1800-1809

There are many descriptions of Welsh costume for this decade, but there is a quite justified suspicion that some of these are based on published descriptions by earlier writers rather then first hand experience.

The main differences between the views of English women’s costume and those of the Welsh is the decoration and weight of the fabrics. Many Welsh women are shown with striped or check fabrics which appear to be heavy and shapeless whereas the English women are shown in plain, light fabrics.

Also, many illustrations of English women show many trimmings, in the form of ribbons and lace and their hats are larger and more ornate as was the English fashion. Welsh women are generally shown wearing plain white cotton caps, kerchiefs or men’s hats on their heads, with few trimmings.

Some of those who travelled throughout Wales were able to identify regional variations. For example, the women of Pembrokeshire continued to wear a handkerchief around their heads, sometimes under a man’s hat; the women of Glamorganshire, the Gower, Carmarthenshire, and parts of north Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion wore red or white shawls or whittles rather than blue cloaks. The whittle, in particular, was thought to have been a result of Flemish influence: it was distinguished from the shawl by some observers as having fringes.

Descriptions of Welsh costume, 1800-1810
For an explanation of recording conventions, see Chronological survey.

1798-1801 [?]
The women of the mountainous parts of the country are generally of a middle size, though more frequently below it than above it.
Their figures are often very pretty, but in point of figure, they are generally uninteresting, and their long, and thickly matted hair, crowned with hats similar to those worn by men, affords the unpleasant idea of a due want of cleanliness. They wear long blue cloaks that descend almost to the feet. These they are seldom to be seen without, even in the hottest weather; owing to the frequency of showers in a county surrounded with mountains. On their legs they have blue stockings without any feet to them; they keep them down by means of a loop fastened round one of the toes. In the more unfrequented parts the women seldom wear any shoes, except on a Sunday, or the Market day, and even on those days they often carry them in their hands as they go along the roads. I have sometimes seen six or eight of them after their journeys from the adjacent villages, seated on the bank of a rivulet, in the act of washing their feet previously to their entering the towns. During these journeys they often employ their time in knitting, and a heavy shower of rain will not sometimes compel them to give up their work. Their employment within doors, besides the family duties, is chiefly in spinning wool.
Llanberis
The curate resided in a mean looking cottage … His dress was somewhat singular; he had on a blue coat that long had been worn threadbare and in various places exhibited marks of the industry his wife, a pair of antique corduroy breeches and a black waistcoat, and round his head was tied a blue handkerchief. (p.238-9)
Bingley, W., Rev,  (1774-1823) A Tour round North Wales including its Scenery, Antiquities, Customs and some Sketches of its Natural History; Delineated from two Excursions through all the interesting Parts of the Country, during the summers of 1798 and 1801, (London, 1804), pp. 490-491

1801
near Pontypool]
The women seem to do all the business upon the road, for we meet at least 6 of them on horseback to one Man … most of them were without shoes and stockings p. 63
Pembrokeshire
The Pembrokeshire women differ in their dress from all those we have before seen, for instead of the neat bordered mob cap, they universally wear a silk Handkerchief round their head and tied under the chin, sometimes they wear several upon their head and shoulder, and I was informed that the more handkerchiefs, the greater the consequence of the wearer, but to my eyes they appeared all to be afflicted with the tooth ache or sore throat. p. 98
Narberth
… the buyers and sellers were chiefly women and their dress being so exactly similar that it seemed like looking at a single person through a multiplying glass. Those women belonging to the neighbouring Counties were clearly distinguishable by the want of the silk handkerchief round the head and shoulders worn by the women of Pembroke, but they were few in number. p. 102
Newtown
The long cloak and petticoat here gives place to a wrapping great coat, which heavy covering seems constantly worn even in the hottest weather. The women have regular side saddles and are better dressed than those we had seen for some time. p. 150
Pontarfynach / Devil’s Bridge
[no room at the Hafod Arms, so they were advised to ask a local squire in a new stone mansion]. The wife was ‘dressed neat and clean, a Lindsey wolsey petticoat with a bed gown of the same stuff and a mob cap tied under the chin not otherwise distinguished from her female domestics, but by her shoes and stockings of which they were destitute’. p. 127
Mr M [Thomas Martyn], A Tour of South Wales, NLW MS 1340C

