Descriptions of Welsh costume, 1830-1839
For an explanation of recording conventions, see Chronological survey.
This includes: the visit by Princess Victoria to north Wales, 1832; the relevant portions of the two essays written for the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, 1834, plus references to it and lists of costumes worn at Abergavenny Eisteddfodau, during the 1830s.

1830 Llanberis
The guide to Llanberis pass told Anne Rushout that:
‘the whole of the clothing of the Welsh woman was of flannel and their gowns cost on average 13 shillings a piece.’
Rushout, Anne, Hon (1768-1849), [Tour of Wales, 1830], University of London (Senate House Library) MS682/3

The dress of the females of this description is pretty similar throughout the principality and consists of a blue striped flannel petticoat, a kind of bedgown of the same material, with loose sleeves, a broad handkerchief over the neck and shoulders, a neat mob cap, and a man’s beaver hat. In dirty or cold weather the person is wrapped in a long blue cloak which descends below the knee. Except when particularly dressed they go without shoes or stockings; and even if they have these luxuries, the latter, in general, have no feet to them. The man’s attire is a jacket, waistcoat, and breeches of their country flannel, made similarly to those in use in England.
Anon, A guide to the beauties of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire : comprehending particular notices of Beaumaris, Carnarvon, Conway, Snowdon, the Menai Suspension Bridge, Bangor, and every interesting place or object deserving the attention of the tourist.(c 1830), pp. 7-8

The Women I have remarked never appear to be idle. On their way to market, they will not even allow their hands to remain idle, and as they walk along, they are either knitting stockings or some other profitable work.
de Vega, Juan,  (Charles Cochrane), The journal of a tour made by Señor Juan de Vega, the Spanish minstrel of 1828-9, through Great Britain and Ireland, a character assumed by an English gentleman, (1830), p. 236

1830 Pennant’s slate quarries, Bangor
… a small village chiefly … through which the Welsh peasants were walking on their return from church. The aspect of all those people, whom I have hitherto seen is pleasing. They all appear to be strong, healthy persons and generally well and warmly clad, their neat lace caps surmounted by a well brushed black beaver hat is the only distinction which I think can be observed from English women. They all wear large blue cloth cloaks, and their black shoes and stockings look neat and comfortable
Sayer, Frances, East Sussex Record Office, SAY 3401, p. 8

1831 Neath
On their way to Neath Abbey, situated about a mile from the town, they stopped on the bridge to admire the view from the river ; and Bertha, less of an artist than her sister, amused herself with admiring the costume of the Welshwomen, which she now saw for the first time in perfection. It was market-day, and they were coming in troops into the town. They wore a man’s hat on their heads; an open kind of short bed-gown, made of a chequered stuff woven in the country; an apron of blue cotton; black stockings ; and very short petticoats. Some had red shawls; and a few, mittens. Altogether they had a remarkably clean and active appearance.
Anon, (Fiction), The New Estate or Young Travellers in Wales & Ireland, (1831), p. 65-66

Her dress was composed of a dark woollen stuff, full of holes and as wrinkled as her looks, for age and care sat heavy upon her, her head was covered with a dingy cotton handkerchief which also hid a portion of her face … a black hat surmounted this and from under it escaped some straggling uncombed hair  – she held an old stick in her hand and looked wild an uncouth as the hills she once dwelt among.
Whilst speaking of this women, I may add that most of the old women of the country round abouts, being dressed much the same way, looking full as ugly, appear like hags even in the day time.’ p. 27
the young women of this district are decidedly pretty – their hair is generally Madonna like … their countenance wears the mark of Ruddy health … their eyes are soft and dark – their figures small – and their dress simple, such as a mob-cap, black hat, pink gerkin [jerkin?] and dark stuff petticoat, and stockings – are they not picturesque? p. 51
Marsh, John Henry, (Cicestra), ‘Tour through south and north Wales; in 1831’, Cardiff Central Library, MS 3.589  

1831 Wales
On a market day, the numbers [of farmer’s wives] seated on their dobbins, with their best caps and beaver hats, their Sunday flannel jackets and petticoats and their ruddy cheerful countenance form an interesting appearance, and illustrate the neatness and happiness which prevails amongst them.
Howells, William, Cambrian Superstitions, (1831), p. 166

1832 [Visit of Princess Victoria to north Wales]
Whilst stopping to change horses at the Hand Inn, Llangollen, on that day, the young daughter of Mr. Phillips, the landlord, presented the Princess with a Welsh doll, attired in full Cambrian costume, with which she expressed herself highly pleased.
On the Duchess’ birthday, their Royal Highnesses made their public entry into Bangor in an open carriage; and on this occasion, they appeared, in compliment to the fair maids of Cambria, in the head-dress of the country, the Welsh hat, which national costume the ingenuous countenance of the Heiress Presumptive well became.
Anon, Victoria; An Anecdotal memoir of Her Majesty (1837)
Also published in The Parents Review [for Charlotte Mason’s schools], XI, 384-389. There was an account of the visit to Wales in The Cambrian Quarterly Magazine and Celtic repertory, vol. IV, 1832, pp 526-537

Monday 6th August, 1832
At about a ¼ past ten we changed horses at Llangollen a pretty little village. I received a catalogue of the sale of the things belonging to Ladies of Llangollen (famed for their seclusion and singularity) and a figure representing a welchwoman … All the young women are very pretty, and they all wear hats; it looks so funny to see them come out of their cottages, knitting, with little white caps, black hats, yellow hankerchieves, and blue petticoats …
Princess Victoria’s Diary, Royal Archives, Windsor Castle RA VIC/QVJ/1832

1832 Bangor
The Royal Visitors, … entered the town in two open carriages, … In complement to the fair maids of Cambria, the Duchess and Princess wore the head dress of the country, the Welsh hat, and we may venture to add without fear of contradiction, that they well became the national costume which they honoured by wearing. This delicate token of respect to the country was acknowledged by all, especially by the female part of the spectators, with admiration.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Tuesday, August 21, 1832
Repeated in Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Friday, October 15, 1852

1832 Llandeilo
Agreed with Elinor as head servant at £4. 4s [per annum] and flannel for one shift
Jenkins, D.C., (1976), The Diary of Thomas Jenkins of Llandeilo, 1826-1870, p. 5

1833 Bangor
Fashions at the Bangor Fair by Martha Rushbody, Milliner and Dress-Maker. [Barnaby Bodkin Tailor wrote about Gentleman’s dresses in the same article].
Ladies’ Dresses
Ladies attending Bangor fair this morning, and in particular elderly ladies, wear their garments neither long nor short in the waist, the length of the waist being exactly half the distance betwixt the neck and the heel. A superb mantean, called a coverslut, is worn by most married ladies when in walking costume. The coverslut is generally of rough spun woollen material, and of a muddy colour called hide dirt. The dress is generally dark linsey woolsey check or stripe, the corsage quite up to the throat, open at the back, except where fastened with a crooked pin; the skirt is cut short behind, so as to display two or three inches of a yellow or scarlet flannel petticoat, which has an elegant effect. Black worsted stockings universally worn, and some ladies have them ornamented with a large hole in the heel, tastefully fringed with ends of worsted thread, through which the natural heel of the wearer is seen to great advantage. Some ladies wear their shoes down in heel, but this is rather uncommon. Check aprons of every length and breadth, as suits the wearers’ fancy are quite the rage.
Young ladies generally dispense with the coverslut. Some indeed go so far in the way of simplicity as to promenade in a bedgown and black stuff or check or strip linsey woolsey petticoat. The bedgown is of white or printed calico, the sleeves tucked up to the shoulder, so as to display the rouge naturelle of the arm in all its beauty; two pieces of broad tape are fastened at the back, but never tied round the waist, being allowed to hang down as an ornament, the bedgown being fastened over the bust with two or three pins.
Head-Dress – The head-dresses of the elderly ladies are at once bizarre and gigantic. The calico cap forms the ground-work; over it is thrown a cotton coloured handkerchief, coming round the visage like a hood, and tied under the chin; another handkerchief is worn over this, bound across the forehead a la Turque, and a third is thrown over the whole in the manner of a hood, being doubled at right angles, the two ends fastened under the chin, the other two hanging gracefully down the back a la negligee. On the crown of the head is worn a black felt hat, with a very narrow rim, slightly turned up all round, which gives the wearer the same graceful appearance as though she carried on her head a very large tea cup and a small saucer. M.B. (Martha Rushbody, Milliner and Dress-Maker)

1833 Aberystwyth
How much I should like to … live upon the Radnorshire property – the Peasantry of these tracts[?] delight me so much – they are so very obliging and respectful with a simplicity and love of their country and little habitations which is charming –  and their costume delights me – it is so cleanly and tidy – and very becoming. They all wear a peculiar kind of Black cloth striped with crimson (which is so pretty that John and the children have got some Trowsers of it) for their gowns  – a ? heat? ?? cropped in front Either silk or linen and their pretty Welch?? Hats and mob caps gives such a pretty finish.
John Walsh (Ist Lord Ormathwaite) to his mother, Margaret Walsh, whilst on holiday in Aberystwyth NLW Ormathwaite Papers, G44, No 6 Aberystwyth October 7th 1833
There is another reference to trowsers in 1824

