This contains every descriptions of Welsh costume I have found as a result of extensive searches in manuscript and published sources (including newspapers and magazines). They are arranged in chronological order for each decade. There are also pages on special events, also in chronological order, including Eisteddfodau and Royal Visits (reports of which often contain descriptions and illustrations of Welsh costume.)
Far more was written in English about Welsh costume than in Welsh, but the latter has been included, with translations.
Dates given are those when the quotation was written or first published. If the date of writing is known to be earlier, (for example, if it was written sometime before the date of publication) or is from an edition other than the first (for which the date is unknown) it is enclosed in curved brackets. If the date is assumed, it is enclosed in square brackets.
Text in curly brackets is a summary of the original. Text in square brackets has been inserted by the transcriber: some of these are words with conventional spellings to ease digital searching.
In some cases, transcriptions from more than one newspaper about the same event have been included because each contain different facts.
The nature of the evidence changed over time. During the 18th century, most of the quotations come from published and unpublished accounts of tours of Wales; by the early 19th century, these are augmented by articles in magazines, newspapers and publications associated with Eisteddfodau. By the 1850s, the number of accounts by tourists reduced, and newspaper articles and reports increased.
So far, over 65,000 words describing Welsh costume, written between 1770 and 1899, have been transcribed from just over 400 sources, the average number of references being just over three per year and the average length being between 100 and 200 words, but these include some long descriptions and references to Welsh costume in reports of Eisteddfodau in newspapers.
Many tourists almost certainly had preconceived ideas of the sort of costume which was distinct to Wales; they very rarely recorded the costumes of the rich or of the very poor.
In addition to the chronological sequence, descriptions of certain categories of clothes have been listed separately.
References to all Royal visits to Wales have been included because long accounts of the visits were published in newspapers etc. at the time and these often include descriptions (and sometimes illustrations) of the costumes worn by some members of the crowds and choirs who welcomed the visitors.
- Children’s costumes
- Children’s Welsh costumes
- Men’s clothes
- References to best costumes (Sunday best)
- Costumes provided for the poor
- Costumes provided by employers
- Costumes mentioned in courtcases
- Costumes mentioned in wills (forthcoming)
- Costumes associated with Rites of Passage (weddings, bereavement)
- The modern costume