Title ID 3914Collection ID93
TitleSecret of the Warren
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurFictionDrama
KeywordsAnimals Camping Children Farming Gypsies Landscape Rural Areas
LocalLindfield [?]
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionB&P Film Unit
CameraMr. A.J. Birch
Format9.5mm Black & White Silent
Duration21min. 46sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This award winning fictional amateur film was produced by the founder of the Haywards Heath Cine Society. The plot involves an impoverished widow and her daughter who have to sell their farm as they can no longer afford to run it. A chance encounter with a pair of traveling gypsies leads to the the mother finding some money bequeathed to her by her late husband; their newfound wealth is used to save the farm from being sold.


"The Secret of the Warren" The opening credits state "This film gained second place in the Pathescope Open Awards 1953". The film offers the story background: "Since her husbands death Widow Makepeace Mrs J. Parsons has struggled to keep the farm which her daughter Mary Frances Packer dearly loves. One day two travleling Gipsies; Pedro and Petronella Joseph & Josephine Parsons and their dog Rex pass that way". The film opens with shots of the Gipsies' and their dog walking in a field, they sit down for a rest next to a haystack. A man carrying a shotgun gestures to them to move on; they gather their belonging and run off. They continue their journey along a country lane; a girl who is first seen sitting on a gate, jumps down to pat their dog. They talk to each other and the girl gestures towards another field, the gypsies follow her over the gate, through a field towards a farmhouse. The group speak to the girl mother in the doorway, before setting up camp in a nearby meadow. The gypsies prepare a meal before the girl returns home. At the farmhouse, the mother is seen looking anxiously at paperwork. Night falls, and the gypsies settle down for the night. Title: "Next morning."; the gypsy boy put a kettle on the fire and the girl at the farmhouse goes out to collect eggs. She takes them to the Gypsies; creeping up on the boy washing, she makes him jump and he falls into the stream. The girl runs back to her house and, puts on her uniform and leaves for school on her bicycle. After breakfast, the gypsies help the farmer to build a haystack. Title: "Later that day"; a boy is seen putting up a poster advertising the auction of the farm; the girl sees the poster on her way back from school. Distressed, she speaks to her mother before heading off into a field to cry. The gypsy boy finds her and she takes him to show him the sign. The boy and girl return to the camp, where the gypsy girl unfolds a piece of paper reading: Gypsy Musical Act Pedro (Violinist) & Petronella (Dancer) Clairvoyants also Rex the Dog". The girl takes her mother to listen see the gypsies perform outside their tent. The girl gypsy reads the woman's fortune with cards. Title: "I see RICHES"; shot of the girl praying next to her bed. Title: "and please God help us to keep the Farm". Title: "Saturday"; cleaning the house, the girl finds a wrap of paper with a key concealed in an ornament: "To my dear Wife, In case anything happens to me before I have told you, this is the key to the box in which I have put my secret savings. The box is in the rabbit warren under the oak tree in the lane. I hope you will find it and make good use of the money. Good bye and God bless you and ?, John Makepeace". The girl rushes out of the house, fetches the gypsy boy and together they retrieve the box. Back at the farmhouse, they open the box to find bundles of cash. Title: "Meanwhile"; the mother is seen boarding a bus in town, she arrives back home to be told the good news. The girl shows her what she has found; the boy is given some money by way of thanks. He returns back to the camp to pack up and they say goodbye to the girl and her mother. The woman takes the auction poster down and the girl jumps on it and hugs her mother. Title: "The End".