The current edition of the George Borrow Society Bulletin

Cover of the current George Borrow Bulletin The Spring 2013 George Borrow Bulletin is now out (Series 2, No. 6).

Members should have received their copy during May 2013.

We’re continuing with abstracts of the main articles and also giving some information on the contributors.

We hope to expand this area in future.

In September 2012 members visited Gibraltar and Tangier following in Borrow’s footsteps.  Lots of reports on these visits are in this Bulletin: members who didn’t attend don’t need to miss out.  The reports are accompanied with pictures (some in colour), and the papers given at the time are included, some with expanded content.

The next edition of the George Borrow Bulletin is being prepared and should be out in Autumn 2013.  Contributors please note that the deadline for contributions has been brought forward a month, and is now 31 August 2013.

George Borrow Bulletin 2nd Series nº 6 (Spring 2013)




Membership of the Society



Recent events

Future events



(1) 27 July 2013: Favourite readings: an afternoon with George Borrow



(2) 1–2 November 2013: A Norwich Conference sponsored by the George Borrow Trust



Kerrigan, Colm

A Tale of Two Castles


Missler, Peter

The Great Liverpool Court Case At Last!


Chandler, David

‘Celtic Fielding, Realist of Dreams!’: Edmund Kemper Broadus on Borrow

Notes and Queries


Keeton, Simon

(1) A Passion for Words



Murphy, Martin

(1) H. James Rose, Viaje a la Andalucia inexplorada, reviewed


Kerrigan, Colm

(2) Jimmy Burns, La Roja: A Journey through Spanish Football, reviewed


Laurie, Kedrun

Exhibition Review: Bohèmes




Readers Write






Borrow On-line



Press Cuttings



Borrow Portrayed



A New CD by John Hentges

Report and Proceedings of The George Borrow Society’s visit to Gibraltar, 26 September–1 October 2012


Ridler, Ann M.

(1) Report on our visit


Fraser, Angus

(2) A Borrovian walk through Tangier


Heredia, Blanca Krauel and Ridler, Ann M.

(3) George Borrow in Tangier


Perera, Jennifer Ballantine

(4) George Borrow and his Vision of Gibraltar


Ridler, Ann M.

(5) Borrow in Andalusia and Gibraltar in 1839


Hopkins, Simon

(6) Hebrew and Arabic in George Borrow’s account of Gibraltar and Tangier (The Bible in Spain, Chs 51–57)



Back Numbers of Bulletins, Binders and Proceedings


David Chandler

David Chandler David Chandler obtained his D.Phil at the University of Oxford with a thesis entitled ‘Norwich Literature 1788–97: A Critical Survey’. He is now a professor in the English Department at Doshisha University, Kyoto. He has published numerous articles on the literature and culture of the Romantic period, on Shakespeare, Dickens, and Borrow, and now works mainly on musical theatre. Recent publications include edited books on Italian composers Alfredo Catalani and Italo Montemezzi and pioneering articles on writer-composers Edward Cympson (1838–1905) and Alan Doggett (1936–78). He loves to work on neglected figures and believes that cultural history is very often simply not fair.

Sir Angus Fraser

Sir Angus Fraser Sir Angus Fraser (1928–2001) was a distinguished senior civil servant with a lifelong passion for Borrow, at a time when Borrow’s reputation was largely in eclipse. From 1951 for the fifty years until his death he published well over 100 articles on Gypsies, Borrow and, with a nod to his position as Chairman of the Board of Customs and Excise, on smuggling! His book on The Gypsies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992) has been translated into at least thirteen languages. His George Borrow Bibliography, co-authored with the late Professor Michael Collie (Soho Bibliographies, 1984), remains the major point of reference on the publication history of Borrow’s works. He was President of the George Borrow Society from its establishment in 1991 until his death. His massive collection of books and manuscripts was divided between the National Library of Scotland (Borrow) and the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds (on all matters Romani).

Blanca Krauel Heredia

Blanca Krauel Heredia is Senior Lecturer in British Culture and Civilization in the Department of English Studies at the University of Málaga where she has been teaching for 35 years. Among her publications we could mention:

Sir James Douglas’s Death in Spain (1330) in “Scottish Historical Review” nº 187 April 1990, 84–90.

