The Boswell Tribe

Censuses show that Boswells lived in caravans on Anglesey (North West Wales) at the end of the 19th century.  Nb: the census-taker asked whether English or Welsh were spoken but did not ask about the Romani language!  The families travelled between Shropshire and North Wales.

In 1891 Noah Boswell, wife Hannah and niece Anne Thomas lived in a caravan at Aberffraw.  Noah was a basket-maker from Shropshire originally and spoke English.  His wife and niece were both born on Anglesey and spoke only Welsh.  Perhaps they communicated through Romani?

On a farm at Llanddaniel-Fab Henry Boswell, Maria and daughter Marenda had their caravan.  All were born in Wales.  In a next-door caravan lived John and Jane Boswell with baby son Birtie.  John was from Shrewsbury and Jane from Manchester.  Like Noah, both Henry and John were basket-makers.

By 1901 Henry and family had moved their caravan next to a Lock's van at Llansadwrn.  Noah (Henry's father) had joined them from Shropshire.

Along the coast another Noah Boswell, Elizabeth and their children lived in a caravan at Newborough.  This Noah was also from Shropshire, but his wife and children were from North Wales.  The family were noted as of unknown occupation and, harshly, of being tramps.

Breconshire in 1871 was the windy base for Susan Boswell, a widow living in a tent above Brynmawr.  She was a clothes peg hawker, as were her daughters Louisa and Esther.  Susan was born in Gloucestershire, Louisa in Shropshire, and Esther in Glamorgan.  They were sharing the mountainside with a family of Lees, possible relations, the father Sampson Lee also being born in Gloucestershire.




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