An excerpt taken from DAWNS 1984-5 – from an article entitled Gems from the Past. It is part of a letter sent to Mrs. Jessie Williams, Brynmawr from a Mrs. Carter from Dorset in 1968.
I was so interested in listening to ‘Down Your way’ with Franklyn Ingleman in Brynmawr: To know that you had revived the Welsh Folk Dancing and the Costume. I was so interested to hear you mention Lady Llanover and hope you will find my childhood’s recollections of interest to you.
… Lady Llanover while talking to an aged retainer, discovered her quite distressed by the fact that the Welsh National Dress was dying out. She immediately resolved that it would never be altered while she was head of theLlanover Estate:
She decreed that all in her employment must wear Welsh dress. Household uniform in those days was supplied to the staff as part payment for their services.
Lady Llanover purchased material from a Drapery establishment in Abergavenny, Bank House (opposite the Town Hall). All that could not beobtained locally was woven by Welsh people, as the premises of Bank House, was partly in Flannel Street. No doubt the flannel was obtained there, but all the weaving, may have been done on the Estate. A dressmaker was always an important member of the Household staff in most mansions.
This took place in the early 1870s and was told me by my mother who was the Assistant at Morgan’s Drapery shop, and served Lady Llanover when she came into Abergavenny in her carriage, and horses with Coachman, Footmen in attendance.
The Maids also used to walk into Abergavenny on their free time, and purchased ribbons etc.
Incidentally to be up to that day’s Fashion they always changed at the Lodge in the estate; and the Gate Keeper’s wife kept their secret. Also the assistant, to whom they confided this information was my mother who told me more than 20 years later ……