souvenir blanket

In 1868 the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Caernarfon on their way back from Ireland. The Prince opened the waterworks and they were presented with gifts.

Messrs [John] Roberts and Son, Manufacturers, presented to the Princess a table cover with a representation of Caernarfon Castle upon it – scarlet and white; also a beautiful linsey dress with an apron, which articles the Princess was graciously pleased to accept.

North Wales Chronicle 2.5.1868; The Times, Monday, Apr 27, 1868; p. 9; North Wales Chronicle 25.4.1868 (and special edition that night).

The table cover design was later incorporated in a blanket or cathen of red and grey wool, made on a jacquard loom incorporated pictures of the University College, Aberystwyth building (known as Old College) with the words ‘Cymru Fydd’ (Wales Now) and Caernarfon Castle with the words ‘Cymru Fu’ (Wales Then). The boarder was decorated with Welsh dragons, daffodils and leeks. Many copies were made 1895 by John Griffith Jones of Pwllheli.

During the 1960s, Trefrew Woollen Mill produced quillts based on this design in a variety of colours anticipating the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969.

Ann Sutton, The Textiles of Wales, (1987), p. 76-7 with illustration

There are examples of the cathen in Bangor Museum, Ceredigion Museum and the National Woollen Museum, Drefach Felindre and two are known to be in private collections.



I saw examples of a quilt [sic] with a jacquard woven design consisting of representations of Caernarvon Castle (Cymru Fu) and University College, Aberystwyth (Cymru Fydd) and the Welsh dragon surrounded by a border of leeks. It transpired that these quilts had been woven by a south Caernarvonshire firm and that the design had been developed from a quilt woven by a hand weaver of Caernarvon, named John Roberts. By means of a sixteen shaft treadle hand loom, this old craftsman produced a … quilt which is said to have been presented to the … Prince of Wales when he opened Caernarvon waterworks in 1876 [sic]. The South Caernarvonshire firm took up the idea and by the aid of a jacquard loom produced a variety of elaborate designs … which sold for a long number of years. This is the only example I have come across in which the jacquard machine has been used in a Welsh factory.
Crankshaw, W.P., Report on a Survey of the Welsh Textile Industry. (UWP, 1927), p. 20