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Eva Mannion

 

As a child, sometime in the 1930's, Eva visited a Traveller family who were camped in a field next to Mill Lane at Hartington. The family's horse-drawn caravan and their camp were set up in the shelter of the trees on the far side of the field, close to the river. They stayed for about two weeks and they had the farmer's permission to be there.

Eva remembers that they were kind people. The family consisted of mother, father, one girl and two boys. On the day that she visited, Eva watched as the father made pegs and the mother made paper flowers. These they probably sold to villagers while they were staying there.

The family fed Eva while she was with them. She remembers eating meat that she described to her father later that day as 'white salmon'. Eva's father explained that the meat she ate was probably hedgehog. It is true that Travellers often ate hedgehog (Hotchi Witchi in Romani) but we think, given that the family had decided to camp next to the river, that the meat Eva ate was more likely to have been trout.

Eva also recalls that the family had a large fire going in the middle of their camp and that the 3 children attended school in the village. As far as Eva can remember, the family only stopped at Hartington once. And she doesn't remember if she ever knew their names.