1860s

Descriptions of Welsh costume, 1860-1869
For an explanation of recording conventions, see Chronological survey.

INTRODUCTION

The number of tourists who kept diaries or wrote journals of their visits to Wales declined considerably during the 1860s during which time the railways had reached most part of the country. It seems likely that most of what could be said by tourists about Wales had been said, and the market was flooded by publications written by of for them. On the other hand, more newspapers and magazines were being published in Wales; historians were beginning to study the recent past and bemoaning the loss of Welsh customs; a few autobiographies recorded childhood memories of life in early to mid 19th century Wales, and occasionally, women wore Welsh Costume when performing at special events such as Eisteddfodau and Royal visits.

 

1860 Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire
There are not very many districts where the tourist will not be able to make himself understood except perhaps in the remote and hilly portions of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, districts where the red flannel gown and high-peaked hat still form the characteristic dress of the women …
Anon, A handbook for travellers in South Wales and its borders, including the River Wye. (London: 1860), p. xxvi

1860 Rhyl
When I said that there was nothing picturesque at Rhyl, there should have been excepted the spectacle of some of the fisherwomen, who with nets on their shoulders, blue gowns reaching to their knees, and naked feet, trudging on the sands early on a summer’s morning carolling Welsh songs (p. 30)
The inhabitants, who are natives, seem to be real descendants of the ancient Druids, both in shape and dress. Numbers of both sexes which we saw, I am pretty sure, never wore a shoe or stocking since they were created. (p. 126)
Halliwell-Phillipps, James Orchard, (FRS) Notes of family excursions in north Wales, taken Chiefly from Rhyl, Abergele, Llandudno and Bangor, (1860)

(1860s) Ynys Môn
Het fawr uchel (yn gyffredin o silc) a chantal llydan fflat uwch hen gap gwyn
wedi ei startsio, a’i grimpio yn y ffrynt. … Gwisgent ryw fath o own stiff, ac o dano ddwy neu dair o beisiau (ond ni allaf fanylu ymhellach) a mantell ar y cefn yn cyrraedd i lawr rhyw droedfedd  a hanner uwch y llawr. Gwisgent hefyd ar dywydd mawr “hwd” (wedi ei leinio â satin) dros eu het fawr wrth drafeilio.
W.T., Pan oedd fy Nain yn Ugain Oed, Y Ffordd Gron, Cyf. II, Rhif 9, Gorffannaf, 1932, td. 199, illustration
[(1860s) Anglesey
A large tall hat (most often of silk), with a wide flat brim worn over an old white cap, starched, crimped [or ‘goffered’] in the front. … They wore some kind of gown of a stiff material and underneath two or three petticoats (but I cannot go into any further detail) and a cloak which reached about two and a half feet from the ground. When traveling in poor weather a large hood (lined with satin) was worn over the large hat.
W.T., When my grandmother was twenty years old, Y Ffordd Gron, July, 1932, translated by Huw Roberts]

1860s
On the ‘relative importance of respectable clothing and good food, the former stands higher in the estimation of the average Welsh man or woman of the farming or of the labouring class than it does in that of an English person of the same sex and position in life. … His own tendancy would be rather to stint himself in food in order to spend more on clothes in which to appear on Sunday … he would stay at home rather than attend [Sunday school] in his weekday clothes. This tendency is still more prceptable among the mining portion of the population, and especially the quarrymen of North Wales. … the way in which the women, for instance, in the quarry districts can dress, gives evidence to a natural taste, to a sence of colour and proportion which may be sometimes looked for in vain in ladies of a higher position in life in England.
From an antiquarian point of view there is probably little to be said of the Welsh dress from the Tudor times to the present day, except what might be said of the fashions in England at the same time. Even the so-called Welsh hat which was still to be seen worn in the sixties by women in Cardiganshire, less frequently in Merioneth, Caernarfon and Anglesey, has nothing distinctly Welsh: it was introduced from England, as may be seen from the examination of paintings dating from Stuart times.
Rhys, John, and Brynmor-Jones, D., The Welsh People, (1900), p. 567

