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Description

This essay was written by Dr Richard Williams, a surgeon in Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth and its full title reads

'Observations on parturition amongst the poor in the upper district of Cardiganshire'.

Dr Williams begins his essay by giving a brief account of the history of Wales and the county of Cardiganshire before going on describe, in fascinating detail, not only the ways in which women gave birth but also their courting habits and living conditions. He is very critical of the moral standards of the peasantry but is more tolerant of some of their customs.

Further background information on Dr Richard Williams, as well as a full transcript of the essay, is provided in Emyr Wyn Jones, 'Medical Glimpse of Early Nineteenth Century Cardiganshire, 'National Library of Wales Journal' (1966), pp. 253-275.

The first page reads as follows:

"Observation on Parturition amongst the poor in the Upper District of Cardiganshire

About the year 870 Rodericus Magnus King of Wales divided his Territories into Three Kingdoms which continued until of late days.

These three were Gwynedh or North Wales, Deheubarth South Wales and Mathrafal Powysland or Western Wales.

These Kingdoms were again divided into Cantreds and Comots, all of which must here be passed over for the purpose of arriving at Caredigion in the Kingdom of Deheubarth or as it is afterwards called Dynefawr.

In this Division we find Cantref Syrwen with its two Comots Gwenionyth and Iscoed, known in English as Cardiganshire and in Welsh as Swydh Aberteifi.

This is a Champion Country without much wood and hath been divers times...

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