goats

Part of a large heard of goats above Llanberis    Goats near Llyn Ogwen

This page includes:

  • Introduction
  • Distribution
  • Illustrations of goats
  • Goat’s products
  • Eccentric dress
  • Inns called ‘The Goat’
  • Place names incorporating elements of Welsh words for goat
  • “Wales is our country” on a wax seal with an image of a goat.
  • References to Goats in Wales, in Chronological order
  • References to goats milk and whey at Abergavenny

INTRODUCTION

It is thought that goats were common, at least in north Wales, until the end of the 18th century. They were a source of meat, milk and skins for the local population and they were considered by tourists to make the scenery more picturesque.  However, their partiality for young trees destroyed plantations which some tourists thought made a greater contribution to the picturesque landscape than goats, and more importantly, wood was of great commercial value. According to George Kay (see below) landlords prevented tenants from keeping goats to preserve plantations, but perhaps this did not apply to mountain tops. Culling them effectively would have been challenging because they were so difficult to catch. [see the reference to Thackeray below.] Anne Lister learned that the owner of the Gwydir estate, Llanrwst, had ordered that all goats owned by his tennants should be culled by the end of about 1815 to prevent them from ‘hurting his plantations’ (see below).

Pennant gives other reasons for their decline: some goats, in search of ever decreasing resources, got themselves into situations from which they could not escape, and died there, while Williams describes how their owners would do all they could to save them. Some tourists thought that the vegetation on the summits of the Snowdonian mountains was insufficient for any animals, even goats.

Pennant also suggested that their value was reduced because wigs, which were made with goat hair, were no longer fashionable. However, Kay, in 1794, suggested that the price of goat skins had risen due to the demand for them by the army abroad.

Goats became an icon of Wale but were also used to deride the Welsh, especially in cartoons. When Sir Thomas Picton, (born Haverfordwest 1758, died at the battle of Waterloo, 1815) was taken to court in 1806 for his treatment of slaves in Trinidad, he was described as having been ‘bred among the goats on the mountains of Wales’.

For the icons of Wales see: Prys Morgan, ‘From a Death to a View, The Hunt for the Welsh Past in the Romantic Period’ in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds), The Invention of Tradition, (Cambridge, 1983), 43-100).

Distribution

A directory for 1772 reports that goats were kept in most counties in Wales, but does not mention them under the sections for Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire and Radnorshire. Whether this was because they were not common in those counties, or because the author simply didn’t mention them, is not known. However only two of the county reports (for Anglesey and Merionethshire) produced for every county for the Board of Agriculture between 1794 and 1796 mentioned goats, and both reported that they were on the decline.

Their presence in south Wales was very rarely reported, possibly because they were only of value on mountains where other livestock were unable to exploit the meager vegetation. At only one place in the south were they mentioned by more than one tourist: at Abergavenny where, in the 18th century, those with consumption resorted to drink goats milk and whey. [listed at the end, below] (This might be linked to the establishment of health resorts at mineral water wells such as Builth, Llandrindod and elsewhere.)

A few goats survived under domestic control during the 19th century and they were noted by tourists occasionally within castle ruins.

Most references to them report on their decline and their absence was bemoaned by a few tourists.

Modern distribution

It is said that soft-haired goats were introduced to Llandudno area in the 19th century where they soon became ferrule. In In 2015 there are at least five herds of feral goats in Snowdonia.

Illustrations of goats

A few illustrations of goats, normally in the background of a landscape were produced, and some cartoons, where the goat was dominant, were published.

Muller, William James (1812-1845) toured parts of Wales in 1833 (twice), 1841-1842 and late1842. A few of his paintings include goats. Solly, Nathaniel Neal, Memoir of the life of William James Müller : a native of Bristol, landscape and figure painter : with original letters and an account of his travels and of his principal works, (1875); Greenacre, Francis and Stoddard, Sheena, W.J. Müller, 1812-1845, (Friends of Bristol Art Gallery, 1991)

Goat’s products

References (below) show that goats produced milk, cheese, whey and meat; their skins were used for gloves and in army equipment; their hair for wigs and stuffing chairs; their fat for tallow (for candles) and their horns for knife handles.

Goats’ milk and whey was sold at various places in England, Scotland and at Abergavenny in Wales during the 18th and early 19th centuries as a health drink and as a cure for a number of diseases including consumption.

Goat meat was sometimes called rock-venison (E.B. 1701; Williams, 1802; Evans, 1813 and Pugh, 1813), potted venison (Pugh, 1813), mountain mutton (Pococke 1756) or Coch yr Wden (hung goat) (Pennant, 1781; Williams, 1802; Evans, 1813),or ‘Coch ar Dden, or the Red upon the Withe, being hung on a withe constructed on the twigs of a willow’  (Pugh, 1813).

Eccentric dress

In his printed advert as guide to Cader Idris, Richard Pugh informed the public that:
in future, there will be Cloaks, and other coverings of Goat Skins with the hair on, provided for Ladies and Gentlemen to protect them from the inclemency of the weather, in going up and down Cader.
[Beecroft, Judith], Diary of a Tour, 1827, Cardiff Central Library, MS 2.325, between pp. 70 and 71

Richard Pugh, the guide to Cader Idris danced into the parlour in his mountain dress composed of a goat skin, his cap is made of the head and neck of the goat with the horns exactly as growing on the animal {and looks like the devil}.
Rand, Eliza, Tour of north Wales, 1827, NMW 207044, pp. 17-21

There were inns called the Goat at

  • Bala (by 1771)

The sign and Goat Inn, Beddgelert

  • Beddgelert (said to have opened in 1801 or 1802) [It is called the Beddgelert Hotel. The sign over the door is of a goat clambering among the mountains of Snowdon, and, underneath it, is the motto “Putria mea petra.” Bingley, William, (1774-1823), North Wales delineated from two excursions through all the interesting parts of that highly beautiful and romantic country, and intended as a guide to future tourists. (1814), p. 250
  • Caernarfon (built by Thomas Jones, Bryntirion according to Anon, The Cambrian Tourist Guide and Companion, (Dolgelley : [c.1825])
  • Cader Idris (base of)
  • Dinas Mawddwy
  • Llanfyllin

Place names which incorporate Gafr / Geifr and other elements which mean ‘goat’ in Welsh. [this is a very, very limited list]
Llyn Gafr
Llyn y Boch Llwyd, or The Lake of the Grey Goat; (Pennant)
Castell y Geifr, or The Castle of the Goats (Pennant)

“Wales is our country”
A letter of about 1819 from Eleanor Butler, one of the Ladies of Llangollen, has a wax seal with an image of a goat and the words “Wales is our country”. They had used different symbols on other seals. (NLW ms 23980F, f. 25)

 REFERENCES TO GOATS IN WALES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

1664 Tredegar
salmon, fishponds, warren, deer, wild goats.
Rawdon, Marmaduke, Anon, The Life of Marmaduke Rawdon, Camden Society, no 85, (London, 1863), p. 185

1701 The Welsh
They eat mutton and goat’s flesh which they call rock-venison.
E.B. [Edward Bysshe?] A trip to North-Wales: being a description of that country and people.. London, 1701 (and many subsequent editions)

1722 Wales
The Country is Mountainous, and yields pretty handsome clambering for goats …
Anon, The comical pilgrim; or, travels of a cynick philosopher, thro’ the most wicked parts of the world, namely, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Holland. … Being a general satyr on the vices and follies of the age. (London, 1722), p. 41