Events surrounding Thomas Malliard’s will. An English Merchant in Seville (1522–1523). “Proceedings of the II Conference of the Spanish Society for English Renaissance Studies” Oviedo, Universidad, 1992. 157

England according to Anthony Sherley; an English adventurer in the service of Spain. “Revista de Filología de la Universidad de la Laguna” 21, 2003, 179–185

Martin Haverty: un Irlandés en la España de Isabel II en “Humour and Tragedy in Ireland. Actas IV Congreso AEDEI .Universidad de Málaga 2005. 323–334

Viajando por Andalucía: el testimonio de algunas escritoras victorianas. “Revista de Filología de la Universidad de La Laguna”, 29; 2011, 141–162

Simon Hopkins

Simon Hopkins Simon Hopkins was born in Hemel Hempstead and grew up in Cambridge. He studied Semitic languages at the University of London. After some years as a research assistant at Cambridge University Library working on the mediaeval Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection, he taught Hebrew at the University of Cape Town. Since 1984 he has taught Arabic at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he lives with his wife Yehudit and cat Hodge. He is an occasional contributor to the George Borrow Bulletin and is planning to edit and annotate Borrow’s Moorish Vocabulary, an unpublished work compiled by Borrow in Tangier in 1839.

Colm Kerrigan

Colm Kerrigan Colm Kerrigan was born and brought up in rural Ireland and came to London on leaving school in 1959. Following training as a teacher he spent 30 years in primary-school classrooms. from which he gained release under a generous retirement scheme before he was 60. What he liked best about schools was training the football teams, so when he retired he returned to university and spent five years researching the origins of schoolboy football, for which he was awarded a Ph.D by the University of London, with his modified thesis published as Teachers and Football (RoutledgeFarmer, 2005). He has written six other books and, besides the Bulletin, he has had articles in a number of journals, including Irish Economic and Social History, The London Journal, Soccer & Society, The International Journal of the History of Sport, Journal of the DH Lawrence Society and The DH Lawrence Review.

Dr Kedrun Laurie

Dr Kedrun Laurie Dr Kedrun Laurie was formerly Assistant Curator of the Geffrye Museum in London, specialising in the history of interiors and costume. She subsequently worked for some years as a consultant on the restoration of historic parks and gardens. She received her doctorate in English Literature from King’s College London in 2003. Her thesis, entitled ‘“If I had Wings”: country writers and the claims of conservation’, included a chapter on George Borrow. She now works as an independent scholar in Belgium with a particular interest in the art and literature of the long nineteenth century.

Peter Missler

Peter Missler Peter Missler was born in 1959 in Amersfoort (The Netherlands). He briefly studied Philosophy at the University of Utrecht before moving to Paris, where he mainly exercised as bohemian. After four years as bookseller, house-cleaner, electrician, hotel attendant and metro-busker, he returned to Holland to earn a degree in Egyptology from the University of Leiden. In 1993 he moved to Granada, Spain, and two years later to Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the George Borrow Society and a regular contributor to the George Borrow Bulletin. These Bulletin articles resulted in two book-sized studies: A Daring Game in 2009 and The Treasure Hunter of Santiago in late 2010.  Peter Missler presently lives in Brion, west of Santiago, with his wife Palmyra, their son Yasin and the Homeric sheep-dog Argos.

Dr Ann M. Ridler

Dr Ann Ridler Dr Ann Ridler graduated from Oxford as a modern linguist in 1956. Now retired, she was professionally involved in course validation and the accreditation of institutions in further and higher education (1969–1999). Her PhD (cnaa, 1983) was on the subject of ‘George Borrow as a Linguist’ and her thesis was subsequently printed for private circulation in an edition of 100 copies (1996). She has been engaged in research on Borrow since 1975. A founder member of the George Borrow Society, she has been Chairman since 1997 and has edited the George Borrow Bulletin since 1991.


