Who were the Welsh Drovers?
The Welsh drovers did not hold a monopoly over cattle movement. There were the local Essex or Kentish drovers, and there were other long distance drovers; from Scotland, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands, all of whom converged on the South East fairs and markets at some time. The Old Bailey London Central Criminal Court records from 1674 have many drovers giving evidence, and some being accused of malpractice. However there does not seem to have been a single indictment of a Welsh drover. It's not that they would have been above the law, merely that they were content to go about their business in a law abiding fashion, and return to their home-land. The Welsh drovers were a respected part of society as far as the government of the day, was concerned. On the 3rd of March 1648, in the House of Commons a claim by them was discussed; "... and the said Committee is hereby authorised and required to pay and satisfy to the said Drovers, or their Assigns, the Remainder of the said Debt, so made appear unto them, out of the Estates of such Papists and Delinquents, not yet discovered, as shall be discovered by the said Drovers, or their Agents, unto the said Committee."

One cannot end without reference to a Dafydd Jones of Caeo, who commenced his livelihood as a drover. He became a noted preacher and hymn writer, in the mid 1700's. He settled on a small farm which he named Llundain Fach near Esgerdawe in Dyffed, and named the nearby stream "Y Tafwys" (TheThames).

In many ways the drovers were rather like todays car salesman, only they had to collect their "vehicles" and walk them to the showroom; the great fairs and markets of England.

www.calm.hants.gov.uk
www.oldbaileyonline.org
Stewards, lords, and people by David Roger Hainsworth
www.carmarthenshirehistorian.org

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