1732 Park (between Tanybwlch and Pont Aberglaslyn), Tan y Bwlch, Caernarfon and Bangor
Ate the side of a kid [goat?] for breakfast ; Saw goats
Loveday, John, (1711-1789), Diary of a tour in 1732 through parts of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, made by John Loveday of Caversham … Printed from a manuscript in the possession of his great-grandson J. E. T. Loveday, with an introduction and an itinerary. (Edinburgh: 1890), 25th May 1732, 26th May 1732 , 27th May 1732

1738 Newtown
at this town was the first goats flesh we saw ; we bought a quarter which cost 1s 6d but it ought not (we were told) to have cost more than 15 pence; it was very fatt [sic] good neat, being quite young, tho’ it was not kid … the fat has a rank taste but that by many people is greatly liked …
Mildmay, William ? Diary, Essex Record Office, D/Dmy, 15M50/1325, p. 34

1738 south Wales
In south Wales we did not see more than 3 or 4 goats and they were kept to run about tame, as a sort of rarity; and in north Wales we saw 2 little flocks that had but 6 in each parcel.
Mildmay, William ? Diary, Essex Record Office, D/Dmy, 15M50/1325, p. 34

1739 north Wales
across … a dreary morass with here and there a small dark cottage, a few sheep and more goats
Herring, Thomas, (Bishop of Bangor 1737-1743, then Archbishop of York, and in 1747, he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury) (1693-1757), An Account of Two Journies into Wales, 1737 and 1739, Annual Register, 1773, xvi, 200-4; Cardiff MS 4.597 (for 1739 letter); NLW ARCH/MSS (GB0210) Cardiff MSS on Microfilm 4.597 (for 1739 letter); Duncan, John, (ed), Letters from the late Dr Thomas Herring to William Duncombe, 1728-1757 (1777). Letter II Bishop Herring to Mr Duncombe, Kensington 11.9.1739

1746 Llandrindod
A great many horses, other cattle, and sheep fed on the hills and rocks (tho’ I saw not one goat)
Anon [A Countryman], A Journey to Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire, 1746 (2nd edition), p. 37

1751 north Wales
They call goat’s flesh mountain mutton, which they salt as bacon, and when they boil it, make a bad broth of it.
Pococke, Richard, in Cartright, James, Joel, (ed), The Travels Through England of Dr Richard Pococke, vol. 2, (1888); T., F.D., Bye-gones, 26 December, 1888, p. 300-302

1755 Wales
The country is in most parts mountainous, yet not sterile; the hills being covered with grass, and flocks of sheep; it seems there were herds of goats formerly in great plenty which animal, I know not the reason, is held in great contempt by the English, not withstanding his beard, that type of wisdom; and is applied as a piece of ridicule and sarcasm by them, when they would satirize a Welchman; this satire has almost extirpated the race of goats.
Angeloni, Batista, (Shebbeare, J.,) Letters on the English Nation (1755), vol. 2, letter 30, pp. 32-33

1772 Wales
Monmouthshire
[The western parts] are mountainous but great numbers of sheep and goats are fed on them. (p. 372)
Breconshire
It produces great numbers of all sorts of cattle, besides goats and deer (p. 384)
Glamorganshire
These hills afford good pasture for sheep, goats and other cattle and the people make large quantities of cheese, butter and other articles. (p. 387)
Montgomeryshire
even the tops of the hills are covered in grass which afford excellent pasture both to sheep and goats. (p. 399)
Merionethshire
The rest of the people being employed in such husbandry as they have and in keeping their sheep and goats. (p. 402)
Caernarvonshire
The prospect from the mountains where great numbers of sheep and goats are feeding is as delightful as can be imagined. (p. 406)
Denbighshire
Vast numbers of sheep and goats are fed on the hills (p. 409)
Flintshire
even the mountains are fertile and afford pasture to great numbers of sheep and goats (p. 412)
The Complete English Traveller, or a new Historical Survey and Description of England and Wales, (1772)

1772 Penmaenmawr
here for the first time we saw many white goats browsing, & climbing where there was any grass, & where sheep cannot go.
Jinny Jenks, National Library of Wales, NLW 22753B, p. 29, 6th August 1772

1773-1776 Cwm Bychan, near Harlech [The home of relatives of his companion, Rev Mr John Llwyd.]
We were welcomed with ale and potent beer, to wash down the Coch yr Wden, or hung goat, and the cheese compounded of the milk of cow and sheep.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 115

1773-1776 Llantecwyn
The narrow path we rode on impends over Llyn Tecwyn and is cut out of a hill whose sides are composed of shivering slate starting out at an immense height above, threatening destruction. They were much enlivened by flocks of milk white goats which skipped along the points and looked down on us with much unconcern.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 126

1773 -1776 Snowdonia
During summer, … the women [pass their time] in milking, or making butter and cheese. For their own use, they milk both ewes and goats, and make cheese of the milk, for their own consumption.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 161

1773-1776 Snowdon
The antient inhabitant, the goat, decreases daily in value, since the decline of orthodoxal wigs, to which its snowy hair universally contributed. Still large flocks are kept for the dairy, and milked with great regularity.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 166

1773-1776 Aberglaslyn
Here is very little appearance of vegetation; yet in spots there is here and there enough to tempt the poor goat to its destruction; for it will sometimes leap down to an alluring tuft of verdure, where, without possibility of return, it must remain to perish, after it has finished the dear-bought repast.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 182

1773-1776 Nant Gwrtheyrn
The glen is tenanted by three families, who raise oats, and keep a few cattle, sheep, and goats; but seem to have great difficulty in getting their little produce to market.
Pennant, Thomas, The Journey to Snowdon, (1781), p. 205

1774 Beaumaris
At Beaumaris goats grazed in the castle grounds.
Thrale, Hester, Tour in Wales, July-September, 1774, Broadly, A.M., Dr Johnson and Mrs Thrale, (London, 1910), 20th August 1774

1774 Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris
Queenie [Hester Thrale’s daughter] noticed 149 Goats.
Tour in Wales, July-September, 1774, Broadly, A.M., Dr Johnson and Mrs Thrale, (London, 1910), 26th August, 1774 [According to Duppa (Johnson’s biographer), Mr Thrale promised his daughter a penny for every goat she saw, so owed her 12/5d.]

1775 Beaumaris Castle
But the most pleasant sight, in my mind was a beautiful white goat who sate [sic] brouzing the ivy on the summit of the highest wall and seemed to hold us little fold below him in supreme contempt. Jones, William, Sir (Lord Teignmouth) (1746-1794), Garland, Cannon (ed.) The letters of Sir William Jones (Oxford, 1970), p. 199; The collected works of William Jones, New York University Press, 1993. (13 volumes); Davies, Caryl, Romantic Jones : The picturesque and Politics in the South Wales Circuit, 1775-1781, National Library of Wales Journal, XXVIII, (1994), pp. 255-278

1775 Pont Aberglaslyn
we were delighted with the most romantic scenes in the world: we came in the afternoon to a valley, through which a torrent roared over the rocks; it was surrounded on all sides by very high and craggy mountains, on the very summit of which, as far, almost as the eye could reach, we saw the white goats feasting on the shrubs
Jones, William, Sir (Lord Teignmouth) (1746-1794), Garland, Cannon (ed.), The letters of Sir William Jones (Oxford, 1970), pp. 201-202

1777 Dolbadarn
About the rude mountains of Dolbadarn we saw a considerable number of goats: these animals seem now to be encouraged only on such barren spots; for in the other parts, the inhabitants have, with some pains, entirely destroyed them, on account of the great detriment, which they caused to the trees by barking them.
Wyndham, Henry Penruddocke. A gentleman’s tour through Monmouthshire and Wales, in the months of June and July, 1774 and in the months of June, July and August, 1777, (1781), pp. 129-130

