EXAMPLES OF DESCRIPTIONS DERIVED FROM OTHER SOURCES
Kerchiefs worn as if everyone had toothache
There is a particularity in the dress of the Pembrokeshire women, which, because it differs from the rest of the Welsh, I shall describe.
The women, even in the midst of summer, generally wear a heavy cloth gown, and instead of a cap, a large handkerchief wrapt over their heads and tied under their chins.
On first seeing this fantastic head-dress I really imagined that there was an epidemical swelling or toothache in the country.
It is possible that this fashion might originate from Flanders, as Pembrokeshire was originally settled by Flemmings. In that low country, that head-dress might have been thought a necessary preservation against the damps and a national prejudice might have continued it in Wales for more than six centuries.
This custom is certainly peculiar to Pembrokeshire; for in the other parts of Wales, the women, as well as the men, wear large beaver hats, with broad brims flapping over their shoulders.
Nay, even some of the better sort of people affect this covering; for I afterwards met, at Llandrindod wells, three old ladies of the neighbourhood, who supped with us under the shade of their beavered umbrellas. ….
Wyndham, Henry Penruddocke (1736-1819)
A gentleman’s tour through Monmouthshire and Wales, in the months of June and July, 1774. London, 1775, (1st Edition); A new edition. To which is added, an account of a journey into Wales, by George Lord Lyttleton. London, T. Evans, 1781; (2nd edition) London, 1794 pp. 76-78.
The Pembrokeshire women differ in their dress from all those we have before seen, for instead of the neat bordered mob cap, they universally wear a silk Handkerchief round their head and tied under the chin, sometimes they wear several upon their head and shoulder, and I was informed that the more handkerchiefs, the greater the consequence of the wearer, but to my eyes they appeared all to be afflicted with the tooth ache or sore throat.
Thomas Martyn, NLW MS 1340C, p. 98
The women here are habited in a long jacket or bedgown of checked worsted with a petticoat of the same. They are chiefly without shoes or stockings and instead of the long blue cloak, a piece of scarlet woollen (not unlike the Scotch plaid in shape), with a fringe of the same colour, half a quarter in length at each end. This loosely hung over the shoulders and pinned at the bosom is called a whittle. The head dress is composed of a mob cap with a coloured handkerchief ties so closely over the head, and crossed under the chin with a long corner hanging behind as would incline a stranger to suppose there was a universal tooth-ach amongst the common people. Above all this warm headdress, in the month of August, is added a black beaver hat.
Spence, Elizabeth, (1768-1832), Summer Excursions through parts of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, and South Wales, volume 2, p. 112-3
From Pembrokeshire to Carmarthen the people and their cottages appeared to be very dirty, today there was a little improvement … The dress was also different from that of the Pembroke people, being somewhat similar to that worn in Glamorganshire – many of the women wore whittols [whittles]; the distinctive feature of the dress in this part of the country is an ugly fashion of wearing a handkerchief (generally coloured) bound round the face as if they were all afflicted with mumps or the toothache. (p. 79)
Sandys, William, (1792-1874), Sandys, Sampson, (1797-1880) (brothers)
‘A Walk through South Wales in Oct. 1819’, Cwrtmawr MS 393C