National Geographic : 1972 Jun
N OPEN FIELD their hearth, Sa row of bow-top wagons their shield, Gypsies draw strength from camaraderie and the common memory of a turbulent past. Their ancestors came out of India about ten centuries ago to wander across western Asia and Europe to the British Isles. Here, as everywhere they traveled, they hit a hard wall of hostility. "Outlandysshe People callynge themselfes Egyptians," railed King Henry VIII. His daughter, Queen Mary, tried to expel them from England because of "their old accustomed devilish and naughty Practices." But royal disapproval eventually eased, and Gypsies were allowed to take part in the Appleby New Fair, established in 1750 for the trade of horses, sheep, and cattle. Over the years the Gypsies have made it their own. A measure of hostility endures. The misleading sign below was put up by a farmer to frighten away the visiting wanderers.