1861 [South Wales]
[A girl, whom the Halls described as a gipsy, was planting flowers on a grave in a churchyard] ‘her skirt was of scarlet, and above it was a light cotton jacket with loose sleeves, that had been washed nearly white.’ (p. 183)
In the costume there is not much to strike the stranger as peculiar. The hat, the shape of which varies in different counties, is still somewhat generally worn by women; it is costly, a good “beaver” being of the value of 20 shillings – and even a farmer’s wife of small means will not be content with inferior head-gear. The short semi-coats of coloured flannel, pinned under the bosom, which is covered by the folds of a kerchief, are made at home, and are encountered in all market places, where “the best” is donned, – and it is always a pretty and cheerful sight to see the women, old and young, in such assemblages, with neat white baskets, vending the produce of the garden or farm. The hats are broad-brimmed, high and mostly peaked in the crown; their use does not, however, date farther back than the reign of Elizabeth. Of late they have been much displaced by a small closely fitting bonnet cap, not unlike a jocky’s cap. The red linsey petticoat, usually both made and dyed at home, is still common; it is generally worn very short, and displays the shoe tied with ribbon, or the wooden-soled “clogs”. The women are always neatly attired, and rags are never by any chance seen, either in byway or highway. (pp. 186-7)
The men wear low-crowned hats, and are for the most part clothed in coats and vests of deep blue cloth, home spun and with brass buttons, have knee breeches of corduroy, and are very partial to showy silk neckcloths. The dress of the women varies. The national costume, as our readers are aware, is a short sleeved cloth jacket, and the petticoat, which is short and sensible, particularly in rainy weather. But flannel, stuff, and cotton gowns of different shapes are also common; in all cases, however, the checked flannel apron is indispensable, and a long blue cloak with a capacious hood is, even in warm weather, not thought superfluous. They frequently wear high-crowned, broad-rimmed hats; these are usually of beaver, and ornamented with fringed bands; but straw hats are prevalent- some of the same form as the beavers, others less steeple-crowned, and some again nearly of a scuttle shape. These hats must be a sad encumbrance to a woman who is laden with a large heavily-freighted market basket on her head; but, on such occasions, a genuine daughter of Cambria would not be restrained … from the pleasure of wearing her national headdress in the streets and market place, though she has had to carry it for miles in her hand, or tied to her arm or apron string. (pp. 300-301)
Gower
The south-west of the Gower is inhabited by the successors of a colony of Flemmings, who do not understand the Welsh language. They are distinguished by their dialect and provincial dress, and rarely intermarry with the Welsh. The women wear what is called a whittle, made on fine wool, and dyed scarlet ; it is nearly two yards square, with a fringe at the bottom called ddrums. It is thrown across the shoulders, and fastened with a pin or broach; anciently it was fastened with the prickle of the blackthorn. (Swansea Directory, 1816) (note on pp. 349-350
Hall, Mr and Mrs, The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the coast, (1861)

1861 Swansea
The market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and is well attended by the country farmers and their wives who in their picturesque costumes (high-crowned sugar-loaf hat one foot in height and six inches broad in the brim, and red shawls folded across their breasts) present a scene unfamiliar to English eyes. The milk and cockle women too make a pretty sight as they return home after disposing of their goods. They generally march along the road in bare feet, for, though they wear their shoes in the town, they generally doff them as soon as they get to the outskirts. Across their breasts they wear a small red handkerchief, and their dresses reach only to the knee. Their pails, loaded to the brim, and sometimes of great weight, they carry beautifully poised on their heads without swaying their bodies in the slightest degree.
The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), Saturday, October 26, 1861