1833 [Cardiganshire]
The chief manufacture is that of coarse stockings and flannels, almost wholly for home consumption; and, though of a domestic nature, it is expedited by carding machines scattered over the country at convenient distances, and by spinning-jennies in the farmers’ and cottagers’ houses. The Cardiganshire wool has long been noted for its felting quality, owing to which, and to the cheapness and abundance of peat fuel, the hat-manufactories are very numerous: in these are made most of the common hats worn in South Wales, which are strong and durable: the wool of the Michaelmas shearing is the best for the purpose. The above manufactures consume the greater part of the wool produced in the county.
The manufactures and commerce of Carnarvonshire are various, and the latter is increasing. Besides supplying themselves with wearing-apparel, the inhabitants annually send a few pieces of blue cloth into Merioneth, and some of a peculiar drab-coloured cloth, called Brethyn sir Von [sir Fon – Anglesey], into Anglesey, the latter to be sold at the Llanerchymedd fairs: these cloths are generally seven-eighths of a yard wide. The flannels manufactured here are coarse. The employment of the mountaineers, both in summer and winter, besides tending their herds, and the labours of the dairy, consists in carding and spinning the wool produced by their flocks, of which they make cloth for their own wear, and for sale at the neighbouring fairs and markets, more particularly at those of Carnarvon and Llanrwst. They also make great quantities of striped linsey-woolsey, of different patterns, which they call stuff, and which is used for the women’s gowns. Those who have more wool than the family can manufacture sell it at the neighbouring fairs, of which that of Llanrwst is the principal mart for this article, and is attended by the English buyers: the price obtained for the wool at this fair is usually the standard for the year. A considerable quantity of coarse linen yarn is spun and woven by the inhabitants of the mountainous districts, both for their own use and for sale, but chiefly for the latter. The spinners and weavers have a measure peculiar to themselves, commonly called the Welsh yard, which is forty inches long, and by which all their milled cloth, flannels, linseys, and linen are measured when sold. The knitting of woollen stockings and socks is carried on most extensively in the south-eastern extremity of the county, in the neighbourhood of Llanrwst and Penmachno, which is included in the great manufacturing district for those articles, of which the town of Bala in Merionethshire is the centre. Formerly all the wool that was not home-spun and customwove, after being sold, was exported to be manufactured in different parts of the kingdom; but since the commencement of the present century, various establishments have been formed on some of the numerous small streams, for carrying on different branches of the woollen manufacture. Thus, in the parishes of Llanrûg, Llanwnda, &c., are slubbing and carding engines, with jennies and billies for luffing and spinning, which prepare the worsted yarn, and in some instances manufacture it into cloth.
Lewis, Samuel, Topographical Dictionary of Wales, (1833)
Part of this is based on Walter Davies (1810)

[North Wales]
‘All the women among the lower orders in Wales, wear men’s hats over muslin caps, and a long blue cloth cloak.’ (p. 114)
In these remote districts there are always women to wait at meals ; and … the rustling of their stuff [sic] peticoats forms an audible accompaniment to the creaking of their shoes … (p. 241)
Sinclair, Catherine, Hill and Valley, or Hours in England and Wales, 2nd edition, 1839

The noise of course was like all other fairs … but the women’s dress was different; the broad frilled caps and beaver hats prevailed with short petticoats and strapping thick legs. (f. 78v)
Sunday. accompanied Miss Owen (our landlady’s daughter) and my Scotch companion to the church where a numerous congregation (the greater part of the females bonneted) were waiting to hear the bishop of Bangor. …’ (f. 83v)
{the landlady at the Newborough Arms} ‘her cap was fashioned after about the middle of the last century and the rest of her dress original. The gown was made (if my memory serves me) of a brown stuff, with a sort of frill at all the extremities. She had a red shawl over her shoulders.’ f. 95r [very small sketch of the gown on the next page].
vale of Ffestiniog
I followed a group of fair folks, poor souls, with petticoats tucked up as high as decency would permit and nice new beavers covered with a handkerchief … (f. 107)
The charicaturist on the Bristol coach said that there was a vast difference in the woman’s hats and so there was. The girl wore a very broad brim of dashing black beaver. If she had pretensions to beauty, [sic] an equally broad frill with a neat silk handkerchief short of full sleeves and generally some kind of stuff dress – The middle aged woman (“gude wives” I suppose), wore a narrower brim and a narrower frill and it sometimes extended under the chin – A plainer kind of handkerchief or common shawl and a printed cotton gown with an apron – While the old women sported a narrow rim with crown tapering to the top generally felt – a cotton handkerchief supplied the place of a cap being drawn close under the chin and over the ears; another kerchief covered the shoulders and the apron and gown adopted as with the preceding, But very frequently a hooded cloak either red or blue, concealed the whole. (ff. 108-110)
As the day drew in the many trusty steeds were saddled, few bearing less than 2 upon their willing back. I saw one ponderous old fellow mount a poor half starved jade who, if she had her daily food did not thereby profit much, in addition to his cumbrous person wearing a greatcoat almost a house load of itself and his legs with a pair of rusty old top boots 30 years old at least – Behind him nimbly leaped a little chattering Old Woman, with a black habit on, a pink handkerchief over her neck and a blue one over her bonnet which, I suppose being London fashion claimed the extraordinary protection. (f. 110v)
I was overtaken by a lass [on horseback] who attracted my attention by slackening pace directly she had passed. She was dressed in the usual manner of the Welsh, with a handsome new broad brimmed beaver and frilled cap. Pink striped frock and light apron, her sleeves were short and full and the frock, tucked up or drawn thro’ the pocket hole a la washer woman, … her garb thus simple was well made, hung about her gracefully, her gait was good and her shape perfectly unexceptional. (f. 144)
Letts, Thomas, Journal of Tour, NLW MS 22340B

Many of these ancient customs [of dress] belong to the military character of the ancient inhabitants, and disappeared with the extinction of the feudal system ; while others may still be distinctly traced in the existing state of society. The flannel cota (crys gwlanen) is worn by miners during working hours, and by the peasantry of the high districts in the rainy seasons. The females retain the ancient cap, which they now surmount with a hat, in a manner both pleasing and peculiar. Their principal garment consists of a short bed-gown, fastened round the waist with a girdle, in a smart and rather graceful style; and their stockings are after the olden fashion, that is, without feet, and held down by a loop that passes round one of the toes; these however are only worn on working days; entire hose of excellent manufacture succeed them upon holidays and occasions of dress. The tout ensemble of a Welsh peasant girl, while it conveys an idea of primitiveness, and appears wisely calculated to resist a cold and fickle climate, is neat, pleasing, and picturesque, resembling much the costume of the female peasants of the Tyrol.
Wright, George Newenham, Scenes in North Wales, (1833), p. 149

Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod, and musical festival: at a meeting holden at the Town Hall, Cardiff, on Thursday, the 29th day of August, 1833, the Rev. John Montgomery Traherne in the chair …
Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod (1834 : Cardiff).
Cardiff : W. Bird, (1833)

1833 [Notice]
Gwent and Dyfed Royal Eisteddfod
To be holden at Cardiff in the Autumn of 1834
Additional Subjects proposed for Prizes [include:]
no. 14 [Prize Sponsored] By the Gwyneddigesau
For the best Essay (in English with Welsh translation or in Welsh with an English translation). ‘On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales.’
To be sent on or before the 1st July, 1834
J.M.[Rev John Montgomery] Traherne, T.W. Booker, Honorary Secretaries, 12th November, 1833
The Cambrian, 16 November, 1833

17 May, 1834
We understand that in addition to the usual attractions, the approaching splendid meeting [presumably the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 1834, rather than the first Abergavenny Eisteddfod] will constitute a scene of an entirely novel and striking character; as it is the intention of its fair promoters to enhance its interest, as a national festival, by appearing in the native costume of the country. We cannot refrain from cordially congratulating them upon this patriotic resolution as we have always thought the exceeding picturesque dresses of the Welsh peasantry are capable of being displayed with great effect, and that few things can conduce to set a pretty face to greater advantage, as a morning dress, than the beaver hat and lace cap; and certainly nothing can be more graceful than the scarlet whittle accompanied by the chequered tunic as worn in some of the vallies of South Wales, especially those of Glamorgan;  and we apprehend that several districts of the Principality will afford  models, which in judicious hands may be employed with singular advantage. Indeed when we call to mind the manner in which the frightful and monstrous costumes of some of the Swiss cantons, and other parts of the continent are had recourse to by our fair countrywomen as patterns of dress, we are somewhat surprised to find the truly elegant and characteristic dresses of our own Cambrian vallies allowed unnoticed.
ROYAL SOUTH WALES EISTEDDFOD [Presumably the Cardiff one, not Abergavenny.]
It is with great satisfaction that we have heard of the intensions of the aristocracy to revive and encourage the elegant though much neglected costumes of Wales, at the approaching Eisteddfod. It will perhaps be considered far fetched to say that we are politically glad of it as the analogy between politics and dress may not at first sight distinctly appear. But in these unsettled times, it certainly is wise to endeavour to promote nationality, and to turn the attention of the Cambrian peasantry to the revival of the declining, though still existing costumes, and ancient usages; and it is a fact worthy of remark, that as all distinction of dress in England has disappeared between different ranksof society, this country has decidedly been declining and becoming demoralised, and the scene of yearly encreasing confusion. In short, when each class abandons its natural sphere, and struggles to attain the level of those above it, order and peace cannot be maintained. Standard.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 17 May, 1834
[It is not yet known how this announced.]

