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Category Archives: history

Wales’ Mum

On Mother’s Day (in much of the world), it seems appropriate to give a belated nod to the woman known as the mother of Wales. (In Wales, Mother’s Day is usually celebrated in March; the date varies with Lent.) With numerous descendants, Catrin of Berain (1534/35–1591) has been dubbed the “Mother of Wales.” Catrin was […]

Spirits of Plas Newydd

In the wee hours I found myself watching an episode of Most Haunted, a series I dislike for numerous reasons, particularly the screeching, spoon-fed details, and absence of scientific methods. I watched the show, despite its flaws, because the episode featured Plas Newydd. The Welsh home is reportedly haunted by the “Ladies of Llangollen” and other […]

Punishment Devices

Looking at punishment devices from past centuries, I’d say today’s criminals are coddled. Years ago, criminals might find themselves manacled to a punishment tree, fitted with a scold’s bridle, or positioned beneath a guillotine. Hard labor ranged from stone breaking to working the treadmill at Beaumaris, essentially serving as a human water pump. Noncompliant criminals […]

Payments to a Serving Maid

The National Library of Wales’ digitized collection contains a trove of primary documents. One manuscript that caught my eye details sixteenth- and seventeenth-century fashion in Wales, specifically lower-class women’s fashion. Most of the handwritten lists are in Welsh; however, the document summary outlines notable points and includes a link to transcribed lists.