1861 Aberdare Eisteddfod [French]
[The visitor was generally disappointed by clothes that he sees, as Welsh ‘costume’ is in decline.] ‘Malheureusement, ce n’était plus le costume antique ; le triste et vulgaire habit de nos jours sied mal aux rites poétiques, et, en Galles, les femmes seules ont gardé en partie le costume des Cymrys.’
(Unfortunately, it wasn’t the ancient costume; the sad and vulgar clothes of today do not suit poetic ritual well, and, in Wales, only the women have kept up the Costume of the Cymry to some degree.)
[Then at last sees some costumes on labouring-class competitors :] ‘la tartane à carreaux rouge et noirs ou à grandes raies rouges et blanches sur fond brun, et le manteau rouge que les femmes portent encore dans la campagne. L’étrange chapeau d’homme à haute forme, adopté par les Galloises, on ne sait pourquoi, car il n’a rien de celtique, altère malheureusement quelque peu l’harmonie du vieux costume gaulois aux éclatantes couleurs.’
(the red and black check or wide stripes of red and white on a brown background, the red cloaks that women still wear in the coutryside. The strange men’s top hat, adopted by Welsh women – who knows why, as there is nothing Celtic about it – unfortunately upsets the harmony of the old brightly-coloured Gaulish costume.)
Henri Martin, Etudes d’archéologie celtique: notes de voyages dans les pays celtiques et scandinaves (Paris : Didier, 1872), notes on Wales section dated 1861, pp. 50, 56
Translation by Heather Williams

1861-1862
Llanover, Monmouthshire
19.9.1861
{Arrived at Llanover} I was very much animated to see two women who were brushing the walks dressed in hats and bobtails and stuff aprons etc. etc. p. 3
Jane, the still room maid prepared [tea] for us, she was dressed in Welsh costume and as I afterwards saw, all the other servants were the same. p. 4
21.9.1861 (Friday)
‘… about tea time Lady Llanover sent for me … She spoke to me very kind, but still with a strong determination not to deviate from any of her accustomed rules … Her dress was rather peculiar on the whole. She had on a stuff skirt tucked up all around, a black velvet jacket, a puce bow attached to her collar, no cap as I had anticipated, black silk stockings and little shoes with ribbon bows’. (p. 9)
22.9.1861 (Sunday)
{to Church, Welsh service at 3 pm). All the servants belonging to the Hall wore their high hats and a few [others] besides. Her Ladyship also wore one (and always does on Sundays). p.11
19.12.1861
We were very busy all day making up the clothes for the poor here again
20.12.1861
We distributed the clothing to above a 100 of the surrounding poor. Some few of them came in their Welsh dress evidently they had not worn it since the last time they came for their clothing. There was one enormous high hat, it actually haunted me for days. I was fancying it like some great chimney falling on me for it looked so rickety on the woman’s head.  p. 21
25.12.1861
Elizabeth Manuel came up about 12 o’clock dressed for the occasion to help me to do the same and very smart we looked in our new flannel gowns that her ladyship gave us (and indeed had given to all in the house). p. 25
13.2.1862
{much company came} Welsh reels and Welsh jigs were danced in the front hall. Mrs Davies, Mrs Lewis and Lemmy? – Gwenllian Parker Janet and Gethin Parker, Little Anne, Margaret James and Richard composed the sets. They were all dressed in full Welsh costume, all looked very rustic. p. 29
1.3.1862 (St David’s Day)
We all wore leeks and had a regular “Welsh dinner” it was also the usual day for the school children to come up to be examined but her Ladyship was not well enough [no mention of Welsh costume: perhaps if Lady Llanover was feeling better, they would have been made to wear Welsh Costume]. p. 36
14.5.1862 Narberth, Pembrokshire
[on journey home from Tenby] When we came to Narberth there was a very large fair, we could scarcely drive through, all the women were dressed in the real Pembrokeshire dress, jacket and petticoats alike and very tall hats. p. 50
19.5.1862
What a great day to be, about 20 of us went to an eisteddfod, we were all dressed in the Welsh costume. Elizth [Elizabeth Emanual?] and I had red cloaks. We all went to Lady Llanover’s bedroom after we were dressed and she was very pleased with us. Jane Williams and I had our lickness taken.
{Merthyr Eisteddfod} p. 53
Diary of Margaret Davies, later Margaret Mostyn Jones, servant to Lady Llanover at Llanover. She originally lived at Wern, Mostyn, near Holywell, Clwyd and was the daughter of Lord Mostyn’s bailiff. She married Rev. J Mostyn Jones.
NLW MS 23511A, and typed transcript in NLW Maxwell Fraser bequest, CB5,
Margaret Davies, from her diary.  Thomas, David, (ed.), ‘Lady Below Stairs’ Country Quest, (July 1967), p. 31
[The above includes all references to costume in the diary.]

