Portrait of George Borrow

George Borrow People

People associated with George Borrow

There are countless people who were associated with George Borrow during his life, hundreds that appear in his works, and a great many more who have associations with him.  It will be an almost endless task to research them all, however, by way of a start a few are noted here, some of which have been researched, and we hope to research these over the coming years.

The George Borrow Bulletin often contained articles about Borrovian people, only a fraction of that information is available on this website.


George Borrow has hundreds of characters in his main books (Lavengro, Romany Rye, Bible in Spain and Wild Wales), many drawn directly from life (although sometimes with a name change to disguise their true identity), and as well as characters whose origins are hotly disputed in Borrovian criticism.

The following is are the main characters from the works, although many others exist and the lists are far from comprehensive.  Real people who appear as such are excluded and listed under Friends or Family.


Flaming Tinman

Francis Ardry

Isopel Berners

Jasper Petelengro

Mrs. Herne


Peter Williams

Rev. Platitude

The Apple seller of London Bridge

The Man in Black

The Postillion

Romany Rye

Chinese Student

Jack Dale

Lord Whitefeather

Ostler (from the Inn on the Great North Road)

The Hungarian

Bible in Spain

Antonio (the Gypsy)

Antonio Buchini

Benedict Mol

Maria Diaz

Wild Wales

Father Toban

Irish Fiddler

Johanna Colgen

John Jones

The Man in Grey

Tom Jenkins


George Borrow’s was Captain Thomas Borrow, his mother Ann Borrow (nee Perfrement).  His brother was John Borrow.

George Borrow married Mary Clarke (nee Mary Skepper) and hence became the step-father to Mary’s daughter, Henrietta Clarke.

Henrietta Clarke married William MacOubrey and hence was George Borrow’s son-in-law.

George Borrow had no children.

For those wishing to research Borrow’s family tree the information in Knapp etc. is available.


Throughout his life George Borrow had many friends, although few remained in contact with him throughout his life.  The following list is far from comprehensive:

David Haggat

James Philo

Jasper Petelengro (Ambrose Smith)

John Bowring

Dawson Turner

Joseph John Gurney

Lucy Brightwell


Richard Phillips

John Pilgrim

Lluyd (Welsh Groom of Lavengro and Wild Wales)

William Taylor

William Simpson

Hake, Alfred Egmond, son of Dr. Hake, who wrote two articles giving recollections of George Borrow in 1881.

Other people

These are so many people connected with George Borrow — it’s difficult to find a classification for our web pages.  As such, this page will hold links to people who don’t fit in other places.

Boswell, Riley, gipsy king of Yorkshire whose biography Borrow gave in Romano Lavo Lil, ended up living in the Potteries, Notting Hill.  Borrow spelt it Bosvil.

Cooke, Robert, partner of John Murray III., friend of Borrow.

Cooper, Charlotte, the Gypsy of Wandsworth.

Cooper, Jack, also known as Cooper the Gypsy, husband of Charlotte Cooper the Gypsy of Wandsworth.

Cunningham, Rev. Francis, rector of Pakefield then Vicar of Lowestoft, friend of Borrow who got him the position with the Bible Society.

Denniss, Rev. Edwin Proctor, Rector of Oulton, Suffolk, best known for writing to Borrow about his dog.

Herne, Thomas, old gipsy living in the Potteries, West London, visited by Borrow on 22 June 1863 with the encounter recorded in Romano Lavo Lil.

MacOubrey, William, the Irish M.D. and Barrister who married Borrow’s step-daughter Henrietta Clarke.

Murray, John III., 1808–1892, Borrow’s friend an publisher of his later works.

Oriel, Sarah, friend of the Borrow’s in Brompton.

Wandsworth Gypsies

Watson, Mrs, “door dear”, mentioned in a letter from George to Mary, probably around 1858.  George Borrow and His Circle, page 380.

Webber, William, of Ipswich