17 May, 1834
The arrangements for the Eisteddfod at Cardiff are proceeding upon a scale of splendour corresponding with the national interest of the occasion. “We have been
given to understand (says a correspondent) that a resolution has been adopted by some of our fair countrywomen, to appear at the Eisteddfod in the national costume of the Welsh peasantry worn in Glamorganshire and several other districts of South and North Wales; and when we recollect the graceful character of the scarlet whittle, and the picturesque effect of the plaid tunic, robe shaped gown, and glossy beaver, we cannot do otherwise than applaud this exceedingly tasteful, as well as national and praiseworthy determination: and we sincerly hope that it will be the means of affording encouragement to the native manufactures of the Principality, which have of late been too much neglected for others of foreign introduction.”
The Cambrian, 17 May, 1834 and repeated in The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality on 27th May
[The reference to the glossy beaver may be to a silk hat rather than one made of felt]

24 May, 1834
It was with the sincerest satisfaction I read in your journal of last week the announcement of the very praiseworthy and patriotic determination of our fair countrywomen to patronise the native costumes of the principality at the approaching Eisteddfod, and whilst I perfectly concur in your very just remarks upon the elegance of the costume itself, and the novel feature it will form upon that interesting occasion, as well as in the surprise you express that so much capability should have been allowed to remain so long unnoticed, I trust you will permit me to add a hope that the effects of this very public spirited arrangement will prove much more permanent than the mere festival in which it originates, and that they will extend themselves to other classes of the community besides those who may honour it with their patronage and presence. As I persuade myself that I perceive in this arrangement the means of restoring something of that propriety and deoorum in dress among the female branches of our Cambrian peasantry, which that curse of society, fashion, has of late years in so great a measure succeeded in supplanting; and that some system of clothing may be introduced more decorous and more suitable to our climate and to the habits of labouring people than the tawdry and rheumatic cotton gown, and the flaunting and slatternly Leg-horn bonnet. The influx of these fruits of folly has long been the source of lamentation among sober minded people, and there are but few families who would not hail with joy some change for the better, and gladly cooperate in producing it did they know what means to have recourse to for that purpose. But as fashion introduced the evil, let the same instrument be employed to effect its expulsion. Let the gentry of the principality set the fashion of returning to the old and national costume of the country and the thing is effected at once. And I humbly suggest that the present is the precise moment for carrying such a plan into execution. I am, Sir, Your obedient servant,
A GWENTIAN [Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover]
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 24 May, 1834

28th June, 1834
SiR, – As one of the avowed objects of the Eisteddfod is the promoting of a spirit of patriotism, and as the upholding of national costume must be amongst the principal means of cultivating that laudable feeling, every well wisher to his country will be highly gratified to find this subject so generally brought before the Cambrian public. And indeed while so many other portions of the world are so proud and tenacious of their native garb, rude and unsightly as it may in many instances appear, it would be a severe reflection upon the inhabitants of the principality if they continued any longer insensible to the merits ot their national costume; a style of dress which for beauty of colour and elegance of form, at least as far as regards the females, may vie with that of any country in Europe. But it is not only in female attire that the striped and chequered manufactures of the Principality may be adopted with advantage; it has been already proved that they are equally suited to various articles of gentlemen’s dress, as it doubtless will again at our approaching festival. And it must give peculiar satisfaction to think that among the foremost friends of this measure will be found those steady and energetic patrons of nationality, THE BARDS It is therefore to be hoped that the call which was lately made through the medium of your journal, in the ancient British, will be universally responded to, so thar the Bardic chair may be graced by an external uniformity among its supporters, as the antient order to which they belong is animated by the same unchangeable fire of the awen.
Yours, &c., A SILURIAN.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 28th June, 1834

1834 [Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff,  prize winning eisteddfod essay]
… we will pass on to the mention of “the advantages resulting from the preservation of the Costumes of the Principality, which of late years have greatly fallen into dis-use through the discouragement they have met with from the higher orders, who, nevertheless, at the present time are frequently known to lament this circumstance, and to regret and deprecate the introduction of foreign luxuries in articles of dress.
The costumes of Wales being chiefly composed of wool, are from the nature of the materials particularly well adapted to defend the wearer against the inclemencies of the weather, and the sudden transition from heat to cold to which our climate is subject. As woollen is undoubtedly the surest preservative against those rheumatic complaints so prevalent amongst persons liable to be often exposed to these sudden changes, and as the recent abandonment of this comfortable and healthful material, and style of clothing is chiefly observable amongst the females of our country, our remarks upon this subject will principally apply to them.
Naturally active and hardy, the Welshwomen of the last generation were taught from their earliest years, as well under the roof of the freeholder, as in the cottage of the labourer, that proper pride which is derived from the practical knowledge and exercise of every variety of household occupation, and they considered that health and strength should constitute the sole limits of domestic industry, and be the only boundaries to domestic usefulness. It is a fact universally allowed by all competent judges of housekeeping, that the best servants are invariably those who have been early exercised in every different branch of housewifery, but of late years a false standard of respectability has been established, which has in a great many instances effected such a change of costume, as is utterly incompatible with a proper discharge of household and agricultural duties –What woman, dressed in the thin and comfortless materials, now so frequently substituted for the substantial produce of the Cambrian loom, is capable of properly discharging the duties of the dairy, or many of the other necessary occupations which in every family, from the Peer to the cottager, must entirely depend upon female exertions? It is not only from the nature of their materials, but likewise from their make and form that the Welsh costumes are admirably adapted for active employments, and it is to the tyranny of fashion that their recent decline is to be attributed …. There was a time when the garment of home manufacture formed the boast of the wearer … how are circumstances changed!  How frequently do we now see the hale and robust mother of fifty, and even grandmother of eighty, returning from church or market secure from the storm, under the protection of the warm woollen gown, and comfortable cloak or whittle of Gwent or Dyfed, with a neat and serviceable beaver hat, and black woollen stockings, pursuing her homeward path unobstructed by the influence of cold or wet, while the delicate and cotton-clad daughter or grand-daughter, with perhaps  the symptoms of consumption on her cheek, is shivering in the rain, seeking the precarious shelter of the nearest hedge … while her flimsy straw bonnet, saturated with water, and dyed like the rainbow by  the  many  coloured  streams  descending  from  its  numerous  and  once gaudy ribbons, is presenting a deplorable example of the sad effects resulting from that absurd abandonment of ancient and wise habits… While this foolish and perverse system operates so perniciously with regard to the health and morals of the peasantry, its effects are no less detrimental to the pecuniary interests of the people at large. … The prosperity of the principality must of necessity be better forwarded by the home consumption of her native produce, than by any importations however cheap and attractive, and the inhabitants will always be found poorer and more indolent, in proportion as straw bonnets, ribbons, frills, capes ringlets, and all the caprices of fashion flourish amongst us, (Note G), and as our woolpacks are exchanged for bags of cotton, (Note H) … Let us endeavour to impress upon the minds of those whose characters and stations in life enable them to extend their influence over their fellow countrymen … [not only] the rich or the noble … it is also to the small freeholder, the farmer and the labourer to masters, to tenants and to servants, …. let them in their own persons at least set an example that will have a beneficial effect on those who behold it.
We have not enlarged upon the loss Artists would experience by the destruction of the costumes of Wales, or on their value to the traveler, after the Picturesque, or on their forming one of the most characteristic and ornamental features of the principality. We feel that our arguments for their support are better founded on the firm basis of health and industry, which are the first steps to happiness and prosperity, and the best preventatives of poverty and immorality.
To conclude, we can only express our sincere and fervent hopes that our posterity, clad in the manufactures of their country, may emulate the simple and industrious habits of their ancestors … .
Note G: see my letter signed ‘A Gwentian’ on this subject which appeared in the Merthyr Guardian, May 24th, 1834 [above]
Note H: An anecdote may not be misplaced here, to prove the unreasonable increase of expense which has been entailed upon female servants within the last 40 years, as although a suit of clothes of modern materials, without any quantity of trimming, is about half the price, it lasts less than half the time that the Welsh manufactures endure, and the change of fashion induce continual purchases, not merely to procure good clothes, but chiefly to keep up with the mode! An old Welsh woman of Dyfed, at the period we mention, seriously reprimanded her daughter, who was a dairymaid  in one of the principal families of Pembrokeshire, for not having, with the surplus of her first year’s wages of five pounds, bought a stone of wool for her to spin, for clothes or blankets against the time this daughter should leave service ; nor were the old woman’s calculations at all overtrained, as at this day five pounds will purchase an entire best suit of Welsh manufacture, and supply shoes and stockings, etc. for twelve months, and leave about one pound in hand at the end of the time, which is now the price of a stone of wool, and which quantity will produce three blankets. What a fund of comforts might not thus be laid by against the demands of sickness, of of a young family? instead of the want we daily witness amongst servant maids without money, or any stores for household use, married to labourers, after having passed eight or nine years  in service, and spent eight or ten pounds annually in changing the fashion in their clothes?
Augusta Hall, (Lady Llanover)
(1) Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 1834
The Prize Essay ‘On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales, Prize winning essay, Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, 1834,’  by Gwenynen Gwent (Mrs Hall of Llanover). London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman; and William Bird, Cardiff, 1836, 18pp.
(2) Eisteddfod Gwent a Dyfed 1834
Y Traethawd Buddugol ar y Buddioldeb a Ddeillia Oddiwrth Gadwedigaeth y Iaith Gymraeg, a Dullwisgoedd Cymru gan Gwenynen Gwent (Mrs Hall, o Lanofer) Caerdydd: Argraffwyd gan William Bird, 1836, 18 pp.
[note: the Welsh title of this does not include the word ‘National’]
A summary of the adjudication of the essays by ‘Gwyneddigesan’ was published in the Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 23.8.1834.
That part of the essay which deals with costumes was published in Welsh, with an introduction, in Y Gymraes, (1850), pp. 40-43

