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Women in Wexford in 1600

I have been reading an interesting early document about County Wexford, published in 1807. It is called Notes and Gleanings relating to the County of Wexford in its Past and Present Conditions. by Martin Doyle (1787-1875)

A Colonel Richards, in describing the physical appearance and customs of people in south Wexford about 1600 AD says:

"The men were of low stature, yet well set, thick and strong, very crafty and deceiptful enuffe. The women also being of mean stature, very thick-legged, but indifferent cumlie and handsome, jocose and pleasant, yet very chaste. In one particular excelling all their sex in the kingdome, they so revere the male sex, man, beasts, birds, and fishes, that if the master of the house be from home, his son, if any, or if none, then his chief servant present, though but a poor plough-driver or cow-boy, shall have the first mess of broath or first cut of meat before the mistress or her female guests, if she have any, this I know ; but I have heard it affirmed that if there be no man or boy in the house, they will give the first bit to the cock or the dog, or any male creature".


But we've grown much wiser since then!