The Parish Officers( probably Mr Weston Mr Cole and Mr Elton) and Mr Knightley as the local justice of the peace would have been well aware that the law relating to gypsies was tough and uncompromising and would also have been involved in administering it..
These are a counterfeit kind of rouge,that being English or Welch people, accompanied themselves together,disguised in the habit of Egyptians; blacking their faces and bodies,and framing to themselves an unknown tongue, wander up and own, under pretence of telling fortunes,abusing the ignorant common people, and stealing all that they can lay their hands on.These ae punishable as vagabonds and beggars. These are a strange kind of commonwealth among themselves, of wandering impostors and jugglers; who made their first appearance in Germany about the beginning of the 16th century,and have since spread themselves all over Europe and Asia.
They were originally called Zinganus by the Turks from their captain called Zinganus, who when Sultan Seliim conquered Eygpt about the year 1517, refused to submit to the Turkish yoke, and retired into the desarts(sic) where they lived by rapine and plunder and frequently came down into the plains of Eygpt committing great outrages in the towns upon the Nile under the domination of the Turks. But being at length subdued and banished from Eygpt, they dispersed themselves in small parties, into every country in the known world; and as they were natives of Eygpt a country where the occult sciences, or black art as it was called, was supposed to have arrived to great refection and which in that credulous age was in great vogue with persons of all religions and persuasions; they found the people, where ever they came, very easily imposed upon.
In the compass of a very few years they gained such a number of idle proselytes, who imitated their language and complexion,and betook themselves to the same arts of chiromancy, begging and pilfering, that they became troublesome and even formidable to most of the States of Europe. On which account they were expelled from France in the year 1560 and from Spain in 1591; and the government in England took the alarm much earlier; for in 1530 they are described by the statute 22 Hen. VIII c 10 as
"outlandish people calling themselves Eyptians; using no craft or feat of merchandize who have come into the relam and gone from shire to shire and from place to place in great company and used great,subtle and crafty means to deceive the people bearing them in hand, that they by palmestry could tell men and womens forunes; and so many times by craft and subtlety have decieved the people of their money and also have committted many heinous feloinies and robberies"
Wherefore they are directed to avoid the relam and not to return under pain of improisonment and forfieture of their goods and chattels and upon their trials for any feony which they may have committed they shall not be entitled to a jury.
And afterwards it is enacted that if any such persons shall be imported into this kingdom the importer shall foirfiet Ł40 and if the Eygptians themselves shall remain one month in this kingdom, or if any person begin fourteen years old whether born subjects or a stranger which hath been seen or found in the fellowship of such Eygptians, or which hath disguised him or herself like them, shall remain in the same one month,at one or several times, it is felony without benefit of clergy.
And Sir Matthew Hale informs us that at one Suffolk assizes no less than 13 gypsies were executed upon these statutes, a few years before the restoration. But to the honour of our national humanity, there are no instances more modern than this of carrying these laws into execution.
Scotland alone seems to have afforded a friendly asylum for these emigrants, for in the year 1594 a letter patent by King James VI of Scotland, afterwards king James I of England was grnated to the leader and head of these peoiple, wherein he is styled " our beloved John Faw, lord and earl of Little Eygpt, which is now extant among the writs of privy seal".
And the same law appears to have been honoured long before that time, by the countenance and protection of Mary Queen of Scots as the same record contains a writ of a similar tenor and 8th April 1534 he obtained a pardon for the murder of Ninian Small. So that it appers that he had continued long in Scotland( or , perhaps, some part of the time in England) and it is possible that from him this kind of strolling people might recieve the denomination which they still retain of Faw-Gang. The Act 17 Geo.II c 5-commonly known by the title the Vagrant Act, regards gypsies only under the general demomination of rogues and vagabonds.
Ive linked to a page on gypsies from the marvellous Old Bailey on-line website for you below.