1801, south Wales
In their general neatness of appearance, in their clothing and in their habitations, the peasantry of Glamorgan are as much superior to those of our London neighbourhood as the features of their country excel ours in grandeur and in picturesque beauty.
Journal by Lord Grenville of a tour in South Wales and the West Country;  Aug. 1801. Copy by Lady Grenville. British Library 69159. Dropmore Papers, p. 15

(1801) Taff’s Well, Cardiff
Girl about 16, supported on one side by a crutch and the other by a venerable female friend; the girl was attired as is usual in this part of the principality in a little beaver hat similar to those worn by men, a neat plaited mob cap was tied under her chin and over a blue jacket a whittle was substituted for a cloak and thrown gracefully over her shoulders.
Manby, George William, (1765-1854), An historic and picturesque guide from Clifton, through the counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan, and Brecknock, (Bristol, 1802), p. 171

1802 Merionethshire
‘Employments of the Inhabitants of Merionethshire, August 23, 1802’
Fine pen and ink drawing of three women
1 Woman working at small spinning wheel
2 Man with smock
3 woman seated
4 woman carding
Two of the women have men’s hats and all three have long blue gowns and shawls and one has a striped skirt.
Anon, Album of sketches, British Library, MS 24003, p. 79

1802 Lampeter
No Mantua makers, women’s gowns, cloaks etc made by Taylors …
Walter Davies, diary, NLW MS 1760A p. 3/1 (rev)

1802 Bangor
Nothing can be more droll than to see a number of Welch people on such occasions whose utmost finery never exceeded a bed-gown of lindsey wolsey of a deeper blue than ordinary or an immense beaver hat of a more glossy appearance…
Mary Anne Eade, National Library of Wales, MS22190B

1802 Brecon
… nothing that reminded us of Wales except the dress of the women, the blue cloth cloaks are not indeed so common, but the round beaver hat seems universal.
Katherine Plymley, Shropshire Records and Archive Centre, 567/5/5/1/20

1802 Brecon
For the guidance of artists and others interested in the Welsh costume we give this description by a Mr Rougemont who visited Brecon in 1802 ‘The pretty Welsh girls have sparkling dark eyes, white teeth and ruddy complexions. They wear a blue and white flannel petticoat, a brown gown, a long blue shawl, the head dressed in a neat mob cap and over this a black beaver hat. The men wear all brown flannel, jacket, waistcoat, and breeches, but to give themselves a finish, they all wear flaming scarlet garters.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Wednesday, October 24, 1900; Issue 9802

1802 Welshpool
the women universally adopt the long, heavy, blue cloak, and the round beaver hat, with a mob cap under it, the lappets of which, in full dress, are suffered to fall loosely on the shoulders.
Near Llangollen (on the way to the English border)
blue cloaks and beaver hats over mob caps, … utterly cease.
A., L., Journal of a Welsh Tour, Monthly Magazine; or, British Register, vol. 14, (October, 1802), pp. 227-232; 303-307; Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, 19 September 1884, 26 September 1884, 3 October 1884, 10 October 1884, 17 October 1884. 10th August, 1802

1803 [south Wales]
Llanstephan … A farming party also appeared at this instant, proceeding with goods for Carmarthen market. This group was opened by a robust young fellow driving a couple of cows; he wore the general dress of the country, a short blue coarse cloth coat; and breeches of the same, open at the knees; but he also possessed the luxury of shoes and stockings. A sledge loaded with sacks of grain followed; drawn by a horse on which a lusty wench sat astride; clothed in a brown jerkin and petticoat, but with her lower extremities uncovered. She urged on the horse by kicking him with her bare heels, while her hands were busied in knitting. Two other buxom bare-legged girls followed on foot, with their fingers similarly employed, and with large baskets of eggs and poultry on their heads. … A comely dame, seated on horseback, and accommodated with a sort of side saddle made with cross rails, was probably the mistress; she closed the rear; and her superior condition was evident, in her dark blue worsted stockings, ponderous shore and small brass buckles. pp. 40-41
The dress of the Welch woman, however, is not calculated to set off their persons; a close mob cap has little grace, especially when surmounted with a round felt hat, and their very long waists and brown or plaid cloth jackets and petticoats, but render the rotundity of their foundations more unpicturesque. It cannot at present be said, that – their tender limbs ‘Float in the loose simplicity of dress’, yet, as the smart girls begin to imitate our English modes, in the course of a few years every contour of nature may be as free to public inspection in Wales as it is at present in the polite circles of the metropolis. p. 74
Barber, J.T., (1774-1841), Tour Throughout South Wales and Monmouthshire, Comprehending a General Survey of the Picturesque Scenery, Remains of Antiquity, Historical Events, Peculiar Manners, and Commercial Situations of That Interesting Portion of the British Empire. (1803)

