This Saturday (9th September) All Saints Church Viney Hill celebrates the village’s connection to a remarkable, larger than life character: Xavier ‘Gypsy’ Petulengro. Author, showman, broadcaster and mail order businessman, Petulengro was a widely known and loved personality in the inter-war and post-war years – so much so that up to 1,500 people from the Forest and across the UK attended his funeral at All Saints in 1957. As well as his many other interests and enterprises he was a prolific author, writing memoirs, fiction, and several books on Gypsy traditions, food and remedies. As part of the fantastic Heritage Open Days programme across the Forest of Dean, Reading the Forest is putting on an exhibition exploring his life, works, influence, and his Forest connections. We’re particularly interested in meeting anyone who remembers his visits to the Forest, his close friends Mr & Mrs Vine who lived opposite the church, and his funeral.
The event is free, and runs from 12noon until 6pm.
The exhibition is being put on with the support of University of Gloucestershire, The Foresters’ Forest, All Saints Church, and Heritage Open Days.