1775 Dinas Mawddwy
They make Cheese of every sort of Milk they can get ; Sheeps, Goats and Cows all mixed together ;
Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, 7th Baronet (1741–1831), NLW MS 5446B (20th century transcript of tour journal), note on p. 149v

1784 waterfalls near Dolgellau
On the neighbouring mountains are goats, though not in abundance, the late hard winter having thinned their number as perhaps the storm of last night did; they often, from their terror of thunder, breaking their necks in search of shelter.
Byng, John, (Viscount Torrington), A Tour to North Wales, Cardiff Central Library, MS 3.235, Andrews, C Bruyn, (Editor). The Torrington diaries: Containing the tours through England and Wales of the Hon. John Byng between the years 1781 and 1794, (1934-1938), vol. I, p. 150

1785 Aber vale waterfalls
In the valley a dozen milkmaids were tripping along, each with a little wooden milk pail upon her head; add to all this the characteristic goat.
Twinning, Richard, Tour of north Wales, 1785, Twinning, Richard, (ed), Selections from papers of the Twining family : a sequel to ‘The recreations and studies of a country clergyman of the 18th century’, the Rev. Thomas Twining, sometime Rector of St. Mary’s, Colchester (1887), p. 119

1785 Llanberis
We saw goats in abundance
Twinning, Richard, Tour of north Wales, 1785, Twinning, Richard, (ed), Selections from papers of the Twining family : a sequel to ‘The recreations and studies of a country clergyman of the 18th century’, the Rev. Thomas Twining, sometime Rector of St. Mary’s, Colchester (1887), p. 123

1790 Between Talybont (Cardiganshire) and Machynlleth
We were very much surprised not to see any goats amongst [the mountains] many of the craggy steeps seeming to want goats to complete their character.
Nicholson, Francis, The diary of Frances (Fanny) Nicholson, NLW MS15190C, p. 39

1791 Aber waterfalls.
We saw for the first time on the mountains several goats which are kept by the poor Peasants who live in small huts at the bottom of the rocks. Being desirous of tasting goats milk we called at one of these huts … and we got some in perfection …
B., A., ‘Sketch of a short tour into north Wales in July 1791, by AB and WD’, NLW MS 24019B, p. 44

1794 Anglesey
Goats. This animal, so very common some years ago, needs now scarcely to be mentioned, as the whole race are nearly extirpated. The only goats I saw in the Island were in Holyhead mountain, not exceeding twenty in number; and I was well informed there were not twenty more in the county. The high price lately obtained for their skins, has made them a little more valuable ; from 5s to 7/6d each has been lately paid. They are used, as I was informed, for the covers of the saddles of the English cavalry on the continent.
Kay, George, General View of the Agriculture of North Wales, with observations on the means of its improvement. (Edinburgh, 1794), Anglesey, p. 28

1794 Merionethshire
Although the tenants are prohibited, by their landlords, from keeping goats, still there a are a few of those destructive animals in the county, which get over the walls, and brouse upon the young plantations … until they totally destroy the tree[s].
Goats are by no means common, being reckoned not so profitable as sheep, and much more destructive to the plantations. For these reasons (so much attached were the old tenants to old customs,) the proprietors were under the necessity of prohibiting them from keeping goats; and not withstanding a few still persist in ti, often to the great detriment of the neighbours.
Kay, George, General View of the Agriculture of North Wales, with observations on the means of its improvement. (Edinburgh, 1794), Merionethshire, pp. 8, 15;

1795 Dolgellau
we have seen a great quantity of goats & a large flock came down to the road side while some young cattle were grazing on green paths in the rocks. I could not help watching their dexterity & asked the postillion if ever it happened that any of them fell from their vast heights & met with accidents; he said, they never did, but that poor sheep often broke their necks by falling down from rock to rock, & yet I am sure we saw sheep & cows & people too, who appeared to skip about the craggy places in a masterly a manner as the goats! … Sir R Vaughan’s house (Nannau) I conclude that Goats which are called Nanny Goats first came from hence, & this conjecture rather amuses me, because I till now always thought that people said Nanny Goats as they say Baa lambs or Moo cows to please children in a Namby Pamby way.
Crewe, Frances Anne, Lady, ‘A Tour in North Wales’, Welch Journal Augst 20th 1795, British Library, Add.ms. 37926, 22nd August 1795

1796 Amlwch to Bangor
On a heath which we crossed, we saw for the first time, a small flock of goats browsing on the extremities of the gorse bushes, among which the venerable father of the flock was well distinguished by his white flaky mantle, his flowing beard, and the long curvature of his horns. Goats used formerly to abound in Wales, but are now almost entirely superseded by sheep, which last have increased to their present numbers, in proportion to the encouragement given to the manufactory of woollen goods.
Aikin, Arthur, (1773-1854), Journal of a Tour through North Wales and a part of Shropshire with observations of Mineralogy and other branches of natural History [1796], (London, 1797), chapter 14, p. 151

1796 Cader Idris
There are but few goats upon it.
Lady Sykes, [diary], University of Hull, DDSY(3)/10/11 (Typed transcript), p. 217

1796 Conwy
Two goats were feeding on the very top of the walls of the castle
Anon [Mr M? of Belmont, in or near Hereford], NLW Mss 9352A, 6th August 1796

1796-1800 Aber
The Goat. This old, and once numerous inhabitant of Wales, like the language, is declining; and like that, will come to a period. This kind of wild sheep, or mountaineer, is rarely seen. I never had a view of more than three in company, except one evening, at Aber, about ten of them were quietly driven into a fold yard, the size of a house floor, for milking. I am told, the landlords discourage the race, because they are injurious to the growth of timber, by nibbling the bark. But there seems to be very little timber to nibble at.
Hutton, W., Remarks upon North Wales: being the Result of Sixteen Tours Through that part of the Principality (Birmingham, 1803), p. 137

1797 Cadair Idris
Our walk had not as yet afforded us the sight of the indigenous animal of the country, the goat; we saw them, however, now in perfection, skipping amongst the crags of Cader-Idris, in their original ferine state. Not that they are unclaimed property, since they all belong to someone or other of the neighbouring farmers; but as the proprietor does not use them for domestic purposes, and leaves them to wander for months unmolested, they may be said to preserve the character of their natural wildness. Such is the extent of the mountain, that they are caught with the utmost difficulty, when winter renders it proper to take them home; and the only mode of effecting this, is by pursuing them with cur dogs, which, after a considerable time, literally tire them down.
Warner, Richard, Rev (1763-1857), A Walk through Wales in Aug, 1797, (Bath, 1798), p. 96

1797 Pont Aberglaslyn
Goats without number are seen prowling these inaccessible heights.
Wigstead, H., Remarks on a Tour to North and South Wales in the year 1797, … (London, 1800), pp. 34

1797 between Llangollen to Llanymynach
[of the local population] their wants being few are easily supplied; a little milk, which their own mountain goat, or the benevolence of a neighbouring farmer, affords them, an oaten cake, and a few potatoes, furnish the only meal which they desire.
Warner, Richard, Rev (1763-1857), A Walk through Wales in Aug, 1797, (Bath, 1798), letter 12, pp. 184-185

1797
Frontispiece: image of a man with a goat
Vernon, Thomas Shrawley, Denbighshire Archives, NTD.1240 (copy of an original in Warwickshire Record Office CR2886)

1798 waterfall near Neath
The goat, also, is neither an infrequent nor an improper appendage to it; here he is often seen skipping about upon the ledges of precipices frightful to behold, with perfect ease and unconcern. Sometimes, indeed, allured by the ivy or other vegetables, which creep along the face of the rock, he jumps down to situations from which he can never return; in these spots he would unquestionably perish, if he were not discovered by its proprietor, who, in that case, in order to relieve him, drops a rope with a slip-knot at the end of it: this fastens round his horns or his body, and either hauls him to the top of the rock, Or lowers him gently to the bottom.
Warner, Richard, Rev. (1763-1857), A Second Walk through Wales in August and September, 1798 (Bath, 1799), p. 110-111

