucks, next door to Thame, and was perhaps grandfather of the Fesenta Buckland christened in Nuffield, Oxf in 1825 daughter of Elepha of Gt Missenden, where Doctor had christened his first five children. Maybe it’s no coincidence that Henry and Timothy were alternate forenames for Doctor and baptismal forenames for two of his first three sons. There are a lot of maybes when you try to trace these Bucklands, and we’ll find yet more next month when I try to connect them with Bucklands born at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill