Romany history

The famous Petulengro Romany Gypsy family

From my childhood raised at my mother and grandmother’s knee learning romany ways including tarot, runes, the crystal ball and astrology to my media career as a bestselling author and resident astrologer across national newspapers and OK magazine, read about my journey.

The Romany gypsy life

Like other Romany families, us Petulengros originally came from Egypt which is likely where the name Gypsy originated – Egyptians becoming shortened to ‘gyptians to eventually become Gypsies. Petulengros means blacksmith and we are seen as Romany royalty.

Our gift for fortune telling goes back many generations when our ancestors would travel the country in bow top wagons, erecting willow tents on common land and this simple and nomadic way of life still exists for gypsies today.

I grew up with my mother’s stories of falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof of the family’s wagon or “vardo”; evenings sitting round a campfire eating meals foraged from the land; treating cuts and scrapes with a form of homemade penicillin taken from the top of a jar of jam. There was no school for Romany children; my mum taught herself to read and write, borrowing books on library cards with faked addresses. They were expected to start tending horses, cooking, sewing and looking after younger siblings before the age of ten. It was certainly not an easy life – winters were often harsh and animosity towards gypsies was starting to build – but it was a simpler one.

My mum became a showbiz clairvoyant, who in her glamorous heyday of the 1960s and 1970s read the palms of royalty and film stars. My grandmother had a fortune telling stall on Brighton Pier which my mother and I in turn took over when my grandmother became ill. We remained on Brighton seafront until very recently and many of my aunts and cousins can be found in other seaside resorts around the country where they have settled and still continue to read palms and use their gifts to tell fortunes.

I intend to use my website to keep some of the old Romany ways alive and to tell you more about the fascinating customs and traditions. Look out for articles in my magazine and updates on this page.

Some photos from my family archives…

Read more about the Romany gypsy way in my mother’s bestselling autobiography ‘The Girl in the Painted Caravan’ and its sequel ‘Caravans and Wedding Bands’.

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