1798 Capel Curig
The present Public House [at Capel Curig] is somewhat similar, in point of accommodations, to those at Llanberis. We got here some eggs, bacon and dreadfully bad new ale. They told us they had some dried goat, but though the house was rather famous for this species of food, we declined having any. The kids are frequently killed young, when they are said to eat somewhat like lamb; but I understand the flesh of the old goats is not eatable, unless when salted and dried, and even then it is so strong that it requires a stout stomach to digest it.
Bingley, William, (1774-1823), A tour round North Wales, performed during the summer of 1798: containing not only the description and local history of the country; but also a sketch of the history of the Welsh bards: an essay on the language; observations on the manners and customs; and the habitats of above 400 of the more rare native plants: intended as a guide to future tourists. (London, 1800), p. 319

1798 Cader Idris
Its sullen and majestic front was only enlivened with patches of the moss saxifrage, and a few goats of pure white, which were skipping carelessly along its dangerous steeps.
Bingley, William, (1774-1823), A tour round North Wales, performed during the summer of 1798 … (London, 1800), vol. 1, p. 464-465; Nicholson, George, The Cambrian traveller’s guide, and pocket companion , (3rd edition, 1840), p. 252

1798 near Caernarfon
Sometimes we were on the edge of a precipice, sometimes on the borders of a river, where the road was cut out of the rock, and high mountains on each side, now and then the wild goats straying over them.
Gurney, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Fry), Tour of western England and Wales, 1798, Library of the Religious Society of Friends ms., S257, f. 25

1798 Pont Aberglaslyn
Above the bridge there is scarcely a symptom of vegetation, save a few solitary yews; and here and there a tuft of grass, sufficient to tempt the famished goat to its destruction. The poor animal will sometimes leap down to these verdant spots; and, without a possibility of return, is left to perish, after it has finished the dear bought repast.
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812), A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, and at other times : principally undertaken with a view to botanical researches in that Alpine country: interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, manufactures, customs, history, and antiquities., (London, 1800), p. 153

1798 Llanberis
The farmers are chiefly dairy men; and make their rents from butter, wool, and lambs: they possess a few small cows, numerous sheep of diminutive size, and herds of goats. [note:] These, from a pride that has invaded the farmers here, are on the decrease. It is considered less trouble, and more genteel, to have a greater number of sheep ; though, in many cases, goats are found more profitable; yielding a rich milk, being more hardy, always procuring their own maintenance ; and frequently are foster mothers for their children, as they are amidst the alps of France and Switzerland. [end of note] … … Their mode of living is very simple: Baracyrch [oat cake] with a little hung, smoke dried goat, forms their principle food; while their drink consists of whey, or buttermilk, and a few bottles of cwrw, preserved as a cordial in case of illness.
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812), A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, and at other times : principally undertaken with a view to botanical researches in that Alpine country: interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, manufactures, customs, history, and antiquities., (London, 1800), pp. 205-207 [The description of diet is very similar to Pennant’s, (above) except that he didn’t mention goat’s meat]

1798 Pumlumon
The hilly pastures are covered with a mixture of stock; sheep, goats, black cattle and numerous herds of diminutive horses.
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812), A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, and at other times : principally undertaken with a view to botanical researches in that Alpine country: interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, manufactures, customs, history, and antiquities., (London, 1800), p. 43

1798 Penmaenmawr
it sometimes happens, that the goats, skipping from crag to crag, to browse the alpine shrub, detach fragments sufficiently large from the space which they pass through to prove fatal to persons passing at the time; the traveller, therefore, cannot divest himself of all fear, nor absolutely feel himself secure from danger.
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812), A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, and at other times : principally undertaken with a view to botanical researches in that Alpine country: interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, manufactures, customs, history, and antiquities. (London, 1800), p. 244

1798 north Wales
Their food is equally coarse and scanty. Oatmeal cake or barley bread and potatoes and their drink diodgriafel [sic]. This course is sometimes varied by hung-goat, dried fish, cheese made of goats’ and sheep’s milk, and buttermilk, grown acid from keeping.
Evans, John, Rev., (1768-1812), A tour through part of North Wales, in the year 1798, and at other times : principally undertaken with a view to botanical researches in that Alpine country: interspersed with observations on its scenery, agriculture, manufactures, customs, history, and antiquities. (London, 1800), pp. 349-350 (and subsequent editions in 1802 and 1804)

1798 Bala
the Bull inn, in addition to admirable accommodations, has afforded us a dish of gwiniads, and a leg of mountain mutton. [Goat’s flesh was sometimes called Mountain mutton, see Pococke, 1751]
Warner, Richard, Rev (1763-1857), A Second Walk through Wales in August and September 1798, (Bath, 1799), p. 189

1799 Llanberis
Sheep and goats were basking on the rocks; but these goats are never milked. They are wild, and yield their owner no other advantage than their flesh and skins – when he can catch them.
Hutton, Catherine, Letters written during a third tour in North Wales; by Miss Hutton, of Bennett’s Hill, near Birmingham, letter XIII, Caernarvon; Aug.30, 1799, Monthly Magazine and British Register, Vol. 44, (1817), pt. 2, pp. 496-498

1799 Llyn Cwellyn
At the head of Cwellin Pool is an opening on the right, called Dwrs y coed, (door of the wood,) which leads through Nant Nantlle: passes by two small lakes, called Llynian Nantlle; and ends at Llanllyfric, in the road from Caernarvon to Penmorfa and Criccieth. This pass is so obscure that I did not see it; and, I believe, the vale can only be explored on foot: yet in this unfrequented place is a farm so considerable, that its occupier keeps three hundred goats, two thousand sheep, thirty dairy cows, and fourscore head of other cattle.
Hutton, Catherine, Letters written during a third tour in North Wales; by Miss Hutton, of Bennett’s Hill, near Birmingham, letter XV, Bala; Sept 16, 1799, Monthly Magazine and British Register, Vol. 45, (1818), pt. 1, pp. 397-399

1802 Caernarvonshire
GOATS
Formerly there used to be a vast number of Goats upon the Caernarvonshire hills: but now, for what reason I know not, the breeding of them is much neglected. The Goat will not quit its rock in the hardest weather: if the snow is so very deep, that it cannot get heath-tops or furze, it will feed contentedly on the rock-scurf, or moss. The Goat is charged with being destructive to hedges and plantations, verifying the Proverb, Nid Llyfieuwraig ond Gafr ; that is, No herbalist equal to the Goat.
Of the Goat’s natural propensity to nibble trees and plants there can be no doubt; hence we find the ancients, because it was so great an enemy to the tendrils of the vine, made a sacrifice of the poor Goat to Bacchus. But in this respect the mountain sheep is not less pernicious : this will not only scrape the bark of most kind of young trees, but its wool will twist about them so as to remain there for years, which is equally hurtful to young trees.
The Goat will clip the tops and buds; but does not seem to be so fond of the bark, the willow perhaps excepted; it will strip this plant from the root to the branches. It will first bite, or scrape a loose end close to the ground; then, taking hold of it, will pull back and peel it off as high as it will run; and then, with a smart pluck, tear it off. But young gorse, or furze, is its dainty food; and it would be well, were stony patches in the hills walled out and sown with gorse-feeds for their use.
The Goat is a valuable animal to the mountain farmer. A fat Goat affords excellent meat, and its skin will sell from three to six shillings. I have seen large He-goats’ skins sell as high as half a guinea a-piece. Its tallow, for its fineness and whiteness, may serve for candles for the best tables.
Were these and the Scotch hills well stocked with Goats, there would perhaps be no need of importing Goat-hides from Russia; from whence, it seems, the furriers and skinners in London are chiefly supplied.
I need not observe how useful and valuable this article is to chair-bottom makers, glovers, and for many other works, besides soldiers’ knapsacks.
The keeping of a Goat costs the farmer nothing ; nor does it require any care, as it is not apt to stray, like sheep, far from its usual haunts.
Williams, William, (1738-1817), Observations on the Snowdon Mountains with some account of the customs and manners of the inhabitants. (1802), pp. 23-25