1862 (pre)
Chester
The fish and vegetable market, as in every strange town, is also worth a peep. In the streets the Welsh costume of many of the country people reminds you that you are still in the near neighbourhood of Cambria. p. 45
Wales
The Welsh woman wears all her bones under her outer integument or skin. She has not only no cane, steel, or whalebone to protect the lower extremities, but she is also free from anything in the shape of stays to support the upper portion of her figure; and incredible as it may appear, her gait is more upright and her physical strength and activity greater than those of her fair sisters of the outer boned or crustaceous division of the sex. Making allowance for inferiority of stature, the Welsh women appear to be as strong and as capable of work as the men.
South Wales
The women of South Wales are often distinguished by great personal beauty, and the markets of the towns in Glamorganshire present studies for the artist, which might rival the boasted examples of Italy and Spain. The plaid scarf which has during my recollection superseded the old red “Whittle” or shawl, is often disposed round the lithe figure of the peasant fruit-girl or daughter of the mountain farmer, with an ease and grace of fold which a peeress might not disdain to emulate. Apropos of the red whittle it may be recollected that the last French invasion, consisting of an army of a thousand or so of men, at Fishguard, was effectually repelled by the appearance of the Welsh women on the distant heights, in their hats and red whittles, presenting a military aspect, which deceived the French general into a belief that an English army stood ready to receive him. As in most remote and thinly populated countries, the women of Wales are spinners and knitters of the family hose; and the village loom supplies the homespun fabrics which form the staple of the peasant costume.
Bigg, W., The ten-day tourist; or, Sniffs of the mountain breeze, (1862)

1862 [Concert at St George’s Hall, Liverpool]
The programme consisted of Welsh music. … [with] songs were by Miss S G Wynne—who by the way ‘ became ‘ her Welsh costume a ravir…
Anon, The Musical World, 1862, p 22

1862 Describing the Flemish in Gower and Pembrokshire [French]
‘Leur habillement se compose d’étoffes du pays ; quelques-uns portent des plaids ; la plupart des femmes ont un whitle, espèce de schall, [not a French word] généralement teint en rouge et orné dans le bas de franges appelées drums. Ce vêtement est très-pittoresque, et les femmes ont une manière toute particulière de l’arranger. Elles enveloppent leurs enfants afin de pouvoir les porter, tout en gardant les mains libres pour tricoter ou s’occuper des soins de la maison. Elles ont le chapeau d’homme en castor, si commun en Galles, mais qui cependant perd du terrain’.
(Their clothes are made of local fabrics ; some wear tartan ; most women have a whitle [whittle], a kind of shawl, usually coloured red and decorated at the bottom with fringes called drums. These clothes are very picturesque, and the women have a very particular way of arranging them. They wrap up their children so as to be able to carry them, while keeping their hands free to knit or to do housework. They have the man’s beaver hat in which is so common in Wales, though it is losing ground.)
Alfred Erny, ‘Voyage dans le pays de Galles, 1862, texte et dessin inédits’, Le Tour du Monde, p. 264.
Translation by Heather Williams
Some of this, including the term ‘ddrums’ [sic] is from the Swansea Directory, 1816 and The New Swansea Guide, (1823), p. 77, and which was also published as a note in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs, ‘The Companion Guide (by Railway) in South Wales’, The Art Journal, 1860, note p. 312 and in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs, The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast, (1861), p. 349

1862, Carmarthen and Pembroke [French]
‘Les femmes des comtés de Caermarthen et de Pembroke s’habillent d’une étoffe à carreaux rouges et noirs.’,
(The women of the counties of Carmarthen and Pembroke wear a checked fabric of red and black.)
Picture of women in hats at market, p. 273
Alfred Erny, ‘Voyage dans le pays de Galles, 1862, texte et dessin inédits’, Le Tour du Monde, p. 266
Translation by Heather Williams who confirmed that he meant check, not striped.

