Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hoyland, John (1750-1831)

HOYLAND, JOHN (1750–1831), writer on the Gipsies, is variously designated as 'of Sheffield, Yorkshire,' and as 'formerly of York.' It was, however, in the counties of Northampton, Bedford, and Hertford that he 'frequently had opportunity of observing the very destitute and abject condition of the Gipsy race,' whom he began to study in the summer of 1814. He belonged to the quaker body, and although 'at some time disunited from the society was afterwards reinstated into membership.' His separation may have been due to his falling in 'love with a black-eyed gipsy girl' (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. v. 386); but there is nothing to warrant Mr. Simson's conclusion 'that the quaker married the gipsy girl' (Simson, Hist. of the Gipsies, 1865, p. 380 n.) He died at Northampton 30 Aug. 1831. His 'Epitome of the History of the World from the Creation to the Advent of the Messiah,' first published anonymously (London, 12mo, 1812), reached a third edition under the title of 'The Fulfilment of Scripture Prophecy' (8vo, 1823). It is a euhemeristic work, where Elijah is the prototype of Phaeton, Jephtha's daughter of Iphigenia. 'A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, and Present State of the Gypsies' (York, 8vo, 1816), has still some value,though it is mainly based on Raper's translation of Grellmann's 'Zigeuner.'

[Joseph Smith's Descriptive Catalogue of Friends' Books, 1867; Annual Register, 1831, p.257.

F. H. G.