1802 OF THE NATIVES OF ERYRI (Snowdon)
And for the winter they have dry salted beef, mutton, and smoked rock venison, which they call Coch ar Wyden, i. e. The Red upon the Withe, being hung by a withe made of a willow or hazel twig.
Williams, William, (1738-1817), Observations on the Snowdon Mountains with some account of the customs and manners of the inhabitants. (1802), pp. 7-8 

1802 Dinas Emrys, Nant Aberglaslyn
There we observe for the first time a small herd of milk-white goats bounding from crag to crag with agility. … A few young ash trees start from the clefts and wave defiance to the clambering goat;
A., L., Journal of a Welsh Tour, Monthly Magazine; or, British Register, vol. 14, (October, 1802), pp. 227-232; 303-307; Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, 3 October 1884

1802 Snowdon
Even the hardy mountain-sheep cannot subsist so high, and the small herds of goats that browse below shun these Alpine heights on account of the total want of shrubs.
A., L., Journal of a Welsh Tour, Monthly Magazine; or, British Register, vol. 14, (October, 1802), pp. 227-232; 303-307; Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, 3 October 1884

1802 Caernarfon Castle
An old goat with a most venerable beard stalks through the grass-grown courts, and some pretty kids peep through the narrow windows,
A., L., Journal of a Welsh Tour, Monthly Magazine; or, British Register, vol. 14, (October, 1802), pp. 227-232; 303-307; Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, 10 October 1884

1802
Milk, with bread (coarse, but more agreeable by much than the insipid whity-grey bread of the towns), potatoes if one wished, and also a little goat’s flesh – these composed the cottager’s choice of viands;
de Quincy, Thomas, Confessions of an Opium Eater, in The Collected writings of Thomas de Quincey, edited by David Mason, vol. 3, (1897), p. 335

1803 Boughrood, Radnorshire
This is among the few places in South Wales where wild goats are met with in any numbers.
Malkin, B.H., Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales, from materials collected during two excursions in the year 1803. (London 1804), p. 276

1803 Cardiganshire
The goats are even now in the last stage of a similar consumption [to beavers]; and it may be a question, a century or two hence, whether these mountains ever abounded in wild goats. In fact, they are rapidly disappearing, because, though not without their uses to the poor, they are destructive to plantations and agriculture; so that they are compelled to give way to a more useful and entirely inoffensive animal in the sheep.
Malkin, B.H., Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales, from materials collected during two excursions in the year 1803. (London 1804), p. 392

1803 between Bala and Drws-y-nant
Leaving the Lake the road heads thro’ a wild mountainous country where we saw many goats playing about the crags & standing upon the edges of precipices that appeared impossible.
Kenyon, Louisa Charlotte, A Tour through part of North Wales, Shropshire Records and Archive Centre, 549/212, 6th September, 1803

1802-1820 Wales
The goat is found here in its ferine state, and is far superior in size, and in the length and fineness of its hair, to that of most other mountain countries. Though this animal has long been domesticated, yet many of the inhabitants of north Wales suffer the goats to run in a wild state, and bound from crag to crag. Theses they are accustomed to kill in the autumn for the sake of the fat and skins.
Rees, Abraham, (1743-) Rees’s manufacturing industry, Cossons, Neil, (editor), Newton Abbot : David and Charles, (1972) p. 333, under ‘Wales’

1804 Manners and customs
We saw no goat cheeses but saw several goats
Duncan, J.S., (of the Ashmolean) and his brother? P.B. Duncan, Tour Through Wales from Oxford, 1804, NLW MS 16714A, f. 12r

1804 between Beddgelert and Pont Aberglaslyn
Goats, of which we saw great quantities, chiefly white ones.
Winnington, Elisabeth, ‘Tour into North Wales September 1804’, National Museum and Art Gallery, Cardiff, 147085/913(42.9)W73, p. 10

1805 Llanrwst
saw some beautiful goats
Yates, R.V., (Richard Vaughan Yates) and Joseph Brook Yates (died 1865), Memoranda of a Tour in North and South Wales and parts of England and Ireland, NLW, 687B (UCW 47), p. 33

1805 Between Beddgelert and Aberglaslyn
The Goats here are very beautiful … and are in perfect unison with the scenes around.
Yates, R.V., (Richard Vaughan Yates) and Joseph Brook Yates (died 1865), Memoranda of a Tour in North and South Wales and parts of England and Ireland, NLW, 687B (UCW 47), p. 98

1805 Llangollen
I expected to have seen every acclivity crowned with a goat, “his white beard streaming to the wind;” but being disappointed, I found, upon inquiry, that that salacious family was nearly exterminated in North Wales, in consequence of the injury which they offered to young growth and saplings.
Carr, John, The Stranger in Ireland or, a Tour in the Southern and Western Parts of that Country, in the Year 1805. (London :1806); (reprint, 1970), pp. 8-9

1805 Beddgelert
‘The Goats which are less numerous than we expected to find them, and which generally keep in the most inaccessible parts of the mountains, are said to be very destructive of young trees, by barking them in winter, and browsing them in summer. They sometime descend at night into the vales, and commit their depredations; hence though private property, they are proscribed in many places, and killed without mercy. I saw several men, with each a goat on his back coming down from the mountains, but could not learn for what purpose they had been caught. Wherever they abound they increase the beauty of the landscape; and I would restrain, but not extirpate them.’
Mavor, William Fordyce, (1758-1837), A tour in Wales, and through several counties of England: including both the universities ; performed in the summer of 1805, (London : 1806), pp. 97-98

1805? Abergavenny
Here I was much disappointed at not seeing ye wild goats bounding from rock to rock, but they have been driven from their native pastures (to preserve the growth of the young trees) & are now confined to some peculiar spots on the hills not far from the town, to which the invalids ride in a morning, to drink their milk & the whey. These Welsh goats are infinitely more beautiful than any I ever saw in England. They are much larger, & are cover’d with a long, shaggy hair, entirely white, & very silky, nor would their venerable beards disgrace the wises patriarchal countenance.
Sotheby, William?, A Journal of a tour through parts of Monmouthshire and Glamorgan, NLW 6497C, p. 37

1806 Monmouthshire
{Goats have been removed from the Coppice Wood since the Inclosure act because of the damage they do.}
Heath, Charles, Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Ancient and Present State of Tintern Abbey, (1806); Charles Heath Excursions in Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. Vol. 1, NLW MS 14581B, p. 240

1806 Nant Ffrancon
Goats, which formerly by all accounts covered these hills are now reduced as one may say to nothing and the few that remain are only an inferior breed – small and dropping only one kid. … Some of our gentle folks of landed property have lately taken it into their heads to think that the goat is an animal destructive to woods and plantations and that the custom of keeping them has been the cause of the bleakness and sterility of the country; foolish supposition! All cattle as well as the goat … and sheep [are] a great enemy to vegetation … Herds of goat are, as it were, ornaments to the rocks and beneficial to their owners; a fat goat is an excellent meat, even superior to mutton in my opinion. {They are cheap and easy to keep}
Williams, William, ‘A Survey of the Ancient and Present State of the County of Caernarvon by a Landsurveyor [William Williams], NLW Ms 821C, pp. 175-176

