Lovespoons

Everyone has seen a Welsh lovespoon. But not everyone is aware of its long history and the unique place it occupies in Welsh rural tradition.

From the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, young men would while away the long winter evenings whittling love spoons to their sweethearts. In Cardiganshire they were presented to the parents of the girl and thought to be a confirmation of the start of an official courtship, if accepted. The term 'spooning' therefore became another word for courting and in Cardiganshire to this day, a girl's boyfriend is known as 'y sponer'.

The lovespoon was originally a domestic implement that was simply embellished with initials and dates, but evolved into elaborate and finely crafted pieces of art - which took hours to carve from a single piece of wood and displayed intricate symbols of love.