A Cadwallader / Cadwalader (about 1834)
Series of watercolours of Welsh costumes, said to be produced for Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover).
13 of these were published as prints (1834 – 1835), but not with the essay. Publisher unknown
NLW DV299, (PA8137)

[Essay written for the Abergavenny eisteddfod essay competition, but not entered in time. It was published in Welsh in 1834, and in English in 1851 and 1861]
Blackwell also published a translation into Welsh of Samuel Meyrick’s description of ancient Welsh costumes [which includes refs to contemporary men’s costumes? .
{Reference to Meyrick’s description of Welsh costume in his ‘History of Cardiganshire’, 1808}. This is almost all we can gather of the Welsh costume in the middle ages … Still some peculiarities remain among us even now, especially in Gwent and Dyfed, which appear native and old.
The male dress differs less from the English, generally, than the female. The difference in the former is more in the material of the dress, than in the form. The Welsh peasantry delight in having a whole suit of blue, home-spun, half-fulled cloth, – with blue stockings, or perchance of the native colour of a black sheep. … The Radnorshire cloth is of the same material, but there the sable grey is preferred. [This is probably derived from Meyrick] In Meirion, the surcyn (jerkin) is most frequently seen; and even there, now, it is but seldom worn on Sunday. At work it is found convenient, on account of its want of skirts.
One of the first things that attracts the notice of a stranger in the Principality is the general custom among the females of wearing hats. In some districts sufficient distinction is not observed between the male and female hat. The women of Anglesey and Dyfed, however, show a superior taste in this matter. In Dyfed, the brim of the female hat is rather broad, and the body of it inclines to a cone as it approaches the crown. In Anglesey and Meirion, smaller hats are worn by the women than the men, and these look extremely well. Although some have observed … that the English bonnets suit the retiring modesty of the sex much better than the open faced hat, we should feel much reluctance in giving up this characteristic part of our national costume ; for nothing could be contrived so well calculated to set off the rosy beauties of our hills as this.
The next article in the female dress is the ‘mob cap’. [cap hir-glyst] With all our predilection for everything national, we feel a difficulty in speaking well of this. In vain has nature given a neck of symmetry of the fair part of the population, while the broad lappets of the mob cap conceal all, and frequently a part of the face also. Were the lappets narrower, they would look better.
What is called in Dyfed ‘pais a gŵn bach’ a petticoat and bedgown, forms a peculiarity in the Welsh female dress. In Flintshire, and the parts of Wales bordering upon England, these garments are made entirely from a mixture of flax or cotton and wool, called linsey Woolsey. But as we ascend the mountains something warmer is necessary to defend against the cold of winter and the sudden rains of summer. The material here is a thick flannel, nearly as thick as cloth, and striped alternately dark and dark red. In the upper parts of Cardiganshire, and in all the most mountainous districts, the skirts of the gown are made to descend almost to the ankle. In Dyfed, they are cut in an oval form, and very short, so as to appear like a man’s jacket. The skirt of the petticoat is generally hemmed with scarlet tape, which in the vale of the Teifi is called ‘cadys coch’. The sleeves are turned up above the elbow and from the elbow to the wrist loose sleeves of cotton, with a running string at each end, are generally worn. Aprons of linsey Woolsey, or of check, are used, as the gown is open before. Over the shoulders, an oblong piece of flannel is thrown, in Dyfed and other places. On week days, white flannels are generally seen, but on Sunday, all appear in their home-spun shawls, of beautiful and brilliant crimson. These red coverings made the French who landed in Pembrokeshire during the late war think that the immense multitude which they saw lining the cliffs, were all soldiers.
The female mantle is generally made of blue cloth ; and so suddenly do the mountains attract a shower from the passing cloud, that the hottest day a Welshwoman scarcely moves from home without her cloak.
The young women wear on the head only a narrow ribbon to tie the hair, and a cap; but in some parts, immediately after marriage, a handkerchief is added. This is made into a triangle by being doubled, is thrown over the head, folded under the chin, and the long ends tied into a knot at the back of the neck. If the climate does not make such a head-dress indispensable, we would not defend its use, for nothing has so much tendency to produce pain in the head as too much tightness and warmth.
On work days, wooden shoes are worn by the peasantry, in many places, though few are without leathern shoes on the Sunday. The clattering of these on the pavement of our small town, on a market day, would make a stranger think that a troop of horse was approaching. We have often thought that this practice of wearing heavy and unpliable shoes has given to many of our younger people an awkwardness of gait which nature never intended for them. …
There is one more peculiarity in the Welsh mode of dress which must be noticed, – the almost universal use of flannel in cases where the English prefer linen. The shirts of the lower order are generally of flannel; they almost invariably sleep in blankets. In most of the Welsh districts, a pair of sheets is rarely found in a cottage. As the use of linen is much more conducive to cleanliness, the writer of this endeavoured, a short time back, to induce the cottagers of his neighbourhood to use linen for the purposes mentioned above; but all efforts were abortive. After all, perhaps, they are right, as no slight covering would avail to defend them from the effects of their ever changeable weather. The cotton of Manchester however multiplied, would be but a poor defence in one of our mountain storms.
From these very imperfect remarks, it may be seen that one advantage which the Principality derives from the preservation of its national costume (wisg gynhenid) consists in the materials being the produce of its own hills. The Welsh mountain farmer can generally find on his own farm almost all he wants for the clothing of his family, and frequently all are manufactured under his own roof.
{The weather compelled our ancestors to wear warm dress ‘which we now call national’ and this is a good reason for preserving it.} Nor should we gain anything by change. Simplicity in dress is frequently proof of, and conducive to, a simplicity in the social and moral habits. The preservation of the old costume destroys that restless hankering after new fashions … {The English have no national dress. The higher ranks follow Paris, and the rest follow them.} This restless anxiety after something new does not disturb the thoughts of our fair mountaineer. She may put on the dress of her great-grandmother and walk out among her friends, without differing in appearance from them. And why should she change it? What national costume is there among any other people that appears so neat, and is so well adapted to the climate, as the Welsh one. …
Nothing cherishes a desire for fine clothes so much as a continual change in the manner of making them; and how often has this pride of dress been a stumbling-block to virtue. Let our peasantry, therefore, preserve their ancient costume, especially as simplicity in dress serves to uphold, in its degree, national simplicity and worth. …

