Happy 2016!

It is New Year’s Day, 2016. Best wishes to all Ladies of Llangollen readers!

Looking for something totally different, I came across Michael Freeman’s site about Wales & Welsh Travellers. It’s a Wordpress blog (called sublimewales)!

early tourists_wales

I was especially happy to find the page entitled Women Tourists, which made me look up the book Fragments in Prose & Verse by Miss Elizabeth Smith [no relation to the Smiths of Suttons; at least I doubt it…]

elizabeth smith

Miss Smith, at the very least, documented a visit with the Ladies of Llangollen in 1796 (she was in the Llangollen neighborhood in 1798, but they did not stop there). I’ve quickly put in the two quotes on the PLAS NEWYDD TIMELINE(s) for those years.

One early volume (1809), in inimitable books.google fashion, had pages missing; but of an 1811 volume – in TWO volumes, I find copies of volume I (different version; 1824 edition) and will link the 1809 Memoir of Klopstock (vol. II), which I hope is intact. Henrietta Maria Bowdler is the editor. She gives a TANTALIZING picture of “letters that used to be” when writing that Miss Smith had written a letter about her visit to the Ladies (in 1796) which was destroyed. A great loss, indeed!

For readers interested in “historical” travel to Wales, your New Year’s Resolution MUST include some of the books and/or manuscripts noted on Michael’s website.



Reading over the Shoulder of Lady Eleanor Butler…

Michael from Aberystwyth has been a joy to correspond with, lately. His interest in the Ladies, in women travellers in Wales, and in Welsh National Costume is such fun to hear (read) about.

Michael visited the National Library of Wales, and had these wonderful off-the-cuff thoughts about Eleanor’s diary:

I spent a few hours with Eleanor’s earliest journal (1784) on film yesterday. It is very clear and her handwriting is generally good, but the original diary was tiny, and she writes something every day (mostly about the awful weather which seems to have been much worse then than now – but even during a month of deep snow, they still managed to visit others and get visitors).

Her handwriting is quite large, and she used rather a thick pen nib, so in order to squeeze everything in, she compresses the words, and some, especially names, are difficult to read.

On first reading, one phrase appeared to be ‘Lord Machnes from Eddenies’ , so I went back to it after getting my eye in and read it as ‘Some madness from Edwards’  (Edwards’ name appears quite regularly;  it appears that he was a local) but I’m not at all certain about that reading either.

Elizabeth Mavor’s selection from this diary is very limited indeed, and seems to record only the entries which deal with her relationship with Sarah, or her headaches, which are quite untypical of the diary as a whole.

To my delight there are lots of names of visitors of whom I know, but I will have to do a lot more research to check they are who I think they are. So far, it’s yielding exactly what I want…”


Michael’s Elizabeth Mavor book refers to Life with the Ladies of Llangollen, also published (in paperback) as A Year with the Ladies of Llangollen. He’s piqued my interest to look up 1784 in both Mavor and The Hamwood Papers.

You can see the extensive “Ladies”  bibliography by clicking on this link (also on the menu above, and to the right).

The image  (above) is thought to be Lady Eleanor Butler, and is entitled Lady in a Tall Hat. Gathering the Jewels (a favorite website) is currently undergoing some “security maintenance”. Be patient if the picture’s link isn’t working.

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