1863, St David’s Pembrokeshire
Entrance to his region [Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire] is distinguishable by the people speaking Welsh … and by the costume of the females, who, innocent of their crinoline, are attired in homespun flannel garments, and wear on their heads conical high-crowned hats with broad brims, beneath which appear the full and snow-white voluminous frills of a cap …
The females, and even those belonging to the yeoman class, almost universally adhere to the Welsh costume, but they lack that comeliness which is generally possessed by the Welsh women.
J. F. N. H., A Remote Corner of Wales, Bentley’s Miscellany, LIV, London, 1863, pp. 399, 404

1863
Tenby

After breakfast, I went to the market and saw many of the women from the country who had brought butter and various things to market, wearing tall spiral shaped black beaver hats. Both old and young seem to wear this national headgear but those living in the town seem to wear the usual bonnet. pp. 38
The Gower
The Flemmings  – their physical form is different, their costume somewhat peculiar …
Their garments are chiefly homespun. Some of the plaids are pretty, although not equal to those of the vale of Neath, and most of the women wear a whittle, generally died scarlet – a sort of scarf-like shawl with a fringe at the bottom called ddrums which has often a very picturesque appearance, and within which infants are bound and carried on the shoulder in order to enable their parents to use their hands in household duties or knitting. In the old time the whittle was fastened with a prickle of the blackthorn. The peaked beaver hat, so common in Wales is not used by the women of the Gower. pp. 69-70
Anon, Journal of a Tour in south Wales (Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, Swansea, Cardiff), Cardiff Central Library, MS 3.272, p. 38
[The reference to ddrums probably comes form the Swansea Directory, 1816; The New Swansea Guide, (1823), p. 77, and also published as a note in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs,  ‘The Companion Guide (by Railway) in South Wales’, The Art Journal, (1860), note p. 312 and in Hall, Mr S.C., and Mrs, The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast, (1861), p. 349]

1863
Whatever may be the effect of this influx of fashionable visitors on the natives in a moral point of view, the influence on manners and costume is very marked. The once characteristic dress of the women for instance, having disappeared far more entirely than even the language – the large brimmed beaver hat and plain woolsey gown being generally replaced by the universal crinoline and “skimpy” face-pinching bonnet.
Holland, John, Letters from Llangollen (19 letters published in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph with poetry, manuscript notes and many prints) NLW, mss. 16722 D, f. 17-18

1864
RURAL ECONOMY – WATER SUPPLY, CAERNARVONSHIRE
To see a troop of healthy, ruddy, laughing, finely formed girls, dressed in the native costume, each with one of these gracefully formed pitchers of water poised upon her head, is an example of ‘life in the Country’ worth looking at.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, May 7, 1864; Issue 1909

1864 CEMMES GRAND EISTEDDFOD
[There was an] almost entire absence of anything that indicated Wales. There was an almost entire abnegation of Welsh costume. Only in one instance was the linsey gown and sugarloaf hat seen. … The performers and listeners were arrayed in the height of English fashion.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), June 4, 1864

1865 [south Wales] (Royal visit)
Prince Arthur’s visit to South Wales by Train
Between Swansea and New Milford [Neyland] the Prince ‘had many opportunities of observing some fair specimens of the peculiar costume of the Welsh women, especially in the matter of the conical hats and mob caps. These peculiarities were more noticeable in the district between Swansea and Haverfordwest than on any other part of the route and strange to say they disappeared altogether at the end of the day’s journey [to Milford] where primitive fashions might have been expected to prevail.
Cambrian [newspaper], 4.8.1865

1865 (31.7.1865-1.8.1865) (Royal visit)       
Prince Arthur visited Newport (Gwent), Milford, Pembroke and Tenby where he unveiled the Welsh Memorial to his father.
Ann Jones, dressed in the national costume sung to the harp played by Gruffydd, harper to Lord Llanover. At the banquet Gruffydd, dressed in ‘the national costume of a Welsh harper of the 14th century, played the triple harp.’
Cambrian Journal, (1865), pp. 149-165

