Despite the number of illustrations of men in smocks in Wales, the evidence suggests that smocks were rarely worn in western Wales, but they might have been more common in the east, on the borders with England.

Payments for Smock Frocks
Five sets of records of payment for men’s smocks have been found. No further details were included than those noted below. The prices suggest that they were relatively expensive, being on a par with a new pair of shoes or a woman’s new gown.

a smock frock for old Evan  5s 6d
NLW MS 18752D. (Miscellaneous account book, possibly from Monmouthshire), f. 3r

1828, William Abel, deduction from his annual wage (of £4 14s 6d) of 7s 6d for a smock frock
1828, Steven Thomas deduction from his wage of (of £4 5s 0d) of 6s 6d for a smock frock
1828, Edward Thomas deduction from his wage (unspecified) of 4s 9d for a smock frock
Account book of wages agreed to be paid to hired servants and labourers, with details of installments paid (Newport, Monmouthshire), NLW MS 18749B, f. 2r

The term frock for a man’s garment might apply to a smock frock, or to a frock coat. These prices suggest that these were for a smock frock.
1808, Rees Lewis, deduction from his annual wage (of £3 3s 0d) of 7s for a frock
1823, Edward Lewis, deduction from his annual wage (of £2 12s 6d) of 5s for a frock
NLW, Jones Family (Nantmel, Radnorshire) Papers 20, ff. 32, 55v

1845, D. Thomas, deduction from his annual wage (unspecified) of 8s for a frock
A volume of servants’ wages and other accounts of John Williams, Waunfawr, Tregaron, co. Cardigan, 1844-1867, NLW MS 12286A, f. 13r

May 1857 Eleanor paid Jenkins for stuff to make James Lloyd’s frock 2s 6d
Household and farming account book, 1856-1863, of Evan Watkin of Moelcerni, parish of Llanfihangel Genau’r-glyn, co. Cardigan, farmer, schoolmaster, NLW MS 22639A,f. 18r


A painting by the Rev. John Parker (1798-1860) shows a shepherd near Bala wearing a smock, red muffler and blue stockings.  (is this NLW Drawing volume, vol. 327. box 2, f. 16 ?)
Mentioned by Etheridge, p. 41

Watercolour by Rev. John Parker (1798-1860), no. date,
‘Llyn Cwellyn and the coast of Arfon from near the summit of Snowdon’
includes a shepherd in smock with small backpack
NLW Drawing volume, vol. 327. box 3, f. 33

Llanmerewig church by F.C.L, Jan 1860
Includes groups of people outside the porch, including a child or old lady in red hooded cloak and bonnet, and a man in a smock.
Leighton, Lady M., ‘Snowdonia’
NLW DV352 (PZ574), p. 3

The Apprension of the Murderer, possibly by Hugh Hughes
Anon, Murder committed by Charles Young, (Catnach, London, c 1825)
Lord, P., Words with Pictures, (1995), p. 90

Llanidloes pig fair, by Hugh Hughes, 1847
Lord, Peter, Imaging the Nation, (2000), vol. 2, p. 196, no. 314

Sketch of man in smock  from map of Camddwr-Bach (1824)
Jenkins, Gwyn, Hetwyr Llangynfelyn, Ceredigion, X, (1984), plate X.2 18-28

A Welsh Cottage by E.P. OWEN, 1835 (probably)
No title or date. Probably Llanrhystud – Aberystwyth area, cottage interior, various items, table and stick-back chair, but little else, boy (with smock?), old man and woman with baby
National Library of Wales : DV317, p. 35

Boy in smock by William Evans.
Lord, Peter, Clarence Whaite and the Welsh Art World, The Betws-y-Coed Artist’s Colony, 1844-1914, p. 83

Drawing of a harper at the Powys Eisteddfod, 1824, surrounded by men, one of whom is wearing a smock.
Lord, Peter, Y Chwaer-Dduwies, Celf, Creffta’r Eisteddfod (1992), p. 12
Powysland Museum

