Kale (Welsh Romanies)
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Kale Welsh Romanies
Kalá, Valshanange
A gypsy family (5078753120).jpg
A Welsh Kale family, 1951
Regions with significant populations
Northwestern Wales
 Wales3,000 (estimate)[1]
English, Welsh Romani
Related ethnic groups

The Kale (also Kalá, Valshanange; Welsh: Roma yng Nghymru) are a group of Romani people in Wales. Many claim to be descendants of Abram Wood, who was the first Rom to reside permanently and exclusively in Wales in the early 18th century, though Romanichal Travellers have appeared in Wales since the 16th century.[2] Welsh Kale are almost exclusively found in Northwest Wales, specifically the Welsh-speaking areas. Romanichal Travellers inhabit South Wales (In and around Cardiff, Swansea and Newport) and North East Wales (In and around Wrexham as well as in parts of Wales close to Liverpool and Chester).

Generally speaking, the Kale have employed a tribal structure in which a group of several family units would be under the authority of a male chieftain. However some Kale families are matriarchal with a senior woman being chosen by consensus among the other women of the family to take the leadership role.

The Welsh Kale are extremely closely related to English Romanichal Travellers, Scottish Lowland Romany Travellers, Norwegian and Swedish Romanisæl Travellers and Finnish Kale.[3]

Many Welsh Kale have migrated to the United States over the centuries. Most Welsh Kale who migrated to the US have become absorbed into the Romanichal communities of the US, with large portions of American Romanichal Travellers claiming Welsh Kale heritage.


The Kale speak Welsh Romani. Originally the variants of Welsh Romani and the Angloromani of the Romanichal constituted a common "British Romani" language.[4] Both Welsh Romani and Angloromani share characteristics and are closely related to each other and to Romani dialects spoken in Scotland (Scottish Cant), Finland (Finnish Kalo) and Norway and Sweden (Scandoromani). Welsh, English, Scottish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Romani share common ancestry from a wave of Romani immigrants who came to England in the 16th century.[5]

The Welsh Romani language survived in North Wales until at least 1950. A sort of "pidgin" dialect arose in the late 19th century, mostly consisting of Romani, Welsh and English.

Integration into Welsh culture

While preserving their travelling lifestyle, the Kale grew to claim several aspects of Welsh culture, including conversion to Christianity, taking on Welsh surnames, and participating in regional and national eisteddfodau. Notably, John Robert Lewis, the husband of Abram Wood's granddaughter, would win prizes for harping in 1842, 1848, and 1850.[6]

Another descendant, John Roberts,[7] earned the sobriquet "Telynor Cymru", and taught his whole family various instruments. His illustrious career culminated in a performance before Queen Victoria at the Palé Hall on 24 August 1889 on the occasion of the Royal Visit to Wales. John Roberts played with his nine sons, all of them on the harp.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Kenrick, Donald (2010). The A to Z of the Gypsies (Romanies). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-8108-7561-6.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "International Traveller and Roma Day 2019". Parish of the Travelling People. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ Sampson. J. (1926) The Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  5. ^ Bakker (1997) Review of McGowan, The Winchester Confessions, Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, Fifth series 7(1): 49-50.
  6. ^ "Welsh Gypsy, Welsh Gypsies, Kale, John Roberts, Telynor Cymru". www.valleystream.co.uk. Retrieved 2021.
  7. ^ "The National Library of Wales :: Dictionary of Welsh Biography". Yba.llgc.org.uk. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Roberts, E. Ernest (1978). John Roberts, Telynor Cymru (in Welsh). Dinbych: Gwasg Gee. OCLC 4957891.


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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