[The essay is followed (in the Cambrian Journal), by extracts from Lady Charlotte Guest’s translation of the Mabinogion, which describe dress worn by the Welsh in the Middle Ages.]
The Welsh version was published anonymously under the title ‘Gwisgaid y Cymru in Cylchgrawn y Gymdeithas er Taenu Gwybodaeth Fuddiol am 1834, dan olygiad y Parch John Blackwell, B.A., (Llanymddyfri, gan D.R. and W. Rees, 1834), pp. 274-276 [photocopy]
The Rev John Blackwell, (Alun, 1797-1840), curate of Holywell and Rector of Manordeifi (Pembrokeshire), On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales.’
This was published in English, as a translation from the Welsh in Beauties of Alun; being the Literary Remains, in Welsh and English, of the late The Rev John Blackwell, B.A., (Ruthin and London, 1851), edited by G. Edwards (Gutyn Padarn), pp. 253-266 which states that ‘This essay was intended for the Cardiff Eisteddfod, [1834] but sent in too late for the adjudication.’
The English translation was also published in The Cambrian Journal, (Cambrian Institute), Tenby, 1861, pp. 26-38, in which it was prefaced by the following: ‘We reprint the following essay by the late eminent Bard and Scholar, Blackwell ; especially as it furnishes valuable information on a subject that is engaging a good deal of the public attention just now, that is, the National Costume of the Welsh.
Its publication in 1861 may have been a response to questions about Welsh costume published in the Cambrian Journal for 1858, pp. 366-367 (see below).
It is likely that a little of this is derived from Meyrick, (1808), a Welsh translation of which was published in an earlier number of Cylchgrawn y Gymdeithas er Taenu Gwybodaeth Fuddiol am 1834. Dan olygiad y Parch John Blackwell, B.A., (Llanymddyfri, gan D.R. and W. Rees, 1834), pp. 175-176

When Morgan issued from the shop dressed in her red cloak and round beaver over a mob cap, – the Welsh costume which she continued to wear …
Martineau, Harriet, Illustrations of Political Economy, no XXIV, The Farrers of Budge-row, a tale, 1834, p. 39 (fiction)

1834 Gower
[The people of south west Gower] seldom intermarry with their Welsh neighbours, and are further distinguished by their costume and dialect. Lace is also made in Gower resembling the manufacture of Flanders.
‘Vivian’, Extracts from the Portfolio of a traveller, no 1, The Graphic & Historical Illustrator, ed. by E.W. Brayley, (1834) pp. 73-76

1834 Near Llanidlos
A very pretty, rosy-cheeked, black-eyed daughter, of seventeen or eighteen, through the dense smoke that pervaded the apartment (as if to exemplify the fact that no seclusion from the world, or state of poverty, however abject, is capable of repressing the ruling passion which governs all female minds, viz. that of dress), was on her knees hard at work, on a bench in the corner, at what is called getting up frills, of which, no doubt, she was not a little vain; for the Welsh peasant girls pay more attention to their heads than their heels, and although you see many without shoes, you will rarely find one who has not a neatly plaited cap under her round beaver hat.
Medwyn, Thomas, The Angler in Wales: or Days and Nights of Sportsmen, 2 vols, London, Richard Bentley, (1834), I, p. 77

Many chapters on costume of Britain from earliest times to about 1800, and chapters on the National Costume of Scotland and Ireland, but not for Wales.
Planché, J.R., A History of British Costume from Ancient Times to the Eighteenth Century (1834); Planché, J.R., British Costume, a complete History, (1846)

1835 Abergavenny Eisteddfod
Lady Charlotte Guest, Mrs Hall, Mrs Scudamore, Miss Morgan of Pantygoitre and other ladies, habited in the Welsh Costume, made, as we are informed, of Welsh manufacture; several gentlemen wore the order of the leek beautifully executed in glass. The meeting was chaired by J.J. Guest.
Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian 5.12.1835 

1835 Newbridge near Caerphilly
A railroad comes down from the mining districts. … No less than thirteen trams came down … these tram-carriages contained a cargo consisting of twenty four Welsh women – purely Welsh. Their men’s hats had a particularly amusing and attractive appearance to the unaccustomed eye: and contrasted with a broad white lace frill, that encircled the face, the effect was doubly striking and conspicuous. They were neatly dressed and gay: and it came out afterwards that they were equipped for passing a holiday at some neighbourhood fair. … the Welsh in all parts of the principality are fond of coming into a town on a fair or market day — with clean shoes and I have seen them walk miles from the country over rough and newly macadamised roads with their shoes slung over their shoulders and when they arrive at the suburbs, then, and not until then, they will put them on. These twenty four ladies trotted into the [inn] carrying their shoes in their hands.
Anon (Pedestres), A Pedestrian Tour of Thirteen Hundred and Forty Seven Miles through Wales and England (1836), vol 1 p. 282-284

[The following chapter was inserted between chapters about his visit to Devil’s Bridge. His use of the terms pais and gwn reflect his attempts to learn Welsh – he carried a dictionary, phrase book and a grammar.]
{Brief description of the countenance of the Welsh [women]}
The dress of the females is unbecoming, except the hat: – they are habited much now as they have always been; and it is astonishing that they should have retained the identity of past ages to so late a period, almost unchanged.
They wear the pais or petticoat, even as it is represented on the most antique coins and medals: and over that, a short gwn … gathered in at the waist, with short sleeves; or if long, usually turned up at the elbow. … The moderns in some instances seem to have doffed the gwn, content only with the pais: it is made of flannel, as they call it; of a dark brown or puce colour, variegated in south Wales by lighter stripes, intersecting each other at right angles, checquerwise; but in the north, these stripes run only parallel to one another from top to bottom … Light and dark red seem to have endured thro’ centuries, and maintained their places till today, for it is in these colours that their flannels are principally dyed. They appear to wear no stays; and consequently the bust is entirely devoid of all compactness of figure. In modern Deheubarth [most of Cardiganshire and parts of Carmarthenshire] they seldom wear shoes or stockings, unless it be in the large towns: {they carry their shoes and don them on arriving in the suburbs}. Neither do they use shoes in north Wales, save under peculiar circumstances; but they cover their legs – not with stockings – but with something that more resembles a gaiter than anything else. It is a stocking, all except the foot: there is a long point that descends down the instep; and to keep this in its place, and prevent it from slipping up, it is hooked by a loop over the second toe, or that next the great one [sic].
These hermaphrodite stockings-gaiters are made of black or grey worsted – mostly black – and in the north the occupation of knitting, even as they walk about, is, the all in all with the Welsh women. The headgear is the only becoming appurtenance – and this is graceful only on high-days and holy-days, when they court appearances. [The younger women] now generally conceal their hair altogether. Usually they tie the head and shoulders up in a handkerchief, the prevailing colour of which I think is a brownish yellow … It is tied under the chin, – the hair entirely hidden – and a man’s hat tied over that: but on some occasions the younger may be seen with a broad frill round their good-humoured chubby faces – drooping ringlets – and a hat, somewhat the shape of a lady’s riding hat, tastefully put on and neat. Then, oh then, all ye gentle swains, look out and take care of your hearts. A beautiful and virtuous woman is the sublimest of Heaven’s creation.
Anon (Pedestres),  A Pedestrian Tour of Thirteen Hundred and Forty Seven Miles through Wales and England (1836), vol II, Chapter 1 p. 3-6

Builth Wells
It is fair day and the country people in throngs presented a motley group, the younger ones from the country looked very nice in their stuff dress, full white caps with very wide borders, a black hat; which is very pretty because [it was] not made the least like a man’s hat, more like the last fashion of ladies riding hats, and a smart Indian or other silk handkerchief pinned very neatly on with very dainty gloves make the dress complete. Some have worked collars and cotton dresses, but they do not look near so well as the stuff of linsey. Most of them rode into town on very small ponies or large carthorses and those that did not, always had patterns for it was quite dry and dirty. (pp. 5-6)
Road from Chirk to Oswestry
Wales is quite gone, no hats for women, no bedgowns or any trace of the wild country we have so recently left. (p. 23)
Webber, Mary, & Webber, Charles, Tour to Wales, 1835, Bodleian Library, Top Gen, E59

[Near Swansea]
Picture no 41 (opposite f 231)
‘Welsh women carrying water p… on their heads’
1 Woman with man’s hat, scarf, long gown and staved container on her head.
2 Two women with pitchers on their heads
On f 159 ‘I made sketches of women and girls carrying water on their heads in pails and pitchers, the good humour with which the persons passing by help them to place these containers[?] on their heads is truly pleasing’
[Near Margam]
Picture no 37 (opposite f. 262)
No title
Sketch of two children and a woman in a man’s hat
[Near Neath]
Picture no 3 (opposite p. 296)
‘Group of Welch peasants, June 23rd’
Woman seated, child seated, and woman with tall hat standing. Hat is like a north Wales type of Welsh hat.
Skinner, John, An Excursion into Wales from Camerton through south and north Wales commenced June 18, 1835. British Library, Egerton Mss 3110-3113


We frequently observed the neatness of the women’s dress throughout Wales. They all wear nice full caps, with the hair neatly braided underneath a broad brimmed hat. The old inhabitants of Wales complain that bonnets are making innovations among the poor Welsh people, and that hats are getting sadly out of fashion, but be this as it may, the hat certainly looks very becoming to most of the faces.
Aberafon works [Sunday] school
All the people were remarkably clean and respectable in their dress and the contrast was so great that we could hardly believe that many of them were really the same as we had seen and pitied the preceding day [at Margam Tin works], then so squalid and dirty – now a pattern of neatness and cleanliness.
In this place, as well as at Aberafon there is a shop for the convenience of those who belong to the works. Here the women buy their neat woollen gowns, the peculiar manufacture of the country, and their whittles, a sort of shawl, only worn by the Welsh women.
Williams, Esther, Diary, 1836, Cardiff Central Library, MS1.521, ‘Saturday and Sunday’