1865 Abergwili, Carmarthen (Royal visit)
Re visit of Prince Arthur (aged 15) to Tenby, August, 1865, to inaugurate the Welsh memorial to Prince Albert.
letter to Mrs Bayne, dated Abergwili, 8.8.1865
During dinner (with the Prince), we were regaled with the music of a Welsh harper, and when we had returned to the drawing-room he [the harper?] was brought in with a young Welsh girl in the perfection of Welsh costume, and looking as if she had been just taken out of a bandbox. She sang two Welsh songs, and the performance concluded with the ‘Men of Harlech’. …
More Welsh was visible on banners and triumphal arches than has been heard in Tenby probably for centuries. It was no doubt intended to represent rather what ought to be than what is. {One was Long Life to the Welsh Language).
Connop Thirlwall [1797-1875], Letters literary and theological of Connop Thirlwall‎, (1881), p. 243

1865 Swansea [French]
‘Les femmes du pays de Galles, au chapeau de feutre noir, élevé, roide, rappelant de tout point, sauf une hauteur plus grande encore, celui des hommes, cette affreuse coiffure dont nous ne pouvons parvenir à nous débarasser depuis que la mode nous l’a imposée vers la fin du dernier siècle, nous apparurent là dans toute l’excentricité de leur costume primitif’
(Welsh women, in black felt hats, high, straight, reminiscent in every way – except that they are even higher – of men’s hats, that awful headdress that we can’t manage to rid ourselves of since fashion imposed it on us around the end of the last century, appeared to us there in all the excentricity of their primitive costumes.)
Simonin, ‘Une visite aux grandes usines du pays de Galles’, in Le Tour de Monde (Paris : Hachette, 1865), p. 323
Translation by Heather Williams

1865 Wales [French]
‘Outre le chapeau de feutre élevé qui fait sur leurs têtes un effet si étrange, et qui chez quelques-unes est de forme tronconique comme le chapeau calabrais, ou bien a le bord de derrière relevé à la façon du bonnet de Louis XI, les femmes du pays de Galles portent aussi/ un mouchoir ou une coiffe qui leur entoure la tête, les oreilles et le cou. Un tablier et un casaquin de bure de couleur rouge, un jupon court de même étoffe complètent ce que leur costume présente de singulier’,
(Apart from the high felt hats on their heads that create such a strange effect, and which in some cases look like the base of a cone like Calabrian hats, and in others have the back brim turned up in the manner of a Louis XI bonnet, Welsh women also wear a neckerchief or a headdress wrapped around their heads, ears and neck. An apron and a homespun blouse in red, and a short petticoat in the same fabric complete what is remarkable about their costume.)
Simonin, ‘Une visite aux grandes usines du pays de Galles’, in Le Tour de Monde (Paris : Hachette, 1865), pp. 321-52 (323-24), see also the illustration of above, worn by fisherwomen, p. 328
Translation by Heather Williams