1803
[Gower]
{Some people of the Gower are descendants of Normans and Anglo-Normans}
The dress of the female in Gower is a short jacket and petticoat, with a straw hat, and a piece of coarse red cloth, about two yards long and one wide, with a deep fringe on one side, carelessly thrown over the shoulder ; hence denominated a Gower whittle. Those of Celtic origin wear a long gown, a long blue cloth cloak, and a beaver hat.
The language of the Gower people is English… p. 195
[Pembrokeshire]
The Flemmings … appear determined to exhibit their different origin in their mode of dress. That of the women in the Welsh [north] part is a jacket and petticoat of checked worsted, or lindsey wolsey stuff, with a cap tied under the chin, and a large, broad brimmed, high-crowned, beaver hat: while that of the women of this part of Pembrokeshire [the south] is a thick, heavy cloth gown and petticoat, with a hood hanging from it behind, generally of a dark colour, and instead of a cap, a large handkerchief wrapped about the head and tied under the chin: sometimes they wear over it a shallow crowned beaver hat, [this bit derived from Wyndham, both tours, 2nd edition, p. 67]  similar to the milk maids of Gloucester and Somerset. If the addition of a cloak becomes necessary, they throw over their shoulders a whittle of the same heavy cloth with the gowns, but generally white or scarlet. Nor are they, like the Welsh, fond of going barefoot; wearing thick shoes and stockings, and studiously avoiding shewing either naked legs or naked feet. p. 257
The people of South Wales are different in person, language, dress etc from those of North Wales. … their dress varies in almost every county. p. 435
Evans, John, Letters written during a tour through South Wales, in the year 1803, and at other times : containing views of the history, antiquities, and customs of that part of the principality; and interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, botany, mineralogy, trade and manufactures. (London, 1804)
[The reference to the whittle being thrown carelessly over the shoulder may come from Mrs Morgan, 1791.]

1803, between Ystrad Meurig and Strata Florida
It was one of those poor huts that are thinly sprinkled by the sides of the hills, inhabited by peaters and shepherds. As we approached, first one, and then two more fine children, almost in a state of nudity, ran out …
A stout fresh-coloured woman, with dark sparkling eyes and black hair, made her appearance. Habited in a striped gown and flannel petticoat,
Evans, John, Letters written during a tour through South Wales, in the year 1803, and at other times : containing views of the history, antiquities, and customs of that part of the principality; and interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, botany, mineralogy, trade and manufactures, (London, 1804), pp. 348-351

1803 [north Wales]
The dress of the inhabitants changes not: it is made for use, not for show. That of the softer sex, I was told, is a flannel shift. I did not see the smallest degree of smartness in the apparel even of the younger females. When a man chuses a wife it must be for the kernel, not the shell.
Hutton, W., Remarks upon North Wales: being the Result of Sixteen Tours Through that part of the Principality (Birmingham, 1803), p. 19-20

