cockles and mussels

Cockles and mussels were gathered, often by women, from the shores around Carmarthen bay; Tenby; Llangwm on the Cleddau and around the Menai Straits (between the mainland and Anglesey), the latter especially for pearls.

Cockles and mussels were often taken home in large containers balanced on the heads of the cockle women, cooked, and then taken to market the next day. This occupation still continues.

 

1803 Lanstephan

The tide was now out, and numerous cocklers were busily engaged in their uncomfortable and ill-paid employment. These are poor females, wives and daughters of fishermen and others, that come here for the purpose of taking cockles. These fish bury themselves in the sands, and are discovered by a small bubbling, occasioned by their breathing, upon which their pursuers immediately scratch them up, put them in sacks, and carry them to the boats, which ply for this purpose between this place and Carmarthen, during high tides, at the small fare of 2d. each person. After thus toiling, and the spoil brought home, they obtain sometimes 6d. per bushel.

Evans, John, B.A., 1768-1812 (Jesus College, Oxford), Letters written during a tour through South Wales, in the year 1803, and at other times : containing views of the history, antiquities, and customs of that part of the principality; and interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, botany, mineralogy, trade and manufactures, (London, 1804), letter 8

 

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