1865 Carmarthen [French]
‘Ce qui frappe tout d’abord, c’est le costume des femmes de la campagne. Ce costume consiste en un jupon rouge surmonté d’un casaquin de laine bleue, ouvert et flottant, maintenu seulement autour de la taille par le cordon du tablier. Un chapeau d’homme en feutre noir, ressemblant, pour la forme, à ces tuyaux d’argile qu’on pose en Angleterre sur les cheminées, chimney pots, recouvre un bonnet blanc comme la neige qui entoure la chevelure et se noue sous le menton. C’est surout le samedi, jour de marché, que je pus observer à loisir ce vêtement bizarre. […] [Une fermière] conduisiait elle-même une élégante voiture du pays, entièrement découverte et traînée par un poney welshe à l’œil plein de feu. Elle paraissait fière de porter le costume national, et comme si c’était un privilège de la jeunesse d’embellir tout autour d’elle, le chapeau de feutre n’avait point du tout mauvais air sur sa tête.// […] Et pourtant le vieux costume tend chaque jour à disparaître : à Newport, à Cardiff, on ne le rencontre presque plus. Une jeune fille restée fidèle à la mode de ses ancêtres est accueillie dans les rues avec un sourire moqueur. Les grand’mères en gémissent : avec le costume qui s’en va se perdent aussi, suivant elles, les derniers lambeaux de la nationalité bretonne. Il n’y a plus guère que les campagnes où la force de l’usage se fasse encore respecter. Là, les femmes tiennent tant au chapeau qu’elles le portent jusque dans la maison. Je me souviens d’avoir vu dans un humble cottage trois vieilles paysannes qui prenaient le thé autour d’une petite table ronde, et qu’à leur coiffure j’avais prises d’abord pour trois hommes. Cette coiffure singulière a pourtant sa rasion d’être : elle convient au climat. Dans un pays fort exposé aux injures des éléments, le chapeau de feutre à forme haute et à larges bords ne protège pas seulement la figure, il défend la tête et le bonnet blanc contre les pluies qui tombent durant une grande partie de l’année’.
(What strikes you first is the costume of country women. This costume consists of a red petticoat topped by a blouse of blue wool, open and floating, only fixed at the waist, by the apron strings. A man’s hat in black felt, its shape ressembling those clay tubes that the English place on their chimneys, chimney pots, covers a snow-white bonnet that surrounds the hair and knots under the chin. It was mainly on Saturdays, market day, that I was able to observe this bizarre outfit at leisure. … [A female farmer] was driving herself in an elegant local car, completely uncovered and pulled by a Welsh poney with fire in its eye. She seemed proud to wear the national costume, and as if it were the privilege of youth to prettify everyting around it, the felt hat did not look at all bad on her head. … Though the old costume is in decline : you almost never see it now in Newport or Cardiff. A young girl who has remained faithful to the fashions of her ancestors receives mocking smiles on the streets. The grandmothers lament this : for them the last remnants of their Briton  identity are disappearing along with the costume. It is only in the countryside that the habit is still respected. There, women are so attached to the hats that they even wear them indoors. I remember seeing three old peasant women drinking tea at a little round table in a humble cottage, whom I had initially taken to be three men on account of their headdress. This singular headdress has its explanation though : it suits the climate. In a country so exposed to the insults of the elements, the high felt hat with wide brim does not only protect the face, it also defends the head and the white bonnet from the rain that falls for the greater part of the year.)
Esquiros, Alphonse. “L’Angleterre et la vie anglaise: XXVI. Le sud du Pays de Galles et l’industrie du fer. Carmarthen, les eisteddfodau et les Iron-Works de Merthyr Tydfil.” Revue de Deux Mondes 55 (1865), p. 808
Translation by Heather Williams

1865 Merthyr [French]
People in Merthyr can be divided into two groups, those with shoes and those without. Difficult to find other distinctions because their clothes are all the same, a patchwork of at least a thousand pieces. Astonishing to think that such clothes were once new. Children play in the mud half-naked like ducks. Women there dressed like men, wearing brown jackets or ‘casaques’ [overblouse], big wooden-soled shoes, carrying things on their heads, on top of a hat.
‘Un chapeau à couronne plate, fait en paille grossière, leur permet d’asseoir et d’équilibrer le fardeau.’
(A hat with a flat crown, made of rough straw, allows then to settle down and balance the load.)
Babies are wrapped in an old shawl that covers the mother’s left shoulder and passes under her right arm, with both ends knotted on the chest. [siôl magu] {Explains this as a gypsy habit.}
Esquiros, Alphonse. “L’Angleterre et la vie anglaise: XXVI. Le sud du Pays de Galles et l’industrie du fer. Carmarthen, les eisteddfodau et les Iron-Works de Merthyr Tydfil.” Revue de Deux Mondes 55 (1865), p. 830
Translation by Heather Williams

1865
Illustration of ‘A Welch Girl’
‘Female Costumes, Historical, National, Dramatic in 200 plates. Collected and edited by T. H. Lacy, (London, 1865), plate 122

1865
On Thursday, 28th ult., Lord and Lady Llanover opened their gardens and grounds to the principal tradesmen of Abergavenny with whom they deal. … An hour was devoted to refreshment, when the bell again rang to announce that seats were arranged, and music would commence near the trees below the fountain, opposite the magnificent old oak, under which Gruffydd, in full costume, was seated with his triple harp, and was soon joined by the Llanover Welsh choir, who approached two and two in procession~the women, in Welsh costume with black beaver hats and mob caps, each person having a bough of oak in their hand.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 7.10.1865