1803 Glamorganshire
… a uniformity and peculiarity of dress gives in a great degree a foreign air to every concourse of the country people. The dress in Glamorganshire is not so strongly marked as in most other countries, except that the women universally adopt the man’s hat: but they wear it with a very good grace, and are remarkably neat in their attire as well as comely in their persons and graceful in their carriage.  p. 66
Ibbetson’s views of Newcastle Emlyn and of Aberystwyth [in Hafod] ‘in which the dress and character of the Welsh peasants are well preserved’. p. 357
[Fishguard]
… and it is probable that the enemy [the French] would have given some trouble to the country, had it not been for a collection of women on a distant hill, clad in red mantles peculiar to these parts who were taken for a large reinforcement coming on to the attack. p. 456
near Scolton, Pembrokeshire
At Krogall, just beyond, [Scole’s Cross (Scolton?) on the Cardigan to Haverfordwest Road] the country people dressed for the honour of Sunday, in the best of their provincial garb, exhibited an appearance of comfort, as well as extensive population. The road from this place, the whole way to Haverfordwest, was lined with little parties. The women’s attire is singular; it consists of a short jacket and petticoat entirely of brown woollen, like a riding habit, a close cap and long lappets, with a man’s beaver hat. The whittle here only appears occasionally, and is a distinction on which the wearer never fails to value herself highly. It is a short red mantle, with a very deep fringe, hanging over the shoulders, and communicates a most awfully military appearance, as General Tate can testify. [This is a reference to the tradition that the women of north Pembrokeshire wearing red mantles which made them look like soldiers during the French invasion in 1797.] p. 482
I have already mentioned the provincial red mantle, called a whittle, worn by the women of this district, and the English part of Pembrokeshire; for they are the same people. Lady Mary Talbot generally wears a fine mantle of this kind instead of a cloke [cloak], in the precise fashion of the country, especially at church ; and many other ladies, both here and in Pembrokeshire, are beginning to follow her example.
[Mary Thereza Talbot (1795-1861) of Penrice Castle, William Henry Fox Talbot’s cousin.]   p. 591
Malkin, B.H., Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales, from materials collected during two excursions in the year 1803. (London 1804),
The reference to General Tate was transcribed with minor alterations, by Mary Curtis in her chapter on costume in The Antiquities of Laugharne, Pendine and their Neighbourhoods, (1871), (2nd edition, 1880), p. 44.

1804 Llanfair Caereinion
The very numerous assemblage of round Welsh faces, under black beaver hats, pleased, from its novelty. Mounted on their ponies (or rather horses, for few rode so small an animal as we understand by the term Welsh pony), the market-ladies exhibited good humour in their faces, joined to health and simplicity.
Brewer, J.N., A Tour Through the most interesting parts of North Wales, The Universal Magazine, New Series, vol. 2 (July to December, 1804), pp. 314

1804 on the way from St Lythams to Llantrisant
The dress of the country people is exactly similar one to the other, a small black beaver with a near mob cap under a woollen jerkin and petticoat the latter very short and when they go from home a large woollen cloak generally blue but sometimes red and some of them instead of a cap have a coloured bonet tied on their heads under their hats.
Near Cardiff
Many of the Country people were without shoes or stockings tho always well clothed.
Russel, Mary, Journal of a Week’s tour in south Wales from Gloucester, Cardiff Central Library, MS 1.663

1804 [Wales]
They make all their own dress, – the women and children are constantly knitting as they walk, many village has two or three weavers and tailors. They manufacture their own coarse linen [?] and rough cloths and surges either blue or striped blue, red and white. The dress of man and women – the latter have all beaver hats and long blue cloaks with caps which are tied under the chin and which uniformity of coarse neat dress is very striking to an eye accustomed to the many coloured rags of English cottagers.
Duncan, J. S., and Duncan, P.B., Tour Through Wales from Oxford, 1804, NLW MS 16714A, f. 13r

1804
[song] To the tune of Merch Megan
‘A gay little Cwmragh in blue woollen petticoats
Barefooted ran o’er the rocks of Trevarn …’ [continues for another 22 lines]
Duncan, J. S., and Duncan, P.B., Tour Through Wales from Oxford, 1804, NLW MS 16714A, f. 13r

1804
Pandy Penmachno – striped cloths on the tenters – dark red and blue for women’s gowns.
Davies, Walter, (Gwallter Mechain), (1761-1849), NLW MS 1755Bii, notebook 2, Journal etc. continued from no VIII (Severn) [sic],23 March 1804

