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Sophie Locke.jpg

The Black Men of Biddle


The legend of ‘The Black Men of Biddle’ may be apposite. A clan of people lived on Biddulph Moor in the 17th – 18th centuries, thought to be of Saracen origin brought back by a local knight from the Crusades. But they were more likely Romanies. Among the tent-dwelling families [living on the moor] were Locks {Lock is a well-known Gypsy surname} – Matthew Lock was born there c 1780, and the remarkable Sophia Lock (pictured), a transvestite tinker, whose gender was revealed when she died in 1848. The Locks left Biddulph at the turn of the 19th century due to accusations of sheep stealing and were scattered far and wide: Matthew to [the] West Midlands and his brother Merrick to Gloucestershire. Others emigrated to the USA where a Richard Lock had travelled in the late 1600s.


Many thanks to Mike Green for this contribution

It is worth noting that while Biddulph Moor is not within the South West Peak Park area the Travellers who lived there would certainly have travelled around and across the area.

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