1867
WELSH WOMAN’S HAT
In the last volume of the Camden Society, there is a portrait of Christina, Queen of Sweden [1626-1689]… [wearing] a regular Welsh woman’s hat with a very broad brim. I suspect that this kind of hat must have been more common in England … and its survival in Wales shows how much more conservative Welsh women are then their English sisters.
Bishop Therwall in ‘Letters to a Friend’, 5th April, 1867, p. 128,
Cynwil, Bye-gones: Relating to Wales and the Border Counties, (1882-3), p. 272

1868 OUR NATIONAL WELSH COSTUME
[Letter about costume from Robert Herbert Williams of Menai Bridge to Llewelyn Turner, Mayor of Caernarfon concerning the visit of the Prince of Wales to Caernarfon in 1868 on his way back from Ireland. He opened the waterworks at Caernarfon]
Since our Welsh National Costume is fast disappearing from the Principality, would it not be well on the occasion of the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to gather together a number of women who have not yet abandoned the costume and let … the Princess see them. Let them wear their ordinary dress when going to market. These women might be got from Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire and from Aberystwyth, Dolgellau etc.
I have no doubt that Lady Llanover would be able to get some of the real type for you. … let it be the real old costume – gown stwff, het Carlisle, a chap wedi cwilio [sic should be cwicio], and do not object to anyone who might appear in the pais a bedgwn. [gown of stuff – a type of wool, Carlisle hat (presumably a Welsh hat), a goffered cap, and skirt and bedgown.]
When the queen, as Princess, resided in Wales [in 1832], she admired the Welsh dress so much that she specially ordered a Welsh dress to be made for her from Robert Sion Pryse (Gweirydd ap Rhys, Llanrhyddiad, Anglesey), which she wore during her stay and afterwards, until it became fashionable among the nobility.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, April 18, 1868; Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent, 25th April 1868

1868 Llandovery
OPENING OF THE CENTRAL WALES EXTENSION RAILWAY
Tuesday being market day, there was a considerable influx of farmers and their wives, most of the latter attired in the old Welsh costume and wearing broad-brimmed sugar-loaf hats
Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Thursday, June 25, 1868

1868 Cheltenham
The annual performance of Welsh music, which for more than a generation has taken place in celebration of St. David’s Day, was given on Monday evening, the 2nd inst., in the Montpelier Rotunda. … a young maiden, announced by the name of ‘ Ehedydd Glyn-Nedd’ (the Lark of Neath Valley), who presented herself, dressed in Welsh costume, and sang a charming little melody, entitled ‘ Kerch y Melinydd,’ from Miss Jane Williams’s Ancient Airs of Gwent.”
The Musical world, Volume 46, (1868), p. 181

1868 (about) Narberth
{At the hiring fairs, the servants are}in “Pembrokeshire costume”, which consists of a high-crowned black beaver hat, set on the extreme top of the head; a white stiffly-starched cap under it, and the brown tight jacket, with short plain sleeves, (This is similar to a Joseph or short Polka, of late of so much in fashion with the higher classes, the only difference being that the Welsh jacket is cut low on the bosom and has short sleeves.) This jacket is well calculated to show the figure to advantage; and, as in this county the bad figure is the exception, a deformed person being rarely seen, it is a most becoming dress; the light neckerchief under it, and bright cotton sleeves attached to the short cloth ones, with the addition, in general, of bright blue or garnet-coloured glass buttons at the back and sleeves of the jacket, the short petticoat of brown cloth, and black and white apron, black stockings and shoes, complete the picturesque dress of the lower class in the country. In the towns, near the coast, the English gown and straw bonnet are replacing the national costume.
The Pembrokeshire costume as described (p. 72), still lingers on in country parishes. The Carmarthenshire costume differs materially from it. The “Langwn Oyster Women” have a peculiar style of dress they may be seen in the streets of Tenby with their “creels” of “panniers” slung behind, straps of leather fastening them over their shoulders. They row their boats in Milford Haven waters, dredge for their oysters, and afterwards walk thence to Tenby to dispose of their delicious little bivalves to the visitors. “Betty Palmer” is to be seen faithfully represented in carte-de-visite and other photographic groups
Allen’s Guide to Tenby, edited by Mrs F.P. Gwynne (W Kent and Co, London, and C.S. Allen, Tenby, [c. 1868], pp. 72-73; 135-136

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