1836  Dolweddelan
– being the Sabbath, I met numbers of old and young in their neat, quaint and antique costume, – the faces of the young maidens sparkling under their large round hats and the children decked out in their old fashioned style.
Entering a cottage outside the picturesque church, I was surprised to observe the singular appearance and costume of the occupants, all attired exactly the same manner and engaged precicely in the same occupation. There were three women, plainly but neatly dresses, and in deep morning. (p. 61)
So great is the caution and eversion to change, that while the higher classes adopt the English costume, the English tastes and fancies, the simpler body of people retain their look and vest – still humour their love of economy with linsey woolsey and wear few articles that have not been manufactured at home.
Nay, the raw material must also be of native growth or the home-spun does not sit easily and well. If they can be called proud of anything it is of their industry, the good of their family and the reputation of their country. And nothing pleases a genuine Welshman more than to behold the manufactured article, the old British costume, extending even to the confines of the metropolis, adorning its antique market gardeners, its milkmen, its fish or flower girls. (p. 142)
That facetious member of the Antiquarian Society, Mr William Hutton … published the following remarks: … 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. (p. 223)
[Derived from Hutton, W., Remarks upon North Wales: being the Result of Sixteen Tours Through that part of the Principality (Birmingham, 1803), p. 19-20]
I was considerably amused, on meeting the villagers and market women to observe their tenacious love of the large, round beaver hat and full sleeves and dressy neck-kerchiefs. They were cheerful and happy, and were mostly engaged in knitting … (p. 237)
has considerable trade in the manufacture of flannels, stockings, woollen comfortables, and Welsh wigs, and has five fairs annually. p. 312
Roscoe, Thomas, (1791-1871), Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales, (1836)

[1836] Pontrhydfendigaid Inn, Ceredigion
Carefully pinned to a curtain hung a very knowing lace cap, with borders of that extraordinary width and abundance seen only among the Welsh belles, and most beautifully “got up” as the ladies say. On a corner table, too, lay a hat, which, by its gloss, newness, and clever shape, evidently intended to invite the cap to church the following Sunday; and the entrance of a tight, blooming, dark-eyed … looking Welsh girl … supplied a face worthy of the becoming national costume. I like the dress of the bonny Welsh lassies, and trust that they will be long in yielding to the inspired innovations of modern millinery. They would resign their piquant black hats with no little reluctance, did they know how flat and unbecoming the flippant silk bonnets , displayed by some of them, look in comparison. The hat is not worn by the peasantry alone, for I have seen not a few spruce beavers accompanied by rich dresses, fashionable kerchiefs and silk stockings. p. 34
[Following a description of the poor state of Welsh cottages]
Yet amid all this filth, and, as we consider, misery, the female part of the cottagers are as spruce in their national costume on Sundays and holidays, and as proud of their assortment of crockery-ware of which an unnecessary number of jugs forms an indispensable part, as if surrounded with all the more substantial comforts of life. To look at the habitations, one would marvel how a clean mob-cap, or a decent coat, could belong to people so apparently lost to all notion of comfort and neatness. p. 40
Roscoe, Thomas, Wanderings and Excursions in South Wales …
1st edition 1836 and subsequent editions, 1854 edition

1836 Pembrokeshire / Carmarthenshire
I should hardly have thought myself in Wales … if it had not been for the old women on horseback with their black hats and red petticoats whom we met going to market at Pembroke and coming from market at Carmarthen.
Anon, Tour in Wales. NLW ms. 12392B, p. 39

1836 [Ireland and Wales]
The women [in Ireland] wearing bright red cloaks, such as are common in Wales
Barrow, J.A., A Tour Round Ireland, (1836), p. 116

(1836) [Derived from earlier sources]
The higher class [of women] dress like the English; but in the more humble ranks, the national costume is preserved, which, for both men and women, is composed of home-made woollen cloth. The coat, breeches, and stockings, of the men, are always blue, and their waistcoats red; their shirts, are of blue or red flannel, except in some parts of the northern counties, where they are striped. The common dress of the females in South Wales consists of a jacket [bedgown], made tight to the shape, and a petticoat of dark brown or striped linsey-woolsey, bound with different colours. Young women wear mob-caps, pinned under the chin, and small round felt, or beaver hats, like the men. The elderly women commonly wrap up their heads in two or three coloured handkerchiefs, over which they put a large felt hat. Both young and old throw a scarlet whittle across their shoulders, which completes their dress. In North Wales, the costume is similar, except that the whittle is superseded by a large blue cloak, descending nearly to the feet, which is worn at all seasons, even in the hottest weather. Linen is rarely used; flannel being substituted in its place. Nor are shoes or stockings worn, except sometimes in fine weather; and then they are carried in the hand, if the owner be going any distance, and put on only at or near the place of destination, the feet being first washed in a brook.
{Welsh character}
The women of the lower order are sober and industrious: they assist in tilling the ground, and manufacture clothing for themselves and families; for to them belongs the whole process of spinning the wool, and knitting the yarn into stockings, or of dying and weaving it into cloth, flannel, or blankets. They are very tender mothers, and carry their children, tied upon their shoulders, wherever they go. The men are less industrious than the women, and do not work so many hours, nor with so much energy, as Englishmen.
Charles Augustus Goodrich, The Universal Traveller: Designed to Introduce Readers at Home to an acquaintance with the Arts, Customs and Manners of the Principal Modern Nations of the Globe, … derived from the researches of recent Travellers, 2nd edition, 1836, p. 227 (subsequent editions: 1838, 1842, 1843, 1845)
Repeated in Blake, A View of the World, 1841, p. 86

1836 Llanover
Letter, Lady Greenly to Mrs Hastings, Llanover, 28.11.1836
Wednesday morning, all the Llanover party (except Mrs Waddington), dressed in various Welsh stuffs, Mrs Scudamore included, with round block beaver hats, and mob caps beneath them, set out in 3 carriages for Abergavenny [for the Eisteddfod]… continued on Thursday … Ball at the Angel Inn, Abergavenny [no mention of costumes or prints]
NLW Maxwell Fraser bequest, CB5, typed transcript of Lady Greenly’s diary and letters, 1805-1837, p. 65. Quoted by Fraser, Maxwell, NLW Journal vol. XIII, p. 219

1836 Llanover
The ball at the Angel Inn, on Thursday night, was attended by a very numerous party, when the “Hen Iaith” was spoken in several quarters of the room, and at the supper table, by several ladies and gentlemen, of the first families in the principality. The room was hung round with beautifully coloured engravings of the costumes of Wales, and “though last, not least in our dear estimation,” the fine old beverage of our ancestors, the rival of our continental wines, “Metheglin,” was handed round the assembly …
The Silurian, December 3rd, 1836

1837 (Isle of Man)
… walked with a Manx peasant man and I asked him who made his coat ‘of blue coarse cloth such as is commonly used among the Welsh peasantry, his trousers moreover were loose and of the same material.’
His reply was that it was made at home both the cloth and the coat.
Head, George, A home tour through various parts of the United Kingdom, (1837), p. 47

In a poor hut, which formerly stood upon the site of a few cottages, upon the right of the lane leading to the castle from the high road, lived an aged woman, who kept no society, and was considered, from her reserved habits, drooping gait, and smoke-dried visage, to have strange dealings with the Evil One; and no one knew by what means she obtained clothing, as her garden stock only consisted of a few eatables, which she could ill afford to part with for wool to supply her spinning wheel; and yet her hose were good and clean, and her woollen petticoat and russet gown well fitted to endure the weather’s extremes.
Bennett, George John, The Pedestrian’s Guide Through North Wales, a Tour performed in 1837, (London, 1838), p. 72 

1837 Bangor
It is very diverting to our English eyes to see Welsh women in men’s hats, many of them with long, dark cloth cloaks even in the summer season. They knit as they walk along the road.
All the women’s hats look as if just out of the shop, it would be worth while to learn their receipt for keeping them so new. In mourning they wear a crape hat-band just like men.
Elizabeth Bower, Dorset Record Office, D/BOW:kw 209, 30th June, p. 99

1837 Tenby
I enjoyed a Bathe, very much amused with the dress of the women. They don’t wear stays. Some of the common women have remarkably fine figures and very pretty faces. They are brunettes with large laughing black eyes looking very wickedly out from under their black hats.
Symonds, Fanny, Journal of a holiday, about 1837, Bodleian, Ms Done e 143