1806 Dolgellau
there is but one inn, which is surrounded by pig sties, nothing to be got but fried Mutton Chops, might as well eat a piece of an old goat,
Bant, Millicent, Essex Record office D/DFr F2, ff. 8/9

1807 near Beddgelert
Observe some snow – white goats scrambling among the most frightful precipices. The tufts of grass on the ledges of the rocks often prove fatal to them by enticing them to leap down to situations from whence return is impossible.’
Trail, Thomas Stuart, [Sometimes spelt Traill], National Library of Scotland (NLS) ms 19348, pp. 77-78

1807
Goats are not nearly so common as formerly. The Red deer is no longer found wild.
Trail, Thomas Stuart, [Sometimes spelt Traill], National Library of Scotland (NLS) ms 19349, p. 70

1808 Between Bala and Dolgellau
In the Crags of ye Hill, before we approach Drwsynant, observe a few Goats, quite in Character, for nothing characterizes N. Wales so well as Goats and the Welsh Harp.
Tours in Wales (1804-1813) by Richard Fenton, Edited from his Ms. Journals in the Cardiff Free Library by John Fisher, Cambrian Archaeological Association, Supplemental Volume for 1917, p. 92

1808 near Cwmbychan, Merionethshire
Goats in abundance about the Crags.
Tours in Wales (1804-1813) by Richard Fenton, Edited from his Ms. Journals in the Cardiff Free Library by John Fisher, Cambrian Archaeological Association, Supplemental Volume for 1917, p. 103

1808 between Capel Curig and Bangor
{goats mentioned}
Anon, (Dixon?), Denbighshire Archives, DD-DM-228-78, p. 70

1810 near Nant Gwrtheyrn
I saw many goats about the rocky portion of its boundary.
Tours in Wales (1804-1813) by Richard Fenton, Edited from his Ms. Journals in the Cardiff Free Library by John Fisher, Cambrian Archaeological Association, Supplemental Volume for 1917, p. 230

1811 Snowdonia
It was from this mountain which is called Carningli [?] that we saw the first goats browsing near the summit upon the opposite side of the waterfall.
Anon, (A lady), Diary of a driving tour of North Wales in the months of July and August 1811, Cardiff Central Library, Ms1.405, 3rd August, 1811

1812 near Beddgelert
Goats seen ‘wild as these little creatures appeared, they are private property and return every evening to their separate folds’
Anon, (Woman from Sudbury, Suffolk), probably Henrietta Hurrell (fl. 1812-1855) 1812, John Rylands library, Manchester, Eng mss. 421, p. 104

1812 Cader Idris
I observed several goats feeding upon the crags
Hawker, Joseph, ‘Tour of Josh Hawker and Elizabeth his wife through north Wales, 1812’, NLW add MS64B, p. 17

1812 Pont Aberglaslyn
We saw several mountain goats standing on most frightful precipices.
Hawker, Joseph, ‘Tour of Josh Hawker and Elizabeth his wife through north Wales, 1812’, NLW add MS64B, p. 31

1813 Goats
Rock venison – fattened castrated goats – hyfyr
Goat’s haunches are frequently salted and dried and this, called coch y wden is used in summer as a substitute for bacon.
Goat skins used in glove making and in army equipment
Goat’s milk used for cheese and a medicine
Goat’s suet [fat] used for good candles
Goat’s horns used for knife handles
Evans, John, (1768-1812), The Topographical Description of North Wales by Rev Mr Evans for the Beauties of England and Wales: delineations, topographical, historical and descriptive. Vol. 17, (1813), p. 332

1813 Llangollen
Llangollen whose celebrity needs no additional description you are enclosed in an amphitheatre of mountains, and drive by a lake, bounded by rocks, so barren, that they seem to deny sustenance even to the goats:
West, Jane, Mrs [nee Iliffe], (1758-1852), Tour to Wales and Ireland
1813 ? [there is nothing in the diary which helps date it other than the references to the castle owned by Hesketh at Gwrych castle, work on which started in 1812, but the references suggests that work there was well advanced.] Cambridge University Library, add. MSS 738, f 10-26 [GBR/0012/MS Add.738], f. 22

1813 Dwrs y Nant inn
I had for supper some potted venison, as they are pleased to call it; but which in reality is potted kid of peculiar taste, very agreeable to most palates. Goats are not now so numerous in this country as in former times: but it is evident, were some attention paid to the rearing of them, the farmer and the nation would be benefited. This useful animal is so hardy, that it prefers the rock before any other situation, and will not quit it in the severest weather. It feeds on heath-tops and furze as its proper aliment: but when these are covered by the snow, it will contentedly brouse upon the rock moss. The goats’ propensity to nibble trees and plants is well known; and from its disposition to hurt the vine, one of the trees consecrated to Bacchus, the goat was slain in the sacrifices made to that deity. A fattened goat is excellent eating: it is otherwise valuable to the farmer, the skin sells at from seven to eleven shillings each; the tallow might, from its whiteness, make beautiful candles; and the hair also is useful for various purposes.
Pugh, Edward, (1761-1813), Cambria Depicta: A Tour Through North Wales illustrated with Picturesque Views, By a Native Artist, (London : 1816), p. 186

1813
In winter they live much on dry salted mutton and smoked rock-venison or goat which is called Coch ar Dden, or the Red upon the Withe, being hung on a withe constructed on the twigs of a willow.
Pugh, Edward, (1761-1813), Cambria Depicta: A Tour Through North Wales illustrated with Picturesque Views, By a Native Artist, (London : 1816), p. 131 [Copied from William Williams (1802)]

1815 Llanberis
‘The scene was ????????? by a heard of goats …
Cooke, Phillip Davies, Journals of Tours through France and N. Wales, National Library of Wales, mss. 17132A, p. 355

1818 near Capel Curig
On our return we noticed several goats stepping from crag to crag.
Alderson, Harriet, (Accompanied Lady Fitzherbert of Tissington, Staffs?), Journal of a tour from Aston to Beaumaris in September 1818, Gwynedd Record Office, XM/2600

1819 on the road between Capel Curig and Beddgelert
[on the road to Beddgelert] we saw a white Goat seated on a crag, it seemed to look down upon us with an air of pride and gravity.
‘Tours through Part of North Wales in 1817 and 1819 by Captain and Mrs Henry Hanmer’, NLW, ms. 23996C, p. 47

1819 Llanberis
As we rowed down these lovely lakes we saw herds of Goats browsing on the edges and very tops of the mountains on each side of us.
‘Tours through Part of North Wales in 1817 and 1819 by Captain and Mrs Henry Hanmer’, NLW, ms. 23996C, p. 53

1819 between Pont Aberglaslyn and Beddgelert
Pont Aberglaslyn much more striking on this side than when coming from Beddgelert rocks on the right appear more stupendous & white goats frisking on the most bare & precipitous
Cotton, Lady Philadelphia, Tour through North Wales, Cambridgeshire County Record Office, 588/F48, transcript, p. 6

1820 Caernarvonshire
Dairy farms prevail; the cows, like the sheep, are small, but the latter are of excellent flavour. Goats are reared in considerable numbers. The flocks and herds are kept in the mountains during the summer, where the shepherds erect temporary buts. They milk sheep and goats as well as cows, and make butter and cheese both for sale and home consumption.
Leigh, Samuel, A new picture of England and Wales, (1820)

1820s north Wales
Much has been said of the Welsh goats, and probably the traveller who has come from a distant part of the kingdom will expect to find them as common as sheep, but however they may have been formerly, they are now quite as rare an animal in Wales, as they are in England. The writer having travelled many hundred miles in the Principality without seeing any.
Batenham, A., The traveller’s companion in an excursion from Chester through North Wales. (Chester : [182-?]), p. 99