1805 Ogmore
Leaving this dilapidated pile of ruin [Ogmore Castle] … we were unexpectedly overtaken by a merry party of barefooted females, amounting altogether to about thirty, including girls and women. Most of them being attired in dark blue striped clothes, with scarlet cloaks, and hats of black beaver, in the true style of the south wallian peasantry, their appearance at the first deceived us greatly. There was something truly military in their aspect at a distance arising from this uniformity of dress, and under the deceptive haziness of the evening, we were really for some time persuaded they must be a party of the Bridgend volunteers returning from their head quarters, that corps having been under orders in the morning. Having once overtaken us, the party hastened briskly along, greeting us at parting with a favourite Welsh tune, which they chanted in chorus with such a vigorous exertion of vocal powers, as convinced us they were determined to banish care. We now perceived that some were on horseback, huddled in pairs or groups of three or four together, the foremost one of which invariably sat astride, to govern the poor little ponies on which they rode with more facility. Others suffered themselves to be drawn along the rugged road in sleds, a kind of vehicle without wheels, which the farmers use in the fields for gathering in the hay, and which, for this purpose, were suspended to the horse, by means of traces made of hay-bands; while the rest walked barefooted, carrying their shoes in their hands. The appearance of this formidable troop of females in such a lonely situation, and at such an hour, excited various speculations in our minds as to the motives they had in view [they were going to bathe in the sea].
Donovan, Edward,  Descriptive Excursions through South Wales and Monmouthshire, in the year 1804 and the four preceeding summers, (1805), p. 382-383

1805 [Aberystwyth]
We saw [St Michael’s] church from whence we saw the Welch women come pouring out in their long blue cloaks and little black Beaver hats
Hon Anne Rushout, Extracts from a diary in the possession of G.A. Bright, Bright, G.A., Tour in Central Wales in 1805, Radnorshire Society Transactions, xxvii, 1958, 7-10

1805 Breconshire
One of the proofs of want of cleanliness in the Welsh (which has been strongly relied upon), is their being observed frequently without shoes or stockings … the rustic Welsh damsel who trudges to fair or market barefooted, has no more pleasure in this kind of exercise than the courtier, though from habit the inconvenience diminishes. As soon as she approaches her journey’s end, the first stream near the town to which she directs her course is employed to wash off the dirt acquired in her walk; the shoes and stockings are then put on and worn till her return, are again taken off and the feet again washed before she proceeds to her house or her bed. Is there any want of cleanliness discoverable here? I do not assert it, but I fear there may be some fine ladies who wear silk stockings and yet have fouler feet than this nudiped. … To a tale of woe they never turn a deaf ear … Many a bowl of oatmeal is given away … by those who absolutely want it for their own families, who live more scantily than the poor they support and are more wretchedly clad, the whole of their common articles of wearing apparel would not tempt even the avarice of the collectors for rag fair, if offered gratuitously to them; their Sunday dress (it is true), is rather more valuable, but here too, warmth, and not show, is consulted; the men generally wear grey or drab coloured cloth, manufactured out of the wool of their own country sheep, coarsely and thickly woven; the dress of the women formerly consisted of a brown or blue jacket, check handkerchief and apron, man’s hat and flannel petticoat.
Jones, Theophilus, The History of Brecknock, (1805), vol 1, pp. 282-284

1805 (and 1808?) [Wales]
Text to accompany the plate ‘Welsh Peasants Washing’
The dress worn by the Welch peasantry are very different from the English, being principally of woollen, striped, checked etc.; the women are accustomed to wrap their heads in handkerchiefs, over which they wear men’s hats; the general character of the whole is much in the style of the Flemish peasants.
Pyne, W.H., The Costume of Great Britain (William Miller, 1805) 60 full-page plates of professionals, tradesmen and peasants with text by Pyne. Republished as Pyne’s British Costumes, (Westminster Editions, Poole, 1989)
Same as the print: Washing in Wales by W.H. Pyne from Microcosm, (1808?)
The costume represented is like that in contemporary views, but the solid wooden clogs are not shown or described in any other Welsh context. The colouring varies significantly from print to print.
This was the basis for another print: ‘England’ in Picturesque Representation of the Dress and Manners of the English, (1814), plate 47

