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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

As the baron baillie of Yetholm


was the present William Faa that the 'Earl of Hell' contended with; not for sovereignty, but to revenge some ancient animosity.[165] His lordship lives at New Coldstream, and was the only person in Berwickshire that durst encounter, in single combat, the renowned Bully-More. Young fought three successive battles with Faa, and one desperate engagement with More, midway between Dunse and Coldstream; and was defeated in all of them. He is a younger son of William Young, of Yetholm, the cotemporary chieftain of old William Faa. It was still a younger brother that migrated to Kelso, where he supported a good character till he died. Charles Young, the eldest brother, is still alive, and chief of the name. The following anecdote of him will serve to establish his activity.

[165] This is in contradiction to the assertion, in Blackwood's Magazine, that, on the death of his father, a sort of civil war broke out among the Yetholm Gipsies; and that the usurper of the regal office was dispossessed, after a battle, by the subjects who adhered to the legitimate heir.--ED.

"Mr. Walker, of Thirkstane, the only residing heritor in Yetholm parish, missed a valuable mare, upon a Sunday morning. After many fruitless enquiries, at the adjacent kirks and neighbourhood, he dispatched a servant for Charles, in the evening. He privately communicated to him his loss, and added, that he was fully persuaded he could be the means

of recovering the mare. Charles boldly answered, 'If she was betwixt the Tyne and the Forth, she should be restored.' On the Thursday after, at sunrise, the mare was found standing at the stable door, much jaded, and very warm.

"When the Kirk-Yetholm families differed among themselves, (and terrible conflicts at times they had,) this same Mr. Walker was often chosen sole arbitrator, to decide their differences. He has often been locked up in their houses for twenty-four hours together, but carefully concealed their secrets.[166]

[166] There would appear to be something remarkable in the position which this Mr. Walker held with the Gipsies. I know, from the best of authority, that most of the people living in and about Yetholm are Gipsies, settled or unsettled, civilized or uncivilized, educated or uneducated; and of one in particular, who went under the title of "Lord Mayor of Yetholm." He is now dead. The above mentioned Mr. Walker was probably a relation of Dr. Walker, mentioned by Baillie Smith, as the baron-baillie of Yetholm. I notice in Blackwood's Magazine, that one William Walker, a Gipsy, in company with various Yetholm Gipsies, was indicted at Jedburgh, in 1714, for fire-raising, but was acquitted. The Walkers alluded to in the text are very probably of the same family, settled, and raised in the world. As I have just said, most of the people in and about Yetholm are Gipsies. Gipsydom has even eaten its way in among the population round about Yetholm. The Rev. Mr. Baird, in conducting the Scottish Church Mission among the _travelling_ Gipsies, hailing from Yetholm, doubtless encountered many of them incog. But all this will be better understood by the reader after he peruses the Disquisition on the Gipsies.--ED.

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