All the known references to tethering animals in Wales are for the St David’s area of north-west Pembrokeshire. The reason given by some tourists for this practice in that area is that there was a lack of good boundaries to the fields to keep the animals in.
1793, St David’s
They have a method about St David’s of tethering their sheep in couples and their fences are for the most part raised banks covered with ?wins / ?hedges
Cooke, Bryan, Tour of south Wales, NLW MS 24143, f. 14r
1794, St David’s
sheep are tethered
Anon, Journal of Tours in the Midland and Western Counties of England and Wales in 1794, BL add mss 30172, f. 6v
1796 St David’s
The sheep always in tethers, two to each tether. Indeed their fences are so low and bad they can be of little use being chiefly of Earth and stone, in alternate layers, only about two feet six inches, or three feet high, and so broad at top, as to have wins sown upon them, but which do not thrive well.
Lady Sykes, [Tour of Wales], University of Hull, DDSY(3)/10/11 (Typed transcript) p. 178
1798 St David’s
the environs having no hedges to divide the property of the farmers, the sheep, and even the geese, are all tethered together.
The Cambrian directory, or, cursory sketches of the Welsh territories, (Salisbury, 1800), p. 54
This is not a guide book, but an account of a tour of Wales by two anonymous men in 1798.
In the interior, where the farms are large, the sheep are tended by a shepherd, and a herdsman attends the cattle; but here the respective properties are small, and the depasturing is generally done by what is termed tethering, which is making a rope of hay or sea-reed grass, affixing one end to the animal’s leg, and at the other a peg, which is driven into the ground, and thus confining him to a certain and determinate extent. Not only are horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs, but even poultry, as geese, &c. subject to this restraining tether, this appearing the only mode they can adopt to avoid continual trespass.
Evans, John, B.A., (1768-1812) Letters written during a tour through South Wales, in the year 1803, and at other times: (London, 1804), p. 301
1830 Solva, Pembrokeshire
Found the sheep invariably tethered in couples at the end of a rope of about 20ft length and secured to the ground by a spike … being milch ewes … Horses and less frequently cows were also occasionally roped to a stake in like manner but singly, and with the addition of two stakes of wood one on each side of ?ead and of ??? equal length of about 9 inches, perforated with an eyelet hole at each end, and fastened together by fixed knots at the extremity of the nose band and of that passing behind the ears by one end hole – whilst the long rope of the halter is again fixed to the other end + hole place of one stick and by passing [it] freely through the remaining hole in the other is made to act on the animal as a curb whenever it straightens the rope and indangers [sic] the staking of the spike to which it is fixed at its farther end.
Hext, Francis John, Wales, the Lake District and Edinburgh by the Reverend Francis John Hext, compiled during March-April and July-August 1830, NLW MS 24129, ff. 39-40