1821 Pont Aberglaslyn Caernarvonshire
Goats are sometimes seen here. I surprised two on the rocks near the water, and the only place where I ever met with any, except in a wood near Builth. It is a ludicrous fancy, which some take up, that in Wales, goats, harps, and ponies, are to be found at every turn. Goats are all private property now; none, as formerly, running entirely wild. Landlords, it is said, discourage the keeping of them, because they injure the growth of timber by nibbling the bark. But they rather seem superseded by sheep, which almost rival them in adventurous spirit, so unlike their English timidity.
Goats are useful animals in a landscape, marking its character, and affording considerable variety of colour and attitude. Claude introduces them freely: I have seen a whole herd in some of his pictures. He sometimes puts them, with good effect, in shade, upon the edge of a precipice, to break the outline.
Newell, Robert Hasell, Rev, (1778-1852), Letters on the Scenery of Wales; including a series of Subjects for the Pencil, with their Stations determined on a General Principle; and Instructions to Pedestrian Tourists, (London: 1821), Letter 14, p. 148

1821 Llyn Gwynant
Here we first saw goats wild on the mountain
Meyrick, Llewelyn, Journal of a Tour through part of England and Wales in the summer of 1821 by Llewelyn Meyrick Esq, Queen’s College Oxford, British Library, Add. 28802, 7th August 1821

1822 Walked from Llyn Gwynant to Beddgelert in the rain
NB the only thing which recompensed us for this soaking was a flock of nearly 50 goats which were scattered over the cliff close to the road.
Anon, [Journal of a tour of north Wales] private collection

1822
On the 4th day of a tour of north Wales, Anne Lister wrote, while on her way between Llanrwst and Conwy:
we have seen not one goat yet – they are all destroyed on Lord Gwedyr’s [sic, Gwydir] estate – on account of them hurting his plantations, he about 7 years ago sent an order that every tenant should get rid of all he had by Llanrwst fair (in September) – this was giving them too little time, & caused them great loss which could have been remedied by giving them till Christmas instead of September –for goat’s flesh is not good without salting & should be killed at Christmas.
West Yorkshire (Calderdale) Archives (Halifax) SH, 7/ML/TR/11; RAM 52-76 and 78-9, Transcribed by Kirsty Anne McHugh for the Curious Travellers project.

1824 Between Pont Aberglaslyn and Tremadoc
On our road to Tremadoc some flocks of wild goats were pointed out to us on the sides of the mountains ; to take them strong and powerful dogs are employed who hunt them down.
Lockett, John George, A tour through North Wales, 1824, NLW MS 23939B, f. 27

1824 Nant Gwynant
We observed a she goat and kid … the general opinion is that there are none now in a wild state.
Freeman, George John, Sketches in Wales; or, A diary of three walking excursions in that principality, in the years 1823, 1824, 1825. (London, 1826), p. 206

1825 near Beddgelert
we were informed that a great many goats are kept on the mountains in the neighbourhood — and a farmer told us they kept a small herd {but we saw none}
Anon [same author as Cardiff Central Library, MS 4.349], ‘Journal of a tour of north Wales with engravings, made in the summer vacation of 1825’, Cardiff Central Library, MS 4.350, pp. 77-78

1825 Chirk Castle
In the park we observed several goats
Anon [same author as Cardiff Central Library, MS 4.349], ‘Journal of a tour of north Wales with engravings, made in the summer vacation of 1825’, Cardiff Central Library, MS 4.350, p. 166

1827 Caernarfon
The first goat we saw in Wales was in Caernarfon Castle Court.
Rand, Eliza, Tour of north Wales, 1827, NMW 207044, p. 28

1827 Cader Idris
We rode at the foot of Cader Idris & discerned goats pasturing at the top.
Beecroft, Judith, Excursion to North Wales, Cardiff Central Library, MS2.325

1828 Caernarvonshire
The number of goats in this county is of late years greatly diminished, as gentlemen of landed property discourage their tenants from keeping them, on account of their being so destructive to young plantations; and as they are great climbers, and fond of browsing on the young sprouts and tender shoots, it is found to be very difficult, if not impossible, to make the fences sufficiently high to guard against their depredations: when they are pursued by dogs they retreat to the fastnesses of the rocks; and there have been instances of their having descended from one ledge or cliff to another, until at last they have got into such a situation that they could not be extricated without lowering a lad down with one rope round his body, and another in his hand to fasten about the goat, and thus both have been drawn up again by strong active men standing near the summit of the rock. There was an instance of a goat yeaning in such a cleft, and one of the two young ones falling over, and the old one, together with the other, being rescued as before described.
Cathrall, William, History of North Wales comprising a Topographical Description of the Several Counties of Anglesey, Carnarvon, Denbigh, Flint, Merioneth and Montgomery, (Manchester, 1828), vol. 2, p. 95

1828 near Llyn Gwynant
We observed a she goat and kid … the general opinion is that there are none now in a wild state.
Freeman, George John, Sketches in Wales; or, A diary of three walking excursions in that principality, in the years 1823, 1824, 1825. By the Rev. G.J. Freeman, (London, 1826), 3rd Excursion 1825, p. 206

1828 Cadair Idris
{There are no goats}
diary of Amelia [Emily] Waddell (Lady Amelia Jackson), tour in Wales, May-Sep 1828, Royal Geographical Society, SSC/79, p. 77

1828, near Nant-y-glo, Monmouthshire
The only thing I quarrel with is the lack of their proper native tenants, goats. It seems they are so destructive from their habits of browsing that all farmers set their faces against them. The sheep in these places are as nimble and venturous, but not so picturesque.
Stuart, Louisa, The letters of Lady Louisa Stuart selected with an introduction by R. Brimley Johnson, (1926), pp. 231-232

1830 Cadair Idris
The sheep which are all beautifully white leap from rock to rock with surprising agility. No goats are to be seen.
Sayer, Frances, East Sussex Record Office, SAY 3401, f. 28

1831 Wales
Goats were formerly very numerous but are now only to be met with in North Wales; and even these are rapidly disappearing, because, though not without use to the poor, they are destructive to plantations and agriculture. Those which do exist are private property; none, as in former times running entirely wild.
Leigh, Samuel, Leigh’s Guide to Wales & Monmouthshire: containing observations on the mode of travelling, plans of various tours, sketches of the manners and customs, notices of historical events, and description of every remarkable place, and a minute account of the Wye, with a map of Wales. 1831 (1st edition of many), p. 12

1831 Pembroke Castle
Goats were feeding on the green [in the castle]
Anon, A Journal of a Tour in Wales, &c., NLW MSS 6685C, p. 31

1833 Dolgellau
{A companion at breakfast told him that young Pugh had told him the following:}
The goats although wild to all appearances are the property of certain individuals to whom in winter they return and are regularly fed but during the rest of the year are left to provide for themselves among the rocks and mountains. {story of how a neighbor tried to catch a male goat}
Letts, Thomas, Journal of Tour, NLW MS 22340B, f. 79v- 80r

1835 Snowdon
Saw Snowdon (but not the top) with goats jumping up and down
Temple, Robert, ‘Journal of Tour through Merionethshire and Anglesey and part of the Counties of Flint, Denbigh and Caernarfon made in the Autumn of 1835 by Robert Temple of Lach(e)? Hall, Cheshire’, NLW, Glansevern MS 14559, p. 14

1837 (about), St Catherine’s island, Tenby
Only 2 goats and 4 sheep live there, and they have sharp work to make a meal for them. The rock is barren enough
Symonds, Fanny, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ms Don e 143.