1805 Chirk
The women, though on the very verge of Wales, contrary to the prevailing costume of the principality, began to wear bonnets instead of black beaver hats;
Mavor, William Fordyce, (1758-1837) A tour in Wales, and through several counties of England: including both the universities ; performed in the summer of 1805, (London : 1806), p. 138

1805 Women washing on the Usk near Trecastle
The only dress they wore, was a striped flannel petticoat, a shift, and a black beaver hat.
Mavor, William Fordyce, (1758-1837) A tour in Wales, and through several counties of England: including both the universities ; performed in the summer of 1805, (London : 1806), p. 45

1805 Aberaeron
Here we saw the women with long cloaks and red silk handkerchiefs under their black beaver hats employed in making hay under a burning sun, though they would have been sufficiently warm in their shift sleeves. But the costume here is in a great measure independent of the seasons; it seems to be neither too hot in summer, nor too cold in winter.
Mavor, William Fordyce, 1758-1837 A tour in Wales, and through several counties of England: including both the universities; performed in the summer of 1805 (London, 1806), p. 53

1805 Between Llanidloes and Machynlleth
The costume was evidently changed from what we had noticed in Carmarthen and Cardigan shires, and was much less picturesque. Long blue cloaks were now universal, instead of the whittle; but the black beaver hat and the striped flannel petticoat prevail over the whole principality. The head was less muffled up, and the red silk handkerchief began to disappear among the females.  Blue was the general colour, worn by both sexes, even down to the stockings; this predilection in favour of blue may be said to belong to all Welsh counties. Children are dressed in a striped flannel gown or frock, with sleeves, sitting close to the waist and pinned before.  A beautiful little girl of about twelve years of age, dressed in this costume, walked barefoot … in order to open a gate for us …. The flannel frock was evidently the whole of her dress, and it showed her shape to great advantage. It reminded us, that beauty when unadorned attracts the most.’
Mavor, William Fordyce, 1758-1837 A tour in Wales, and through several counties of England: including both the universities; performed in the summer of 1805 (London, 1806), p. 78

1805
Machen, near Caerphilly
… a group of cottagers, it being Sunday, here and there on benches under the shade, while the Welch girls in men’s black hats, which are universally worn among the common people, saluted us … p. 43
Cowbridge
The Welch girls of the lower order commonly go without shoes or stockings, but one would not expect to see a wench walking along a flinty road with her shoes in her hand. We could not but admire such economy. p. 55
Swansea
The females of this happy country are far from being encumbered with delicacy – at an English watering place I cannot call to mind any instance of girls forming themselves into a group on the sands for the purpose of bathing – at Swansea I saw more than one of these agreeable parties – the interesting creatures do not to be sure sport about naked like nereids … as after stripping they have a loose robe to slip on, commonly of plaid. p. 58
near Pembroke
The Welsh are said to be ambitions of imitating our manners but as it is not unusual, failing to acquire what would really improve them – that they take due care in lieu of it to learn some of our vices. The article of dress is to be sure of small consequence but the females of the lower order would not be lesser in appearance by leaving off an ugly coloured handkerchief wrapped at all times round the head and by adding a little to the short Flemish jacket of fustian. pp. 70-71
Fishguard
I had often remarked that the females of this country were particularly industrious. At Fishguard a stout wench rubbed down our horses and all along the road we had occasion to observe that the labours of the field were more performed by them than by our own sex – we had now further instances of their industry as they returned from market – on horseback or on foot, most of them were employed in knitting as they passed along – here an old lady a newly purchased mop to quicken the pace of her beast while on the other side two younger damsels sat in great tranquillity on the same panniers knitting, each with a candle stick through her hat band. At all times their appearance is the same, the dress which has accompanied them through the drudgery of the day giving place to nothing smarter in the evening. pp. 86-88
Pembury
I have heard in common with some other old parish churches, – Pembury for one – that there was a spring of clean water at the entrance to our churchyard, primarily used by ones who came to church with bare feet. They were obliged to wash them before entering the church. My mother informed me she had seen it every Sunday when she was a child.
White, James, Picturesque Excursion into South Wales, 1805,  British Library Add. MSS. 44991