British School (mid 19th century),[J.C. Rowland?]
“Fair Day, Builth, Brecnokshire” indistinctly signed in pencil with date 1840? verso. 4.5″ x 6.5″.
Copy of a naive painting of a large group of people in village street. Many of the women have tall hats. The street is probably in north Wales (Dolgellau?); the shop has a sign ‘Owen Evans’. One of the men is wearing a smock. (Private collection)



detail from ‘Grongar Hill’. Woman in a Welsh hat chatting to a labourer in a smock

Hall, Mr and Mrs, (1861), The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast, p. 370






Photograph, [Six men in country dress]
Photographer : John Thomas, 1875?
NLW WEB SITE jth02186

Group of people at a market; stall on right with stockings hanging from it, man in smock. Women in coal scuttle? hats. Men with barrels, women with baskets.
publisher: Rudolph Ackermann, (101 Strand), 1824
Abbey, Life in England, 180 (86); NLW PA5340

Crickhowel Castle [Crickhowell] castle, house, horse with halter, man in smock
artist : Gastineau, H.; engraved by le Petit, W., (1830)
Anon, Wales Illustrated in a Series of Views, (1830), 130

Print: Gronger Hill
Woman in a Welsh hat chatting to a labourer (in a smock)
Hall, Mr and Mrs, (1861), The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the Coast, p. 370

Written descriptions

Buck, Anne, ‘The Countryman’s Smock’, Folk Life, 1, (1963), pp. 16-34

List of 376 smocks in museums in Britain
Strata of Society (Costume Society, 1973)

Museum of English Rural Life, Smocks

In 1787, Elizabeth Richards was given a jacket, skirt, petticoat, handkerchief and wood shoes, and in 1788, Catherine Davies was given two new blankets, a bet gown [sic?], petticoat and smok [smock] and Lettice Richard was given a flannel shift.
Evans, G.E., Cardiganshire… (1903), p. 101, quoting the Book of Caron

early 19th century Llanfair Caereinion, Montgommery
The working-class girls wore smock frocks of drabit, a kind of strong twill, which would stand any weather and last a lifetime. The garments were manufactured at Llanfair. The womenfolk wore garments of local manufacture. The old prints show the women wearing felt hats, in later times bonnets, wincy petticoats, big shawls over their shoulders and thick woollen hose stockings with strong leather boots. Old women often wore handkerchiefs over their heads. All clothing was of local manufacture. In the upland valleys women went barefooted.
Humphreys, Charles H., Llanfair Caereinion in the early 19th century, Montgomery Collections, XLVIII, pt II, (1944)

1852 Welshpool
The small farmers and laboring men all wore leggins, buttoning from the knee to the ankle; heavy hob-nailed shoes; little, low, narrow-brimmed, round-topped felt hats, and frocks of linen blue or white in color, the skirts reaching below the knee, very short waists, a kind of broad epaulette, or cape, gathered in, boddice fashion, before and behind, loose shirt-like sleeves, and the whole profusely covered with needle-work. I suppose this is the original smock-frock. An uglier garment could not well be contrived, for it makes every man who wears it appear to have a spare, pinched-up, narrow-chested, hump-backed figure.
Olmsted, F.L., Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England, (1852), p. 183

1854 Dinas Mawddwy
The company are dressed mostly in the same fashion, brown coats, broad-brimmed hats and yellowish corduroy breeches with gaiters. One who looks like a labouring man has a white smock and a white hat, patched trowsers, and highlows covered with gravel – one has a blue coat.
Borrow, George, Wild Wales, (1861), Chapter 76

1854 Base of Snowdon
[George Borrow walked from Caernarfon to Beddgelert stopping at the  farm, now a Youth Hostel known as the Snowdon Ranger. He did not ask the names of the Snowdon Ranger and his son-in-law, but it is generally assumed that the elder was John Morton. If so he must have been in his late sixty’s or seventys.]
I … soon came up to two individuals. One was an elderly man, dressed in a smock frock and with a hairy cap on his head.
Borrow, George, Wild Wales, (1862), chapter 44