Ambrose Smith’s 1878 funeral attracts newspaper interest

Ambrose Smith [B8] was a well-known Gypsy in life – and his celebrity was still attracting public and media interest after his death in Dunbar, Scotland, in 1878. The Haddingtonshire Courier certainly believed they had an individual of high status in their midst when on 25 October 1878 they reported:

DEATH OF THE GIPSY KING: – The chief of the gipsy party at the camp at Knock-in-hair died on Friday morning last. The deceased was seventy-three years of age, and it is said that he had a strong desire that he should depart this life in October, which is considered a lucky month by that fraternity. The funeral took place on Monday, when a few of the townpeople attended, including Bailies Smith and Anderson, Colonel Purves, Mr John Calder, &c. The coffin was of oak, handsomely mounted; the inscription on the plate being. – “Ambrose Smith, died 17th October 1878, aged seventy-three years.” The chief mourners were the wife, daughter, son and son-law [sic] of the deceased. Religious services were held in the Episcopalian church by the Rev. Mr Incleton, after which the cortege proceeded up the High Street to the churchyard, where the burial service was read. The funeral in its progress through the town was witnessed by a large number of spectators. The gipsies left this quarter on Tuesday.

My thanks to Craig Statham of the Local History Centre, Haddington, East Lothian, for alerting me to this article.

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Filed under Burials, Funeral, Newspapers

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