1806, Crickhowel
The poor are wretchedly clothed, as well as extremely dirty and very indolent. The children are chiefly without shoes or stockings. p. 8
The dress of the women is always a round black hat such as worn by men, over a mob cap, and a long blue cloak is subjoined even on the warmest day. … The women do not seem to employ themselves in knitting or spinning, therefore their poverty is extreme. p. 24
Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales

1807 [Breconshire]
Blue, brown or striped cloth, home-spun and woven in the neighbourhood, made into a jacket, waistcoat and lower garments open at the knees with hose of coarse yarn forms the common dress of the mountaineer men  – and I understand that within these twenty years, red flannel shirts, neatly stitched about the neck and wrist bands with white thread were in universal use among them. Even now they are sometimes seen and many of the old people are biggotted to them – a late magistrate of the County of Monmouth was distinguished by the appellation of Justice Crŷs Côch or the red shirted justice. The women, particularly the elder, wear loose gowns of cloth with striped or plaided flannel petticoats and checked aprons. Coloured handkerchiefs over their necks and shoulders – broad felt hats with shallow crowns and blue or black yarn stockings and to this we might in many instances add red flannel shifts. In wet or cold weather they wear cloaks of blue cloth descending below the knee. The great influx of strangers introduced by the several Iron Manufactories have it is true of late years tended to bring English manufacturer and English Fashions in use amongst them and the ancient characteristic dress is very fastly wearing out. The younger females, when dressed, cut a smart appearance, with their white kerchiefs and aprons, scarlet cloth cloaks edged with fur, neat mob caps plaited and fastened under the chin with coloured ribbons – and men’s round beaver hats. I saw several and admired their neatness but am sorry to observe that frippery of the town is too much gaining ground among them. They have generally good healthy complexions and small white teeth which they are very careful of.
They wear handkerchiefs around their heads when ill, and are complimented if told that they look extremely ill.
Cuyler, A.M., Recollections of a visit to Llanbeder in the County of Brecon with remarks on an excursion down the River Wye from Rhos to Chepstow including Abergavenny, Monmouth, Piecefield, Raglan etc by A.M.Cuyler 1807, NLW add MS 784a, p. 167-168

1807 [Cardiganshire]
[Meyrick wrote a whole chapter on Costume in his History of Cardiganshire.   Following a long discussion on costume from earliest times to the 16th century (one of his main interests was in Mediaeval armour), he wrote:]
Here my materials fail, and I must therefore proceed hastily to describe the dress of the modern Welsh, such as is retained by the peasantry, as the superior follow the English fashions.
This dress, as it seems enforced by the climate, I doubt not has been at least two or three centuries in vogue, and probably that of the women much longer.{men’s costume}  The women’s dress is made of wool and flax, which they call linsey-woolsey; and this they have woven into pretty chequers of blue and white, or red and white stripes on a blue background. Throughout the principality they invariably wear men’s hats, shoes and buckles; mob caps; over which they sometimes tie a handkerchief, the end of which hangs down between the shoulders. In Carmarthenshire they wear an oblong piece of red flannel deeply bordered with black ribband, which they throw across their shoulders, and which since the taking of the French who landed at Fishguard last war, have been termed the Frenchman’s terror. In most other counties the women wear long dark blue cloaks with hoods hanging back, which have a very handsome appearance; some, however, but not many, wear scarlet cloaks.
Meyrick, S. R., The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardiganshire, 1808, pp. cci-ccii; 2nd edition, 1907, p. 91
Much of this was published in Welsh in Cylchgrawn y Gymdeithas er Taenu Gwybodaeth Fuddiol, (1934), pp. 174-176) edited by Rev. John Blackwell, author of an essay on Welsh costume in which he quoted some of Meyrick’s comments.