A Tale of Two Castles

Being Irish. the chapters of Lavengro that relate Borrow’s memories of his time in Ireland are of particular interest to me, and, like all of Borrow. they offer intriguing opportunities for investigating how much of what he wrote was true in the sense that he recorded it as best he could recall it or was consciously or unconsciously embellished so that he could hold forth on a particular subject. His account of his family’s greetings from their landlord on their arrival in Clonmel would seem a likely example of the latter, while his eerie visit to the castle, insofar as I have been able to determine from exploring its history and geography, would seem to have been accurate. Even the old lady cursing Cromwell, which I first assumed to have been invention, turned out on investigation to have been an authentic curse of the time as recorded in an account of contemporary Irish folklore.

The Great Liverpool Court Case At Last! by Peter Missler

In the mid-1840s, George Borrow was summoned to London to testify in the court case Fearon versus Peninsular Steam Co, a trial resulting from the sinking of the steamship The Great Liverpool in February 1843 near Cape Finisterre. A number of new finds in the contemporary press, made by David Price, enable us to determine when the court case took place and what the litigants argued. As a result, only one small mystery remains: on whose behalf George Borrow was called as a witness.

‘Celtic Fielding, Realist of Dreams!’: Edmund Kemper Broadus on Borrow, by David Chandler

Edmund Kemper Broadus (1876–1936), a distinguished American scholar, was the central figure in the English Department at the University of Alberta from 1908 until his death. He revealed a deep love for Borrow in his poem ‘Lavengro’, published in 1919. He did not, however, discuss Borrow in his critical writings, and appears not to have taught his work, so this was an extra-professional enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the poem itself has interesting things to say about Borrow, and suggestively characterizes him as a ‘Celtic Fielding, Realist of Dreams!’

A Borrovian walk through Tangier, by Angus Fraser

Our late President, Sir Angus Fraser, died in 2001 but had already drafted a paper contrasting Borrow’s experience of Tangier in 1839 with Tangier at the present day, in readiness for a proposed visit by the Society. His paper makes it possible to reconstruct some at least of Borrow’s movements in the city and gives a vivid picture of Tangier as it is today.

George Borrow in Tangier, by Blanca Krauel Heredia, translated by Ann M. Ridler

George Borrow arrived in Tangier on the morning of 9 August 1839 to stay there until the middle of September that same year. In this article I study the reasons why he visited this Moroccan town. Once there he had contact with European people mainly and his knowledge of the Arabic language allowed him to establish relations with the native, Muslim and Jewish population. It is interesting to compare his points of view with those of other contemporary British travellers. He even did research on the presence of Gypsies in that country. Finally I want to point out certain commentaries about the European ignorance about the kingdom of Morocco and the routes that go through the Sahara desert which the author includes in his correspondence and the last three chapters of his book The Bible in Spain. The evidence shows that George Borrow, a missionary and tourist, was not an innocent traveller.

Borrow in Andalusia and Gibraltar in 1839, by Ann M. Ridler

In April 1839 Borrow moved from Madrid to Seville, where he was based until April 1840. He was joined in June 1839 by his future wife, Mary Clarke, and her daughter Henrietta. Borrow continued to distribute the scriptures but was also pursuing his own agenda, making use of helpers to collect Gypsy material which would be included in his The Zincali; or, The Gypsies of Spain (1841). He was also intent on visiting Morocco. On his way he visited Gibraltar, about which he said little to his employers but devoted three chapters of The Bible in Spain to his experience there. The Bible Society insisted that he should return to England forthwith, but he managed to spin out his time in Andalusia to a year. Relations with the Society became strained, and on his return in April 1840 he found that his employers had no further wish for his services.

Hebrew and Arabic in George Borrow’s account of Gibraltar and Tangier (The Bible in Spain, Chs 51–57), by Simon Hopkins

The article by Simon Hopkins in the present issue of the George Borrow Bulletin describes some of the linguistic aspects of Borrow’s account of his visit to Gibraltar and Tangier in 1839. In both places he met many interesting characters and, as usual, provides information about the languages they spoke. The essay is concerned particularly with the Jews and Arabs whom he met and the Hebrew and Arabic vocabulary which they used. Borrow heard many Semitic words in Gibraltar and Tangier and incorporates them (usually without any explanation) into his narrative. The article gives examples of his use of foreign vocabulary and provides identifications of the words. Some of Borrow’s data provide valuable early documentation for Moroccan Arabic.