1839
GOAT HOTEL, BEDDGELERT.
“Patria men petra.” MOTTO on THE INN. [meaning ‘My Country is a Rock’]
The rock thy country, GOAT ! – Why then thy fare
(I mean thine own) is scant, methinks, and bare!
Still, hospitable Goat! not so the guest
Thou treatest, but to him dost give the best.
Choice beds, fair charge, kind welcome and good cheer,
Who are content with these, may find them here.
Friend Goat! I like thy pasture MUCH ; and when
The fates permit, shall gladly come again.
PHILAEGUS, August 1839.
Extract from the Visitors’ book of the Goat Hotel, published in Bransby, James Hews, A Description and Historical Sketch of Beddgelert and its Neighbourhood, (London, 1840), p. 99

1842 Newport (Monmouthshire)
{a fair including Lions, tigers and a giraffe} ‘No goats and no leeks I have hitherto met.’
Anon, Tour of Wales possibly about 1842, NLW 6736 B, p. 9

1846 Pontaberglaslyn
A large number of goats formerly inhabited the rocks in this neighbourhood. When Dr. Thackeray was here in 1806, he saw upwards of thirty in a flock on the summits, which had been cropping the tender shoots. He offered a premium from the church-yard to any one who would destroy all trespassers. In a few days, the oldest and most venerable of the party was shot and suspended by the leg to the highest sycamore in the woods; for which the doctor was highly blamed, as having been the cause of killing the patriarch and the oldest inhabitant of the hills.
Parry, Edward, Cambrian Mirror: or, a new tourist companion through North Wales, (1846), pp. 230-231; (1848), pp. 230-231

1848 Beddgelert
noted goats and sheep
Weston, Elizabeth, (1794 or 1795-1878), Journal of a tour, 1848, NLW MS 24034B, f. 13

1848 near Barmouth
Saw one goat (the only one)
Goodall, Josiah, Journal of a Trip through North and South Wales, 1848, NLW, MS 676 (Facsimile), 24th August, 1848

1851 (north Wales coast)
I expected to see every peak surmounted by a goat; but was informed they had been banished from the country long ago, from the injury they do to the trees.
Dickinson, Andrew, My first visit to Europe: or, sketches of society, scenery and antiquities, in England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and France, (New York, 1851), p. 30

1854 near Aberglaslyn
Presently I found myself with extensive meadows on my right and a wall of rocks on my left, on a lofty bank below which I saw goats feeding; beautiful creatures they were, white and black with long silky hair, and long upright horns. They were of large size, and very different in appearance from the common race. These were the first goats which I had seen in Wales; for Wales is not at present the land of goats, whatever it may have been.
Borrow, George, (1803-1881), Wild Wales, (1862)

1854 Trawsfynydd
The latter informed us that goats, once so common in Wales, were nearly extinct as stock; but he said that they abounded when he was young.
Pamplin, William, Tour of Wales by William Pamplin and Alexander Irvine, 1854, An Account of Localities of some of the rarer British Plants and others noticed in North Wales by Mr Pamplin and Mr Irvine, in September, 1854, The Phytologist, vol. 1, London, 1855-1856, p. 31

1857 Llanberis
We expected to have seen some goats to complete the picture of Welsh scenery but there were none.
Foyl, William, Tour of North Wales 1857, NLW 23178B, p. 85

1859 Beddgelert
Did not see any goats
Linder, Samuel and Susannah, Tour of North Wales, 1859, NLW MS 23065C, p. 45

1869 Aberglaslyn
Goats [with small sketch], {Goats in Ireland}
Anon, An Account of tour in North Wales, ‘Notes to Wild Wales’, NLW MS 11045E, p. 23

1884 Pen y Gwryd
Goats [rare because of the damage they do to the trees]
Hissey, James John, Old Fashioned Journey through England and Wales, (London, 1884), Chapter 8

ABERGAVENNY
1767 Abergavenny
Abergavenny is lately come into great repute for Goats Whey which is drank here by consumptive people, a great many of whom were here.
Banks, Joseph, Journal of a Tour in Wales, 1767-1768. “The copy of a Journal of an Excursion to Wales, &c., by S.S. Banks began August 13th, 1767, ended January 29th, 1768.” NLW MS 147C, p. 6 (transcribed by his sister S. S. Banks from the original now in the University Library, Cambridge MS Add 6294 (2))

1769 Abergavenny
Formerly the resort where Goat’s milk was drunk.
Grimston, James Bucknall, Sir, (Third Viscount Grimston, 1749-1809), A Tour in Wales, 1769, Hertfordshire Record Office D/EV/F15-19); Report on the manuscripts of the Earl of Gorhambury, Historic Monuments Commission Report, (HMSO, 1906), 24th August, 1769

1775 Abergavenny
‘has particular solnbriety? in the herbage on which its goats feed.’ {Goats milk is beneficial in consumption and Decays, attracting many to resort hither and the inn keepers consider it on the footing of Bath and Brighhelmstone, their bills just double those of adjacent towns.}
Grose, Francis, [Journey to South Wales, 1775], British Library, Add. MS. 17398, f. 85

1793 Abergavenny
Abergavenny is much frequented in Summer by invalids who go there to drink goat’s milk and breathe its pure air.
Colt Hoare, Richard, ‘Journal of a Tour in South Wales anno 1793’, NLW 16489, f. 166v; Thompson, M.W., The Journeys of Sir Richard Colt Hoare through England and Wales, 1793-1810, (1983) p. 34

1794 (or 1783 or 1800) Abergavenny
Abergavenny much frequented by people who come to drink goats milk from England. ‘for consumptive disorders. Lodgings and boarding are to be had in a very neat manner and at a cheap rate.’
Anon, British Library, 5961, f. 15

1799 Abergavenny
{even the fashion of its goats’ whey, has declined}
Coxe, W., An Historical Tour through Monmouthshire illustrated with views by Sir R.C. Hoare, Bart
(London, 1801)

1805? Abergavenny
[Goats] are now confined to some peculiar spots on the hills not far from the town, to which the invalids ride in a morning, to drink their milk & the whey.
Sotheby, William?, A Journal of a tour through parts of Monmouthshire and Glamorgan, NLW 6497C, p. 37

1807 Abergavenny
mention of goat’s whey
Henry Thomas Payne, rector of Llanbedr, Powys Archives, Llandrindod, A 104/1/2; Jones, Peter Morgan, A Navigation of the River Wye to Chepstow, 1807, Gwent Local Historian, no 104, (2008), pp. 11-18

1812 Abergavenny
was a fashionable resort for valetudinarians who came to drink goats whey.
Hammond, William Osmund, Journal of a Tour in Wales and Ireland, NLW MS 24023A, f. 47

1869
On the peninsula of Dinas [north coast of Pembrokeshire]… Lord David Kennedy shot with a rifle, in 1869, two magnificent goats, the heads of which were of such extraordinary size and beauty as to attract the attention of the Zoological Society and a special notice in the “Field,” where, in the number for February 20, 1869, will be found some beautiful engravings of them. These animals were said to be a portion of a herd which had been established there for several generations, and to have become so wild that they could not be safely approached. The one, a white specimen, had long been known as the master of the herd, and had destroyed several other males in single combat. The breadth between its horns measured, from tip to tip in a straight line, 39 inches; whilst the length of each, along the outer curve, was 364—their circumference at the base being 74 The expanded form of the horns of this specimen differed widely from the ibex-like form of the other, a black specimen, whose horns curved almost directly backwards, and were only 134 inches apart at the top, but as much as 343 along the outer curve, and, like the other, 74 at the base.
Anon, ‘North-West Pembrokeshire’, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 118, (July to December, 1875), p. 295

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