1837 ‘Grand Ball at Llanover’
{The route to the Hall’s house at Llanover and the grounds were illuminated}. In the hall, two housemaids, attired in the manufacture of the country, attended to dispose of the ladies’ cloaks. [Refreshments were] handed out by female attendants in the full costume and manufacture of their country. (The effect of this table, by Cambrian nymphs, was particularly admired). {Very detailed description of the rooms and ornaments.}
The ball was begun by a good Welsh country dance …
Among the numerous admirable dresses which appeared on this occasion, we think it right to specify first those in Welsh costume:- Mrs Hanbury Leigh, in the real manufacture of Neath, adorned with gold, and resplendent with diamonds. Mrs Scudamore of Kentchurch in a strictly correct Cardiganshire costume, composed of rich satin in the native stripes woven on purpose; her hair adorned with diamonds; most becomingly attired. The Lady Charlotte Guest was most exceedingly admired in a correct Merthyr costume, composed also of satin being a perfect facsimile of the patterns of Welsh manufacture. Her ladyship afterwards appeared as Mary Queen of Scots; if a preference could be given, it was to her native dress. Mr Guest MP was admirable as a mountain farmer in native costume. Mrs Berrington (sister of the host) was an object of great attraction in the full Carmarthenshire costume in satin. Lady C Greenly, a Gwentian costume. Miss Jones of Llanarth as a Carmarthenshire peasant was much admired. … Miss Angharad Llwyd (the celebrated bardess of North Wales) appeared in the green and white colours of her country and in full costume. … The Misses Williams of Aberpergwm were so beautifully and correctly attired in the costume of Cwm Nedd of 100 years ago (in satins from the loom of the patriotic Messrs Howell and James) that it is difficult to do justice to the picturesque and elegant effect of their native attire, or we may add, its richness. Lady Rodney was habited in the well known and admired Welsh Rodney stripe in satin. Miss Hall of Llanover (Gwenynen Fach) appeared in the Pembrokeshire costume in brown satins which was considered particularly becoming. Lady Hall of Llanover (Gwenynen Gwent) was in the costume of Gwent executed in satins: in her hat she wore a diamond leek surrounded by the Rose, Thistle and Shamrock in diamonds and on a velvet band round her throat was confined a diamond clasp with the cipher G.G. and the prize ring suspended, won on a former occasion.
Among the fancy costumes …. [were] Albanian, Persian, French peasant, Swiss, Turk, Sultana, Charles the Second.
About 250 were present, comprising all the principal families of Gwent and Morganwg, and many visitors from North Wales.
Monmothshire Merlin, 28.10.1837
Part published in Roberts, Huw, ‘Welsh costumes at Llanover’, Newsletter, Cymdeithas Gwenynen Gwent, December / Rhagfyr, 2004, p. 2-3

1837 Eglwyswrw
The women wear as in other parts of Pembrokeshire the Flemish jacket & black hat.
Louise Charlotte Kenyon, Shropshire Records and Archive Centre, 549/285

Large town, fair day, our broad street full of people, women all in hats & caps with full borders, linsey bed gowns, striped petticoats & aprons all different colours the latter generally plaid.
dirty village, children without shoes and stockings, women with hats & linsey gowns.
Louise Charlotte Kenyon, Shropshire Records and Archive Centre, 549/285

1837 [Monmouthshire]
‘Mrs Hanbury Leigh wore a costume the material of which was of Welsh manufacture, but she had had her gown made up by a London artist, and he had embroidered the edge with oak leaves and acorns, to which she had added her jewels … Many of the younger people were ‘very correctly dressed  from Mrs Hall’s ‘Book of Welsh Costumes’, and looked extremely well’. Augusta Charlotte Hall, then thirteen years of age, ‘looked very nicely in a checked jacket and petticoat of silk in imitation of Welsh colours, with an apron to match’, and Augusta herself was, of course, in Welsh costume, with a superb diamond leek in her black silk hat.’
Lady Greenly, 1837 quoted by Maxwell Fraser, NLW Journal vol. XIII, p. 316.

THE BALL AT LLANOVER. … The company were directed, in their mazey course, by domestics, to a vestibule, where they were instructed to proceed to a cloak room, thence into a splendid apartment where there were refreshments served by Welsh girls, dressed up tastefully in the chaste native costume, – their tongues pronouncing only their vernacular language, the sole one that now remains of the many that were spoken in the day of the energetic Welsh. …
The lady of the mansion, however elegant other objects may have been, was the great attraction of the scene, and in her tastefully correct Cambrian costume she received her company with that very fascinating manner which peculiarly appertains to her. … There was a sylph that told of her parentage, the charming daughter of the house, whose dress bespoke her Cambrian heart. Amidst the gorgeous appearance of Oriental costumes – Greeks, Albanians, Russians, Poles, &c, most correctly and magnificently, the eye singled out the following ladies in Welsh costumes which carried the mind back to the days of Arthur a his round table, to Morgan Mwynfawr, and to lestyn, whose descendants so highly honoured the Abergavenny Eisteddfod: – Mrs Leigh, Ponty-pool Park; Lady Greenly (Awen Llwydlas); Lady Charlotte Guest; Miss Williams of Aberpergwm; Miss Jane Williams, (Llinos,) whom a high musical authority calls the Syren of the South; Mrs Berrington; Mrs Scudamore; Anghared Llwyd. The supper, at one, was costly and rare, and the dance was kept up with high spirit until the sun revisited in congenial splendour, the bright assemblage.
The Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette and Merthyr Guardian, 21st October 1837

[1837] [Cardiganshire]
For clothing the Men wear coarse woollen cloth of a blue colour and flannel shirts. The Women’s dress is made of wool and flax or … Woolsey which is woven into pretty chequers of blue and [?] stripes on a blue ground, [.] through the Principality they invariable wear their Hats with Mob’s caps many of them wear dark blue cloaks with hoods and both men and women frequently tie a handkerchief over their head and ears. Formerly it was unusual to see any of the Peasantry with shoes or stockings but now both are worn by all who are able to purchase them.
Williams, Richard, (Doctor of Aberystwyth),‘Observations on Parturition amongst the Poor in the Upper District of Cardiganshire’ (N.L.W. 12165D), p6 folio 9r – p. 7 folio 11r.

1837 Neath
{On the stage coach there was a young Welsh girl and ‘a true specimen of an old Welsh woman clad in their peculiar flannel petticoat which is worn with little exception by all the Welsh peasantry throughout winter and summer.’ pp. 162-163
Margam village
The inhabitants were of the poorer description and seemed principally composed of destitute old women who as we passed came out at their doors to welcome us. They were clad in their usual warm flannel dresses although the day was excessively hot and fatiguing, they seldom or ever vary their dress; and fashion is a phrase with which they are totally unacquainted and may they long remain so as it would do away with much of their simplicity of manner and involve them in trouble from which they are how happily exempt.  pp. 193-194
Briton Ferry / Neath
Almost all the peasantry we now met on our road were attired in the true Welsh costume that prevails so generally throughout the whole principality the women in particular, looked exceedingly well, habited in their singular but imposing dress.  Instead of wearing gaudy bonnets brimmed with ribbon of all the colours of the rainbow like our English peasants, they have been wise enough to take an example from their husbands in the style of their headdress and most commonly wear a broad brimmed hat with something of the Quaker stamp about it which is very well calculated to set off persons, blessed by nature with pretty, round, healthy looking features, – grey eyes and a profusion of ringlets. The other parts of their dress are singular and characteristic consisting of a flannel gown with loose sleeves tied up at the waist and a handkerchief thrown over the shoulders which completed the generally worn costume throughout Wales. pp. 197-199
Horace, Francis, Journal of a tour 1837, NLW MSS 11596B,

1837 [Wales]
‘… the extravagant vanity [that is indulged in] the favourite hats, so universally worn by the women in Wales’ [on leaving Wales] ‘… its singular costume had rapidly vanished’
Anon (A Pedestrian), Hints to Pedestrians, or How to Enjoy a Three-Weeks Ramble through North and South Wales [1836] (Joseph Onwhyn, 1837), p. 37

CAMBRIAN BALL. In aid of the funds of the Welsh Charity School, in London, a Ball was held at Almacks on Monday se’nnight. Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Gloucester, Prince George, and all the elite of fashion were present. Dancing commenced at eleven o’clock, and was continued with great spirit until four. The Duchess of Northumberland, one of the most active of the Lady Patronesses, had a party of sixteen young ladies in her suite, who danced a set of Quadrilles arranged for the occasion to the most popular Welsh air. The display of taste and magnificence in the costumes has not been equalled at any fancy ball this season. Lady Charlotte Guest, and Mrs. Hall, of Llanover, appeared in real Cambrian Costumes, composed of satins manufactured on purpose for the occasion, with leeks of diamonds and enamel.
The Cambrian 2nd June 1838

