You may be wondering who Jean Gordon is. Well, she was born in 1670, in or around the small village of Kirk Yelthom in Scotland, near the English border. Around 1695 she married Patrick Faa, who was part of a tribe of gypsies who roamed around Scotland. Patrick Faa was said to be the first ‘Gypsy King’ of Scotland, and therefore Jean was his Queen. Jean Gordon was described as a formidable woman, standing six feet tall, and she was said to be outspoken to the last. Her husband was deported to the Americas as punishment for theft, and three of his children were hanged (they may not have been Jean’s children as well, I am not sure). One of her children was killed in a duel in Berwickshire.
It is fair to say that Jean Gordon’s life was one of turmoil and heartache, yet she remained a powerful character. She continued to be outspoken, and as a bold Jacobite supporter, she would meet her death by being dunked into the river Eden, in the town of Carlisle.
Why do I write about her? Well, she is part of my own personal history. Jean Gordon is my 7th Great-Grandmother, on my father’s side. Her impact upon my family is made clear in the height of several of the women in my family, who clearly inherited this from her. Her life is largely a mystery, but it seems she was defiant to the very end, and did not compromise on her ideals, despite the tragedy that life kept dealing her.
It would be amazing to have a conversation with her, or at least to observe her life.