Michael in Aberystwyth has been combing archives for mentions of the Ladies of Llangollen; he recently wrote me the following:
“I’ve been busy gathering more references to visitors to Plas Newydd.
I’m surprised how few published references there were to them while they were still alive. There are lots of descriptions of the grounds, the house and the Ladies in manuscripts, (often by women) but perhaps many of the men who published accounts of their tours didn’t think it appropriate to publicise a private residence.
The more I read about them, the more I think they might have wanted to live in a quiet place, but didn’t want to be wholly isolated from the world (as one of their visitors perceptively suggests) and the fact that they renamed the cottage Plas Newydd (the New Hall), even though it was originally a 4 roomed cottage, and added a library and decorated it with historic items as well as welcoming the nobility and gentry suggest that they were really living the life of those who lived in mansions and who allowed visitors to view their rooms (on certain terms), as well as acting as hosts to those of equal status or education, or talented artists of poets who had letters of introduction.”
More to come from Michael. And do contact me should you should have information that might be of use to Michael. He’s interested in 18th and 19th century travellers to Wales, with a special desire to unearth more on Welsh National Costume.