This site contains classified extracts from over 1,200 published and manuscript accounts of tours of Wales, 1700-1900.
It is being created by Michael Freeman, curator of Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, 1991-2012
It was originally designed to create very detailed evidence for my article ‘Perceptions of Welshness: tourists’ impressions of the material and traditional culture of Wales, 1750 – 1850’ published in ‘Folk Life’ Vol. 53, No. 1, (May 2015), pp. 57–71 but will contain much more than that article covers.
This site will include many fully referenced quotations on over 200 different subjects about which the tourists wrote and illustrated.
Some of the data on this site was first uploaded in May, 2015. The site will be constantly under review.
The author – Michael David Freeman – has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
Any comments, corrections, additions or questions, will be very welcome. Please contact me.
‘I digress too much, but it is my wicked way and I cannot help it. I wish to arrest floating ideas as they come in my way.’
Edward Williams, (Iolo Morganwg), Agricultural observations, Made in a Journey thro some Parts of Glamorganshire and Carmarthenshire In June 1796, NLW MS 13115B, f. 51
‘I have explored every old account I could lay hold upon … find amusement and recreation as well as utility and instruction in this seemingly barren and dry pursuit far above anything I ever anticipated.’
Ebenezer Thomas, (Eben Fardd, 1802 – 1863) diary, 7th August 1843
‘I have been so busy about my garden and orchard this fine weather … that I could not spare an hour … to mope over antiquities or to write letters.
Lewis Morris, Penbryn, April, 1760
ment for M
[and, I hope, women too]
Sign on a public house 6 miles from Beddgelert on the Dolgellau road, 1825
Jadis, Henry Fenton, Journal of a pedestrian tour in North Wales: through the counties of Montgomery, Merioneth, Caernarvon, and part of Denbigh, (London, 1826), p. 87
I warn the reader not complain of a disappointment if he does not trace me in every part of the kingdom; and if I request to content himself in many cases with the researches of others, though I will not offer such an insult to his discernment, as to intrude on him the rude observations of every rambler, now the rage of travelling about Britain is become so contagious, that every man that can write or read makes a pocket Britannia.
Camden’s Britannia, Gough Edition, (1789), vol. 1, preface, p. vi
It would be endless to point out the absurd conjectures and misrepresentations of those, who have of late years undertaken to describe this country. Some give manifestly wrong interpretations of the names of places, and others, either ignorantly or maliciously, have, as it were, caricatured its inhabitants. Travellers from England, often from want of candour, and always from defect of necessary knowledge, impose upon the world unfavourable, as well as false accounts of their fellow-subjects in Wales …
Williams, William, (1738-1817), Observations on the Snowdon Mountains with some account of the customs and manners of the inhabitants, (1802)
Every tourist into Cardiganshire has mentioned Lêch yr Ast, Lêch y gawres, Meini hirion, and Meini cyvirol, as still existing, though they have been destroyed many years ago. These and innumerable falsities and inattentions, constitute tours in Wales, and show how little they are to be depended on.
Meyrick, S., The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan, (1808), p. 298, Meyrick, S., The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan, (1907), p. 265, note.
[All these prehistoric standing stones were mentioned in the 1722 edition of Camden, pp. 772-773]