Love Tokens from the Collection

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales's picture
Thursday, January 28, 2016

Here are my top five items from the Collections that show Wales’s relationship with love, Santes Dwynwen and St Valentine. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve selected items that reflect the romantic sentiments of the season and which demonstrate the breadth and diversity of Welsh love tokens gifted across the centuries:

1. Lovespoon

Lovespoons are the most recognisable of Welsh love tokens. Carved by suitors for their sweethearts, lovespoons have been given as gifts since the mid to late 17th century. The oldest known Welsh lovespoon is kept at St Fagans National History Museum and is dated to 1667.

2. Engraved Ring

This ring was found at Castell Collen Roman fort, Llanyre. The inscription was hand carved and reads 'AMOR DVLCIS' or sweet love.

3. Carved Stay Busk

This intricately carved wooden busk was gifted as a love token. Inscribed with the message 'D. E. 1793', busks were the placed inside corsets to keep them rigid. It was not uncommon for a man to give his wife a busk as a present.

4. Pin Cushion

This beautifully embroidered pin cushion was sent to Miss Elen Burns of Rhymney. The sender is unknown but the central panel of the cushion reads:

     Think of me
     When the golden sun is sinking
     And your mind from care set free
     When of others you are thinking
     Will you sometimes think of me

5. Valentine’s Day Card

Ah, the humble Valentine’s Day card. This example is from Newport Museum. The creator is unknown.


by Ellen Davies, PCW Marketing Support Officer