Did you know that in the year 1886, the first
Van Horse Parade was held in London? Awards of Horse Brasses
were given out by the RSPCA. The horses were of ALL breeds and crossbreeds,
types and sizes, but all had one thing in common - they pulled Vans
or Carts in the City. Since then, the collecting of Horse Brasses
has had a wide appeal and we have quite a large collection of our own.

Many years ago in the British Isles, those those who drove a
delivery horse and cart, were called "Vanners", "Carters" or
sometimes "Bogies".
Their horses, which were of many sizes and types,
soon became known as "Vanners" also.
The Gypsies, when they had horses which
they considered not of breeding quality or surplus
horses, sold such horses to the Vanners as public work
horses. Most ended up in large cities to work there for
the rest of their lives. The above is a rare photo of
a Vanner, washing down his horse after a day's work.
There were actually special baths in large cities, such
as this one, purely for washing down Vanner horses after
work. This picture was taken in London in 1920.
This Vanner and horse, worked for the London and North
Eastern Railway, who operated their own baths for the
Vanner horses. There is no doubt that this fellow started
off as a Gypsy Horse. At first I thought his tail
had been docked, but careful inspection of the picture,
showed that it was actually a full tail and most of it
was braided. He almost has an English Saddle marking on his
back. At least he looks well fed and loved.

Here's a wonderful old photo, taken in England in 1902.
It shows a Gypsy family resting after a day's travel.
As always, their horse is seen as part of the family.

Here's a lovely old postcard from France - circa 1934.
It is entitled
Pelerinage aux Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

While obviously not a Gypsy Horse, here's a great old photo
of a Vanner and his horse and van. He worked for a local
Butcher, delivering meat in Margate, England. Photo taken 1897.

Another Vanner.
This time a lady delivering milk. Circa 1900.

Yet another milkman delivering milk about 1900.
When I grew up in England, our milk was always
delivered via horse and milk cart. Each horse knew
exactly which houses to stop outside, while the milkman
just walked along side, taking bottles up to the front
door of each house.

A Lovely old photo from 1905 taken in Fowey, Cornwall.
Many generations of my Father's family lived in this area.
Could that be a Gypsy Horse we see there waiting patiently?

Another very old photo of a Vanner and his horses.

I wonder who this big horse was.

I love this old photo of a Vanner and
his beautiful horses.

A great old photo of Appleby Horse Fair.

A Roving Band of English Gypsies.

A lovely old photo, taken in the village of,
Botley, Hampshire. Obviously a Vanner making deliveries.

A rare photo of two Gypsy Horses and a foal,
with a Surrey and couple. Sorry it's so blurry,
but it's the best I could do with the copy I have.
This was circa 1902.

A great old postcard of a Shire of long ago.
Who knows - he might just be the ancestor of some
of our own horses today.

Gypsy Camp. Blackpool 1896.

Gypsy and his horse. 1925.

Gypsies camped on a Church Common in Northhamptonshire.

I just had to add this photo.
This is said to be the largest known horse in the world.
His name was Brooklyn Supreme.
He was a purebred Belgian Stallion,
standing 19.2 tall. He was said to have weighed
over 3,200 lbs. He was foaled in Iowa in 1928 and died in 1948.
That is a lot of horse!
My thanks to Andrea Foley for sending along this photo.

Our thanks to The Gypsy Lore Collection. University of Liverpool,
for many of the photos shown on this page.


"A Traveller!
By my faith,
you have great reason to be sad."
"As You Like It"
William Shakespeare

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Replies to This Discussion

Here's a wonderful old photo, taken in England in 1910.
They look very proud of their beautiful caravan.

A photo of Billy Lee's pony and trolley,
collecting scrap.

A Gypsy camp, circa 1935.

Another Gypsy family, camped along the road.

Two little girls, sitting on the step of their caravan.

This might have been some of the Lee family, but I'm
not sure.

A beautiful Showman's Waggon.

The Smith family at Epsom Downs.

A little girl, trying to get her horse to move. Circa 1938.

A Gypsy Camp. 1903.

One of "the" most well known Gypsies.
Gypsy Smith, the famous Evangelist.


Our thanks to The Gypsy Lore Collection. University of Liverpool,
for many of the photos shown on this page.

If you happen to own the copyright to any of the photos above, please do
let me know, and I'll be glad to give you credit, or remove them.


"A Traveller!
By my faith,
you have great reason to be sad."
"As You Like It"
William Shakespeare



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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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