The Abergavenny Cymreigyddion Society and the “National Costumes of Wales”
Sir. The members of this society are looking forward for a well-contested Eisteddfod (not an election), in October next, – on which happy occasion, Ivor of the Ivors will preside. I hope, as a warm advocate for Cymreigyddion Societies and Welsh Costumes, that the Committee will lose no time in giving orders to Caradawc to issue out a general order to fill the neighbouring newspapers, calling upon those ladies and gentlemen who intend being present at the Eisteddfod to appear in Welsh Costumes. If this would but take place, there is not the least doubt there will be a refreshing stimulus to our Welsh flannel manufacturers, and much good may be done. This is the most likely way of reviving that branch of our once staple trade – almost lost from our Cambrian Hills, but restored by this society. The Welsh Flannel did credit to our foremothers, who supported it instead of the English manufacture, which our fair sex of the present day give the preference to ; – for instance, what has been the result of the prize given by Miss Clara Waddington, at this Society last year, “For the best specimen of Welsh Flannel, etc.?” It has been said that the sale of Welsh Flannel in “Gwent and Morganwg,” alone, has been five times more this year than in 1837 If this be true, is it not sufficient proof that this article – yes, this most useful article-ought to be supported much more by the ladies of “Gwent and Morganwg,” and brought to a general wear; in short, a few more ladies of the patriotism and spirit of Gwenynen Gwent, and Lady Charlotte Guest, would soon settle this matter. But, sir, I am happy to say, that a few of our ladies do support the flannel but will not wear the hat; – what can be the cause? – pride, an evil, which of late has crept in considerably in Wales; – but if our Welsh ladies possess that wrong view of themselves, that by wearing bonnets their beautiful features will attract more attention – I submit it, and will publicly declare that the Welsh Hats are far more fascinating on real beauty, and beat the bonnets “out and out.”. On this subject I beg leave to refer the reader to the interesting prize essay on “The National Costumes of Wales,” by Mrs. Hall, of Llanover, (Gwenynen Gwent,) and I entertain no doubt that, by the perusal of the above essay, he will soon see the necessity of keeping up the Welsh Costumes, and that the usefulness of those articles to our peasantry is far before fourpenny calico prints, and eighteen penny bonnets ;- is this true! as true as “King Arthur is not dead!” Welsh Costumes arc conducive to health and industry. The last generation was more robust and hardy than the present. They are conducive, also, to the prosperity of the country, and to economy. And it is most desirable that they should be patronised by the higher classes. I am, esteemed Sir, yours respectfully, AB OWEN GLYNDWR. July 3rd, 1838
P.S., The “Essay upon the National Costumes of Wales,” is to be had of Longman and Co., London, and Bird, Cardiff, and Webber, Newport, Price one shilling..
Monmouthshire Merlin. 14 July, 1838

1838 Abergavenny Eisteddfod. Printed poster [English]
Judges of the Welsh flannels and hats: Messers W Watkins, J. Morgan, W Williams, and J Daniel, Abergavenny.
Competition 4 Prize by Lady Charlotte Guest of a medal, valued at 5 guineas
For the best specimen of real Welsh flannel or woollen in colours and woven in any of the national cheques or stripes, containing nothing but wool, not under 2½ yards.
Won by John Thomas, Glynnedd.
Competition 5 Prize by Lady Charlotte Guest of a medal, valued at 3 guineas
For the same as above, second best.
Won by James Harris, Llanover.
Competition 6 Prize by Miss Clara Waddington of Llanover of a medal, valued at 2 guineas
For the same as above, third best.
Won by David Williams, Craigbanos, Llangafelach
Competition 7 Prize by Lady Charlotte Guest of a medal, valued at 2 guineas
For the best black beaver hat such as is usually worn by females in the Principality.
Won by Evan Davies, Crickhowell. ‘The hat was shown and is very beautifully finished’
NLW MS 13962E, 98a (poster); Cambrian (newspaper), 20.10.1838

1838 Abergavenny Eisteddfod
{in the streets on the route to the hall} the inhabitants wore their holiday attire … the [gentry] Ladies chiefly attired in the becoming costume of Wales (the bewitching little hat and plaid dress).
Monmouthshire Merlin, 13.10.1838

1838 Abergavenny Eisteddfod
‘Fancy Ball’
On Thursday Night a grand Ball took place at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.
{Praised the beauty of the Ladies of Gwent and Morganwg}
We observed the following:
Octavius Morgan. – a magnificent eastern dress
Lady Rodney. – A fancy dress of Welsh satin, looped with diamonds.
Lady Hall.- The costume of Gwent, composed entirely of satins, to imitate the Welsh woollens ; Welsh hat of black satin, with diamond leek; blonde mob cap; and black velvet round the throat, with the clasp of G.G. in diamonds. Apron to suit of silk.
Mrs Berrington.- Ditto in Welsh satin, in complete Cardiganshire costume and black satin hat.
Miss Hall, of Llanover.- Ditto in the Pembrokeshire costume
Mrs Mountjoy Martin – in the costume of Gwent and Morganwg, in satins, Beaver hat.
Miss Jones, of Llanarth.- Old woman’s costume of Gwent and Morganwg. Flat hat of silk.
Mademoiselle C. de Saumaurez.- Ditto
The Compte de la Villemarque, in a costume worn by the inhabitants of Maubion, a district of Britanny.
… Mr Curre.- Albanian Chief, finely dressed
Miss Williams of Aberpergwm.- Gwent and Morganwg, in satins. Beaver hat
Miss Jane Williams.- ditto
The whole of the above were exact costumes of Wales – woven in satins, checked and striped, on purpose  – and with the substitution of blonde for muslin caps.
Miss De Saumaurez, beautifully dressed as the duchess of Britanny.
Miss Cecilia De Saumaurez, appeared as a fair Welsh Princess.
… The Misses King in the holiday attire of Boulogne fishwomen.
{Other foreign costumes and uniforms}
Monmouthshire Merlin, 20.10.1838

I was interested in observing many Welsh customs here. The caps of the women are the same, and the whole costume similar, especially the petticoat, which is made of a material which at a little distance I could not distinguish from Welsh flannel, and of which there are quantities exposed in every shop. This is still worn as you proceed through the country until it degenerates into cotton only, though the same patterns and colours are preserved.
21st May, 1838, London
This evening went to the Cambrian Ball in my regular peasant’s dress which I had worn at Abergavenny. Such a thing I believe had never been seen before in London and it caused quite a sensation. …
Earl of Bessborough, (editor), Lady Charlotte Guest, Extracts from her Journal, (1950), p. 69, 75

the beaver hat ‘considered the ne plus ultra of taste, and a powerful auxiliary to the coquetry of a Welsh girl’.
Bennett, George John, (1800-1879), The Pedestrian’s Guide Through North Wales, a Tour performed in 1837, with twenty etchings by A Clint, London, H. Colburn, 1838, p. ? London, Whittaker and Co., 1853, p. 47

1839 Llantwit
There was a time when I paid not unfrequent visits to this queer old place, and well I recollect my youthful admiration of its women. The wenches, may be, of the more rustic sort, might be something too much given to frisking and romping; but the ladies — oh! how staid, and prim, and discreet-looking a set of dames were they !—with how stately a gait they passed along of a Sunday towards church, their frizzled hair surmounted by a well crimped cap and sarcenet bonnet, their chaste bosoms heaving under a cleared muslin kerchief, and the stiff gown, and starched check apron, with high bib, rustling to the motion of their delicate limbs!
Anon, The Vale of Glamorgan: scenes and tales among the Welsh (1839), p. 113

1839 [Cardiganshire]
At Dyffryn Castle ‘… a dozen women and half a dozen children with their blue coats and round black hats … The Welsh, in these parts at least, as far as we went to Aberystwyth, are all well and comfortably and cleanly clad, especially the women nor is there any appearance of poverty among them, excepting in some very few hovels among the wilds.
Anon, An Excursion over the Mountains to Aberystwith, Blackwood’s Magazine, 46, July 1839, p. 68

1839 [Aberystwyth]
I cannot say that I have seen much worth the trouble of the journey, always excepting the Welsh-women’s hats which look very comical to an English eye, being in truth men’s hats, beavers, with the brim a little broad, and tied under the chin with a black ribband. Some faces look very pretty in them.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, writing from Aberystwyth in 1839.
Halam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson : by his son, (Macmillian, 1897)

’STAFELL, or Ystafell, is also used for the store of clothes, household furniture, &c., which the Bride collects before the day of marriage, and makes a display of at the time.’—Richards’s Welsh Dictionary.
I have always noticed with approbation the provident care which the young Welsh females take to lay in a little store of useful articles, such as household furniture, abundance of substantial garments, and other things necessary to begin the domestic arrangements with comfort, previous to their marriage. In fact, the collection is begun almost from infancy, and is continued until they meet with “a man to their mind.” These, generally, consist of homespun blankets, feather beds, crockery, and dairy or kitchen requisites; and so far from considering this care as an indication of a precocious expectation or intention of wedlock, I feel confident, it is rather an assurance that it will not, generally speaking, be entered into unadvisedly. It might, perhaps, be desirable that their English, and more especially their Irish neighbours, imitated them in this point at least.
Bowen, Melesina, Ystradffin : a descriptive poem, with an appendix, containing historical and explanatory notes.(London; Llandovery, 1839), p. 175