Scottish Gypsies/Travellers: Background information when reading Beneath the Abbey Wall

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Beneath the Abbey Wall

by A. D. Scott

Beneath the Abbey Wall
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  • Paperback:
    Nov 2012, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

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Beyond the Book:
Scottish Gypsies/Travellers

One of the plot details in Beneath the Abbey Wall involves a family of Travellers whose histories twine with the murder victim's – Jimmy McPhee, and his mother Jenny McPhee, a highly regarded storyteller.

Scottish Travellers at the famous Aikey Brae Fair, Aberdeenshire, c.1906In Scotland, the Traveller population is referred to by the government as Scottish Gypsies/Travellers (distinct from Irish Travellers), though the names members use to refer to themselves varies by region. Travellers is more common in the Highlands, while Gypsies is used in the Lowlands and Border areas, with some regarding Gypsies as derogatory, preferring Romas instead. (For more on the Roma people in Britain, view the Beyond the Book for An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear.) Scotland also includes New Travellers, who are not born Travellers but who follow a similar nomadic lifestyle, though often for more political reasons (such as adopting a more green lifestyle), and Scottish Showmen (a business/cultural group of fairground families and travelling show ...

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