1807 Llangefni
Sarah Owen, late of Llangefni, for stealing one mixed coloured stuff bedgown, valued at two shillings, one mixed coloured stuff apron, valued at six pence and one pair of blue woollen stockings valued at one shilling, the property of Elinor Williams …
Anglesey Quarter Sessions, 21.5.1807 (Huw Roberts)

1808 Brecon
Brecon … a number of women on foot attracted the notice of my servant. They proved to be no other than some Welsh peasantry who were clad in the complete costume of their country. A short petticoat with a very long waisted gown, the ends of which are pinned back, and (though in the dog days), subjoined to a long dark blue cloth cloak ; a mob cap open at the ears; and men, women and children universally wear round black beaver hats.
Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales, volume 2, p. 56-7

1808 Swansea
The women here are habited in a long jacket or bedgown of checked worsted with a petticoat of the same. They are chiefly without shoes or stockings and instead of the long blue cloak, a piece of scarlet woollen (not unlike the Scotch plaid in shape), with a fringe of the same colour, half a quarter in length at each end. This loosely hung over the shoulders and pinned at the bosom is called a whittle. The head dress is composed of a mob cap with a coloured handkerchief ties so closely over the head, and crossed under the chin with a long corner hanging behind as would incline a stranger to suppose there was a universal tooth-ach amongst the common people. Above all this warm headdress, in the month of August, is added a black beaver hat.
Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales, volume 2, p. 112-3

1809 [south Wales]
Mentions the whittle as ‘a piece of scarlet woollen (not unlike the Scotch plaid in shape), with a fringe of the same colour, half a quarter [of a yard? i.e. 4.5 inches) in length at each end’.
Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales, 2nd edition, 2 vols, London, 1809, II, p. 112  see also p. 57

1808 near Meifod
‘A hospitable dame [Mrs Jones of Maen] furnished me with a gown and shawl whilst my habit was drying; and though in the neatest order, apologised for their not being better. … The dress of the peasantry in this country consists of a Mob cap, but frequently the hair is the only ornament. A petticoat of blue flannel and a short bedgown complete their costume. (note: To this add, when out of doors, a blue cloak and round black hat). … after the maid servants had finished their various employments in the kitchen, they retired into a back room with their spinning wheels. p. 27
near Dinas Mawddwy
‘The inhabitants seem an industrious race and are clad in the most rustic garb of the country’ p. 82
Anon, ‘Sketches in Wales during the summer of 1808’, NLW MS 14537; Cardiff Central Library MS3.295, June 11th, (Typed transcript of extracts)

1809-1811
Their clothing both for common occasions and for Sundays and festivals are had in quite sufficiently [sic] abundance / are clean, whole and abundant. (ms. p. 14; printed version, p. 104)
Llanllechid [parish]
Agriculture and Pasturage
Commerce and Manufacture have not reached a stage beyond spinning and weaving of linsey-woolsey at home whence they are carried to the two fulling mills, within the parish, to be dressed. (ms. p. 46, p. 95 in printed version)
Gwydir parish
Within the township, much woollen yarn is spun and woven into a chequered stuff dyed at home of which the chief part is sold at Llanrwst markets and fairs. The dyes used are extracted from lichen. (ms. pp. 120-121)
Llanfaelries
Here as well as in some of the neighbouring parishes are cultivated hemp and flax for domestic purposes. The seeds are of native growth and the plants are in course [sic] not pulled until these be gathered … The spinning, whether for sackcloth or household linen, is done at home; but for the weaving, recourse is had to the numerous looms scattered about the country in the cottages, where this manufacture is added to, or taken from the field labour of their occupants. (printed version, p. 305)
Hall, Edmund Hyde, (1760s?-1824) A Description of Caernarvonshire (1809-1811)
University College of North Wales, Bangor, Penrhyn add. ms. 2942
(published in Jones, E Gwynne, (ed.), A Description of Caernarvonshire, Transaction of the Caernarfonshire Historical Society, (1952)
A version of part of this is in ‘An account of the parishes of Llandygai, Llanllechid and Aber forming part of a preparatory draft of ‘A Description of Caernarvonshire’ written 1809-1811 by Edmund Hyde Hall, which forms Bangor MS 908.’ which contains slightly different wording to the Bangor ms. NLW add MS 839C