It happened one day as the kids and I were walking to the Cathedral from our home. As we headed down a steep hill into the centre of the city.  I heard a beloved sound. Clip, clop, clip, clop… horse hooves?
The kids said that I was imagining things….the wishes of a country girl missing her pony….. No. There is was again and louder now….clip, clop, clip, clop faster went the four beat cadence. I turned just in time to see a lovely bay horse pulling a sulky, canter into the city.  Wow!

What an out of place picture that was.  The only horses I have ever seen in a city are police horses and carriage tours.  and..just like a flash the big bay was gone….

As we approached the area of the cathedral I heard the hooves again… there circling the road around palace green were TWO  horses pulling sulkies in a trotting race.

Lovely….out of place…What could this mean?


I did a little bit of reading and found that Roma gypsies have been living in and traveling though this area for about 500 years.  The County of Durham according to the county website has six camp sites with a total of 115 pitches.


Several local events are also listed on the County website.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

“Taking place every June, Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month celebrates 500 years of Gypsy and Traveller culture and history in the UK. The awareness month, recognised nationally for over five years, brings together local Gypsy and Traveller communities to ensure past traditions are remembered and continued for years to come.”

Appleby Horse Fair

“Appleby Horse Fair is an annual gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in the town of Appleby in Cumbria which takes place in the first week in June, from Thursday to the following Wednesday, but this is essentially a weekend event with the main days being the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Appleby Fair is unique in Europe, attracting around 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers and over 30,000 visitors to the fair.

County Durham is a key part of the route to Appleby with areas in Teesdale offering stopover points for people travelling to the fair.

More information about the fair can be found on the official Appleby Horse Fair.”

The Roma Gypsy people have a website with information about the Roma Gypsy history.  You may read more about them at

As a music teacher I was aware that famous Romantic composer Franz Liszt was inspired by the music of the gypsies.  I have also learned that Debussy was influenced by them as well.

Interesting.  I hope you find it interesting as well.


quotes taken from Durham County Council website


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