Barbados served as an entrepôt for the distribution of slaves to other British territories in the western hemisphere for many years. Whether ultimately bound for Virginia, Jamaica or elsewhere, large numbers of slaves passed first of all through that island (Hancock, 1980b). However, while the designations Gypsy, Gypcian, Egyptian, &c., turn up in the records of transportation located in Britain, nothing similar appears anywhere in the documents examined in Barbados.
Nevertheless, an examination of the lists of transportees found in these works and in the Barbados Records indicated that a great number of individuals bearing Romanichal (British Gypsy) surnames did in fact arrive in Barbados: the names occurring include Boswell, Cook/Cooke, Hern/Herne/Heron, Lee/Leek, Locke, Palmer, Penfold/Pinfold, Price, Scot/Scott, Smith and Ward, ranging from one Pinfold to nine Boswells to over a hundred Smiths. Only a small percentage of these were likely to have been Gypsies, of course. Sometimes, a further clue was provided by the county of origin of the individual, where given (Cookes from Middlesex and Kent), or by occupation (Boswell, a blacksmith), but these must also be considered non-conclusive.
So far, only one reference to Gypsies as a discrete group in the West Indies, and referred to as such, has been located, and that from Jamaica:
I have known many gipsies [to be] subject from the age of eleven to thirty to the prostitution and lust of overseers, book-keepers, negroes, &c., to be taken into keeping by gentlemen, who paid exorbitant hire for their use (Moreton, 1793:130).