On our website, you'll find a story about some of the history of Gypsy Wood Park, and just how it came to get its unusual name.... (click here for the story) but recently, one of Uriah's family members got in touch with us, to give us more information about this enigmatic Man of the Tent....
“The Man of the Tent”, Uriah Lovell was my great-grandfather (on my father William’s side), so here is a bit more to add to the story.
Uriah Lovell had two great loves in his life. One was his passion for his life as a Romany Gypsy, and the second was a girl called Rebecca Scamp. Uriah and Rebecca met when they were young, got married and had 6 children – 3 girls and 3 boys. And although their love story is an unusual one because they didn’t live together or travel together, Rebecca was the love of Uriah’s life.
When their children were young, they travelled up and down through England and Wales with their father, setting up camps and meeting other Romany Gypsies along the way. Uriah made a living making baskets and pegs and selling them in the villages and towns they visited. When Rebecca decided to return to Ireland when their children had grown up, Uriah never forgot her, and travelled there to see his estranged wife and son Ruben, just three months before he died. In a tragic twist, Rebecca died just three months after Uriah. We often wonder if she died from a broken heart.
Uriah and Rebecca’s son Ruby stayed in Ireland and his children are still there (including my own father William Uriah Lovell) but Ruby’s siblings stayed in Wales and made their lives here, just like their father Uriah.
And my father William (who’s nickname is “Cockaboy”) remembers Uriah as a strong and fit man, even in his old age. And his secret to a long and healthy life? Every morning, come rain, hale or snow, he would strip down to his waist and bathe in ice cold water. This, he told my father, would keep him young! There certainly would have been plenty of icy cold water for Uriah in Wales!