Old Welsh Costumes. To Be Worn by Pontypool Ladies in the Proclamation day procession.
by Miss Gwladys Williams, B.A.,
The Gorsedd committee requested the LADIES of the Pontypool Cymrodorian Society to form a group in Welsh costume to take part in the procession on Proclamation Thurs, 28.6.1923.
The 30-40 ladies will wear costumes representing different periods of Welsh history. (Mabinogion, Welsh princes …)
A large number will wear the Welsh costume of the tall hat and Welsh flannel dress type familiar to our grandmothers and for several generations now the accepted “Welsh costume”. This costume has become famous in Gwent through the late Lady Llanover who made it an institution among her own people and she discovered various artistic features in the costumes of the different counties of Wales. These she has embodied in a collection of beautifully coloured designs now in the possession of the Cardiff library.
The very tall hat has not always held sway. Some were like the modern gentleman’s silk hats; others were flat crowned and broad brimmed like the Dolly Varden hat and the mob caps worn under them were also very varied in shape and length.
The essential parts of the costume are the skirt, the over dress or bedgown (betgwn) which is also like a Polonaise. This was either draped away from the front or worn quite straight or again draped with a panier effect behind – and the apron, all three as a rule of Welsh flannel.
Then the white kerchief or Paisley cross-over was placed either under or over the betgwn, mittens were nearly always worn as the sleeves of the betgwn were quite short.
In north Wales the red cloaks were more worn perhaps than in south Wales thought they must have been a familiar feature in Fishguard in the days of Napolean …
The big Paisley shawls, some of exquisitely fine materials, some of silk with very beautiful design and colouring, have been made famous in pictures. These were worn simply as shawls by old ladies but they were often draped over the costume.
Abergavenny Chronicle 22.6.1923
[There is no mention of Welsh costumes in the report of the Proclamation in the Abergavenny Chronicle, 29.6.1923]