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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

On their departure from Yetholm


The Faas and their partisans, on reading this work, will not overwell relish the prominence given to the Baillie clan.--ED.

In Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, of the 4th August, 1774, the following notice is taken of this tribe, which shows the fear which persons of respectability entertained for them: "The descendants of this Lord of Little Egypt continued to travel about in Scotland till the beginning of this century, mostly about the southern Border; and I am most credibly informed that one, Henry Faa, was received, and ate at the tables of people in public office, and that men of considerable fortune paid him a gratuity, called blackmail, in order to have their goods protected from thieves."

One of the Faas rose to great eminence in the mercantile world, and was connected by marriage with Scotch families of the rank of baronets. This family was the highly respectable one of Fall, now extinct, general merchants in Dunbar, who were originally members of the Gipsy family at Yetholm. So far back as about the year 1670, one of the baillies of Dunbar was of the surname of Faa, spelled exactly as the Gipsy name, as appears by the Rev. J. Blackadder's Memoirs. On the 18th of May, 1734, Captain James Fall, of Dunbar, was elected member of parliament for the Dunbar district of burghs. On the 28th of May, 1741, Captain Fall was again elected member for the same burghs; but, there being a double return, Sir Hew Dalrymple

ousted him. The family of Fall gave Dunbar provosts and baillies, and ruled the political interests of that burgh for many years. When hearty over their cups, they often mentioned their origin; and, to perpetuate the memory of their descent from the family of Faa, at Yetholm, the late Mrs. Fall, of Dunbar, whose husband was provost of the town, had the whole family, with their asses, &c., &c., as they took their departure from Yetholm, represented, by herself, in needle-work, or tapestry.[157] The particulars, or details, of this family group were derived from her husband, who had the facts from his grandfather, one of the individuals represented in the piece. A respectable aged gentleman, yet living in Dunbar, has often seen this family piece of the Falls, and had its details pointed out and explained to him by Mrs. Fall herself.[158]

[157] "He will be pleased to learn that there is, in the house of Provost Whyte, of Kirkaldy, a piece of needle-work, or tapestry, on which is depicted, by the hands of Mrs. Fall, the principal events in the life of the founder of her family, from the day the Gipsy child came to Dunbar in its mother's creel, until the same Gipsy child had become, by its own honourable exertions, the head of the first mercantile establishment then existing in Scotland." [This seems to be an extract from a letter. The authority has been omitted in the MS.--ED.]

[158] "There are," says a correspondent, "several gentlemen in this town and neighbourhood who have heard declare, that the Falls themselves had often acknowledged to them their descent from the Gipsy Faas. I am told by an old Berwickshire gentlemen, who had the account from his mother, that the Falls, on their departure from Yetholm, stopped some little time at a country village-hamlet called Hume, in Berwickshire, where they had some female relations; and after a few days spent there, they set out for Dunbar, taking their female friends along with them.


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